GLENDALE, Ariz. – Peter Regin was surprised – sort of.
Being traded wasn’t the shocker. The New York Islanders have been struggling, and moves were expected. Where he got traded, however, was the surprise; and it was a pleasant one at that. Now Regin’s ready to adjust and find his place with his new squad.
Regin was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks late Thursday night (along with Pierre-Marc Bouchard), and he played in his first game with them against the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday. For Regin, who was penciled in at second-line center between Brandon Saad and Kris Versteeg, it’s an opportunity to spread his wings in a new home.
“I was really excited when I got the news,” said Regin, who coach Joel Quenneville said could also play some power play in Patrick Kane’s absence. “It’s a team that’s contending every year and won a couple of times the past few years. “I can fill in in many spots. I can play on most of the lines and play a solid two-way game. That’s what I try to do. I haven’t produced as much as I’ve wanted in the past few years but I can play a solid game and that’s why they got me here.”
Regin and Bouchard were acquired to bolster the Blackhawks’ depth; Bouchard was immediately assigned to Rockford as was Brandon Pirri, who played in the first four games on this road trip before being a healthy scratch in Anaheim. Coach Joel Quenneville said Regin fills a need in the middle.
“We’ll see how he does,” Quenneville said. “He gets the chance to play with a couple nice players, and defensively and offensively, we’re looking forward to seeing how he fits in. He has some speed, and we’ll maybe try him, without Kaner tonight, on the power play.”
Regin had the lengthy flight into the Phoenix area this morning. There’s not much time to think about Friday’s game, and that might be a good thing.
“I’m happy I’m playing tonight, getting the first game out of the way before the break so I don’t have to be too nervous in those 10 days,” Regin said. “So it’ll be nice to play. I’m really excited to play.”
Quenneville said the quick turnaround may benefit Regin.
“System-wise and things like that, that will all catch up to you,” Quenneville said. “The excitement of coming to a new team should help him. We can adjust as we go along. Just play, do what you do best, and he’ll adapt quickly.”