Flames a physical specimen

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

Who says the "New NHL" meant the end of the hard body check?

Tell that to the Minnesota Wild after last night's beating at the Saddledome.

We're not just talking about the scoreboard.

It was literally a beating.

From the drop of the puck until the final buzzer, Wild players were regularly splattered into the glass or sent to their keisters with one hard hit after another by Flames players finishing their checks.

"That's our game plan for every game and probably a big reason we haven't been successful early is we haven't been physical enough," said Jason Wiemer after last night's 3-0 win. "We wanted to establish that in our arena.

"It definitely wears on teams when you do that."

Turns them black and blue, too.

Rhett Warrener set the tone with a smashing first-period hit on Matt Foy when the Wild forward stopped moving with the puck just outside the Calgary blueline.

Later in the frame, Warrener pinched in the offensive one and slammed Stephane Veilleux hard into the boards to the delight of the crowd.

And the the snowball gathered size and speed.

Before the clock ticked down in the third period, Dion Phaneuf corked Marc Chouinard and Wes Walz with a pair of crowd-pleasing hits.

Hamrlik joined the fun by sending Walz sprawling to the ice moments after his defence partner's hit.

For good measure, Wiemer laid out Andrei Zyuzin with a textbook open-ice hit.

Flames hockey is apparently back.

"I think we can play our style as long as everyone is on the same page and I don't think very often this year we have been," Warrener said. "Tonight we finally did that and we did it for 60 minutes, so it made it that much easier.

"I think we started to build towards tonight for a few games," he continued. "In San Jose, we played a pretty good game for 55 minutes and then fell short. There's been a few games in a row that five-on-five play was the way we want but our penalty killing has let us down or our powerplay has let us down. Tonight we were able to stay out of the box and when we had to kill one, we did."

Funny, but Warrener said the difference with all the checks had to do with everyone else on the ice being in proper position, not necessarily the one hurling his body into an opponent.

"With everyone on the same page, you can take a man hard. Instead of it becoming a two-on-one, it's a one-on-one, so you can finish your check," he explained. "When guys aren't in position or working away from the puck, it makes it harder for reads. It's been a while since we had a game like that."


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