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Newest Flame glad for fresh start

Forward Blake Comeau became a member of the calgary Flames after being picked up by the team off...

Forward Blake Comeau became a member of the calgary Flames after being picked up by the team off waivers Friday from the New York Islanders. GETTY IMAGES PHOTO

Steve MacFarlane, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:02 PM ET

There’s never an easy time to join a new team.

But during the month of November, amid the moustache-growing Movember movement, you never know how you will be perceived when you walk into a new locker-room looking like a cop.

So you can’t blame Calgary Flames newcomer Blake Comeau for considering lopping his off Friday even though time was short once he found out around noon the Flames scooped him up off waivers and that he’d be playing in St. Louis against the Blues just a few hours later.

“I did debate it,” Comeau said, admitting he was relieved to see others in the visitors room Friday night at the Scottrade Center sporting hairy lips. “It was nice to come here, and I saw Tim Jackman’s greasy moustache as soon as

I walked in. It made things a little easier to know I wasn’t the only guy.”

Familiar with Jackman from their time together with the New York Islanders — who waived Comeau on American Thanksgiving Day — the 25-year-old winger is excited about his new team.

It really wasn’t going so well with the old one.

Despite putting up career highs of 24 goals and 46 points last season with the Isles, Comeau found himself in the doghouse this year even after signing a one-year, US$2.5-million deal this summer to avoid arbitration.

He was toiling on the fourth line — or sitting out altogether — with no real explanation of why his opportunity was being limited.

“I think it’s a combination of things,” he said of going without a point through 16 games with the Islanders, racking up a minus-11 rating, before being put on waivers. “There were a lot of good forwards on the Island, and the opportunity maybe was a little bit less this year. But no excuses,

I consider myself a guy that can help out and contribute offensively.”

Insiders in New York have suggested Comeau wasn’t a favourite of Islanders management and he wasn’t given a chance to succeed this season. That just makes his fresh start with the Flames even more exciting for the 6-foot, 195-pounder.

“This being a new page to new things, I feel like my new season is starting now. I want to make an impact and get off on the right foot here,” said Comeau, who played more than 15 minutes and flashed some speed and puck-protection skills he is known for during the Flames’ 2-0 loss Friday to the Blues. “Things weren’t going the way that maybe

I planned. It’s frustrating for myself.

“I’m letting the past be the past and I’m trying to move on here. I feel like I have a lot to give. I consider myself fairly young at 25 and still feel like I’m developing as a player, getting better.”

You’d think Islanders head coach Jack Capuano would have known that more than anyone. He coached Comeau in the minors and with the Isles. While Comeau had to be frustrated he wasn’t getting much of an explanation as to why he was sitting out games or logging less than 10 minutes a night, he refused to blame the coach.

“Jack (and I) had a pretty good relationship. I had him out in Bridgeport when

I turned pro and I’ve known him for a long time,” the Meadow Lake, Sask., product said.

“I’m not sure what the reason was for the drop in ice time from the start of the season, and not as much opportunity as I had last year, but I don’t want to make excuses.

“The onus is on me as well to perform.”

Maybe the best part of all that’s taken place is the fact his family now will get to see him perform more often.

His parents George and Lynn now live in Calgary, his sister Lindsay is a nurse in Edmonton, and his wife Lacey has family in Calgary, Regina and Vancouver. Comeau lives in Kelowna in the off-season, not far from Flames captain Jarome Iginla and blueliner Scott Hannan.

It would be easy to believe he was fated for the Flames.

“I would like to think so,” Comeau said. “I never would have thought in my wildest imagination I would be playing in the town where my parents were living. They were all pretty shocked when they found out I was coming to Calgary.

“I’m sure I’m gonna get some phonecalls for some tickets.”


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