Pre-camp an icebreaker with new recruits

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

A lack of chemistry was one of the many conspiracy theories tossed out when the Calgary Flames struggled with consistency last season.

Bonds are an important aspect of any team's success.

So you can expect the newest members of the Flames to be welcomed with open arms, as the veterans are expected to get together more often leading up to their due date in training camp next week.

"I think a lot of guys have been here skating," said Jarome Iginla of his teammates yesterday before teeing off at Country Hills Golf Course yesterday. "I just got here. It's still a week before camp, so this is pretty early.

"I imagine for the next week we'll all be skating together, which is good."

Some already have been seen together.

Iginla's buddy Craig Conroy took part in a skating session Tuesday and agrees it's important to make newcomers Owen Nolan, Adrian Aucoin, Cory Sarich and Anders Eriksson feel like old friends.

"You want to pull the team together as quick as possible before the season starts," Conroy said. "You try to get to know them as quickly as possible. Yesterday we all had a skate, a get-together. We've got a little outing going where we're going to play some golf and do maybe dinner."

Conroy says he's heard "nothing but good things about the new teammates.

"Sarich, I sat next to him in the locker-room the other day. He's a super guy. I heard Aucoin's a guy like Rhett (Warrener), so I have no worries about him."

There will be plenty of light-hearted practising before veterans report for fitness testing next Thursday, which will give them a chance to socialize without the stress of camp.

"It's nice to get back and see how everyone's summer was," Iginla said. "Just get out skating for fun before training camp, because the first few days of camp aren't always the most enjoyable.

"It'll be nice to float around for a couple of last practices -- and then it's business."


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