Dion expected to line 'em up

Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dion Phaneuf, is seen here during the team's third and final...

Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dion Phaneuf, is seen here during the team's third and final practice at CFB Trenton in thr RCAF Flyers Arena. (EMILY MOUNTNEY/QMI Agency)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:30 PM ET

TORONTO — It could be akin to running a Dead Pool.

Pick which Calgary Flames player Dion Phaneuf will first try to line up for a highlight-reel hit when the Toronto Maple Leafs captain faces his former team Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre.

“Hard to say,” said Flames defenceman Mark Giordano. “Probably one of the young guys.

“Roman (Horak) probably. We’ll have to be sure to make him aware.”

Phaneuf will play down facing the team which drafted him and traded him midway through the 2009-10 NHL season.

But, rest assured, he’ll be amped up for the clash and ready to be a bull in a china shop.

The Flames expect it — and know to be aware when he’s on the ice.

“They’ve been waiting, had a week off, so I think they’ll be pretty pumped up — I know he will be,” said Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who pointed out he and Phaneuf are friends. “Playing against Dion, you’ve got to keep your head up and play him hard.”

The Flames saw all of the good and bad Phaneuf can offer during his four-and-a-half seasons in Calgary.

The big hits, booming shots, defensive adventures — all of those elements were part of life with The Dion.

Iginla is certain to hear some words in his ears from his former teammate, too.

“Uh, a little bit,” Iginla said with a grin. “He plays hard and has a good time with it. We’ll probably talk to each other. If you get a guy on a move or he beats you, it happens.

“If I beat him on a play, I’ll probably let him know about it. It’s the same way, he’ll let me know about it if he knocks me down.

“It’s a fun challenge, and it’s a fun part of the game. You play hard and want to beat them, and, if you’re lining up against him, you want to get the best of him.

“I know he’s feeling the same way.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak


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