SUN Hockey Pool

Give Armstrong Credit for homecoming

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:25 PM ET

SASKATOON -- Riley Armstrong suited up for a double debut last night.

Not only was it the first time the Flames hopeful played in the pre-season for his new team, it's the first time the Saskatoon product has ever played at Credit Union Centre.

"I'd never played in Sask Place before," Armstrong said, showing his roots by using the long past name of the arena.

"It's exciting for me. When I was in Kootenay and Everett, we never came here."

He never skated in the 21-year-old building as a youngster either, but the name he called it shows he's a true blue Saskatooner.

"I'm born and raised Sask Place. I know it's the Credit Union Centre now, but Sask Place sounds better. It sounds more like a big stadium."

And the perfect place for the 24-year-old right-winger to strut his stuff for the Flames.

Armstrong joined the Flames in July, signed as an unrestricted free agent. Although never drafted, he spent five years with the San Jose Sharks organization.

"Any place I'd play, this game would be big. Hopefully, being in front of friends and family will be good karma," he said. "I've got to show what I've got and, hopefully, they like it. I know Brent (Sutter) coached my brother (Colby) in junior and, hopefully, he likes me, too."

Armstrong played two games last season for the Sharks. His NHL debut was in Phoenix, and the second clash was in San Jose against the Toronto Maple Leafs

"I played with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Jeremy Roenick, so all-stars and hall-of-famers. Plus, they were the best team in the NHL, so it was very exciting to be called up," he said.

IN THE CARDS

When Islanders forward Kyle Okposo was being taken off the Saddledome ice Thursday night, New York netminder Martin Biron spoke to him. It wasn't just to wish Okposo well, Biron said yesterday.

"I told him I needed him back on the plane so we could play crib together. He started laughing. It was good to see he was feeling better right away," Biron said.

On the way to Calgary for the game, they played team cribbage and beat Brendan Witt and Blake Comeau twice.

"He carried me a little bit," Biron said.


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