SUN Hockey Pool

Living in pair-adise

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

The unveiling is finally at hand. Flames fans, after months of anticipation -- and a week's worth of training camp -- will get the first chance to view what they hope will become a masterpiece on ice.

Captain Jarome Iginla and newcomer Alex Tanguay are slated to play in tonight's pre-season clash against Edmonton at the Saddledome.

The debut of the dynamic duo -- the most-highly touted twosome since Regis and Kelly -- gives tonight's exhibition tilt importance.

"It's been a while, it's a new environment, new fans and I'm excited to be lacing up," said Tanguay, whose arrival via trade with Colorado in the summer immediately gave Flames fans hope they'd watch a more offensive squad.

It certainly won't give a definitive answer but hockey fans will find out if the pair can click like Batman and Robin. Like Laurel and Hardy. Like Simon and Garfunkel. Montana and Rice.

Or will they fizzle like Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman (Is there a movie worse than Ishtar?), Mick Jagger and David Bowie (Dancing in the Street, what were they thinking?), or even Gretzky and Hull (how that didn't work in St. Louis is still a mystery).

A revolving door of players has been brought in to play with Iginla, all expected to see huge improvements in their numbers. It's been heartbreaking to see the disappointing results. Remember Chris Drury's time in Calgary? Steve Reinprecht's? Marc Savard's? Even Daymond Langkow's 25 goals and 59 points last season -- both within a couple of ticks of his career highs -- were good but fell shy of poolie expectations.

You can't help but hope for more from anybody who's skating alongside a player who's twice claimed the Rocket Richard and once won the Art Ross Trophy.

Now it's Tanguay's turn in the spotlight, albeit at left wing and not centre, and they'll start it out tonight with Matthew Lombardi in the middle.

Fans aren't the only ones anticipating what will happen.

"We're excited, very excited to play with each other," said Tanguay, who studied film of Iginla before coming to camp. "We're just going to try to help the team, that's all, but feel if we work hard, get moving and get skating, we'll get scoring chances."

They've certainly been given an opportunity to get to know each other, practising together in every session. Iginla, looking for a rebound from last season's 35-goal, 67-point campaign, believes they've created some chemistry.

"Every day, every practice, you get a little more comfortable and start to see where people like to go and where they like to get the puck, receive the puck," he said. "You can see how offensively gifted he is. You can tell there's a lot of natural talent there. It'll be fun to work with him.

"I'm really excited about it. I'm really excited and think it's gonna be a fun year, hopefully we'll have some good success."

A noticeable skill Tanguay will bring is his ability to carry the puck. Iginla has many strengths but won't often go coast-to-coast. With Tanguay logging the biscuit up the ice -- or controlling it in the offensive zone -- Iginla will have the opportunity to put himself in scoring position a little easier.

"I do like to carry the puck and do like to skate with it, and I think I will, but there are times when that's good and there are times when somebody else is carrying it and you can try to find holes," Iginla said. "Maybe I find more success when I'm finding holes and quiet areas. You can already see in practice he doesn't need much room to get a pass through and find that seam."

And if fans have their way, turn on plenty of red lights, too.


Videos

Photos