Slim pickings

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:04 PM ET


 Doctor's orders allegedly kept Rhett Warrener from strapping on the helmet and visor for last night's Game 3 at the Saddledome.

 Had he been given the choice, the blueline warhorse would've been on the ice with his Calgary Flames, despite his "sore" right eye.

 Even earlier yesterday, after Warrener missed the morning skate, Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter considered him "probably" ready to play in last night's win against the visiting Detroit Red Wings.

 Warrener's inability to play left the Flames with plenty of inexperience on the blueline.

 "Obviously, he's a leader for us," said winger Shean Donovan, who scored the game-winner in a 3-2 Flames victory. "But obviously everybody (on the blueline) is coming through for us and we need them all right now."

 Warrener took the stick of Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman to the eye during Game 2 Saturday afternoon.

 Yzerman was tangled up along the boards with Stephane Yelle when the lumber came up and clipped Warrener across the face. Panic-stricken, the 28-year-old immediately left the ice in obvious discomfort and was taken to hospital. After being cleared by doctors, he later returned to Joe Louis Arena but remained on the bench for the conclusion of the game.

 Two days later, Warrener pronounced himself ready to play, even though the Shaunavon, Sask., native complained his eye was still sensitive to light.

 Warrener joins fellow injured rearguards Toni Lydman and Denis Gauthier on the sidelines.

 Warrener's injury meant rookie Brennan Evans made his NHL debut, although he played only one first-period shift totalling just 32 seconds.

 But he'll remember it forever.

 "Well, I kinda got out there and it was kind of a scramble," Evans said. "One of their d-men cleared it up the middle and I kinda read it and stepped up on (Henrik) Zetterberg -- I think it was -- and the puck went wide and Commodore got it. And I jumped off.

 "That was my first shift in the NHL."

 And what a shift.

 The Camrose product, who played the entire season with the AHL-affiliate Lowell Lock Monsters, stepped onto the ice opposite future Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman.

 "I was trying not to see who they actually were," said Evans.

 "I was trying to make myself think that they were normal players and not these superstars"


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