SUN Hockey Pool

In with the new

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

Personality was a big problem with last year's edition of the Calgary Flames.

As in, they had two of them: One showed up at the Saddledome, and an entirely different one on the road.

The inconsistency led to one of the league's worst away records contradicting one of the NHL's best at home, and ultimately brought an influx of new characters into Calgary to start the next chapter.

Gone are Tony Amonte, Jeff Friesen and Darren McCarty up front; Roman Hamrlik, Brad Stuart and Andrei Zyuzin on the back end; and Jamie McLennan will no longer back up Miikka Kiprusoff in goal.

A quarter of the team that will start the 2007-08 season is new. Free-agent signings Owen Nolan, Cory Sarich and Anders Eriksson join fellow veteran Adrian Aucoin -- brought aboard in a trade before the draft -- add more leadership and grit to a core group of players that has been missing an ingredient or two to win the Stanley Cup.

"That's quite a few players," said defenceman Robyn Regehr of the new look. "It's not just on-ice play that has changed with the addition and subtraction of players, it's also personalities in the dressing room. We spend a lot of time together. So that changes quite drastically sometimes."

Team chemistry was thought to contribute to their downfall as the Flames limped into the playoffs then struggled through a first-round playoff loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Through training camp, the team took part in team-building activities to help with the bonding.

On paper, the team is better, but their success may depend on how the personalities mesh.

"I think those are great things to add," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla on Nolan's feistiness, Sarich's and Eriksson's Cup-winning experience with the Lightning and Wings, respectively, and Aucoin's leadership.

"You can't have too much of that in the locker-room."


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