CALGARY - Life in Long Island was stressful.
Since getting claimed by the Flames a few weeks ago, Blake Comeau’s biggest headache has been how to get his French Bulldog on a flight in time to join the family for Christmas in Calgary.
“If it’s too cold, he can’t fly,” the winger said of his pet, Reed. “That’s been a bit of a hassle.”
Everything else about life as a Flame has been pretty easy.
After starting the season with no points and a minus-11 rating through 16 games with the New York Islanders, Comeau found himself on waivers and looking for a fresh start.
It’s hard to imagine after watching his first nine games with the Flames why the 25-year-old from Meadow Lake, Sask., found himself in the Isles’ doghouse.
He’s scored a goal, earned four points and has a plus-1 rating as a member of the third line along with fellow flanker Lee Stempniak and, recently, centre Mikael Backlund. Comeau’s been a key part of the team’s penalty killing and has shown hustle on almost every shift.
“I don’t know what happened in Long Island, but I guess it’s just sort of that fresh start that he was looking for and needed,” Stempniak said.
“I think he’s played really well right from that first game in St. Louis. I’ve really enjoyed it.
“Any time you change teams for the first time, it’s not easy. I think he’s done a great job of just sort of jumping in.”
Although he has clearly been focused on the ice, there’s been plenty of jumping through hoops to make the transition from the New York Islanders to the Flames since they claimed him off waivers Nov. 25.
A lot of the organizational duties were left to wife Lacey.
“Basically, I had three hours to pack up my stuff, and I was gone. I left her with the rest of the things,” Comeau said. “She’s been really helpful. “We’ve got most of the things organized out in New York, where we can get all that set aside and get my wife moved out here. I can just focus on hockey.”
The off-ice stuff could easily become a distraction, especially as the holidays draw nearer.
“We had to pack up our house and get a moving company and move all of our furniture out to Calgary. I had to figure out my vehicle that was out in New York. Getting my wife and my dog across the border,” Comeau said. “It seemed like the list went on and on.
“I wanted my family out here for Christmastime. I didn’t want my wife out in New York by herself. We were scrambling a little bit, but she did a really good job of getting everything organized.
“The organization has helped me out a ton, as well, which is really nice and a good feeling.”
Lacey was able to join her husband in Calgary on the weekend, just before the Flames head out on the road, kicking off a four-game trip Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.
Comeau hopes his good fortune continues on the ice.
“I think the production’s coming along with the coaching staff having confidence in me and giving me opportunities I don’t think I was getting in New York this year,” said the 6-foot, 195-pounder. “Hopefully, I can just keep contributing, whether it’s on the scoreboard or playing physical or penalty killing.
“It’s been awesome so far for me. Most importantly, we’re winning and we’re in a playoff race — which I haven’t experienced in a couple of years. In New York, we’ve been out of the race pretty early.”