SUN Hockey Pool

Luck gets puck to Kronwall

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Had any other player been originally credited with Staffan Kronwall's goal, it's likely a search would be on for the keepsake puck.

Good thing it was erroneously given to Eric Nystrom.

Otherwise, the puck could be lost, either mixed in with the collection of biscuits gathered post game or having travelled to the seats.

"That would have been a bummer," Kronwall said of his first career goal.

Instead, because the goal was first credited to Eric Nystrom -- which would have been his third of the game in Calgary's 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens -- it was already in-hand being prepared for a memento.

"It was fortunate," Kronwall said. "It was good it was supposed to be a hat-trick. It didn't end up in the stands or something."

Although the Flames acquired Aaron Johnson yesterday to shore up their blueline, likely a sign Cory Sarich's foot injury is worse than first anticipated, Kronwall has made a strong case to remain in the lineup.

Even if the Flames will have seven healthy blueliners on hand when they face the Edmonton Oilers tonight.

"They're giving me a chance to play, and I'm doing my best to take that opportunity," said Kronwall, who tripled his career points total with a goal and an assist in the Montreal game.

"At the end of the day, as a defenceman, you have to play defensively, and whatever offence you add is a plus."

Johnson's addition, which cost the Flames minor-league forward Kyle Greentree, certainly won't make Kronwall all that comfortable. Not that he was to begin with.

"I think I'm still getting comfortable," said Kronwall, who signed a two-year, US$1-million contract.

"It's something new. I'm really feeling more comfortable each game, and hopefully, it'll keep going that way for quite a while."

Sarich suffered a foot injury in the pre-season. He didn't play or practice for about a week but was part of a couple of sessions leading up to the season-opener.

However, he had a "flare up" on the eve of the first game and hasn't skated with the team since.

Head coach Brent Sutter has been tightlipped about his injury.

Johnson, 26, has played 184 NHL games for Columbus, the New York Islanders and Chicago, and has collected 10 goals, 26 assists and 156 penalty minutes.

He played 38 games last season and was a healthy scratch in the first two Blackhawks games this year.

Greentree is coming off a 39-goal AHL season, but he struggled during the pre-season.

ICE CHIPS

Forwards David Moss and Nigel Dawes didn't practise yesterday. The word from head coach Brent Sutter was the usual: "Maintenance." The good news is Brian McGrattan has been cleared to play. McGrattan had shoulder surgery in the off-season, which kept him out of the pre-season. "Things are going well right now, so I don't expect to be in if those guys are healthy. If they're not, I'll be ready to play if I'm called to go," he said ... The Flames weren't shorthanded once against Montreal, the first time that's happened since Feb. 5, 2008, against the Phoenix Coyotes.

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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