It seemed like tough timing to be traded: swapped two days before the Olympic break, flying from one coast to nearly another, playing the next night with your new Chicago Blackhawks teammates and then not seeing them for about three weeks.
For Peter Regin, it was tricky getting thrown into the Blackhawks’ final pre-Olympic game against the Phoenix Coyotes, and doing it at second-line center. But that timing that looked so rough? For Regin, it was actually pretty good.
Regin’s had these past few days to get acclimated to his new surroundings, teammates and schemes as the Blackhawks prepare for post-Olympic action against the New York Rangers on Thursday. And these practice-only days, the ones he normally wouldn’t have if traded at another time during the season, have been beneficial.
“It was the perfect time to get traded,” said Regin, who came from the New York Islanders – with Pierre-Marc Bouchard -- in exchange for a draft pick on Feb. 6. “I got to meet everyone (on Feb. 7 in Phoenix) and then I could go back to New York and pack up stuff. I didn’t have to be in a rush. I could come back here and had a mini training camp to play with teammates. Usually (right after a trade) you play games and have a practice or two a week. This way, you kind of have time to get everything settled outside of the ice. Now we have these days to get to know each other and be comfortable on the ice as well.”
Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks will give Regin a shot at that always changing No. 2-center role. That means Regin will play some with Patrick Kane, never a bad draw for a center. As for what Regin could do, Quenneville said the Blackhawks will soon find out.
“I’m not 100 percent sure exactly what kind of player or role. I think he can score, I think he can make plays. I think reliability is a part of his game,” Quenneville said. “We’ll give him a chance offensively to see what’s there. With a guy like Kaner, in a short amount of time you’ll get a pretty good assessment of how that’s going to work. I think that versatility and one more guy in the middle really gives us more options. I’d like to see how that would work right off the bat.”
So would Regin, who’s more than happy to line up with Kane.
“Obviously it would be huge. He’s probably got the best hands in the world,” Regin said. “He’s one of the most creative players, if not the most. To get a chance to play with him, I’d be excited and I’d try to make the most of it.”
What appeared to be bad trade timing turned out to be great timing. It’s allowed Regin time to really get to know the Blackhawks and vice-versa. He has some things to learn about his new team, but for the most part, especially early on, Regin’s going to go with his gut.
“(Q) just told me to enjoy it and play the way I can and not think too much,” Regin said. “They play an aggressive style here. If you think too much, you’re not aggressive. They don’t want to put too much in my head now; they just want me to play, use my instincts. There’s some team strategy defensively, but offensively he wants players to use their skill and creativity.”