December 15, 2010
Sjostrom back in spotlight
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
It might have been the largest media scrum surrounding Fredrik Sjostrom since he was acquired as part of the blockbuster Dion Phaneuf trade on Jan. 31.
With Phaneuf back in Prince Edward Island attending his grandmother’s funeral Wednesday, about a dozen reporters surrounded Sjostrom’s stall in the Saddledome after the Maple Leafs had finished their practice.
Sjostrom, who doesn’t often find himself in the limelight either on or off the ice, said he enjoys playing in Calgary.
“I’ve always liked playing in this building and this city,” he said.
“When I first came to this country, I spent two years playing junior hockey in Calgary as well, so it has provided some fond memories for me.”
IS KOMISAREK CLOSER?
Injured defenceman Mike Komisarek put in some extra work during practice at the Saddledome Wednesday and seems to be getting closer to a return to the lineup.
“I’m hoping to get back in (Thursday against Calgary),” Komisarek said afterward.
The veteran defenceman admitted he still isn’t quite 100%, but added that “it’s not often that you are during the season.”
With the Leafs carrying eight defencemen on this west-coast trip, there’s no reason to push him back into the lineup, especially with the way he had been struggling prior to the injury.
Komisarek injured his hand last week.
That’s how Calgary Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr described some of the rumours that circulated around the city even before Phaneuf was dealt to the Maple Leafs back on Jan. 31.
“There was so much stuff out there. And not just about Dion. None of it was true. It was scandalous,” Regehr said,
The veteran defenceman admitted he and Phaneuf may not have always seen eye to eye, but quickly added that that’s the case in any dressing room.
“He fit in here,” Regehr said. “There were some issues, but you always have that with anyone over a long season. You talk things out and things get settled. There never was anything serious. You just can’t let things go unchecked.”
Regehr was asked what the reaction might be toward Phaneuf Thursday at the Saddledome.
“I have no idea what the reception will be,” he said. “Every time Toronto comes into this building, 35% of the crowd is Leafs fans anyway.
“Whatever happens, it is something we are going to have to deal with.”
Former Maple Leaf Matt Stajan was asked about the differences between playing in Toronto and Calgary. “There were more reporters, more personalities in Toronto, although there are a lot here too,” Stajan said. “It’s a little more laid-back out here in Calgary. In Toronto it was always “go go go” ... Defenceman Keith Aulie remembers the day he was dealt by the Flames organization to the Leafs. “One moment I’m playing in an AHL game in Texas, the next I’m on a plane to Toronto,” he said with a laugh ... After facing Phaneuf’s blast from the point during more practices than he cares to remember, Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff knows he’ll need to be on his game Thursday. “He’s got one of the top shots in the league, for sure, and he’s not afraid to use it,” Kiprusoff said. “He’s very dangerous on the power play. I’m going to have to be ready for it.”
— Mike Zeisberger