Habs' sizeable disadvantage?

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

You know what they say about the size of the dog in the fight.

Michael Cammalleri has spent a lifetime maintaining more important is the size of the fight in the dog.

Cammalleri and fellow Montreal Canadiens linemates Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta don't exactly stretch the tape measures -- Gomez is generously listed as being 5-foot-10, while Cammalleri is 5-foot-9 and Gionta 5-foot-7.

Therefore, questions abound whether they can handle playing in the NHL. For example, Calgary's defence corps in last night's game had five blueliners 6-foot-2 or bigger.

"We like our level of compete," Cammalleri insisted. "Right through the history of the game, you've seen shorter players have success. Size can be measured in a lot of ways, not just feet and inches."

Undoubtedly, the NHL has moved away from what it was a few seasons ago, when size was looked at first and foremost. Since the lockout, the clampdown on interference has helped smaller, skilled players flourish.

The Canadiens are taking that theory to a new level with three players of smaller stature together. However, it's worth noting Gomez and Gionta have won Stanley Cup titles and Cammalleri is coming off a 39-goal season.

"These guys are free-wheeling, good skaters. It's not a disadvantage," said Flames centre Craig Conroy.

"(Derian) Hatcher's not grabbing you, throwing you into the corner in a bear hug. It used to be that way. A small guy, even if he was a great skater, it took one hook and a hold and you couldn't do anything."

RETURN OF THE MCELHINNEY

The Flames play games on back-to-back nights on two occasions in the next week.

They face the Oilers in Edmonton tomorrow night and the Dallas Stars at home Friday. Then, they have a two-game road swing with games in Chicago Monday and Columbus Tuesday.

It's a good bet backup netminder Curtis McElhinney will see action in place of Miikka Kiprusoff in that span, but head coach Brent Sutter wasn't about to tip his hand when that would happen.

"Day-to-day, that's the way we operate here," Sutter said. "I understand the question and why you're asking it, but I don't have an answer because I'm not sure. We have three games in four nights and five in eight nights, so you've got to expect Curtis is going to get an opportunity at some point in time."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA

THREE STARS

AS CHOSEN BY RANDY SPORTAK

ERIC NYSTROM, FLAMES

Two goals and a fight. What more could you ask for?

TOMAS PLEKANEC, HABS

Easily the most dangerous visitor through the night.

MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF, FLAMES

All kinds of big third-period saves to help give his team the win.


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