January 14, 2012
Cammalleri aims to pick it up with Flames
By SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Calgary Flames fans have already fallen in love with Mike Cammalleri.
The 2008-09 version. The one who sniped 39 goals and put up 82 points.
They might not be so enamoured with the recent numbers Cammalleri has put up, but the speedy winger said he’s eager to pick up where things left off in Calgary.
“One of the reasons I was brought here is to produce offensively,” Cammalleri said.
“That’s something I’ll look to provide, and hopefully immediately.”
The stats weren’t as flashy in Montreal, where he dipped to 50 and 47 points the past two seasons.
And he has just nine goals and 22 points in 38 games this season.
“It hasn’t been a great year-production-wise, no doubt,” Cammalleri said.
“I don’t think it does any good to try to figure out in front of the cameras what it specifically was or wasn’t. I’m just going to worry about playing as hard as I can tomorrow.
“I have full confidence in my ability to produce.”
The 29-year-old, who never asked to be traded from Montreal, said the whole season has been trying for the struggling Habs.
“It was disappointing because a lot of us had different expectations for our group,” he said. “You want to be a part of winning, you want your team to do better.
“A lot of things took place. Coaching changes and now player changes. It’s been a tough season for sure.”
That frustration, which included the Bell Centre fans booing Cammalleri for his failure to hit the scoresheet on a consistent basis, boiled over recently.
Cammalleri responded by saying the team was preparing and playing like losers.
“The last three days have made me more cautious of what I’m saying,” the outgoing winger said. “I didn’t mean for anything to come out the way it did.”
Cammalleri said he’s determined to get back to work and rediscover the magic he found in Calgary the first time around.
“You just worry about going to play hockey, working hard and making the plays that you want to make for the team, earning your teammate’s respect, and everything else will take care of itself,” he said.
If Cammalleri is able to rediscover his scoring touch, he’ll do it with a new number and, likely, new linemates.
With Olli Jokinen wearing his usual No. 13, Cammalleri unveiled his new No. 93 jersey Friday afternoon.
“I didn’t have that many options,” he said. “There’s a lot of numbers taken.
“I thought about Dougie Gilmour. I know he played here and wore 39. I grew up as a kid in Toronto watching him wear 93 for the Leafs.”
Flames bench boss Brent Sutter is understandably hesitant to break up the Jokinen-Jarome Iginla-Curtis Glencross trio, which means second-line duty for Cammalleri. At least for now.
“I had such a great experience my last time here,” Cammalleri said. “There’s so many familiar people for me in this locker-room.
“I know where the team stands and it’s an exciting thing to be a part of — to be three points out of a playoff spot.”
One of those familiar faces, and current special assistant to the GM, Craig Conroy picked Cammalleri up at the Calgary airport.
“It’s no secret Craig and I have been good friends ever since our time in Calgary,” Cammalleri said. “I’ve appreciated his friendship and I’ve fed off his passion and love for this game.
“It means a lot that he’d come pick me up and welcome me.”