A home-opener in a new home city. It’s what Blake Coleman has been waiting for since signing with the Calgary Flames this summer.
And because of his preseason suspension, it also happens to be his season opener – a couple of nights after the Flames officially kicked off their campaign in Edmonton.
Is he ready?
“We’ll see,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter downplayed on Sunday. “He hasn’t played much hockey. Even though he dressed for two games, he had a 10-minute misconduct (in his last preseason game). He hasn’t played much hockey.”
Always the motivator, Sutter mentioned a few players by name that he believes need to get up to speed. That included Sean Monahan, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, and Noah Hanifin, who had season-ending shoulder surgery in the spring.
“I’m sure Blake will be ready.”
Flames need Coleman’s tenacity
Being ready is Coleman’s trademark. His energy and work ethic are what made him a critical part of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s back-to-back Stanley Cup runs.
He’s looking forward to his debut and excited about the home crowd but doesn’t have anything special planned. When you only have two modes – on and off – it’s not like there’s another gear.
“I try to just let my game speak for itself,” Coleman said. “More than anything, I’m just excited to get into some game action. Excited to find my role with the team and hopefully string some wins together. I’ve found that fans for the most part have been pretty happy with what I bring. It’s not always the sexiest but I give it my all and I will every night. I feel like this is the kind of market that would certainly appreciate it.”
Expected Calgary Flames lineup
Johnny Gaudreau – Elias Lindholm – Matthew Tkachuk
Dillon Dube – Sean Monahan – Andrew Mangiapane
Milan Lucic – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
Brett Ritchie – Glenn Gawdin – Trevor Lewis
Noah Hanifin – Rasmus Andersson
Nikita Zadorov – Christopher Tanev
Juuso Valimaki – Erik Gudbranson