January 29, 2009
Cammy's triple whammy
By ERIC FRANCIS, SUN MEDIA
Nobody's made scoring look this easy since Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights.
Even Mike Cammalleri agrees.
Take last night, for example, when the Flames winger picked up his second career hat-trick.
It all started early on when the Butler did it. As in Sabres rookie Chris Butler, who threw a pee wee-type pass up the middle from behind the net that hit Cammalleri near the crease and gave him two whacks at opening the scoring.
Cammalleri's third goal also came with him standing on the doorstep, simply turning around to find a Jarome Iginla rebound, which he easily deposited into the open net.
But it was the second goal that had him and his teammates rolling their eyes at just how easy the diminutive sniper is making things look these days.
"I gave it to him when he got to the bench. I said, 'What a muffin!' " laughed linemate Craig Conroy of a fanned shot from the faceoff dot that somehow dipsy-doodled its way through Ryan Miller's pads late in a 5-2 win.
"There's no easy hat-tricks, but he made it look easy. Goal scorers get breaks. Right now, it doesn't even matter ... the puck finds his stick and he's finishing them."
With 11 goals in his last seven games, Cammalleri has officially emerged as one of the biggest unrestricted free agent targets sure to be out there July 1.
But in the meantime, the 26-year-old winger is focused on helping his club clinch a division title so he can make his first post-season appearance.
"Obviously, it's going in for me now -- the stick feels pretty comfortable in my hands," beamed the 5-foot-9, 180-lb. sniper, who was almost embarrassed by his second goal.
"Obviously, that one I fanned on, and as soon as I did, I thought 'hopefully, it goes to Lanks (Daymond Langkow) back door and it looks like a pass.' Then suddenly, it was in. I played a lot of college games against Ryan Miller, and he's never given me one of those, he's always been the opposite -- ultra stingy. It was nice to get one lucky one on him."
When asked if this was the hottest scoring streak he'd ever been on, the gunner grinned.
"I started with 10 in 10 last year, but this is something," said Cammalleri, who has developed tremendous chemistry with Jarome Iginla ever since the two were paired up more than a month into the season.
"Jarome is so good as drawing attention across the ice, which helps."
Soon after, Cammalleri was traded to Calgary this summer Conroy had warned Flames fans he might score 40 -- even if few noticed his efforts on most nights.
"He's not going to go in there and knock someone over or beat two or three guys on the rush, but he can find open spots and when he gets there he has such a quick release," said Conroy, who played alongside Cammalleri in L.A. when the Toronto native potted 34.
"I knew him and Jarome would be battling for the goal lead, but I didn't think he'd be quite like this."
To date, he's now six goals ahead of the captain.
"I've seen Cammy score a lot of goals in L.A. but this is the best stretch I've ever seen him on," said Conroy.
"Even when he says he doesn't feel that good, he scores twice. He's rollin'. He feels like every time he shoots it goes in. He makes it look easy."
Last night, it was.
And while Todd Bertuzzi's beauty was the game-winner and Miikka Kiprusoff was the unsung hero, it was Cammalleri who caused many fans to leave the rink without their hats.
"I have no idea what happens to the hats -- this was my first hat-trick at home," he smiled.
"We'll see if someone offers them to me."
Probably. After all, the Sabres offered him up everything else he could've asked for.