SUN Hockey Pool

Moss shows love for Russia

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

So many others decided to race to Russia this off-season, it's no surprise David Moss joined the fun.

Unlike former teammates Mark Giordano and Andrei Taratukhin, though, Moss returned to North America.

The Calgary Flames right winger got an early jump on his team's training camp by spending a couple of weeks in August training with SKA Saint Petersburg.

"It was good. I don't think there were any teams around here that were already in camp that I would have gotten the opportunity with to do drills. It sure as heck beats playing three-on-three trying to get in shape," said Moss, who'll turn 26 in late December. "It was good to get on the ice with a lot of good players. The practices were fast. It was just like a regular training camp."

SKA coach Barry Smith, a former Detroit Red Wings associate coach, and Moss' agent Howard Gourwitz are friends and arranged the journey for the second-year NHLer.

Also making the trip were New York Rangers prospect David Liffiton, Philadelphia hopeful Josh Beaulieu and Buffalo prospect Mike Weber.

"There's a lot of good players over there, tremendous speed and skill," Moss said.

Plus, it was an opportunity to discover one of Russia's most beautiful cities, which boasts tons of history.

"It's an old city with a lot of old buildings. There's lots to see, they've got beautiful museums and rivers flowing through the city. It was nice, different than what I'm used to," he said.

"The food and things weren't what I'm used to."

With any luck, the experience will help take his game to another level.

After starting the season in the minors, the forward chosen in the seven round in 2001, 220th overall, jumped to the Flames and racked up 10 goals in 41 games.

It solidified his spot on the roster and made Chuck Kobasew expendable. Moss even earned a new number for this season.

Instead of playing offensive line with No. 58, Moss is donning No. 25.

"I wasn't planning on changing it but they said I should change," Moss said. "I had two options (the other being 15), and I'm not superstitious about numbers."

Moss has had something on his mind all summer -- his missed chance in overtime in the sixth game of Calgary's playoff series loss to Detroit.

Parked at the doorstep, Moss could have sent the series the distance but fired the puck off Dominik Hasek's mask and over the yawning cage behind the Red Wings goalie.

"The more you think about it, the worse it gets," Moss said. "After the season, I definitely thought about it quite a bit. Going home, it was the first thing people asked about, 'What happened?' After answering those questions for so long, you try to forget about it and move on. I felt bad about it because I had a chance to win the game but you've got to move on.

"A lot of the guys were pretty positive. What can you do?"

ROSTER TRIM

Another half-dozen Flames hopefuls were sent packing yesterday, including a pair of first round draft choices.

Eric Nystrom, the club's 10th overall choice in 2002, was dispatched to the AHL Quad City Flames, along with fellow forward David Van der Gulik and defenceman Brett Palin.

Goaltender Leland Irving, the top pick from the 2006 draft, was returned to the WHL Everett Silvertips, while right winger J.D. Watt was sent to Red Deer for his overage season.

Defenceman John Negrin, the club's third-round pick from this year's draft, was returned to Kootenay.

The Flames now have 29 players remaining in camp: Three goalies, eight defencemen and 18 forwards.

They have five pre-season games remaining, beginning with tomorrow night's meeting with the Edmonton Oilers at the Saddledome.


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