'Saving' his best for last

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Having covered all those time zones over the past couple of weeks, Leland Irving can be excused for feeling a little run down.

Let's see, the Calgary Flames goaltender was over in Siberia to play the first half of the Canada-Russia junior Super Series.

Then he scooted across Western Canada, hitting Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Red Deer and finally Vancouver with a Canadian team that went 7-0-1.

Yesterday, he was back on the ice again, donning the Flaming C and partaking in the rookie camp scrimmage.

Understandable the teen is keen on fitting as much R 'n' R as he can while partaking in the remainder of rookie camp and the main camp that hits the ice Friday.

That said, the club's 2006 first-round draft choice is still expecting to be at his best while in Calgary and remain with the Flames as long as possible.

"A little run down, but I had a day of rest (Monday)," he said after yesterday's session at the Saddledome. "I'm ready to get back into it and hopefully come and make a good impression here and stick around as long as I can."

Certainly, his stint with the national junior squad has him prepped as well as possible. In three games, Irving played 180 minutes and surrendered just four goals for a 1.33 goals against average and a .955 save percentage.

He allowed one goal in half of yesterday's intra-squad clash, a 5-1 loss for Irving and the rest of the Team Red.

"For myself, I find it takes a few games to get into regular-season form. To be able to go over to Russia and come back to Canada and play the three games I had allows me to adjust a lot faster than taking all of training camp and a bit of main camp to get into regular season form," he said.

"I think the main thing would be reading plays, anticipating and stuff in game situations is key in making a lot of those saves. It's all positioning, you don't have time to react.

"It's still is an adjustment. The speed at this level is quite a bit faster than at junior."

As much as Irving is looking forward to the coming few weeks, he finally had a chance to look back on the series Canada dominated.

"Start to finish, we kept getting better," he said.

That experience now in the past, Irving is looking forward to his future with the Flames. Most likely, he'll be ticketed back to the WHL's Everett Silvertips, however, he's going into camp looking to do what he can to claim a NHL spot.

"Obviously, I know the situation at hand, but every time I step on the ice I've just got to play my game. I can't think about anything else," he said. "I've found that out from tryouts in the past, and past experience, that when I get tied up in that stuff, I'm not on top of my game."

ICE CHIPS

Carsen Germyn scored twice while Dustin Boyd, Derek Couture and Justin Donati added singles for Team White yesterday. Curtis McElhinney was perfect between the pipes for the winning side in splitting the duties with Kevin Lalande. Chris Chucko replied for the Red squad ... Sportsnet will broadcast 40 Flames games this season. A further 14 games will be shown on CBC, while a half-dozen will be aired on TSN.


Videos

Photos