Early in the week Adam Pardy didn't want to think too far ahead. Even when veteran defencemen Rhett Warrener and Anders Eriksson were placed on waivers, signifying that Pardy would start the season in the NHL for the first time in his young professional career, he wasn't ready to believe he had made the Calgary Flames.
By Thursday night, when he stepped in and started on the Flames blueline, he knew he was in the big leagues.
| Flames Starting Line Combinations |
|Bertuzzi- Lombardi-Iginla |
|Defence Pairings: |
|Kiprusoff (S) McElhinney |
Pardy, 24, wasn't scheduled to dress against Vancouver in the season opening game for both teams but veteran Robyn Regehr returned home to be with his wife, Christina, who went into labour with the couple's first child just prior to game time.
"Coming into camp I tried not to worry about the situation -- how many defencemen were here and things like that. I just wanted to look after the things I could control and worry about what I could do on the ice and worry about my game, " said Pardy, one of the Flames final cuts last season.
The Bonavista, NF., native was paired with veteran Cory Sarich
, Regehr's normal partner on the Flames blueline, and played a steady game. His only slip was being beat by Rick Rypien in a puck race that led to a Canuck goal in the third period.
While Pardy may have played in his first NHL game, he knows there is still lots to be done.
"You have to be mentally sharp and be ready every day," said Pardy. "You have to come to work every day or you are not going to earn a job. This is the NHL. You have to be in top form every day."
Pardy played 21:04 and finished minus one.THE TURNING POINT
The Flames likely deserved a better fate in the first period but were unable to solve Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo during an extended power play. The Canucks, with just five shots, came away with a 1-0 lead on a Henrik Sedin goal after 20 minutes. But two quick goals to start the second period sunk the Flames in this opener as Steve Bernier and Alex Burrows scored in the first two minutes -- on the first two shots -- of the second period to make it 3-0. While the Flames tried, they couldn't solve Roberto Luongo in the Canucks goal as Vancouver went on to a 6-0 win.THE BIG HITS
Canuck Steve Bernier belted Dustin Boyd into the end boards in the Vancouver end with the Flames killing a penalty in the first period. Dion Phaneuf, also in the first period, runs over Alex Edler, in the Canucks zone during a Flames power play.
The biggest hit goes to Phaneuf who dumped Henrik Sedin with a Scott Stevens style hit in open ice in the Flames zone as Sedin tried to dipsy-doodle through the middle in the third period. The hit, perfectly clean, brought Sedin's linemate, Steve Bernier, to the rescue. He immediately stepped into Phaneuf and the paired squared off in what was mostly a wrestling match, albeit a long one.BY THE NUMBERS
The Sedin twins combined for five points for the Canucks...The Flames outshot the Canucks 25-23 overall...The Flames top face-off man was Matthew Lombardi who won 11 and lost five for a 69 per cent success rate...He was outdone by Henrik Sedin who won 13 and lost five for a 72 per cent success rate...Vancouver outhit Calgary 18-12. Leading the way was defenceman Mattias Ohlund with five. Top Flame bruiser was Rene Bourque who was credited with three hits...The Flames power play was 0-7, the Canucks were 1-10. The Flames had seven shots with the man advantage. Vancouver had 10.LINE COMBINATIONS
Asked about his potential line combinations earlier in the week, head coach Mike Keenan just smiled. "I'd say fasten your seatbelts," chuckled the Flames bench boss.
Tracking the Flames line combinations could be considered a full-time job as Keenan shuffled the deck with regularity throughout the game. One example saw Dustin Boyd start on the fourth line but see action with the top line in the second period. Craig Conroy started as the No. 1 centre, moved to the third line and then back again to the top line for a stretch. Curtis Glencross
also saw some time on the the top line in the third period.
That may continue for a few games as Keenan finds effective combinations for different situations.NOTEWORTHY
Flames Todd Bertuzzi and Craig Conroy wore the assistant captain letters...The Canucks held an emotional ceremony prior to the game to honour Luc Bourdon, who died in a traffic accident last year. Bourdon's family and girlfriend were on hand for the ceremony which included a video tribute. Earlier in the day the Canucks unveiled the Luc Bourdon wall of dreams as a tribute to Bourdon and honours those in minor hockey...The shutout was Luongo's 12th as a Canuck and the 39th of his career...The two teams will tangle again Saturday at the Pengrowth Saddledome as the Flames stage their home-opener.