SUN Hockey Pool

Flames eager to play 'Kids'

RANDY SPORTAK and STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:51 PM ET

The fan inside all the Calgary Flames players is curious.

The players want to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to thew Oilers three stars of the future: Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi and Jordan Eberle. They get to see them for the first time Friday when the clubs — both unbeaten so far this pre-season — clash for the first time.

“I want to see how they play. You want to see what it’s all about, the hype,” said Flames centre Craig Conroy. “Over the last few years, those top picks — Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Dion when he came here — they have set the bar so high for kids coming in. For a long time, first rounders were good, but they’ve become great, superstars their first year.

“You think, ‘Is he gonna take some time or be the guy right away.’ ”

Hall, the first pick in the 2010 draft, Eberle and Paajarvi all are making the jump to the NHL ranks this season, and appear destined for big things.

Paajarvi had a three-goal, four-point pre-season debut. Eberle has a pair of goals and three points in two tilts and Hall has netted one goal and three points in his two exhibition season outings.

All three are slated to face the Flames Friday.

“I don’t want to see them do anything against us — especially me, no points, no nothing — but it’s exciting for Edmonton and it’s exciting for hockey in Canada,” Conroy said.

The Flames and Oilers will also meet Sunday at the Saddledome and open the regular season Oct. 7 in the provincial capital.

A for effort

Ales Kotalik has had a strong pre-season after a summer of uncertainty, and was rewarded with an ‘A’ on his jersey for Wednesday night’s game in Saskatoon.

“It feels good. It shows that I probably did something right,” Kotalik said Thursday. “I’m one of the older guys in here, too, and I’m trying to play like it.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s pre-season, it’s an honour for me.”

NEMISZ SENT DOWN

The Flames sent 2008 first-round pick Greg Nemisz to the AHL Abbotsford Heat Thursday, and placed defenceman Staffan Kronwall on waivers.

Kronwall could join Nemisz in the minors if no team claims him by 10 a.m. Friday. Another option would be to lend him to a team in Europe — which is Kronwall’s preference.

DUO GETS REST

Olli Jokinen and Rene Bourque both missed practice Thursday before the Flames raced off to Edmonton. Jokinen is nursing a strained torso muscle, while Bourque’s injury has not been released. Both are listed on the Flames’ official release as missing time “due to general maintenance related to recent training and competition” and are considered day-to-day.

Centres Daymond Langkow (neck), Matt Stajan (shoulder) and Ryan Stone (knee) remain out indefinitely.


Videos

Photos