by Aaron Vickers
There’s a dynamic duo running amuck, though one shouldn’t look for the Batman symbol to be flashing near the Calgary Tower anytime soon.
Instead, opposing teams coming into the Pengrowth Saddledome are looking up to find the combination of Brad Stuart and Robyn Regehr on the Flames blueline, a sight imposing nonetheless.
But just don’t try to figure out who is playing which part.
“I don’t think either of us would want to be Robin,” Stuart said.
That’s not to confuse Robin with Robyn, however.
But both he and Stuart have been playing an equally important role on Calgary’s blueline since the former San Jose Sharks first rounder was acquired weeks before the trade deadline in a deal that saw he and forward Wayne Primeau brought in from the Boston Bruins.
And after some early struggles, the pair has caught fire.
In the Flames last eight games, both Regehr and Stuart are combined plus-14 and have a goal and three assists between the two of them in that span. More importantly, the pair hadn’t allowed an even-strength goal in eight games, a streak that was snapped by a second period goal by Jason Arnott in a 6-3 loss to Nashville Thursday and have allowed only two since a February 15th game against the division-rival Colorado Avalanche.
It’s also no coincidence that the team has won five of their last seven.
“It’s a bit of a learning process,” admitted the six-foot-two, 220 pound native of Rocky Mountain House, AB. “It took a few games to figure each other out and gain a little trust in each other. I think it’s gone pretty well. We compliment each other well and support each other well. You always want to try to get better and I think we’re on the right track.”
Their second stint as teammates, Stuart is unsure whether a meeting nearly a decade ago has anything to do with their recent success.
Both he and Regehr played together on the silver-medal winning Team Canada at the 1999 World Junior Championships in Winnipeg, Man., when Regehr was property of the Colorado Avalanche playing for the Kamloops Blazers and Stuart was an asset of the San Jose Sharks, a team then coached by current Flames general manager Darryl Sutter.
“Time flies,” Stuart said. “I don’t know if that really helped or not but we certainly did know each other before I got here.”
Not much has changed in the eight years for Regehr. He’s still the same physically striking defenseman he was back in his junior days with the Kamloops Blazers.
“He’s pretty imposing,” Stuart said of his partner. “A big physical guy and is intimidating.”
Regehr will look to display his physical nature against the St Louis Blues tonight, in a rematch of last Tuesday’s contest which saw the Flames overcome a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Blues 4-2 at the Savvis Center.
He and Stuart will be relied upon to shut down the likes of Blues centre Doug Weight, who has 59 points in 60 career games against the Flames. If the duo is successful, it will give Calgary a sweep of the season series and bring them to within one point of the idle Minnesota Wild for second in the Northwest Division.
More importantly, a win pushes the Flames ten points up on the ninth-place Avalanche for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Game time is set for 7:30 and will be broadcast on The Fan 960 and Sportsnet West.