Backlund out six weeks with Broken Finger



The Flames depth at center has gone from crowded to thin this this pre-season. With Brendan Morrison already on the shelf, Mikael Backlund will join him on IR after a slash in practice has left him with a broken finger that requires surgery.

The battle for the first line center spot has gone from confusing to depressing in one fell swoop as a result. Matt Stajan, a favorite to start the year on the third of fourth line, is likely the de facto top unit pivot come this Saturday, assuming Morrison remains out of the line-up. Either way, the city’s "whipping boy" will move up the rotation as a matter of course and will get every chance to play himself out of Sutter’s doghouse. This may or may not be good news, depending on the results.

David Moss theoretically remains an outside option to move over to center, although the prevailing strategy seems to be to leave him with Glencross and Jokinen on a probable "shut-down" line. He may get the tap on the shoulder eventually, but only if other options completely fail.

Backund’s extended absence is especially good news for rookie Roman Horak. His place on the active roster was likely to be dictated by Morrison’s health, but it looks now like he’ll be sticking around a lot longer (absent a complete face-plant). The kids a good bet to get some reps in – probably the first 20-year old, first year pro to do so for the Flames since Dion Phaneuf. It will be interesting to see the results. 

For Backlund, this is a terrible turn of events. After finishing the season on a line with Iginla and Tanguay, the 22-year old had himself an excellent preseason and looked for all the world like a guy ready to take a big step forward. That can still happen this year, of course, but six weeks in the infirmary muddies the waters.

  • It isn’t like we’re trying to replace Malkin here. Backlund is serviceable, and it sucks to have a setback in his development, but there may be a silver lining here.

    *IF* Stajan can raise the level of his game for a couple of months, then we might actually be able to trade him…

    The other good news is that it is just a finger. He won’t lose much in the way of conditioning.

  • everton fc

    Horak played well with Tanguay in the pre-season. I say leave him w/Tanguay. Whether Iginla makes the opener, or not. Who knows, if there’s chemistry…

    I think it’ll be Moss in the middle, though, with Tanguay and Iginla (if Iggy’s ready – is he?) If not, you could see a first line of Tanguay-Horak-Stempniak. The third line would be Bourque-Stajan-Hagman (perhaps).

    Who knows, hey? Terrible blow for Backlund, though.

  • RKD

    That’s terrible news, I feel bad for Backlund. Injuries always hamper progress, because when he comes back it will take him some time to get back into the flow of things.

    Hopefully, B-Mo is ready to center the top line. I could see Sutter going to Jokinen on the first line before going to Stajan. Even though the Jokinen-Iginla duo didn’t work last season.

    The last thing the Flames need is injuries.

  • Apparently the Flames have waived Jordan Henry and he’ll be sent down. Derek Smith makes the opening roster (likely as 7th d-man).

    It must be based on tools more than performance. He was okay in some games and terrible in others.

    • icedawg_42

      Frankly that’s the better of the 2 options, if you consider Stajan the other favorite to slot in there. This is really disappointing news. We’ve all seen how hard a struggle it is to overcome a preseason injury and make a real push in the regular season. I hope Backs proves the exception to that rule. The news was that Backlund needs to have a steel pin put into his pinkie, so I would bet the absence will be closer to the 4-6 week mark. As Casey said, he can still likely keep his conditioning up..and proabably still skate without a puck…and as Schevvy said..TEH

  • BobB

    Yikes, another injury. Quite possibly, Morrison, Carson, Backlund and Iginla could miss the home opener and possibly more. If Iggy and Backlund can’t go, who should play with Tangs? Moss and Bourque? Do you put Horak up there? Lots of decisions to be made.

  • xis10ce

    I keep reading a lot of out for 2-6weeks? This article says 6. That’s a pretty big variation for a finger? Any idea if we are looking at more likely to be 6 with a low outside posibility of 2? Or is it more likely 4-5 with lower chances of 6?

    Anyone know how this is going to pan out? The only fortunate thing is this happened a week(ish) before the start of the season, so the first week he is out is kind of a scratch.

    • everton fc

      I see Stempniak moving up to Moss spot on the line w/Glencross & Jokinen. This might not be a bad line, either.

      I see the third/fourth lines like this:


      Again, not too bad…

        • everton fc

          I just don’t see that line happening, unless Bourque is lame for the opener.

