SUN Hockey Pool

Moss masters the big tips

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Putting in extra time after most of his Calgary Flames teammates have left the ice, David Moss camps out by the crease.

It's familiar territory for the big winger.

"Working on the mitts around the net there a little," the 27-year-old joked when arriving in the room after practice yesterday.

He'll never be mistaken for the smaller, more skilled wingman opposite captain Jarome Iginla on the top line last year.

But he may be able to follow in the footsteps of the 39-goal effort Michael Cammalleri produced for the Flames last season.

"He's on pace for 82 right now," former college teammate Eric Nystom said with a grin when asked if it was realistic to expect a 30-plus goal campaign from the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder promoted to the top line late in the pre-season.

"Of course it is. Absolutely. He's going to be in the right types of situations to get chances to score goals. The way he scores them, the way he finds the net, he's got as good a chance as anybody."

Nystrom was half teasing, half commending Moss after a two-goal performance in Edmonton helped the Flames to a 4-3 victory over the Oilers.

Parked in front of Nikolai Khabibulin, Moss' first goal came on a tip on the powerplay. His second was on the forecheck as he poked the puck away from Khabibulin and into the net for the winner with less than a minute to play.

"They're not always the prettiest goals. He's scored some real beauties -- but that's Dave Moss. That's what he's here for," said Nystrom.

"He's got great hand-eye. The guy tips everything. That's the majority of his goals. He's such a force. He's so good at getting in front of the net, and when he's there, he just finds the puck."

Moss isn't concerned how they look.

He just wants results.

"They don't ask how," he said. "As long as no one's watching, they're just looking at the stats, I guess it's alright."

He might have even more to boast about if his linemates were at the top of their games.

Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen each have an assist to their credit, but haven't found the net yet, or been big factors in either of the first two games.

Head coach Brent Sutter says they're focused on being better on the defensive side of things and the offensive production will come.

Cammalleri, Craig Conroy and Iginla formed the top line for much of last season before Jokinen was brought in at the trade deadline.

Moss might fit Sutter's method of play even better than the diminutive Habs winger, who has a great one-timer but isn't nearly as aggressive in front of the net.

Moss knows he has big shoes to fill.

"I think any time you're on the top line, you have to produce," he said. "In the same breath, we're completely different players. (Cammalleri's) a lot more skilled. I probably go to the dirty areas a bit more. It's a different line, and a different team this year."

With a different coach.

One who expects his top line to play against the other team's top lines.

Forget checking roles -- the big guys have to do it all.

"We're a line that can hang onto the clock, are going to play solid defensively against other teams' top lines," said Moss. "Every game we're playing against the other team's top lines, where maybe in the past years we'd have a checking line on them."

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TRYING TO FILL SOME BIG SKATES

DAVID MOSS

Age: 27

Career Year: 2008-09 (Flames)

Goals: 20; Assists: 19; Points: 39

NHL Games: 165

Career goals per game: 0.218

Season so far: Two goals, no assists, five shots, one game-winner in two games played.

MICHAEL CAMMALLERI

Age: 27

Career Year: 2008-09 (Flames)

Goals: 39; Assists: 43; Points: 82

NHL Games: 366

Career goals per game: 0.360

Season so far: No goals, two assists, seven shots in two games played.


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