Negrin scores some food for thought

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

Getting a small taste of pro hockey last season, John Negrin knows he's in for a lot more this time around.

On and off the ice.

His jump from junior to the NHL for three games on emergency basis late last year was too brief to fully digest, but he knows what's in store as he joins the professional ranks full-time this year.

"It is gonna be an adjustment," the 20-year-old Calgary Flames defenceman said at the Saddledome yesterday as rookie camp kicked off. "The last four years I was playing junior -- you do move away from home, but you're also living with a family, and they do tend to take good care of you.

"Being on my own for the first time will be different."

Horror stories of minor-leaguers and prospects surviving on takeout leftovers are common, but Negrin has a bit of a head-start in the cooking category.

In Calgary the past few weeks working out with Flames strength and conditioning coach Rich Hesketh, Negrin had been staying with his dad's cousin in Garrison Woods.

"He's a big Italian guy," Negrin said. "He helps out a lot. He helps out with food, and lets me use his car. He was pretty cool.

"Every time he cooked, I'd be asking him questions and he'd be showing me how to do it. He's a very good cook, and he's been cooking for his family for a long time. A lot of pastas, a lot of different types.

"I got the Italian sausage -- which might be a little fattening, but it was sure good."

Should he manage to stick with the Flames after camp, Negrin will continue to be pampered for the most part. He experienced it a little during the stretch drive, when injuries forced him into action with the Flames after his junior season with the Kootenay Ice and Swift Current Broncos ended.

But it's more likely the Vancouver product will be calling Abbotsford, B.C., home as a member of the AHL Heat, where he plans to count on roommates to help him adapt.

"One thing that helps is you're gonna be living with a couple of guys from the team that have been in this situation before," he said. "They'll help out, make it easier."

Although, they may force the rookie to do the cooking.

"You know what, I'll cook," Negrin said with a laugh.

"I don't know how good the food will be, but I'll give it a shot."


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