to regehr, or not to regehr.
if our favorite brazilian-born defenseman takes the ice on sunday, i truly believe we will have a better shot at evening up the series. if he's somewhere close to 100% healthy, that is... but here's how it works in the real world of the stanley cup playoffs: guys play with injuries....
it's recently been discovered that last year, during the flames early playoff exit at the hands of the ducks, dion phaneuf was playing with a broken foot, and we all know that in the 2006 winter olympics, chris pronger also played with a broken foot.
the difference ? the 2006 flames didn't have a guy like dan boyle sitting on the sidelines ready to play.
the similarity ? both teams lost huge games cause the D weren't all finishing checks or playing with enough spark and aggression (also, the teams were not scoring, but that's another tale)... clearly i'd be exaggerating if i proclaimed the losses were directly due to a couple of the teams' top blueliners playing with injuries, but i am a huge proponent of icing a healthy lineup, when at all possible.
which brings us to the current day flaming Cs.
at the beginning of the season, i was pretty excited about the depth of our defense. one to six, i thought we were one of the more fortunate teams in the NHL: hamrlik, phaneuf & regehr were all top-2 guys. warrener and ference were fairly consistant and generally steady. and sutter seemed to really like that zyuzin guy (so he MUST be good, right ?). well, the zyuzin image fell apart early, but the emergence of gio as a solid #6 gave me much faith.
then came THE TRADE.
i was never a fan of this move, and i'm still not really convinced that it was beneficial to the flames (if you consider it ference-for-stuart and primeau-for-kobasew, i am referring only to the defensemen in this scenario). everybody seems to think brad stuart is a better player than ference, and i'm not saying they're wrong, but i put a lot of value into the chemistry of a team, and it would be hard to argue that the calgary flames post-trade are tighter than the pre-trade lineup. which brings us back to regehr...
i have to admit that brad stuart looks pretty unshakeable when playing with reggie. with warrener, he looks pretty terrible. so, instead of a really truly solid top 4, we've currently got a good top 2 (presuming hamrlik's having an alright game), a shaky 3/4, and (with playfair's insistance on pairing hale, the new guy, with zyuzin instead of giordano) a crapshoot in our 5/6. put a healthy regehr back in the mix and i wouldn't be surprised to see a win v. the wings. put a still-injured regehr back in and we'll end up seeing more minutes by the 5/6 pairing, which would probably be worse than the stuart/warrener shifts.
i hear regehr is skating, though, which leads me to believe he'll play sunday. my take on it is that we will know if he's still injured by how many minutes he takes, and how often we see #21/#7 on the ice.
(please please please let jimmy canaryshirt dress #5 instead ?).