SUN Hockey Pool

Amonte wants points in order to prove one

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

Pride may be one of the seven deadly sins.

However, it's possible for pride to be a good thing, as well.

Take Tony Amonte's case, for example.

Last year was a disaster for the Calgary Flames forward. A career sniper, having reached at least 20 goals in nine straight NHL seasons, Amonte suffered through offensive struggles last season the likes of which he'd never experienced before.

En route to a paltry 14-goal season, he went more than 30 games without lighting the lamp. And that was with a considerable amount of powerplay ice time and opportunities.

Amonte's pride took a beating. But that same wounded pride made him prepare for this season with a vengeance, looking to prove he wasn't finished as an impact NHLer.

"Absolutely it's about pride," Amonte said. "You want to prove you can play. If you've still got it in your head and your heart, you want to go out there and prove you can do it.

"Pride's got a lot to do with it."

And a lot to do with his performance in training camp.

Amonte, who turned 36 in the summer, was one of the best Flames -- if not the best Flame -- in the pre-season. He scored, collected points, and had an impact on the games.

Basically, he was back to the Tony Amonte of old.

"You get the fire in your belly and you want to do it," said the veteran who has more than 400 NHL goals to his name. "You get the right attitude and come out with some confidence. I definitely lost my confidence last year, there's no doubt about that. I'll be the first one to admit it.

"You want to come in believing in yourself. You don't want to sound cocky or sound like a jerk but if you don't believe in yourself, you can't accomplish anything out there."

For Amonte, a big quest is being more creative in the offensive zone. His plan is to make use of those times he gets the puck, make a play instead of just moving it along immediately, a plan of attack he credits to having watched Jarome Iginla.

"The game has changed and you've got to change with it or get left behind," Amonte said. "Now that there's no holding or pinning guys against the boards, you have to hold the puck more and look to create some offence. Instead of throwing the puck out of the corner or cycling and cycling, I think you've got to get the puck out of the corner and get facing the net."

Also spurring Amonte is the fear of the unknown.

In the final year of a two-year contract he signed with Calgary following the lockout, Amonte isn't sure what the future holds.

Or, for that matter, how many chances he'll have to claim that Stanley Cup title that's eluded him through his career.

"We should have gone a lot further last year, that's why it stung so bad," he said.

"You don't know how many more chances you get -- you don't even know if you're gonna get in the playoffs again. It's a long road, so you have to get ready for the start and go from there."


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