Flames add family connections to prospects core

By Aaron Vickers

As a member of the first family of hockey, Calgary Flames Head Coach
and General Manager Darryl Sutter knows very well the impact and
importance brothers can have on each other in terms of a development, both at home
and on the ice. The Sutter clan of Viking, Alberta, comprised of
Darryl, Rich, Ron, Duane, Brian and Brent amassed over an amazing 4900 games played and 2900 points.

The Calgary Flames signed several unrestricted free agent prospects this offseason, and General Manager Darryl Sutter is hoping that big brothers will be watching three youngsters closely, pushing them to be the best that they can possibly be, just as the Sutter brotherhood did as they chased the ultimate dream.

New solo prospects out of junior include Mark Giordano, Justin Taylor,
and Davin Heintz. The organization also signed a pair of Flame relatives, adding Robyn Regehr’s younger brother Richie, and the youngest of the Nilson clan, Marcus’ brother Patrik. These two signings not only add two quality prospects to the Calgary Flames’ core, but also add two more brother connections to the system which already had one; the younger brother of Edmonton Oiler Todd Harvey, Kevin Harvey.

Bloodlines do not ensure anything in the world of sports of course,
and especially hockey. For every Sutter brother, there is a Brent
Gretzky. For every Niedermayer brother, there is a Jamie Linden. Having a famous hockey brother does not ensure success, something that these three prospects
are already aware of.

“Nothing’s given,” remarked Richie
Regehr
recently at the Oilers/Flames rookie game at the University of Alberta when asked about whether or not it helped having a high profile brother already playing
in the organization.

“It’s got its good points and its bad points,” added Kevin Harvey,
whose big brother was just recently signed by the Edmonton Oilers, the
Flames longest and biggest rival. “This summer he’s made me work a lot harder then I normally do,” explained Harvey, “He really pushed me, it was a really good thing,” he
added.

“I listen to him, because he’s been there for 10 years already.”

The younger Regehr agreed.

“I spent the whole summer with [Robyn] at a cabin up north,” Richie
remarked. “It’s good
to see how hard he works and how he takes on the game and prepares
himself.”

Learning from the players that have learned from Sutter cannot be bad
for these future Flames, either. Robyn Regehr has been under the
tutelage of Sutter for a season and a half, after he took over the Head
Coach position left vacant by the firing of Greg Gilbert in December of
2002. Todd Harvey, formally of the San Jose Sharks, played under Sutter
from 1999-00 until 2002-03, while playing for the San Jose Sharks.
Marcus Nilson, acquired late in the 2003-04 season, played only 14
games under Darryl, but spent time under another Sutter, Duane, who had
been a member of the Florida Panthers coaching staff from 1996-97 until
2002-03.

“I think it (makes things) a little clearer, remarked Regehr, “(But)
it’s not a big advantage.”

Harvey, drafted by the Calgary Flames in the ninth round of the 2003
National Hockey League Entry Draft, spent last season with the Owen
Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League. After attending Calgary’s
developmental camp, expectations are higher then ever on himself.

Patrik Nilson, the Flames
oldest prospect signing at 23 years of age, spent his first season of
professional hockey in North America last year, the majority
of the season with the Laredo Bucks of the Central Hockey League, where
he finished fifth in team scoring with 65 points in 60
games. In three games with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, Nilson went
pointless. Currently, he is attending the Lowell Lock
Monsters training camp, trying to earn one of nine spots available to
Calgary Flames prospects.

Also in attendance at the Lock Monsters training camp is Richie Regehr,
who, by all accounts, is playing some impressive hockey. Regehr, listed
at 6’0, 190 lbs, is a far cry from the size his brother Robyn
possesses, 6’3, 226 lbs, but doesn’t let that discourage him from
modeling his play after his big brother.

“I think I’m a little more offensive, but I try to be just as good
defensively,” laughed Regehr. “Obviously I don’t have the size but I
try not to back down
from anything.”

“I’ve got to work very hard to get to where he is,” he added.

Harvey also wasn’t shy in comparing his own game to that of his
brother. Although Kevin has an inch on his brother, standing at 6’1,
he’s got some 30 pounds to add before he fills out that frame to match
his brothers’ weight, listed at 195.

“I think we play similar,” remarked the 270th selection in the 2003 NHL
Entry Draft.

“I think I’m a little bit quicker,” he joked. “But we play the same style of hockey.”

Certainly the Calgary Flames are banking on three older brothers to
have profound impacts on these youngsters’ futures. The Flames, and
Sutter in particular, are hoping that the work ethic shown by the three
older brothers, Todd Harvey, Robyn Regehr and Marcus Nilson carry
forward to their younger siblings, something that will not only make their development, but ability to be coached, much easier.

Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.