WOTHERSPOON READY TO GO
"It's really exciting for me," the 20-year-old told CalgaryFlames.com. "It's been a long a build-up to this opportunity so I'm pretty excited to be with these high-caliber players and play against some of the best in the world.
"I'm more excited now but I think I'll be a little more nervous right before the game. But once that first shift is over, it's all business and right back to the game I've got to play."
On Sunday, Wotherspoon was paired up with Brodie in the intra-squad game between Team White and Team Black. Having that opportunity to create some chemistry before tonight's game has helped ease some of the anxiety Wotherspoon figures he will feel before the puck drops at the Credit Union Centre.
"It really helped. He's a great player. I've watched him over the past couple of years. He's a guy who can skate and move the puck really well so I've got to play smart with him. We'll talk a lot and we'll be find."
Wotherspoon was selected by the Flames in the second round of the 2011 NHL Draft. He has spent his entire junior career with the Portland Winterhawks (WHL), winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup and playing in the Mastercard Memorial Cup this past season. Wotherspoon also played for Team Canada at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.
NEXT STEP IN THE EVALUATION PROCESS
With one exhibition game under his team's belts, head coach Bob Hartley is looking for his charges to take the next step tonight in their game against the Ottawa Senators.
"(I want to see) progression," Hartley said after the hour-long morning skate. "Basically, I think apart from Tyler Wotherspoon, this is going to be everyone's second game. Yes, we have long days right now but there is no excuses in set-up.
"I like the energy, I like the execution. We still have a bunch of kids and that's perfectly normal for us. That's what we want. We're going to play them in all kinds of situations."
"He's a big guy and he covers a lot of the net," Matt Stajan said of Berra. "One thing I've really noticed is his quickness. He gets from post-to-post really quick and I think everybody saw a glimpse of that in the shootout on Saturday.
"Right now, he's playing really well and he's got all the tools."
LINES AND DEFENCE PAIRINGS
Baertschi - Stajan - D. Jones
Reinhart - Monahan - Poirier
Hanowski - Jooris - B. Jones
Knight - Backlund - McGrattan
Wotherspoon - Brodie
Cundari - O'Brien
Butler - Sieloff
"All of us older guys have been there where it's your first few games and the nerves are there, the excitement is there ... I stress to the youngs, 'Go out and play. Do what you've been doing your whole life.'" - Stajan on keeping the rookies anxiousness in check and providing a steady presence on the ice.
The Flames play split-squad games against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM. One game will be played in Calgary while the other will take place in Regina, SK.
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