SUN Hockey Pool

Mayers makes a statement

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

CALGARY -- The knuckles -- especially on his right hand -- tell quite a tale for Jamal Mayers.

They're all scraped up and covered with cuts.

Chunks of skin are missing.

The wounds which only come from dropping the gloves and hitting an opponent's helmet -- or melon -- are easy to spot.

"Occupational hazard," Mayers said without even needing to look at his hands.

The Flames lead the NHL in fighting majors this season with 64 -- 10 more than the Anaheim Ducks, who were No. 2 on that list prior to Wednesday's play.

The first thought would be that trading away Brandon Prust would have cut down the club's fighting majors. Prust, now a member of the New York Rangers, has dropped the gloves 21 times this season.

However, Mayers is keeping the Flames quota of fighting majors alive and well.

In five games since coming west from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mayers has fought three times. The rash of tussles has him at 11 this season.

Teammate Brian McGrattan has been in 14 fights.

Mayers has always been a willing combatant, but he admits he's been in on more action than usual since being part of the deal which sent Dion Phaneuf to the Leafs.

"The reality is you react to what happens on the ice during the game, and my job is to create momentum," Mayers said. "By no mean do I go out there looking every night to do that, but it is part of the game and you have to step up at the right times and do it.

"Maybe it's a little more often than normal, but it is part of letting your teammates know you're there for them."

He could easily have more scraps on his resume, too.

Mayers tried to get Philadelphia Flyers' Daniel Carcillo when he made his Flames debut -- which would have been at least something worth watching for fans in that 3-0 loss -- but has found takers against Carolina Hurricanes' Tom Kostopoulos, Florida Panthers' Bryan Allen and Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil.

There are plenty of reasons for Mayers to be a willing participant in any scrap these days.

It's not something new to him, but Mayers is due to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, so he's playing for a new contract. A willingness to sacrifice is not lost on GMs throughout the league.

Short-term, though, he will do what he can to be embraced by his new teammates and help them win..

"He's trying to make an impression on his new teammates, and he is," said Flames left-winger Eric Nystrom. "He's a beast -- a big, strong man who's a great addition to this team. He's a protective guy and intimidating to play against. I'm happy he's on my line."

But Mayers can do more than just duke it out.

He may not be a scorer, but Mayers has already made a mark for his new team using his speed, killing penalties and winning faceoffs -- an area the club had to improve.

"The things I've been doing my whole career," said Mayers, who has 715 games under his belt. "We've got a great group of guys in here, and it's not hard to battle for each other."

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WHO TO WATCH

KEEP YOUR EYE ON THESE TWO PLAYERS IN TONIGHT'S GAME

CHRISTOPHER HIGGINS, LW

Since arriving in the New York Rangers in the Olli Jokinen deal, the winger has done everything asked of him -- except score. The three-time 20-goal scorer fired five shots on net vs. the Ottawa Senators but is goal-less in 10 tilts and has just one goal in 19 games.

MIKE RIBEIRO, C

He returned Tuesday from an injury suffered a month ago in New York, where now-Flames forward Christopher Higgins inadvertently hit him with a high stick in the throat, which required an emergency tracheotomy. He was out 15 games but had a goal in his return.


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