SUN Hockey Pool

It's worth noting ...

STEVE MACFARLANE

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

Dion Phaneuf is averaging almost 29 minutes of ice time per game. It doesn't sound like anything unusual, but to Adrian Aucoin, a former ice time-average leader in the league, it's pretty impressive.

"For him, it's extremely tougher than most just because of the way he plays. He plays such a rough, rugged game. He takes a lot more than most guys would," Aucoin said of Phaneuf, who's average of 28:49 is third-highest in the league. "It's very impressive that he plays that type of game with those minutes. But he's good. It's what he does."

It's hard to believe even a player as young as the 23-year-old Phaneuf can keep going at that pace without burning out, but Aucoin knows coach Mike Keenan has a handle on things.

"The one good thing about having a coach like Mike is he knows when we're tired and we get days off," said Aucoin.

BONDERFUL ROAD SWING

The two-game road swing through Nashville and the Arizona desert was significant for more than just the sweep.

It gave the Flames a chance to bond more than brief trips through Vancouver, Edmonton and Winnipeg offered during the pre-season.

"It's key," said newcomer Michael Cammalleri. "When we're on the road it's a pretty intimate setting so you really kind of get to know the personalities of each other.

"It helps when you win. We won a couple of games, and that's when it's easy for everybody to get along well and have a good time."

AND FINALLY

C Matthew Lombardi was the only Flames to skip practice yesterday, but he did get a skate in before the rest of his teammates got on the ice. He left without talking, holding his left arm a little awkwardly but without the sling he was wearing in Phoenix ... C Paul Stastny was his team's best player against the Flames in last year's season series with three goals and nine points in seven games.


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