Kostopoulos eager to return

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:08 PM ET

Yes, hockey players are hockey fans.

But don’t expect them to enjoy watching games when they could be playing.

Tom Kostopoulos has done it often enough lately, having sat out the last six due to suspension, which ended when the Flames clashed with the Dallas Stars Friday night.

“It’s tough. Especially watching some of the losses. When they’re winning, it’s fun to watch,” Kostopoulos said after the morning skate. “It seems like it’s been a long time. It feels like a month. I’m looking forward to getting back out. Hopefully, if I’m in the lineup, I’ll help the team win in Vancouver.”

Kostopoulos, given a six-game ban for a hit on Detroit’s Brad Stuart, is eligible to return when the Flames face the Canucks Saturday night.

The veteran winger, who has four goals and eight points in 42 games this season, did what he could with the time, which included going on the road with the team during its four-game road trip last week.

“I was trying to get to know the guys off the ice since I’m kinda new here,” Kostopoulos said. “That and skating every day. Mik (Brendan Mikkelson), Stevie Staios, (Craig) Conroy and I have a group skating after practice every day, so it’s been fun hanging out with them. But I’m definitely looking forward to getting back into game action.”

He also used the time to gain a better read on the club’s system play.

“Especially the penalty killing. From the press box, you get a different perspective, so I was watching where we’re pressuring and how we’re forcing teams on the PK forecheck,” he said.

How the dominos fall to insert Kostopoulos into the lineup will be interesting. It would mean a second forward scratched for a team with no shortage of candidates.

For his part, Kostopoulos would love to regain the magic he had while on a line with David Moss and Tim Jackman.

“They create stuff every time they’re out there. Hopefully, I can get back out there with them,” he said.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/RandySportak


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