Regehr, Pha­neuf dy­namic duo

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - Sports -

CAL­GARY (CP) — The best scor­ing lines in the NHL have to run the gaunt­let of Robyn Regehr and Dion Pha­neuf to get to the Cal­gary Flames’s net.

Scott Nie­der­mayer and Chris Pronger may oc­ca­sion­ally see ice time to­gether on Ana­heim’s spe­cial teams, Philadel­phia has De­rian Hatcher and Mike Rathje, Toronto boasts Bryan McCabe and To­mas Kaberle, but Regehr and Pha­neuf should emerge as one of the most in­tim­i­dat­ing de­fen­sive pair­ings in the league this sea­son.

Regehr, a de­fen­sive stal­wart who played for Canada in the Olympics and World Cup, was with­out a part­ner when the Flames traded Jor­dan Leopold to Colorado to get winger Alex Tan­guay in the off-sea­son.

En­ter the iron-shoul­dered Pha­neuf, who was a nom­i­nee for the NHL’s rookie award last sea­son in the most deep and tal­ented fresh­man class in years.

“We have some very high ex­pec­ta­tions of our­selves in­di­vid­u­ally and as a pair to help this team win,” Regehr said.

“We’re go­ing to be fac­ing some high ex­pec­ta­tions from the coach­ing staff and fans and many other peo­ple as well. We’re look­ing for­ward to that.”

Pha­neuf, Regehr and goal­tender Mi­ikka Kipru­soff are the cor­ner­stones of a Flames’defence that was the stingi­est in the NHL last sea­son.

Pha­neuf was paired with Ro­man Ham­r­lik in his rookie year, but Ham­r­lik also has a new part­ner in newly-ac­quired An­drei Zyuzin.

Regehr is 26, 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds. Pha­neuf is 21, 6-foot-2 and 213 pounds. They have young legs that can chew up a lot of min­utes while dom­i­nat­ing in their own end.

Pha­neuf has shown him­self to be the com­plete pack­age. His demon­strated his dura­bil­ity by av­er­ag­ing just un­der 22 min­utes per game in all 82 last sea­son, while con­tribut­ing 20 goals and 29 as­sists to a strug­gling of­fence.

“He’s got a chance to be one of the five best de­fence­men in our league,” Ham­r­lik said.

Pha­neuf will be the one to jump into the rush and be a scor­ing threat from the blue-line with his boom­ing shot. Regehr is the po­lice­man at the back and he’ll make the first man into the Flames’de­fen­sive zone pay.

Both play­ers say their adjustment smooth.

“The big­gest thing is us get­ting com­fort­able with each other, talk­ing to each other, es­pe­cially in the de­fen­sive zone where there’s a lot hap­pen­ing,” Regehr said.

“I talk quite a bit,” he added with a chuckle. “I don’t know whether he hears me or not.”

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