Greentree grateful for chance

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Amidst the euphoria of Saturday night's 3-2 shootout victory, Kyle Greentree's grin was as big as anybody's in the Calgary Flames dressing room.

You'd never have guessed just how tired he was.

"I didn't get much sleep," said the big winger after his first game as a Flame. "I was anxious and went on adrenaline."

To don the Flaming C for the first time, the 25-year-old from Victoria awoke Saturday morning at 4 a.m., headed to the Moline airport to find out his plan to reach Edmonton via Chicago had to change.

A snowstorm caused havoc all day at O'Hare Aiport in the Windy City, so he instead headed to Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. From there, it was another bird to Edmonton.

By the time he reached the team hotel, it was 2 p.m., enough time to try having a quick nap before preparing.

You can find worse travel stories in hockey's history, but Greentree's tank wasn't full for his chance at a first impression.

"That's OK," he said. "I'd do it every day to get to play with these guys."

Looks like he won't have to go through so much next time. With the team experiencing a rash of injuries, Greentree's Flames debut likely earned him another game or more for the team that begins a three-game homestand tomorrow night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"He was a presence on the ice," said head coach Mike Keenan. "Jamie Lundmark played well, too. You could tell they're a little bit older, have some confidence. They were capable of stepping into the lineup, which was really helpful for us."

Lundmark has been on the Calgary-Quad City shuttle a few times this season.

Greentree, the 6-foot-3, 215-lb. winger acquired last summer from Philadelphia, knew the importance of a strong showing.

Even though he played a couple of games for the Flyers last season, Saturday night's clash was much like his first ever NHL clash.

"It's been a while since I played an NHL game, and it was something new," he said "The guys were great and welcomed me in here and it was even better to get a win.

"Pretty special."

Greentree collected a couple of shots on goal, one hit and one blocked shot during 13 minutes and 23 seconds of ice time, including a few minutes on the powerplay.

"It was great. It's nice to know they have confidence in me on the ice," he said. "Getting to play with Bert and Iggy (Todd Bertuzzi and Jarome Iginla), it's nice to play with those type of players. You get off the ice and they're giving you pointers and you take it all in.

"I want to be up here. I've had success down there and the team's been winning, so it's great to get a call. It gives you a burst going into the last part of the season. I feel energized."


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