Sideshow Mike set to join fray

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:30 PM ET


 Mike Commodore should fit right in with the C of Red.

 His mile-high mess of flaming red hair -- the source of his Sideshow Mike nickname -- will no doubt make him a favourite amidst a building teeming with the home colour.

 The only concern is whether he'll fit in on the blueline for the Calgary Flames in a series now favouring the fleet-footed Vancouver Canucks. His NHL playoff debut tonight in Game 4 appears inevitable with fellow defenceman Toni Lydman considered day-to-day for the Flames.

 "Either me or Steve (Montador), I think," said Commodore, a game-day decision with Lydman believed to have suffered his second concussion in a few weeks after taking an elbow from Canucks veteran Trevor Linden. "I think Toni's out. Everything's pretty hush-hush. But if I am in, I've got to make sure I'm ready to go. I've just got to make sure I don't try to do too much. If I just try and play defence and be real physical -- be real hard on their top guys -- I think I'll do all right."

 He can draw from his involvement in past playoffs and tough play down the stretch with the Flames.

 In the 2001 playoffs, Commodore watched all 26 games involving his New Jersey Devils from the press box.

 "That's not going to hurt me," said Commodore, who dressed in 20 regular-season games during his rookie campaign with the Devils before sitting out the playoffs. "I think I'm going to pull more off the (eight) games I played in clinching the playoff berth here in Calgary."

 Where he fits in with the Flames is using his mammoth 6-ft., 4-in., 230-lb. frame. The club feels it has to take the body more on the Canucks' top players and few Flames can turn up the physical heat more than Commodore.

 It's his foot speed -- or lack of it -- that would draw questions upon his insertion into the lineup.

 "They're quick -- a really talented bunch of forwards," said Commodore of the Canucks. "Personally, the way for me to fight the quickness is eliminate guys -- play the body hard and seal guys out and pin them."

 The Flames could also use him on the powerplay. The man-advantage has gone 2-for-22 during this first-round series.

 Any way he can contribute, Commodore is itching to join the post-season fray.

 "My first year I was eager but, like I said, I wasn't really close to getting in. It was fun to watch but I think I'm a lot more excited this time around just because I'm practising with the team and part of everything that's going on around here."

 Especially the C of Red.


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