Leo's 'coconut' is fine

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

Driving home from his university class, Jordan Leopold admitted his enthusiasm on the new NHL rules is somewhat tempered.

Sure, the Flames defenceman -- whose new contract was officially announced yesterday -- is looking forward to firing 100-ft. passes to spring his teammates on potential breakaways but he's not 100% sure it'll pan out that way.

"It'd be nice but we'll see," said Leopold, who signed a two-year, $2.3 million deal. "There's going to be more opportunity to send guys but there is going to be a transition period."

The good news for the 25-year-old defenceman is he'll be part of that.

A year ago, he was preparing to add to a great season by playing for Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey.

Instead, he was a bystander, knocked out of action before the tournament even began by a concussion.

Yesterday, Leopold proclaimed the "coconut's fine" and turned to the fact he played at the world championships as proof.

"Skating-wise and endurance-wise, I felt really good," said Leopold, who's used the lockout to finish up his final courses to gain at kinesiology degree.

"That touch, though, took a while to come along. I think that it was there at the end."

Now Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter is hoping the slick-skating rearguard will be able to elevate his game from the nine-goal, 24-assist campaign of 2003-04.

"Getting him on a two-year deal was really important to us," Sutter said yesterday. "It allows him to perform the way he thinks he can perform and the way we want him to perform."

Certainly, Leopold is getting antsy for the chance.

"There's going to be a lot of energy when the puck drops," he said.

"With the way things ended in 2004, I don't know who wouldn't be excited to get going."


Videos

Photos