As the east coast is caught up in a snow storm and the Flames arrive in Vancouver for Saturday’s game, several news items dropped this afternoon.
BACKLUND OUT 4-6 WEEKS
The worst of all news is that centre Mikael Backlund will miss four-to-six weeks with a Grade 2 MCL sprain. Backlund was off to an excellent start in his contract year, having put up four points in eight games, as well as being one of the team’s best play-driving forwards.
Backlund missed half of last season with a hand and then a shoulder injury, and overall had horrible luck. That luck appears to have followed him, as despite his drive and new-found swagger, he’s hurt once again.
Four-to-six weeks, by the way, would have him returning to the line-up in late March or early April.
BEN STREET RECALLED
The Flames filled Backlund’s roster spot by recalling centre Ben Street from Abbotsford. Street doesn’t drive the play as much as Backlund, but he’s a strong two-way player. Street was good at camp and notable as the Heat’s most frequent shooter. For a team that’s played a pressure-driven style under Bob Hartley, Street fits like a glove.
In 44 games with Abbotsford, Street has 31 points and 168 shots on goal.
KIPRUSOFF ON IR, BABCHUK OFF IR
And another roster spot rolled over, as the Flames placed goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff on the injured reserve (retroactive to Tuesday, so he can be activated for Wednesday’s game with Dallas. The Flames also officially disclosed Kipper’s injury as a Grade 1 MCL sprain.
Kiprusoff’s IR stint is likely related to the clearance of defender Anton Babchuk, who came off the IR today. Babchuk had suffered a shoulder injury in the KHL but now returns to the line-up. Babchuk had 10 points in 32 games with the Flames last year
With the moves, here’s the new roster situaton:
There are two goaltenders are Leland Irving and Danny Taylor.
The eight defensemen are Anton Babchuk, Jay Bouwmeester, T.J. Brodie, Chris Butler, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich, Derek Smith and Dennis Wideman.
The 12 healthy forwards are Steve Begin, Roman Cervenka, Blake Comeau, Curtis Glencross, Jiri Hudler, Jarome Iginla, Tim Jackman, Blair Jones, Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak, Ben Street and Alex Tanguay.
Mike Cammalleri is day-to-day with a hip flexor and remains on the active roster. He isn’t probable for Saturday but should return as early as Monday.
On the injured reserve are Sven Baertschi, Mikael Backlund and Miikka Kiprusoff.