CALGARY - While most eyes at the Calgary Flames training camp were on the debut of off-season addition Todd Bertuzzi, veteran forward Craig Conroy is quietly getting used to his new role as the team's oldest player.
During Calgary's first on-ice session of camp at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Saturday, Conroy, paired on a line with Curtis Glencross and David Van der Gulik, insists he still has plenty left to offer the Flames this upcoming season.
"The first day, it's all about trying to get used to each other and just get out there and get a nice sweat going," said the 37-year-old Conroy. "I'm the oldest guy now and it's weird. It's fun because I'm still here and I'm still going strong. I want to win a Stanley Cup and I want to keep playing."
Signed by the Flames as a free agent on July 2, Glencross said Conroy doesn't show his age on the ice.
"He's a pretty fit guy," said the 27-year-old Glencross, who scored five of his 15 goals last season against the Flames as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers. "Working as hard as he does all summer keeps him younger."
After scoring 12 goals and 22 assists in 79 games last year, Conroy would like to play a bigger role offensively for the Flames this season.
"If I can start scoring early maybe I'll get more of a chance to play offensively," said Conroy, noting he'll also continue to work on his defensive game. "I'm here to fit in wherever I can to make this team better."
Conroy added that he'd definitely like to play on a line with Glencross once the regular season starts.
"He definitely killed the Flames last year so it's going to be fun to play with him and hopefully be able to set him up for a few," Conroy said.
Bertuzzi, meanwhile, made his much-anticipated Flames debut playing on a line with Calgary captain Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow.
"It's exciting," Bertuzzi said. "It would be nice to get some early chemistry and hopefully we can get clicking early."
"We're a competitive bunch," said Iginla when asked about the potential of the line to be a force this season. "We're all happy to go to the net and we're all happy to go to the corners. I'm looking forward to it, but it's pretty early."
While he has to be wary of the trio during training camp, defenceman Dion Phaneuf said he's happy he won't have to try to shut down the line during the regular season.
"They're tough, they're gritty and they compete every night," said Phaneuf, who's looking forward to the start of the pre-season schedule on Tuesday night when the Flames take on the Florida Panthers at the Saddledome. "We're excited about all the additions we've made and we're excited the camp's underway."
Van der Gulik enjoyed playing on the line with Conroy and Glencross and he's hoping to continue to make a good impression during camp in his bid to make the team.
"I'm definitely happy to be put on a line with them right now," said the 25-year-old Van der Gulik, who notched 19 goals and 23 assists last season as a member of the Quad City Flames. "You're pushing for a job and you're trying to outcompete all the guys that have been here for years. That's what makes training camp so special is you're friends but you're also competing for jobs."
As the elder statesman on the squad, Conroy realizes that there's a whole crop of young players in Calgary's system waiting for their chance to get in the lineup.
"You have to come out and outplay all these young guys," said Conroy, adding he's excited about the additions the Flames made in the off-season. "I'm looking forward to seeing how it's going to come together."