SUN Hockey Pool

Sarich likely to sit tonight

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

Limping away from the Westside Recreation Centre as his teammates practised, defenceman Cory Sarich didn't break stride when the question came.

"Had a little flare-up," he said when asked what happened.

The bruising that kept him out of most of the exhibition schedule now threatens to keep Sarich out of tonight's season-opener.

"Cory's a big part of the team, a big part of the defence," said fellow rearguard Robyn Regehr.

"He got hit with a lot of pucks in the pre-season. I hope it's not too serious."

Before yesterday's relapse, Sarich seemed ready to go after a couple of days of practice at the Saddledome.

"He felt really good on Monday and he felt really good (Tuesday)," head coach Brent Sutter said.

"Right at the end, he was getting a little sore. There's soreness there today, so we thought we'd keep him off.

"We'll take it day-to-day."

Staffan Kronwall will play alongside Adam Pardy if Sarich can't suit up tonight against the Vancouver Canucks (Saddledome, 8 p.m., CBC).

"If I get the call, I'll be ready," Kronwall said.

"I'm sure the top guys will play a lot, so we're just going to have to squeeze in and give them a rest."

Sutter is confident Kronwall can do the job if needed.

Newcomer Jay Bouwmeester skated with Mark Giordano yesterday, while Regehr and Dion Phaneuf will be reunited after spending most of the last few years apart after first being tested together.

"I haven't played with Dion for a couple of years," Regehr said.

"It's up to us to get out there and be good together. We'll probably be asked to play against the top one or two lines against the other team, and you've got to make sure you're on top of your game or you get exposed very quickly.

"We need to work well together and do it in a hurry. It'll be a good challenge for us."


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