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ALL-TIME ALL-STARS - REGEHR

He was big, physical and hit like a freight train, making opponents wary - and downright scared - of coming down his side of the boards

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

They are the best of the best in Calgary Flames history.

Over 24 days we will profile our All-Time All-Stars (listed alphabetically at each position). Make sure to check back daily to see who's getting the nod.

May 8 - Theoren Fleury (RW)

May 9 - Jarome Iginla (RW)

May 10 - Hakan Loob (RW)

May 11 - Lanny McDonald (RW)

May 12 - Joey Mullen (RW)

May 13 - Doug Gilmour (C)

May 14 - Joe Nieuwendyk (C)

May 15 - Kent Nilsson (C)

May 16 - Joel Otto (C)

May 17 - Craig Conroy (C)

May 18 - Johnny Gaudreau (LW)

May 19 - Jim Peplinski (LW)

May 20 - Gary Roberts (LW)

May 21 - Alex Tanguay (LW)

May 22 - Colin Patterson (LW)

May 23-28 - Defencemen

May 29-31 - Goaltenders

Today, it's Robyn Regehr, who brought a world of hurt to opposing forwards:

 

Among the best to play the position hereabouts down through the years, there were defencemen who brought a wrecking-ball of slapshot to the party. Others, turbo-jet skating power, a sublime on-ice intelligence or fierce, unsparing resolve.

Over his 826 regular-season games spent in the colours, Robyn Regehr brought …

"Well,'' said teammate Steve Staois, "fear, for one thing.

"He really does. You guys know. I've seen it happen.

"You know how you're in a locker-room before games and veterans are reminding everyone: 'OK, don't get caught. Watch out for this guy.'

"Reg is one of those guys. 

"Ask any winger in this league who likes to cut across the middle or go into the corners. They know who he is. What he can do. The damage he can inflict.

"Guys are looking for him. They'd be crazy not to."

In the late '50s, a tune called Rockin' Robin rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts. Four decades later, hockey had it's own updated version.

Rockin' Robyn.

Tops on the NHL Hit Parade.

Or, as coach Jim Playfair once described the phenomenon: "Opposing wingers look up in the faceoff circle and say: 'Oh, s--t! Not No. 28 again …'"

During 11 campaigns as a Flame, that ever-narrowing alley of anxiety and pain down Regehr's side of the ice came to be christened The Tunnel of Death and only the brave or foolhardy ventured down its dark, forbidding straightaway.

Regehr arrived here as the Flames' choice from a list of already-drafted prospects submitted for consideration by the Colorado in swap that sent Theo Fleury to the Avalanche, and that he wound playing at all - let alone so long and so well - is a testament to willpower.

In early July of 1999, he was involved in a car crash driving home from his brother-in-law's house in Rosthern, Sask., and both his legs were broken in the crash ("I looked up," he'd later recall, "and they were coming right at me. The headlights. After that, nothing. It all happened so fast … The next thing I remember is being pinned. And my older brother (Dinho) pulling me out of the car."

Defying all medical projections, the 19-year-old made his NHL debut Oct. 28, less than four months later.

From then forward, he'd mature with his team, culminating in the 2004 push to the Stanley Cup finals against Tampa Bay.

Quietly, as the seasons came and went, he began up the franchise games-played charts and on Feb. 26, 2011 against Ottawa - five months before waiving a no-trade clause and being dealt to Buffalo - he moved past Al MacInnis and into second all-time, trailing only teammate Jarome Iginla.

For seven seasons he served as an alternate captain of the club and two teams and a Stanley Cup ring later, on Jan. 11, 2016, he returned to the Saddledome to sign a one-day contract and retire a Flame.

"I always felt that I was a Calgary Flame and when I look back on my career, that's the team that I identify the most with, having spent the most time here,'' Regehr said that day.

"I put a lot of time and effort into the team when I was here. It's a nice way to celebrate that."

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