SUN Hockey Pool

Emotional return for Staios

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:07 PM ET

EDMONTON -- For Steve Staios, it'll be an emotional return.

The Calgary Flames defenceman will be making his first trip back to Rexall Place since being dealt by the Edmonton Oilers to their southern rivals at the trade deadline last season.

The two teams face each other tonight (7 p.m.) in the first of three consecutive meetings.

They'll play another exhibition contest on Sunday then open the regular season against each other next Friday.

"There are a lot of emotions coming back, I can't lie about that," Staios said. "This is a pretty special place for me. It's good coming in on a preseason games so you can deal with those emotions and know what it's going to feel like."

Staios, 37, played parts of nine seasons with the Oilers, making it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in 2006.

He was one of the first veterans to be shipped out last season as the Oilers began their rebuilding phase, traded for defenceman Aaron Johnson and a third-round pick.

"It's nice to see a lot of familiar faces, but I'm looking forward to the game and I'm excited about our team," Staios said. "I think what's been positive so far, is that we're putting in a lot of things in practice and we're seeing a lot of it in the game."

Both teams head into the contest with perfect records as the Oilers are 4-0 and the Flames 5-0.

The Oilers will dress all three rookies, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi for the first time, while also inserting bruisers Steve MacIntyre, Zack Stortini and Theo Peckham into the lineup.

The Flames will counter with enforcer Raitis Ivanans.

Nikolai Khabibulin will get the start in net for the Oilers, while Henrik Karlsson will be in goal for the Flames.


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