August 16 2010 07:17PM
It was one of the scariest moments I can remember watching hockey. Flames forward Daymond Langkow suffered a neck injury on a seemingly innocent looking play early in the second period of a game in Minnesota on March 21st. The immediate good news was delivered shortly after Langkow left the ice, in that he was moving around. However, the injury would end Langkow's season, and it has put in doubt his return to start the upcoming season. But from who I've talked to over the last few weeks, things seem to be looking up, which is only good news for the Flames.
The news wasn't so good at the beginning of July, however. Flames GM Darryl Sutter addressed the situation following his busy July 1st signing frenzy. You could tell Sutter was a little worried about the lack of progress, saying that Daymond was around 60%. The uncertainy around the situation has prompted plenty of speculation, from long term injury reserve questions to rumblings the injury could be career threatening. But it seems that talk may be premature as we approach the start of training camp next month.
Two very strong sources suggested things are looking a whole lot better than they were when Darryl first updated us back on July 2nd. Sutter was not pulling the wool over our eyes though, as at that time, there was a lot of worry about the lack of progress. The first inkling I got came from someone inside the Flames organization, back during development camp. The progress had really started to accellerate, and the feeling was that things were closer to 75% at that time. It was also relayed that it seemed like Langkow was feeling much better as well, and that if the progression continued, he might be back close to the start of training camp or the season.
The other source was Peter Maher, the long time voice of the Calgary Flames. He joined us on The Fan 960 on Saturday, and he had heard very much the same things regarding Langkow. Even if the timetable isn't quite accurate, the general feeling seems to be a whole lot more positive than it was six weeks ago. From a straight human perspective, it's clearly good news...and from a hockey standpoint, it's pretty darn good as well.
Kent wrote a piece defending Langkow back during the season, and I wrote something very similar over on The Fan website late in June. His value on this team is pretty cut and dried for me, and for a lot of Flames fans out there. In terms of a two way forward, he's the best they've got. Yes, his offensive numbers were down last year, and yes, he turns 34 in September...but there's no question he helps this team. Judging on what we saw from names like Jokinen, Iginla, and Stajan last year, it's going to be extremely important to have a player to play consistent tough minutes. That's what Langkow does.
So, count me on board with being happy the news seems to be much better on the Langkow front...happy things are progressing, because you never want to see that happen to anyone. And happy to hear that an important member of the team might be back in uniform sooner than we may have thought.