SUN Hockey Pool

Sarich dons 'snowshoes' in bid to get back in lineup

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

Packing his bag for the trip to Chicago, Flames defenceman Cory Sarich had a little extra gear.

Sticking out were a pair of clear plastic guards for his upper foot and ankle area where pucks tend to leave their mark.

"They're pretty light. They're not too bad," said Sarich after he practised with the team for the first time since the pre-season when he was forced out of action with a painful bone bruise after blocking a shot.

"I'm calling them the snowshoes -- but hopefully, they won't slow a guy down too much.

"I don't have a lot of speed to lose."

Sarich skated alone Friday and for about an hour Saturday before joining teammates yesterday.

"Close. Very close," Sarich said when asked if he was ready to get into a game.

Head coach Brent Sutter said Sarich may be an option tonight in Chicago.

"He looked pretty good. I think there's an opportunity there, there's a chance there, but we'll see," Sutter said.

"We'll monitor it and see where it is."

MCGRATTAN ITCHING TO PLAY

Sending a puck through the glass in practice, Brian McGrattan showed he's pumped to play.

Looks like he'll finally get that chance.

He skated on the fourth line with Brandon Prust and Dustin Boyd yesterday, and McGrattan is raring to go after missing all the pre-season matchups and the first five games of the season as his surgically repaired shoulder healed.

"It's the first time I've ever done it. I wanted to get my cellphone and take a picture," McGrattan said of the glass-shattering shot.

"I've never done it in my life."

Life has new meaning for the recovering alcoholic who spent most of last season in the substance abuse program.

His injury and that experience have him in the best shape of his life. Mentally and physically.

"Going through what I went through last year has given me a new outlook. A different work ethic, preparation, how you come to the rink," he said.

"It's a privilege to be in the NHL. I got a second chance at it, so I want to make the most of it and come every day prepared and ready to work and do what's asked.

"Hopefully, I can benefit in a game from it."


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