Expectations on high

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- The hint was as subtle as a sledge hammer to the head.

Make no mistake, the Calgary Flames -- to a man -- know the expectations after yesterday's trade-deadline moves.

"It sends a pretty clear message, 'Here it is guys and this is what we expect of you. We're giving you an opportunity to win and are serious about it,' " said forward Michael Cammalleri. "It puts some responsibility and onus on us to pick up our games to that level. He's obviously made the effort he could."

'He' being GM Darryl Sutter, who acquired a legitimate top-line centre in Olli Jokinen from the Phoenix Coyotes and defenceman Jordan Leopold from the Colorado Avalanche and made the Flames the big-splash team of the day.

"We're a buyer at the deadline. We're a team that believes," said captain Jarome Iginla. "Our ownership and Darryl believe we're close and have a shot. There's a quarter of the season left and I think we've done a lot of good things, we're improving, but with the injuries and the people we brought in, we'll have a lot of guys we'll feel as a team we can be going. It's an exciting time of year."

Tempering the elation while the players were at Wachovia Center yesterday was the fact a couple of good friends were jettisoned in centre Matthew Lombardi and rookie winger Brandon Prust.

"It's a very tough day as players," Iginla said. "Today, most of the feeling goes to teammates leaving, friends you've known for a long time. I've played with Lombo for a long time, had a lot of success here and know how good he is and what a good person he is.

"Prusty grew up with a lot of the younger guys, (David) Moss and (Eric) Nystrom, playing through the system and is a really good team guy.

"It's such a different emotion day. All of a sudden, everything changes. Good players are going both ways."

When the Flames face the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, they'll have their first chance to see how good the new players are.

Well, at least Jokinen.

Leopold spent three seasons in Calgary and was part of an excellent tandem with Robyn Regehr.

Familiarity will help Leopold's transition.

"That'll help a lot," Regehr said.

"It is always a little bit of a tough situation for a player when they do come in, and there has been a lot of turnover here since he was here last, but for him, I think he's excited and familiar with our team."


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