SUN Hockey Pool

There's no place like home

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Playing just their fifth home game in more than a month last night, the Flames were happy to be back in Calgary.

However, the foul weather that greeted them in the early hours Tuesday when their plane touched down took some of the excitement away from the return.

"The cold weather was kind of a punch in the face getting off of the plane," said tough guy Brian McGrattan, who knows something about punch-ups. "But it's nice to get back.

"(The road) kind of wears on you a bit."

You wouldn't know it from their 11-3-3 road record, but playing away from the Saddledome deprives the Flames of some of life's simplest comforts.

"You take for granted a lot of the things you have here at home," said David Moss, who had a wife and puppy waiting for him in Calgary. "When you get back, it's certainly nice to see your family again.

"It felt like we were on the road forever."

Roommates Eric Nystrom and Dustin Boyd didn't have family awaiting their arrival, but they, too, enjoyed the comforts of home Tuesday when given a day off.

"Dustin and I, we cooked dinner (Tuesday) night," Nystrom said. "You're eating out every single night. You're eating in restaurants all the time. It's nice to just cook a meal and sit on your own couch and watch your own TV."

Their cars sat idle for a long time in the parking lot at the airfield. But chipping in a few dollars got them the service of an attendant starting them up and cranking up the heat for them before they deplaned.

"It would have been cold getting into those things at four in the morning," said Nystrom. "It could have been ugly. We're lucky guys."

Teen team leader

Atlanta Thrashers defenceman Zach Bogosian is subject to pranks and jokes just like the rest of his teammates, but the sophomore standout doesn't take any extra over the fact he's become a bonafide leader in just his second season.

The 19-year-old was handed a letter for his sweater this year.

"It was kind of a surprise there, but it's obviously a great honour to be named an assistant captain, and to be known that they look at me like that. It's a pretty good feeling," Bogosian said.

"The guys have been great to me. Some young guys might get a little heat for having a letter, but the guys are great to me. It's a fun locker-room."

STEVE.MACFARLANE@SUNMEDIA.CA

THREE STARS

AS CHOSEN BY IAN BUSBY

OLLI JOKINEN

Scored his fourth goal in seven games and was a solid plus-2.

NIGEL DAWES

Opened the scoring and had another one called back because of a high stick.

COLBY ARMSTRONG

Scored the first goal for the visitors by driving hard to the net.


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