SUN Hockey Pool

Mush a mentor for Phaneuf?

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

CALGARY -- Mush the mentor?

Absolutely. At least to hear Calgary Flames coach Darryl Sutter talk about his decision to ink old warhorse and former Edmonton Oiler defenceman Bryan Marchment to a contract last week.

Sutter not only put in a call to Mush, who played for him in San Jose, because he's short on the back end with Robyn Regehr out with a knee injury, he figured the 36-year-old banger from Scarborough might be a mentor for blue-chip rookie Dion Phaneuf.

"When you bring a guy in a month into the season and your team hasn't played very well, you have to know him," Sutter said.

"When you've got an injury to a really good defenceman, familiarity makes it a lot easier.

"A big reason for bringing Bryan in, to be quite honest, is it's an investment in Phaneuf. It's very simple. When we drafted Dion, you know who his idol was? I'm a firm believer in that.

"If you can get the right guys in your locker-room, it's not so much how much they play, but it's what they bring to your room.

"That's what we expect out of Mush, to be a mentor."

Like Marchment, who went to training camp with Toronto but was cut loose after four pre-season games, the 20-year-old Phaneuf has never needed a written invitation to knock somebody goofy.

Growing up in Edmonton, Phaneuf, who gave Bill Guerin of Dallas five in the eye Thursday and hasn't looked a bit intimidated in making the jump to the NHL, idolized Marchment. Mangler Mush was his guy.

Marchment, who counts Edmonton among the nine NHL teams he's played for, made his Flames debut against Dallas. A lot of people thought he might be done after 15 seasons when the Maple Leafs ditched him.

"I talked to Darryl a couple of times, just more or less to see how things were going," Marchment said. "I thought I had a good camp (with Toronto) and I wasn't ready to hang 'em up, so . . ."

An Oiler for 216 games from 1995-98, Marchment knows the gig that is the Battle of Alberta. Only the jersey colour has changed.

"Now I have to say bad things about Edmonton," smiled Marchment, a very popular figure in the Oiler dressing room. "It's tough, but it's the crest on the front of your jersey you play for, not the name or number on the back."


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