Precise value of 'Pie'

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 5:12 PM ET


DETROIT --  The grey whiskers stand out among the red and brown throughout Dave Lowry's playoff beard.

 And, rest assured, every bone and muscle felt all 39 of his years.

 Still, the former Flames captain couldn't help but smile and enjoy the moment.

 Not only did his team collect a huge victory but the man they call Pie was back being a big part of it.

 For the first time since suffering a horrible abdominal injury in early January, Lowry was again a real player patrolling the left wing for the Flames.

 In a Stanley Cup playoff game against the Detroit Red Wings, no less.

 "From a personal standpoint, it's great to be back and involved," Lowry said after yesterday's 1-0 win. "I've been in the locker-room for the last six weeks but it's different when you're in a suit as opposed to having the gear on.

 "It was great to engage in the battle.

 "Right now, I'm excited with the adrenalin. It was a big win four our team. We competed and battled really hard."

 With Ville Nieminen suspended, there was an opening among the Flames forward ranks and GM/head coach Darryl Sutter opted to go with his team's grand old man, who'd spent more than a handful of games serving as an assistant coach during games.

 He certainly didn't disappoint.

 Lowry registered 12 minutes and 38 seconds of ice time -- five times as much as Krzysztof Oliwa -- and had three shots on goal.

 As expected, he did his best to dole out some checks and mucked it up.

 "I was just hoping the guys would continue to do as I say and not as I do," he quipped.

 "I just tried to play simple and not get in trouble."

 Lowry wasn't the only returnee to give the Flames some spark.

 Donning a visor, stay-at-home defenceman Rhett Warrener came back from the eye injury he'd suffered due to an errant stick in Game 2 of the series.

 "For (Lowry) and Warrener both to come in the lineup, it tells you what the Calgary Flames are about," Sutter said.

 "You know those guys epitomize all the things we talk about."

 Though he'd been practising regularly for nearly two months, it appeared Lowry's long career was over.

 In the Jan. 6 game against the New York Islanders, he tore the tendon that connects the pelvis to the groin muscle, ripped a stomach muscle and suffered a hernia.

 Even he couldn't help but wonder if his playing days were done.

 "Oh sure, there were doubts, with the length of the injury and the severity," Lowry said. "The good thing is the season was extended and getting into this run gave me the opportunity."

 Warrener's return was also a big boost, both emotionally and physically.

 The hard-hitting rearguard took 23:42 of ice time and his 4:09 of shorthanded duty was the most of any Calgary player.

 "Actually, I felt a little better than I thought. It's been a week -- it's been a long week -- and I haven't done much," he said. "It's tough but it helps the guys played well."

 Paired with Jordan Leopold -- normally partnered with Robyn Regehr -- Warrener was thrilled about finally being back in action.

 "It wasn't so much the vision as it was (the possibility of) a re-injury," he said.

 "And it wasn't so much me as it was the docs. If you want a real explanation, you'll have to talk to the doctors.

 "It's a little different with the visor on, you have to get used to it but I've never been a swift puck handler as it is, so it took a little getting used to but all in all, it's all right."


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