Wounded Flames on the mend
CALGARY, AB -- At some point, Bob Hartley has to wonder whether he’s forgotten about a broken mirror or crossing paths with a black cat.
The Calgary Flames coach hasn’t had much lineup luck of late.
Already missing forwards Jiri Hudler (lower body), David Jones (shoulder), Kevin Westgarth (concussion) and Curtis Glencross (ankle), defenseman Dennis Wideman (upper body) and goalie Karri Ramo (lower body) to injury, Hartley’s squad saw rookie recalls Markus Granlund (upper body) and Tyler Wotherspoon (upper body) leave Monday’s clash with the Los Angeles Kings.
“You always get a rash of injuries at one point in the season,” Hartley said. “We felt that we were mostly lucky all year. We had some big injuries; [Mark Giordano], Glencross twice. I never use injuries as excuses. It can happen at any time. It can happen to any of the 30 teams. It’s not injuries because there’s a lack of conditioning or a lack of preparation. It’s injuries that happen in the action of the game and there’s not much we can do about it.”
Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Kings notwithstanding, Calgary had lost 201 man-games to injury this season.
But it’s not all bad news on the injury front for Hartley’s crew.
Though Granlund is expected out for the longer term, Wotherspoon could return to action as early as Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks, the coach revealed.
“Wotherspoon should be in the lineup [Wednesday],” Hartley said. “He’s feeling much better. We kept him off the ice for treatment so he’s doing good.”
Glencross and Westgarth are expected to join Wotherspoon against the Ducks, too.
“It's going to be good,” said Glencross, who has missed 29 games with a high ankle sprain after losing 15 with a knee injury earlier this season. “I've put in a lot of hours on the ice bag-skating and a lot of hours in the gym. It's not the year I've wanted, injury-wise, I've only played 21 games this year, so I want to take these last games and make the best of them to take strides for next year.”
Westgarth, who has missed five with a concussion suffered March 1st, shared a similar sentiment.
“I think it’s been a pretty good recovery, pretty minor for what it theoretically could’ve been,” Westgarth said. “I was pretty lucky all things considered. Obviously if we’re talking to guys who have gone through other head injuries, the result was pretty normal very soon after so I was pretty lucky that way. I’m looking forward to get back.”
It might not be long before Hudler and Ramo make their way back into the lineup, either.
Hartley called Hudler’s malady is “only a matter of days” and Ramo, who hasn’t played since suffering a lower body injury in the first period of Calgary’s 4-3 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 1st, could be back as soon as next week.
“Karri is skating now,” Hartley reaffirmed. “He’s taking some shots. I’m just going to give you an approximate target -- middle of next week to late next week. It’s a knee injury. If he would be a player, he would be much closer but being a goalie, especially today they’re all butterfly goalies. That puts lots of pressure on his knees.
“He can go down good. Can he go down at NHL speed? He’s not there yet.”