Child's play for Chuckie

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

It's easy to have high hopes for the Calgary Flames with the addition of Alex Tanguay.

The thought of Tanguay skating alongside Jarome Iginla can conjure images of scoreboards lighting up like pinball machines.

However, unless the Flames receive enough secondary scoring, they'll need that dynamic duo to put up Gretzky-like offensive numbers to even have a thought of making the playoffs.

Which puts the onus on others, including Chuck Kobasew.

Not to worry, says the Flames forward.

He's thinking the same thing.

"Our team has expectations for one another and they're high, and I put high expectations on myself," Kobasew said.

Last season, the club's 2001 first-round draft choice more than tripled his previous NHL season-best goal total by reaching the 20-goal mark.

And this season -- 25? 30? 35?

"I keep my expectations to myself," said the 24-year-old right-winger.

"I want to be more consistent and I want to be able to provide that secondary scoring. I want to push to play more minutes and the offence will come."

Head coach Jim Playfair, who has seen Kobasew develop in the AHL and NHL, said he has big hopes.

"We need Chuckie to be a really good player for us this year and he's got to be a better player than last year," Playfair said.

"He's a year older and I think he has a better understanding of his responsibilities in the defensive zone. He's got to be a really strong, competitive player in the defensive zone and ... trust his abilities.

"His next step is, when he has the puck on the ice, to make something really happen, be creative and responsible. His numbers will all come when those details are in place."

One of the big keys for the 5-ft. 11-in., 200-lb. Kobasew is consistency.

True, he hit 20 goals last season but he had dry spells in between hot streaks.

"It's experience, taking what I learned from last year, also being prepared night in and night out," said Kobasew, who scored in Sunday's pre-season opener.

"I trained this year the way I did two years ago before my season in the American Hockey League.

"Hopefully that can translate."

During the lockout-lost 2004-05 NHL campaign, Kobasew had an outstanding season with the AHL Lowell Lock Monsters, pumping in 38 goals and 75 points.

The Flames wouldn't mind seeing those kind of numbers but Playfair is more concerned about Kobasew pushing for them.

"It's about how he sees himself as a player and about our expectations of him and how we see him," Playfair said.

"He has to take another step in all those details to be a really effective player ... and it's time he does that."


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