Return to L.A. promises lights, Camm, action

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

Some hockey players will say it's no big whoop to face an old team.

Some are lying, although there are those who really don't see it as a big deal.

Michael Cammalleri is on the other side of the spectrum.

The Calgary Flames forward will face his former team for the first time tonight in Los Angeles, and he believes it's a big deal.

"For sure, it is," he said.

"I'm not going to sit here and pretend it's not. It's a place where I made a lot of great friends and spent my whole career to that point.

"It's going to be different for me, and I'm sure there's going to be some emotions going back. I really don't know what to expect. It's my first time dealing with anything like that and don't know how I'll deal with it. I'm sure I'll be dealing with some emotions. And if we win, they will be positive emotions."

Cammalleri is returning to Southern California at the best possible time.

The Flames have won five straight games, and he's on a scoring spree having netted three goals and three assists in the last four contests.

He's second on the team, too, with 11 points (4-7) in 10 games.

"The bigger thing for me is I was really looking forward to playing on this team because of the guys in this room," Cammalleri insisted.

"I was really excited about the prospects of what we could do here, as far as winning and how good this team could be.

"The way we started the season, I think there was still confidence in here that we'd be able to do it, even with a little stumble. The fact we're rolling now -- five in a row -- means a lot.

"It makes the mood a lot more fun and our jobs a lot more fun. For me, that's the really nice part of going back to L.A. -- it's with a team everybody's feeling upbeat. We're winning games. It's a nice thing."

Cammalleri's ability to put up points was never in doubt, but the question before the season was how many, especially if he wasn't in a front-line role.

The early-season returns have been outstanding, considering he's mainly been in a second-line role and given the team a strong second unit with Rene Bourque.

It's no surprise to Eric Nystrom, who was Cammalleri's linemate for a season at the University of Michigan.

"Ever since I've known him, he's been able to put points on the board," Nystrom said.

"In the minors, he did it, and he did it in the NHL until the injuries sidetracked him. The stuff he can do with the puck and the patience he has is the reason."


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