Scouting role for Warrener

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

Rhett Warrener's days with the Calgary Flames are far from over. The team yesterday announced the former defenceman joined the club as a scout.

Warrener admitted, though, it was tough to watch last night's season-opener and not be taking part in it.

"It's kind of a bittersweet thing," he said.

"I think as time goes on, I'll feel better about it, but to be downright honest, (yesterday) has been a very tough day.

"I didn't expect it to be as emotional as it is.

"I always wanted to stay in the game, and that's why I'm doing this. The Flames have been great."

Acquired by the Flames in a 2003 trade with the Buffalo Sabres, Warrener will work closely with director of player personnel Duane Sutter and pro scout Ron Sutter in identifying pro talent as well as assisting with the development process of prospects.

Warrener missed the entire 2008-09 season with a shoulder injury.

During a 13-year NHL career, he played 714 games, accumulating 106 points.

Warrener competed in three Stanley Cup Finals -- with the Florida Panthers in 1996, the Buffalo Sabres in 1999 and the Flames in 2004.

"I was wanting to play this year. I was training," Warrener said. "I played a game of bocce ball and I couldn't pick up my kid the next day. I could pick him up, but it didn't feel very good.

"The decision was made right then and there. There's certain things in life that are even more important than hockey."

New times for old pair

Whispers of defencemen Robyn Regehr and Dion Phaneuf disliking each other have long been heard around the Saddledome. Rumoured personal feelings aside, the two didn't seem to work as a pairing in years past.

But it just might in Brent Sutter's system, where every player has a responsibility to be in a certain position every minute they're on the ice.

"We're trying different things," the Flames head coach said before last night's game. "I know Bouw (Jay Bouwmeester) has been playing with Robyn and Dion's been playing with Gio (Mark Giordano), but we thought we'd try to do something different ... We're still trying to get a feel for everyone."

STEVE.MACFARLANE@SUNMEDIA.CA

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THREE STARS

As chosen by Steve Macfarlane

1 RENE BOURQUE

A goal and an assist in the first period to stake the Flames to a lead.

2 MIKAEL SAMUELSSON

A tally for the most dangerous Canucks shooter on the ice most of the game.

3 MARK GIORDANO

Scored the first goal and added an assist, earning big minutes on blueline.

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LAST NIGHT

REPORT CARD

Overall: B

Offence: B+

Defence: C

Goaltending: B+

Powerplay: B+

Penalty kill: C+

WHY FLAMES WON

After staking themselves to a 3-0 lead in the first period, they fell apart but hung on and finally breathed a sigh of relief when Dion Phaneuf scored an empty netter in the last minute.

GOAL OF THE GAME

Rene Bourque was rewarded for getting to the front of the net when linemate Nigel Dawes spotted him and dished a perfect pass from behind the net on the powerplay. Bourque swatted it straight into the top shelf on Roberto Luongo's far side to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.

HIT OF THE GAME

Eric Nystrom absolutely demolished Canucks centre Ryan Johnson while things were still scoreless in the first period. Nystrom was going full speed when he collided with his opponent just as a puck arrived.

NOTABLES

The Flames debuted their alternate jerseys for the season, a retro design with their 30th anniversary patch ... RW Brandon Prust's goal was his second as a Flame.

UP NEXT

Tomorrow: Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers, Rexall Place, 8 p.m., CBC, FAN 960.


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