Trio of Flames D invited

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

Robyn Regehr's roommate during the 2006 Olympics in Italy was Jay Bouwmeester.

"He doesn't snore, so that's good," Regehr recalled with a laugh. "Any good roommate doesn't snore."

The two Calgary Flames could be roomies again at the 2010 event in Vancouver.

They were two of three Calgary blueliners, and four Flames overall, invited yesterday by Hockey Canada to attend the orientation camp to be held at the Saddledome Aug. 24-27.

For those wondering what the fuss is all about regarding Calgary adding Bouwmeester this week, consider the fact three blueliners from the Flames are now officially under consideration for the club that will carry the weight of the nation to win gold come February.

That's right, three of 16 invitees -- Dion Phaneuf is the other -- hail from the Flames.

Of the 16 defencemen to receive invites, three were part of the 2006 squad -- Regehr, Bouwmeester and Chris Pronger -- plus Scott Niedermayer, who had to withdraw from the Turin tournament due to injury.

"I think they're all very good candidates," said Flames GM Darryl Sutter, of his trio of blueliners.

Good candidates? Yes.

Will they all be donning the Maple Leaf before what will be frenzied crowds in Vancouver? Possibly.

Barring an injury, Flames fans can expect to see captain Jarome Iginla skating for Canada's squad for a third Olympic Winter Games.

Iginla may very well be donning the captain's 'C' in Vancouver, although Joe Sakic's status will most likely come into play in that regard. Niedermayer is another candidate for that job.

But of the Flames defencemen, it's not impossible to believe all three will be living out Canada's golden hockey dreams. That reality is there for the taking, but they'll have to grab the chance.

Bouwmeester is the best bet.

He's heading into his peak performance years, and his abilities at both ends of the ice are among the best in the league. Flames fans who haven't paid much attention to Bouwmeester during his six seasons with the Florida Panthers will find out soon enough.

As for Regehr and Phaneuf, you can easily picture them on the squad, but you can't put them as shoo-ins.

Regehr has the advantage of having been there before -- plus skating at the 2004 World Cup tournament in which Canada won gold. A case can be made he's the best defensive defenceman in the NHL.

However, there are others who possess more offensive flair than Regehr, and don't surrender much -- if anything -- on the defensive side of the game.

Think about Shea Weber, Brent Seabrook, Francois Beauchemin and especially Duncan Keith in that regard.

A year ago, Phaneuf seemed a lock and well ahead of the pack. But injuries and an inconsistent season have many scouts noticing his flaws more than his positives.

Bouwmeester's arrival will take some of the pressure and ice time away from Phaneuf when the NHL season opens.

For Phaneuf, that will be a good thing.

If given the opportunity to play at his best for every minute on the ice, he will not only return to form, but likely find another level.

New head coach, and his former junior team bench boss, Brent Sutter will expect just that to happen.

It would be great for the Flames and big for his Olympic aspirations.

Three Flames defencemen, plus Iginla, making Canada's Olympic team is a reality.

If it happens, Calgary's fans will have plenty of reason to tune in and cheer on their favourite Flames during the Olympic tournament.


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