Battle hardened

STEVE MACFARLANE, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

You couldn't ask for a better introduction to the NHL. A Battle of Alberta with serious playoff implications and the latter half of a doubleheader on national TV.

That's what awaited Carsen Germyn when he was called up from the AHL Omaha Knights Saturday. And he couldn't have been more thrilled about the dynamics of his debut.

"It was a great atmosphere to be in," said Germyn during the Flames' recovery day, after the team played three games in four nights amid a seven-in-eleven stretch. "When I got the call, all the guys were saying that it's on Hockey Night in Canada."

Germyn played alongside Byron Ritchie and Chris Simon, collecting 8:01 of ice time in the Flames' 4-1 victory at Rexall Place -- a hard-hitting affair with a post-season flavour.

The Knights' top scoring forward prior to his promotion, with 22 goals and 48 points in 69 games, said his AHL teammate Craig MacDonald -- another call-up with the Flames suffering a rash of recent injuries -- advised him to treat the outing as if it was just another game.

"Just to keep it simple, not make too many mistakes. Play my game and not get too nervous," said Germyn. "It's a big jump."

It took the 24-year-old winger some time to get used to the tempo but he came away feeling positive about his initiation.

"It took most of the game," said Germyn. "You don't have much time. There's always guys on you. You have to know what you're doing before you get the puck. It's all about confidence and getting used to it.

"The first period was a little overwhelming. Everybody's faster, stronger."

Despite the obvious leap, the Flames' minor-leaguers have done well as roleplayers this season. Defencemen Richie Regehr and Mark Giordano have gained some big-league experience, as have forwards Germyn, MacDonald and Eric Nystrom.

Germyn says it's a credit to the coaches in Nebraska the youngsters are able to bridge the gap without too many growing pains.

"They coach the same systems as what I've seen so far (here)," said the former Red Deer Rebel. "We play an easy game down there. We're not a high-scoring team, we're just a simple team. That's what coach Gilly (head coach Ryan McGill) and Scottie (assistant Scott Allen), they strive on that. Just keeping it simple, playing our game, banging bodies and getting in there."

The game plans certainly sound similar. And there's no doubt the Knights' fight for the final playoff spot after a rocky start somewhat mirrors the Flames' plight two years ago.

"We have 10 rookies and we're probably one of the youngest teams in the league," said Germyn. "We've come a long way from the start of the year. We're fighting for a playoff spot and we're on a roll right now.

Should a sidelined Flames forward become healthy enough to play Wednesday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Germyn may be sent down.

But rejoining his Omaha teammates for their playoff stretch run doesn't compare to what's happening here.

"It's obviously a dream come true," said Germyn. "You always want to go up. Of course you want to help them down there but it's exciting just to get an opportunity up here."

- - -

LEARNING TO SPEAK GERMYN

Carsen Germyn, RW. Born: Feb. 22, 1982 (24).

Hometown: Campbell River, B.C. Height: 5 ft. 10 in. Weight: 185 lb.

(AHL statistics since signing with Calgary as a free agent July 6, 2004)

                                          

GP G A Pts. PIM

05-06, Omaha Knights 69 22 26 48 117

04-05, Lowell Lock Monsters 60 9 11 20 115


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