Flames call up Nemisz for Oilers tilt

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:29 AM ET

CALGARY - Called into the head coach’s office after a victory, Abbotsford Heat forward Greg Nemisz figured he might have some explaining to do.

Turns out, the news he was about to receive was as good as it gets.

After a 2-0 win over the Lake Erie Monsters at home in Abbotsford, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder was a little concerned about the fact he and linemates Roman Horak and Paul Byron had a little trouble getting out of their own end at times on the night.

“I didn’t know if I was gonna get ripped or not,” Nemisz said of the summons to Troy Ward’s office. “But he told me I was coming up, so it was good.”

With Alex Tanguay battling the flu, it turned out to be great news for Nemisz, who suited up against the Edmonton Oilers for just his seventh NHL game in two years.

“We got caught in our own d-zone a little too much,” Nemisz added of the debut of his new line with the Heat after Horak was reassigned by the Flames earlier Friday. “But it was a good game for our team. I didn’t know what was going on. Wardo has meetings with us quite frequently. Sometimes, it’s just a talk. You never know going in.”

The news was welcomed by the Courtice, Ont., product who has one NHL assist to his credit in his half-dozen games last season.

“It was awesome,” he said. “It was a little unexpected, but it was definitely exciting.”

It’s an exciting time for many of the youngsters employed in the Flames organization right now. GM Jay Feaster’s ‘Meritocracy’ is clearly still in place.

Defencemen T.J. Brodie and Joe Piskula are making the most of their opportunity with the big club. Goalie Leland Irving is eagerly awaiting his first NHL start with Henrik Karlsson on the shelf with a sprained knee.

Horak was one of the team’s best forwards and stuck around for a couple of months out of camp until his play started to slip.

Nemisz has been one of the Heat’s best two-way forwards in his second season as a pro after a strong junior career with the Windsor Spitfires ended two summers ago.

“I just feel a lot more comfortable on the ice this year. I had a good summer of training, which I needed,” said Nemisz, who flew out of Abbotsford at 6 a.m. and headed to the morning skate before suiting up against the Oilers at the Saddledome for the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast of the Battle of Alberta.

“Your first year, you learn so much. You go through your lumps and your ups and downs in the season. I feel a lot better this year. It helps I’ve been playing with some great players. We brought in a lot of new personnel. It’s definitely clicking so far.”

As a reward, he jumped right into Tanguay’s slot on a scoring line as opposed to the fourth-line roles he was put in a year ago when called up.

It was unexpected and, of course, exciting — the 21-year-old said as much at least a half-dozen times during a brief talk with the media.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of the organization,” he said. “In Abbotsford, we’re doing pretty well. And we’re seeing guys go up and down and getting opportunities. The guys that have come up have done a great job. I’m just hoping to do the same.”


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