Columbus concedes clean hit

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:06 PM ET

Upon further review, it was a clean hit.

The Columbus Blue Jackets seem to have flip-flopped their position on the check Flames defenceman Rhett Warrener laid on star forward Rick Nash Thursday night during a 2-1 Flames win at the Saddledome.

After the game, everyone from Jackets GM Doug MacLean to Nash himself were fuming over what they believed to be a knee-on-knee collision as Nash attempted some fancy footwork to break in on Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.

Warrener was a little annoyed at some of the comments he'd heard.

"Rick should maybe just look at it," Warrener said yesterday morning after Flames practice. "I think he was talking about it before he saw it."

The hip check deep in the Flames zone may have prevented a goal. Nash, who may miss another month or more because of a knee sprain, looked determined to even the score late in the game after falling behind. He made a nice move to advance the puck around the Flames defenders but Warrener stuck his hip out to break up the play.

"He just made a move to the inside and I stuck my hip out," explained Warrener. "Anyone that sees it knows it's not a knee."

In Vancouver as the Jackets prepared for their game against the Canucks last night, Nash made no mention of a knee-on-knee hit that had tempers flaring Thursday.

"I just kind of cut into the middle," Nash said yesterday. "The defenceman stuck out his hip and hit my knee. I felt a little pop and felt it wasn't right when I got up and skated on it."

Even coach Gerard Gallant said the hit was clean.

- - -

GETTING HEALTHY: Darren McCarty is back and Robyn Regehr enjoyed more than 18 minutes of action Thursday night in his first regular-season appearance since 2004.

Even Chris Simon appears to be nearing a return to action as the Flames slowly inch closer to full strength.

Bryan Marchment's mysterious unreported injury, meanwhile, kept him off the ice again yesterday.


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