Adam on eve of big things?

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

As he walked out of the Saddledome following yesterday's morning skate, Adam Pardy was carrying four bottles of water.

"I have to be hydrated for tonight," said the rookie defenceman.

That could be his plan of attack on a regular basis for the next couple of months.

With Jim Vandermeer on the shelf upwards of eight weeks due to a broken ankle, Pardy is staring at the chance to be a regular blueliner for the team.

"With a guy going down like that with a serious injury, it's definitely an opportunity for me and something I have to take advantage of," Pardy said. "I have to fill his shoes and do the job.

"I think every time you get it, it's an opportunity to show what you got and show to your teammates you're ready to play and be part of this club, help the team win and get better."

Vandermeer suffered his injury in the second period of Sunday's 6-1 loss in Chicago. The gritty defenceman, who has two assists in 16 games, was averaging 17 minutes and 35 seconds of ice time.

Pardy won't likely play as many minutes, which will mean a heavier load for the rest of the defencemen, but he knows he must pull his weight.

"In these last few weeks, I was thinking it could happen any time and now it's happened," he said. "It's important I make simply plays, skate the puck when I can and take care of my own end.

"Since the season started, even though I was not playing much, there's been a lot of preparation on the ice and in practice to stay ready, mentally and physically because you never know when you're needed."

Pardy had previously played two NHL games, both on the road, so last night's clash was his first regular-season tilt at the Saddledome.

Making it even better was the opposition -- the Bonavista, Nfld., product grew up rooting for the Maple Leafs -- plus that his two brothers, Todd and Neil, were at the game. They moved to Calgary a couple of weeks ago.

"My dad (Stan) was a Leafs fan since he was a kid and I grew up with that. That doesn't matter any more," he said.

"I'm here and that's what matters. It will be fun to play against that team, my third NHL game and my first in Calgary. For my brothers, it's the first time they've seen me live since junior.

"They were Leafs fans, too, but I don't think they would be cheering for the Leafs in this game."


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