Craig Conroy felt a certain comfort making his way back into the Calgary dressing room as a Flame.
He felt that sense of having returned home.
"Even when I used to come in as a visitor, it felt like I should come in this room," he said, taking in the surroundings. "But you tell yourself, 'Wrong room, go the other way.' "
The former Flames captain was reacquired yesterday from the Los Angeles Kings for underachiving forward Jamie Lundmark, a fourth-rounder in 2007 and a second-rounder in 2008.
The move -- specifically the destination -- shocked Conroy, who has five goals and 11 assists in 52 games this season.
He returns to the city where he enjoyed his greatest successes -- his career-best 27-goal and 75-point season of 2001-02, as well as the 2004 Stanley Cup playoff run to Game 7 of the final.
"For my family and myself, there's no other team I'd want it to be," he said. "I thought I was going to somewhere but never thought Calgary.
"It feels like the weight of the world's off my shoulders and hopefully it translates into me playing better hockey. I haven't played great ... It'll be nice to get back into that winning feeling."
Flames GM Darryl Sutter made the swap, knowing Conroy has another year on his deal past this season, which comes with a $2.4 million salary-cap hit.
Sutter expects the 35-year-old centre to supply some of the elements missing from his team.
"It helps alleviate some of the attention and pressure Daymond Langkow gets," said Sutter, admitting the seeds of the swap were sewn at the entry draft last June.
He expects Conroy to improve the team's faceoffs, penalty killing and speed.
"It's something we've looked for and something we've been able to address," Sutter said.
"Craig Conroy's a very good player ... When you see the things missing in our lineup, it pretty well speaks for itself. He's a proven veteran player that still has intangibles."
Conroy knows he likely won't slip into his top-line role, taken by Langkow but is OK with that.
"Langkow has been playing great this year. You want to come in and not disrupt, you want to come in and help," said Conroy, who'll don No. 24.
Langkow wears Conroy's old No. 22.
"I'm not here to come and cause any problems, I just want to slide back in."
He wasn't the only one revitalized. Left winger Kristian Huselius sees the deal as a sign the playoff push is on.
"You get some new guys in the locker room and it's exciting," Huselius said.
"He's gonna bring a lot of energy for us and some depth at centre.."
Conroy's first game back with the Flames will be tonight against the Kings.
"I told (Sean) Avery to keep his head up," he quipped. "It's gonna be fun. It's gonna be emotional to come back and play in Calgary. We'll have to see how the emotions are."
- Los Angeles sends Calgary centre Craig Conroy.
- Calgary sends L.A. centre Jamie Lundmark, a fourth-round draft pick this year, a second-round pick next year.
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