Don't bank on Phaneuf for playoffs

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 5:32 PM ET


 Could Dion Phaneuf don a Calgary Flames jersey sometime during this year's playoffs?

 Don't count on it, even though the Flames' blueline corps has been hit hard by injury during its playoff run.

 Phaneuf, an 18-year-old blue-chip prospect, is currently involved in his Red Deer Rebels WHL Western Conference final against Medicine Hat, which leads the series 3-2. A Rebels loss tonight at home would end Phaneuf's season but Red Deer general manager and head coach Brent Sutter doesn't foresee his powerhouse defenceman joining the Flames' depleted blueline.

 "He's an 18-year-old player and Dion's focus is here in Red Deer and that's my focus and that's (Flames coach) Darryl's focus and that's the Calgary Flames' focus," said Sutter.

 "There's been no discussion whatsoever and I hope he's not there for you, unless (the Flames) get to the Stanley Cup finals and we get to where we want to, then there's a chance."

 Calgary went into yesterday's Game 2 in Detroit already down Denis Gauthier (knee) and Toni Lydman (upper body) when Rhett Warrener took an errant stick in the eye in the first period. Warrener immediately went to hospital but returned to the bench in the third period.

 Calgary played most of the game with five defencemen.

 Minor-leaguer Brennan Evans was recently called up as an emergency seventh defencemen.

 Phaneuf would have to sign a contract with the Flames before he could join the team and that process could be lengthy.

 "It wouldn't be bang-bang -- not with a player of that calibre," said Sutter.

 "He's only an 18-year-old player and it's yet to be seen if he's ready for pro hockey."


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