Flames vets eager for opener

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

It's only been a couple days since his camp began, but Eric Nystrom is itching to see some game action.

"I've been looking forward to it all summer. It's finally here," Nystrom said yesterday after his second practice since Calgary Flames veterans reported to training camp on the weekend. "I'm just excited to get out there and play in some game situations instead of the shinny skates that you have all summer."

Invited to rookie camp despite his veteran status, Jason Jaffray has been skating in new coach Brent Sutter's system a few days longer.

He may be even more eager to see the puck dropped on tonight's pre-season opener against the Edmonton Oilers at the Saddledome.

"Hopefully I can get in the majority of them. If I can score some goals, create some energy, you never know," Jaffray said.

"Coming to rookie camp, especially for some older guys like myself and (Jamie) Lundmark and (Garth) Murray -- guys that really haven't been to rookie camp for a couple of years -- it kind of helped us out, I think. It seemed like we were sort of showing the veterans what to do out there during training camp."

BOURQUE SKATES GINGERLY

Skating with the non-contact yellow jersey, winger Rene Bourque says he's happy to stay away from the action for now.

"I feel pretty good. I just wanted to get a few days on my own without contact, just precautionary," said the 27-year-old, who had off-season surgery to clean out his ankle. "I don't see it being a problem for the start of the regular-season."

Bourque says he'll sit out the first few exhibition contests and continue to strengthen the joint with skates and extra work in the weight room.

"I haven't played a lot in the last seven, eight months."

SUTTER SETS LINES

Mixing up the groups yesterday, head coach Brent Sutter showed his hand when it came to today's lineup.

The second collection featured four full lines with enough veteran presence to mix with prospects they want to have a serious look at before adding too many stars to the roster.

Expected to suit up against the Oilers tonight are: Forward groups Nigel Dawes-Dustin Boyd-David Moss; Eric Nystrom-Garth Murray-Brandon Prust; Kyle Greentree-Jamie Lundmark-Kris Chucko; Colin Stuart-Jason Jaffray-Cam Cunning; blueliners Staffan Kronwall, Adam Pardy, Anton Stralman, Matt Pelech, John Negrin and Brett Palin; and goaltenders Leland Irving and Matt Keetley.

STEVE.MACFARLANE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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