FLAMES SET FOR EXHIBITION ACTION
After two days of simultaneous practice and intra-squad games, the Calgary Flames will play their first of seven preseason games Saturday night in split-squad action against the Edmonton Oilers.
And after banging heads with potential teammates for the past 48 hours, Mark Giordano is ready to battle against their provincial rival.
"The inner-squad games are great," Giordano started. "They get your timing down and sort of get you into it a bit but there's nothing like playing against another team and really getting into the game feel, all the little things. We get the refs. We get the TV timeouts -- the little things we don't get in an intra-squad game gets you really into the feel of a game."
"We'll get the little breaks between the intermissions. It's exciting. It's been a long time since we've played exhibition games. We didn't get any last year. It's a good way to get tuned up for the season."
It's also an audition.
"I'm looking for a great team effort," bench boss Bob Hartley said. "It always has to come from the veterans but if I'm Monahan or I'm a Ferland, I'm a Poirier and those guys, the parade is started. I told the boys in a parade there are two places you can be; you're either in the parade or you're on the sidewalk waving at it.
"I hope they choose the right option."
LINES WILL BE SHUFFLED
"They might get the first 10, 15 minutes and after this you'll see Monahan with Glencross and Stempniak or you're going to see a Ferland with (Mikael) Backlund and (David) Jones," he said.
Hartley is purposely starting the trio of youngsters together.
"Right now, I want to show our fans the three kids on the same line; Poirier, Monahan and Ferland but after this, you guys will have a full buffet tonight."
CHASE-ING HIS DREAM
Greg Chase is no stranger to playing on Scotiabank Saddledome ice as a member of the Calgary Hitmen, but he'll be skating opposite the Flames Saturday night as a member of the Oilers.
Drafted in the seventh round, 188th overall by his hometown team, Chase now enters the Battle of Alberta at the NHL level after being a part of it in the Western Hockey League.
"It's a little weird to think about," Chase said. "I come out here almost every night and play for the Hitmen and put on a Calgary uniform and now I'm going out there on the other side of the fence and putting on an Oiler uniform.
"It's definitely weird to be on both sides of the Battle of Alberta but they're both great organizations and I'm proud to be a part of them."
He hasn't faced any good-natured jests from his Hitmen teammates now being on the other end of the provincial rivalry.
"No, not yet but I'm sure it might come," he said. "I haven't got any ribbing from them. I think they're all pretty excited that I get to play here. I kind of miss them a little bit but this has been a good experience."
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