SUN Hockey Pool

Enforcer nearly ready to battle

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Unless you're Lance Armstrong, you don't want to be wearing a yellow jersey.

That's why Brian McGrattan was happy during yesterday's practice.

For the first time, the Flames enforcer was not wearing a "caution" sweater yesterday.

"I'm excited," said McGrattan after peeling off a green sweater. "I think I'll be cleared to play on (Oct.) 8th. I'll be fit to play, whether or not the coach puts me in, but that will be the day I'll be fit to play."

McGrattan, a 6-foot-4, 235-lb. right-winger, was part of a four-player fifth line, which also included Colin Stuart, Jamie Lund-mark and Jason Jaffray.

McGrattan, signed in the off-season to a deal worth US$547,000, had surgery in the summer for a shoulder problem.

He hasn't taken any contact, nor played in any pre-season outings.

"Just one more week, so that's good," McGrattan said. "It's nice to have a date and something to work for and get ready for. I'm excited."

Holding him out of pre-season action is a wise course since the proven enforcer didn't need to be re-injured while battling a ECHL-calibre thug looking to make a name for himself.

However, the veteran of 148 NHL games with two goals and eight points to his name -- along with 309 penalty minutes -- was disappointed not to be able to show his new teammates his value.

Rest assured, his teammates know what McGrattan adds.

Still, McGrattan is vowing to make his presence felt.

"They can believe in me. I'll show them the first game."


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