Hannan strong on blueline for Flames

Flames defenceman Scott Hannan jostles with Avalanche forward Daniel Winnik at the Scotiabank...

Flames defenceman Scott Hannan jostles with Avalanche forward Daniel Winnik at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alta., Oct. 26, 2011. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:01 AM ET

CALGARY - Catching Scott Hannan after a game or practice is like pinning down The Flash.

The Calgary Flames defenceman could be the fastest in team history to change out of his equipment and is almost always out of the room and headed to the showers when doors open for the media.

Hannan is so adept at removing his gear, he actually undresses, changes his underclothes and suits up again between periods of games.

“When you move to a new team, guys think you’re hurt,” Hannan said with a laugh. “Guys have asked me, ‘What are you getting undressed for? Where are you going?’

“It’s a habit I’ve always had. New socks and a new shirt make you feel fresh out there. I sweat too much. My skates would be full of puddles if I didn’t change my socks.

“I used to do a cold tub and shower, too, but I’ve stopped doing that. It was too much.”

It’s common for players to strip off the top half of their gear to change a shirt or take off skates to put on fresh socks.

But it’s not common for a player to go all the way to scratch during the 18-minute intermission.

“Tony Granato did it, and I figured I’d try it once. I did it and felt great,” Hannan said. “In California, it’s warm in the rinks, and it lowers your body temperature.”

“Every guy has his own little thing,” said Flames fellow blueliner Mark Giordano. “Whatever he needs to do is fine because it’s working.”

The Flames will agree.

The summmertime trade which sent Robyn Regehr to the Buffalo Sabres necessitated the need for a veteran stay-at-home blueliner to suit up in a top-four role.

It’s unfair to expect Hannan to replace all Regehr did, but with his US$1-million salary, Hannan has been everything the team has hoped for and more, having collected one goal and three points to go with a plus-1 rating heading into Tuesday night’s clash with the Vancouver Canucks.

“That’s my game — make the quick, easy play, play strong in my own end, play on the penalty kill …” said Hannan, the 32-year-old blueliner who hails from Richmond, B.C. “I don’t know if those things fly under the radar, but it’s good to make those plays.”

“He’s probably under-appreciated a lot because of the way he plays,” said Giordano, his defence partner. “But if you pay attention to his game, he’s smart, active, talks a lot … He’s easy to play with. I feel with him I can be more aggressive out there, especially defensively, because he reads what’s going on out there.”

Hannan has another strength which few notice.

He’s quietly known for being adept at protecting his defence partner, keeping him safe from oncoming checkers.

“I hadn’t really noticed that, but maybe that’s why he’s good at it,” Flames defenceman Cory Sarich said. “But you can’t get away with too much in this game, and — if he’s figured out a way how — we should keep it quiet.”

Giordano has noticed, and he’s noticed at both ends of the rink when they’re on the ice.

“When I’ve made bad reads or bad pinches — it’s like he anticipates it’s going to happen,” Giordano added. “He’s a pretty smart player.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak


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