SUN Hockey Pool

Enforcer falls on his face

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

CALGARY -- Big Steve MacIntyre made an early impact Wednesday night in Anaheim, unfortunately the impact was him doing a face plant near centre ice.

Hey, when you've been waiting your whole career for your first regular season NHL game, a few jitters are perfectly understandable.

"It was pretty exciting being on the same ice as Teemu Selanne and Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer, and all our guys," said the 28-year-old enforcer. "It's a little overwhelming."

MacIntyre called his dad up the morning after the game to share the moment. Naturally, they had a good chuckle about his unassisted wipe out.

"I phoned home, and Dad and I were talking about it and he said 'You had to get that first fall on your face out of the way, didn't you?'

"Yes dad."

MacIntyre joked that he had a bad edge before admitting it was just a case of the first game jitters.

"Hopefully I don't make a habit out of it."

He would like to make a habit out of playing, but head coach Craig MacTavish isn't sure yet whether he'll ice MacIntyre for tonight's game in Calgary.

"I haven't totally made my mind up yet whether I play Zack or Mac, but it's not likely I'll play both," said MacTavish, who doesn't want to pull Marc Pouliot out of the lineup.

MacTavish did like what he saw from the six-foot-six, 265-pound MacIntyre against Anaheim, even when he wasn't playing.

"George Parros was always a guy who'd be pretty vocal toward our bench and I didn't hear too much last game," said MacTavish.

"That's probably a part of it, that you have the presence there on the bench."

He believes just the threat of MacIntyre on the bench, or being inserted against the Flames tomorrow if he doesn't play tonight, can be enough to keep opponents honest.

"I often thought you could pay a cardboard cutout of Dave Brown $100,000 to sit on the bench, just to let everybody know he was in the building. It definitely has an impact."

MacIntyre would love to get in one, or both, of these games.

"The Battle of Alberta, my first kick at the can at that, hopefully I get to play,"said MacIntyre.

"If I'm playing or not playing, we have the kind of guys who stick up for each other. It's a great thing for a team, having team toughness, guys who are willing to go to bat for each other.

"In the short time I've been here I can see that already. It's a good thing. To be a quality team you need guys like that who are willing to go to war for each other."

ON THE LIMP

Oilers winger Robert Nilsson was limping badly after taking a puck off the foot Wednesday, but MacTavish expects he'll be ready.

"He's going to be OK to go," said the coach. "He's hobbled, though. The worst step is the first step out of bed in the morning. I think he's going to be OK to play."

NOT BUYING IT

Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff might be struggling, but MacTavish has seen enough of him to know that you should never expect an easy night of it.

"I'm expecting top-notch goaltending. When you play Kiprusoff and you go into the game with any other expectation, you're normally fooling yourself.

"He's not off to a great start, but we know how capable he is. He'll find his game quickly, and we have to expect that it'll be tomorrow night."


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