Bryan Marchment sleepwalked his way into town early yesterday morning.
At noon, he skated with a team for the first time in nearly two weeks and felt the effects of a hectic 24-hour period since signing with the Calgary Flames.
Then, the hard-nosed defenceman was re-introduced to the kind of statements to which he should be accustomed when playing for a high-profile NHL team.
A few minutes earlier, Marchment's new coach/GM Darryl Sutter was asked about his free-agent acquisition's practice performance.
"I think he was sucking a little gas out there," said Sutter with a laugh before venturing a guess his newest blueliner would be up to speed soon enough. "Hey, what do you expect, he hasn't skated for what, about 10 days now -- with a team?"
And the man with the nasty reputation handled Sutter's comments as well as any seasoned veteran -- especially one who spent the 2003-04 season in media-crazy Toronto.
"Welcome to the West," said Marchment, good-naturedly.
"I was up -- I'm going to use my excuses now -- I was up at quarter to four this morning to get out here. Hopefully I've got some jump back in me tomorrow. I was a little nervous out there."
Sutter, who coached Marchment for years in San Jose and Chicago, brought in the free agent to provide depth to a defence corps that appeared to be in disarray during the season-opening four-game road swing.
Top d-man Robyn Regehr is nursing a sprained knee and expected to miss at least another couple of weeks. So, Sutter has had to move Jordan Leopold to the left side and pair him with Rhett Warrener, stick rookie Dion Phaneuf with Roman Hamrlik, who is new to the Sutter system, and give extra minutes to Andrew Ference and Steve Montador.