Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Wild
HANOWSKI'S NHL DEBUT
It's been a whirlwind week for Ben Hanowski.
Last Wednesday, he and the St. Cloud State Huskies arrived in Pittsburgh after earning their first Frozen Four berth in school history. Their season came to close on Thursday night when they fell in the semi-final to the Quinnipiac Bobcats but sting from losing out on a chance to compete for the national championship was tempered by signing a two-year entry-level with the Flames on Friday.
He flew back to Minnesota with his team following the Hobey Baker presentation on Friday night, packed up his stuff and headed to Calgary on Sunday. Tonight, he'll make his NHL debut.
"It's been exciting," he said after his first practice with the team. "It's been a little hectic and a lot of travel but I'm excited to be here and excited for this opportunity."
In addition to the elation over playing his first NHL game, Hanowski will face off against his childhood team tonight. The 22 year-old grew up cheering for the Minnesota Wild so having the opportunity to play against them makes his debut even more special.
"It's ... the cherry on top of getting into your first game," he explained. "It'll be fun to be out there and playing Minnesota makes it that much sweeter than it would have been."
Being thrown right into mix with just a single practice under his belt could be daunting but Hanowski is feeling fairly comfortable after a lengthy morning skate with his new teammates.
"I was just trying to make some good passes," he smiled. "I didn't do it right away so I felt bad throwing a couple into some skates.
"I'm trying to get a feel for some new gear, get the legs going a little bit since I haven't been on the ice as much as I'd like to be be but it was exciting. It's fun to be out there with these guys and to be a part of this team."
Head coach Bob Hartley met with the young forward this morning to go over systems and to get to know his new charge. The bench boss has gone over tape from Hanowski's last few games with the Huskies, so he has a feel for what he brings to the table, but is looking forward to seeing him in action tonight.
"I want to judge him from what he's going to bring over here," Hartley said in his post-practice scrum. "I think it's a big order for a young man to just coming in but at the same time, we're going to get his feet wet and we're going to see.
"He has a great attitude, a fine young man, so I'm anxious to see him tonight."
Curtis Glencross, whose locker is situated next to Hanowski's, noted how great it is to have some many young guys inhabiting the dressing room in recent weeks.
"For us, it's nice having some new faces come around. The first couple days, they're usually pretty quiet and don't say too much. Then, once they've been here for a couple of days ... Reino's starting to open a bit now and different guys (are too). You get to see their personality after a couple of days."
MAC'S BACK IN NET
Joey MacDonald will start in net tonight against the Minnesota Wild. The 33 year-old backstopped the Flames to a 4-1 win on Saturday in Edmonton, making 28 saves. MacDonald is 7-6-1 this season.
Ben Street was reassigned to the Abbotsford Heat earlier today. The reassignment is due to the termination of emergency conditions as it applies to Street’s recall.
"This is a real good tonic for him. It will take lots of pressure away from him. I think it's going to be a good confidence builder." - Hartley on Sven Baertschi scoring his first goal of the season on Saturday.