Pardy? Now that's forward-thinking!

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

The last time Adam Pardy suited up for a game at forward was ... never.

Not even as a tyke, atom, peewee or bantam in minor hockey.

"I've played defence my whole life. I've never been a forward," said the rookie Flames blueliner. "I always wanted to play it, but they never let me."

The chance finally came in Friday night's game against the St. Louis Blues.

With Andre Roy on the shelf due to an upper-body injury, the Flames had only 11 healthy forwards. Instead of calling up one from the minors, the team inserted Pardy back into the lineup as a fourth-line left-wing. He showed quite well in the role.

"The first couple of shifts were tough, but as the game went on, the next couple of shifts, I was more comfortable. It's definitely a different game up there," said Pardy, 24. "The first couple of shifts, I didn't really know what I was doing, but I knew I had to get in there and try to hit some bodies. In that role, you have to bring some energy, bring some life, try to get some hits."

The 6-foot-4, 217-lb. sixth-round draft choice from 2004 provided quite a few hits. He officially recorded three, equal to team leaders Dion Phaneuf and David Moss.

And just think, Pardy saw just six minutes of action.

"It made me feel like I was actually doing something out there instead of just wheeling around and wasting energy," he said with a grin. "There's a lot more skating at forward than there is on defence, so I guess I have a little more respect for those guys now."

A healthy scratch in the previous five outings, and six of seven games, Pardy was told just before the game he was going to play forward. In a handful of games this season, the club put defenceman Jim Vandermeer in that role when necessary.

"I had to wrap my head around it a little bit and get ready," said Pardy, who has one goal and 10 points on his resume. "I know the system, so it was a matter of making sure I was in good position.

"It was good to get back into the lineup. We have a great team here and a great d-corps, so you understand the situation. It was good to be back in, whether it's at forward or defence, you want to be back on the ice. You're sitting out, but if you sit out too long, you lose your timing and a little bit of game shape."

Besides, he had the benefit of dishing out the heavy hits and not just receiving them.

"Oh yeah, it's good to try and return the favour," he said.

A few times, he was the perfect forward to cover a defenceman caught up ice.

He also had the benefit of knowing a bit about what the Blues defencemen were hoping to create when starting to break out of the zone.

"Being on the other side, you kinda know what the defenceman wants to do," he said. "It was my first time, so I was thinking, 'I've got to be here' and 'I've got to force this to happen.' You know what the defenceman wants to do because I've been in that position, so being that forward was kinda fun."


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