Langkow nervous, excited about return
Flames center set to return after a year away with a neck injury
Daymond Langkow has played 1,013 games in the National Hockey League.
He's going to be a little nervous, a little anxious for game 1,014.
And rightly so. The Calgary Flames centre has not played a game in more than a year as he recovered from a fractured vertebrae. On Thursday Langkow was removed from the long-term injury list by the Flames, paving the way for him to play against the St. Louis Blues on Friday
"I know I will be nervous. I am nervous already but I am excited at the same time," Langkow told Flames play-by-play announced Peter Maher on Thursday after the team arrived in St. Louis.
"We'll see how it goes. I think once I get a shift or two under me, I will be okay. I am just grateful that I am getting a chance to play."
Langkow, 34, was injured when he took a puck off his neck in a game against Minnesota on March 21, 2010. He missed the final 10 games of the 2009-10 season and all 78 games this season.
The recovery has been slow and there were setbacks along the way. It has been an emotional roller coaster that included thoughts of never playing in the NHL again.
"Yeah, missing most of this year, that thought went through my mind a couple of times," said Langkow. "It was tough. Up and down emotionally."
Langkow did not know who he would be playing with Friday when the Flames face the Blues (6 pm MT; The Fan 960 and Sportsnet West).
"I don't know how much I am going to play either but I want to be ready for when I do get out there. Keep it simple and see how it goes," he said. "It's a new experience for me. It's different than trying to compare it to training camp. You are coming in and everyone is at the top of their game right now."
Langkow has been practising with the team for two weeks, taking contact and getting his legs and lungs back into playing shape.
"I feel confident that, physically, I am 100 per cent," said Langkow, who will not wear any special protection.
Langkow's return comes with the Flames missing centres David Moss and Brendan Morrison. Having an extra pivot to rely on is a bonus for the Flames, who are fighting for their playoff lives with just four games remaining for them in the regular season.
"Mathematically there is still a chance," said Langkow. "The guys know that. I know that. I want to come in a help any way I can. I know the guys will be ready to go. It's a big game."
A big game for the team.
And a big game for Langkow.