SUN Hockey Pool

1-2 crunch!

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

The Calgary Flames may just have unveiled their next dynamic duo.

Not Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla, although those two did sandwich Matthew Lombardi on a line yesterday at the Saddledome.

This pairing is destined to be a monster on the blueline. Imagine charging into the Flames' zone only to be met at the line by Dion Phaneuf or squeezed out roughly along the boards by Robyn Regehr.

Regehr has waited for months to see who will line up next to him this season, ever since Jordan Leopold, his partner of nearly three years, was dealt away in June.

If you take the opening on-ice session for veterans as a sign, it looks as if star sophomore Phaneuf will get the first crack.

Last year's rookie phenom worked side-by-side with the six-year pro during Group A's practice (the first of three separate sessions) and Regehr -- who said a day earlier he wasn't sure who his new partner would be -- likes the fit.

"I'm someone that I would say is fairly steady and not flashy at all. A little bit more defensive orientated," said the cornerstone defender.

"With Dion, as everyone has seen, he likes to skate with the puck out there and is not afraid to carry it up there. If he wants to do that, I'll be back there to make sure things are OK."

Regehr's style certainly is different than that of the offensively gifted Phaneuf.

But the two have at least one thing in common: Hitting power.

"I think we're both fairly physical," said Regehr yesterday. "He's a better open-ice hitter than I am."

Rookie Kris Chucko can attest to that after falling victim to a hard shoulder from Phaneuf during one-on-ones yesterday.

"He got me this time. Everyone gets their shots in, that's part of hockey -- keep your head up," said Chucko later. "I felt it."

Regehr didn't see the hit but said he heard it from the other side.

"He's not wasting any time getting back into it," said Regehr.

Adjusting to a new partner will take some time but Regehr is looking forward to it.

"It's gonna be a lot different for me for the first week, two weeks. I hope the transition period isn't that long," Regehr said.

"I'm just looking forward to working with a new partner and trying to be as comfortable as we can together."

While the pairing makes sense both from a minutes and compatibility standpoint, head coach Jim Playfair said he has a luxury with many of his defenders able to play on either side.

"You have the ability to move guys around. That's a really huge advantage to have on your team," said Playfair. "Where it plays out for Robyn, exhibition season will tell and play of players will tell."

Roman Hamrlik and Andrei Zyuzin were in Group B, while Andrew Ference and Rhett Warrener are in Group C.

Phaneuf, who played with Roman Hamrlik when the veteran defenceman was healthy last season, enjoyed the new opening-day pairing.

"Reggie's a very experienced guy, a very skilled guy. He's done a lot early in his career to be very successful at the position he plays," said Phaneuf.

"It's nice to have the opportunity to be paired up with him for the first day.

"We communicated well."


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