SUN Hockey Pool

Chance worth fighting for

RANDY SPORTAK, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:29 AM ET

A few days ago, blueliner Steve Staios was a member of the basement-dwelling Edmonton Oilers.

A trade-deadline deal to the Calgary Flames meant the elevator taking him up the standings stopped at No. 9.

Its not the top floor as any player would like, or even inside the elite eight of the Western Conference, but at least he has a shot at making the playoffs and plans to remind his teammates of that.

Ill definitely relay that message, said the veteran defenceman acquired from the Oilers in exchange for Aaron Johnson and a third-round draft choice.

I think the guys realize, when they see how excited I am to be here coming from a situation I was in, whats important is we have an opportunity.

A chance to play in the playoffs is all we ask for when we lace em up in training camp, and to have that opportunity with 19 games left is something everybody should be excited about.

I hope they can see it through my eyes just for a second and realize the opportunity and not the position. Whatevers happened to this point has happened, but the opportunity is there and if we play good hockey down the stretch, the playoffs will be there, so there should be a sense of excitement.

A pall of doom and gloom surrounds the Flames, even though they are just one point out of a playoff spot after a

5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils Friday night.

But its well off the expectations going into the season.

Still, for the likes of Staios and the quintet of former Toronto Maple Leafs to have joined the team in the last six weeks of the season goalie Vesa Toskala, defenceman Ian White and forwards Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman and Jamal Mayers this is a lot better situation than they were facing with their former clubs.

After all, the Oilers are last in the league, while the Maple Leafs are second-worst in the NHL.

While the view may not be pretty for those Flames who have been here since the puck dropped on the season, its pristine to look at for those guys, and they plan to relay the message of what potential lays before them.

Thats something Im sure will be reiterated and brought up, Mayers said. We have a choice at how we want to look at things and I prefer to look at this as an opportunity. As easy as it is to fall into the trap of doom and gloom, it doesnt get you anywhere.


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