Rugged Regehr good to go

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

Robyn Regehr, who went crashing feet-first in the boards in the second period of the New Year's Eve clash, didn't practise yesterday.

Flames head coach Mike Keenan, however, said the club's top shutdown defenceman is expected to suit up when the club faces the Predators in Nashville this afternoon.

"Robyn's fine," Keenan said.

"He's just recovering fine from the little bit of an injury he suffered but he's fine. He'll be able to play (today)."

Regehr wasn't available to the media before the team left for the airport.

Early in the second period of Wednesday's 6-4 Flames victory over Edmonton, Regehr was tripped up by Oilers forward Sam Gagner while the pair was chasing the puck for an icing call.

Regehr was in the dressing room being assessed through the rest of the second period, but returned for the final frame of the victory.

Gagner -- who immediately checked to see if Regehr was OK and apologize -- was assessed a tripping call.

The play was just another example in the battle for those looking to change the rules to no-touch icing, but Keenan said he doesn't want to see the rules changed.

Instead, he said the onus is on players to show better discretion in those situations.

"I like the fact there's hustle in the game, and people that work very hard can negate an icing and create offence and chances for a team. You should be rewarded for it," he said.

"It's the respect level of the players. Whether they're hitting from behind or taking the feet out from someone running down an icing, they have to learn that part of the game and that has to continue being reinforced throughout the league."

The Flames did have a couple of other faces back practising yesterday.

Defenceman Jim Vandermeer, out since Nov. 9 because of a broken ankle, and Brandon Prust, who suffered a broken jaw Dec. 5, were both skating with the group.

Neither is on the trip or expected to return very soon.

Vandermeer, who has missed 21 games now, is the closer of the two.

"It seems like it's getting better every day, but it's still a ways away.

"I don't know how closely you were watching, but I was stumbling around there pretty good," he said.

"I'm definitely getting the itch to get back out there, but you can't really rush it."

Prust received an emotional boost from skating with teammates for the first time since he was sidelined by an elbow courtesy Cam Janssen of the St. Louis Blues, but said he's still about a month away from playing.

The bone in his jaw is still healing and he had a plate inserted -- he now has one on each side.

Prust can't return until he's fully healed because if he's not getting his nose dirty, he's not going to be effective.

"I have to make sure it's 100% and ready to go and I can play the way I like to play and have to play," he said.

Brett Sutter was returned yesterday to the club's AHL affiliate after playing a couple of games with the club.


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