Flames linemate takes Baertschi promotion seriously

Calgary Flames Tom Kostopoulos. (AL CHAREST/QMI AGENCY)

Calgary Flames Tom Kostopoulos. (AL CHAREST/QMI AGENCY)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:04 AM ET

As the team's resident prankster, Tom Kostopoulos would normally be devising a plan to 'welcome' the newcomer to his line.

Instead, the Calgary Flames winger is giving Sven Baertschi a pass -- for now.

There's enough going on in Baertschi's life these past few days -- being an emergency callup from the WHL's Portland Winterhawks -- that he doesn't need to deal with the creative pranking mind of Kostopoulos.

"I will let him get his first game under his belt and then work on it," Kostopoulos said. "Right now, we're all just excited for him and to see him play."

Baertschi will make his NHL debut Friday night against the Winnipeg Jets wearing No. 47 and playing alongside Kostopolous and centre Greg Nemisz.

It should be an interesting grouping, seeing as Nemisz has just nine NHL games under his belt and was brought up Monday from the Abbotsford Heat.

Kostopoulos is one of the team's most consistent defensive forwards and just played in his 600th NHL game, so he will be expected to help provide leadership for the trio.

After one practice with Baertschi, Kostopoulos is impressed with the skill set the youngster brings.

"He looks really good," Kostopoulos said. "We all know how talented he is. He can skate well, move the puck and shoot.

"He's really excited. I'm sure he's pumped up to play."

With Baertschi sliding into the third line in place of Tim Jackman (who left Tuesday's game with an upper-body injury), the top two units remain unchanged.

Whatever offence the third line provides is a bonus, especially with seven regulars injured.

"We feel we have enough offence with the guys we have to put the puck in the net," winger Alex Tanguay said. "It's not an excuse at all. We would like to have them back.

"Certainly, those guys have their spot in the room and in our lineup. If they aren't there, they aren't. If we can keep winning and get some bodies back, we can improve on our situation."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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