Sutter taps old warrior

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

The Calgary Flames have been pushed around on the ice this season.

They just added someone with a reputation for pushing back.

Journeyman Bryan Marchment will join the Flames this morning after signing a one-year deal worth between $450,000 US and $500,000 yesterday.

The 36-year-old blueliner, who boasts a resume littered with memorable hits, some more controversial than others, was in the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp and played four pre-season games but wasn't offered a contract to return to his hometown team when the regular-season began.

Already the talk of the town over the local airwaves, Marchment knows his nasty notoriety sometimes precedes him into a new city. But he's played for enough NHL franchises -- eight, in fact -- to know it won't take long for his teammates to warm up to him.

"As soon as guys learn what I'm all about," stated Marchment over the phone from the Toronto area.

"I play for the jersey I put on, not the jerseys I wore in the past. It doesn't matter who you are on the other team, if I can get a hit in, I'm going to take it. I do what I can to help my team win every night."

It's that hard-nosed mentality that could win the fans over, too.

One person Marchment doesn't need to woo is Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter, who spent nine years schooling the bruising defenceman in San Jose and Chicago. Their familiarity is certainly a big factor in Marchment's signing and has both coach and pupil excited.

"We need his experience. We need his leadership in the locker-room," said Sutter yesterday after a disappointing four-game road trip to start the season. "We need his defensive play and we need his presence on the ice. That, to me, is a given."

Marchment is happy to be reunited with his former coach.

"I'm very excited. I know the way Darryl works and he's definitely my style of coach," he said.

"He's honest and he tells you the way it is."

After being cast aside by the Leafs, Marchment thought he would be content retiring rather than joining a ninth NHL team in 13 seasons. Turns out hanging up his skates was tougher than anticipated once talks began with Sutter during training camp.

"I had just moved around so much in my career, I kinda thought I could hang them up if

I didn't make Toronto," said Marchment. "But I guess hockey's in my blood and I want to play. I think it's a very, very good opportunity for me in Calgary.

"After I'd talked to Darryl, it was definitely Calgary or nothing. I know what to expect out there and I'm very, very enthused and 100 percent committed."

Winnipeg's first pick in the 1987 draft, who has amassed more than 2,200 penalty minutes during his career, will be counted on to help stabilize a defensive unit that has struggled without injured leader Robyn Regehr over the first four games of the season.

Never one to be mistaken for a fleet-footed playmaker, the stay-at-home defender has his sights set on consistency with the Flames.

"Basically just an honest effort every night is what I expect out of myself and I think that's what they expect out of me," said Marchment, adding there is another dimension to what he can provide.

"Hopefully some leadership. I know there's lots out there but I was looking through the roster today, there's no (1960s) birthdays in the lineup," he added with a laugh.

Flames captain Jarome Iginla is pleased to know the heavy hitter is on his side now.

"He has a reputation for being a tough defenceman," said Iginla. "When you're playing against guys like that, you're aware of them on the ice."


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