          Then again… I thought Desbiens could crack lineup for opening day…

          What do I know, hey?! 🙂

          Any news on Bourque? If Bourque’s healthy… Hagman moves to the right-side… Or Jackman moves up to the third line. The latter I just don’t see happening, but it did (and successfully), last season…

          Here’s something to consider; suppose Moss fits perfectly with Tanguay and Iggy? What happens to Backlund? He becomes a third line centre, perhaps… Making it interesting for Morrison… Stajan… Horak… (I’d assume Horak would be sent down, but you can always waive Morrison)

          I think Stajan may be parked on the fourth line. Has anyone seen where they are playing Stajan and Horak in practice? Who are their linemates??

  • everton fc

    From Millions:

    Glencross Jokinen Stempniak

    Tanguay Moss iginla

    Hagman Horak Bourque

    Kostopoulos Stajan Jackman

    He has Bourque on the right-side. All the rest are playing in their natural positions…

    Not bad. Not good for Stajan when Backlund comes back.

    Or when Morrison comes back…

    It will certainly give the Flames a long look at both Stajan, and Horak. Which may be a good thing.

    (PL3 is now the 13th forward, correct?)

      • everton fc

        Poor Morrison, hey?!

        I can’t believe they are holding onto Ivanans.

        Or PL#, but maybe they think they can turn him into a decent fourth-line mucker. Or Sutter… Feaster… Like having a goon on the roster.

        What a waist.

        Proves Morrison’s close, though. Which would put Moss back on the 2nd line… And Horak back in the minors, though Horak on the third line does not bode well for Stajan, does it?

    • Bob Cobb

      Hahaha, that’s the only reason I would watch a Flames game, to see what that idiot would do. The guy is a useful player if he would just knock of the extra stuff, he’s what Dennis Rodman was to the Chicago Bulls but Rodman knew where to draw the line.

      I thought the “Sloppy seconds” comment was hilarious, it did it’s job, got Dion’s mind off the game and the Stars won.

  • Bob Cobb

    I was at the Banff practice this morning, the guys seemed to be having a load of fun out there this morning.

    Couple tid bits for ya

    Morrison looked good out there. Participated in all the drills and didn’t seem behind or hampered.

    Iggy looked a little behind but was at least involved with all the drills

    Horak looked good as well, keeps up with the play and shoots well.

    Stajan looked pretty loose out there as well, laughing and mucking around. He actually won a little “after practice” accuracy comp against Tangs, Olli, Scoreface, Horak and a few others, pretty sweet wrist/ slap shot to boot!

    PL3 looked like … not sure but not good!

    I will be there tomorrow again, keep ya updated!

  • Never trust rumours heard on CP, that place is a cesspool.

    However, if Feaster made such a stupid move as to pick Avery from waivers, I would personally drive to his office, blindfold him, and leave him in the Kananaskis wilderness somewhere to be eaten by bears.

    We don’t need goons, we don’t need agitators – we can do this on our own. Bourque spear on Doughty anyone? Glencross pretty much at all points of a game? No time or patience for Avery, he really isn’t all that good of a hockey player, and from what I’ve read, he isn’t much of a teammate.

  • icedawg_42

    Guys here’s what happened. Jordan Henry went to Banff for the team builder, and ended up playing with P3L, 2 Flames staffers and a drunk hobo. Henry realilzed at that point the writing was on the wall and he was on the outside looking in. He offered an “offhand comment” on hole 14 and said (and I quote): “Man, I’d buy 5 bottles of Big Bear malt liquor and put them in nice paper bags for anyone who would go bust up Anton Babchuck’s knee”….Naturally the drunk hobo heard “Break Backlunds pinkie”….and the rest as they say is history.

  • xis10ce

    I had a look at the schedule and here’s how it breaks down.

    Assuming Backlund is out all six weeks to the day, starting yesterday; Tues Oct.4th, he should be back for Tues Nov.15th. Meaning he would miss 16 reg season games and be back on for the Sens game / 17th game of the season.

    I’m really hoping he’s back before that but should he go the full 6weeks this is the way it is shaping up.

    Prior the the 15th, there is a back to back set of games Nov.11/12, let’s hope at the very least he can be back a few days earlier than 6 weeks total for those two.

  • Dr. Nick

    I know people may mock me for this but I will admit that one of my guilty pleasures is to read HockeyBuzz. Don’t get me wrong, Eklund is a complete retard but hey sometimes you need to feel smart and he definitely does that for me. Anyways, the Calgary Flames columnist Shaune Vetter just gave me a reason to cheer for Matt Stajan. It isn’t because he is an underdog in every sense of the word but because of the nickname he came up with for him….. Matty Franchise. It brings a smile to my face every time I think of it. So I will be rootin’ for you Matty Franchise, go get’em.