Just when you thought the Calgary Flames were getting healthy, circumstances begin to drag the team in the opposite direction.
Over the past few weeks, the team saw the returns of T.J. Galiardi, Curtis Glencross and Sean Monahan from injuries. These recoveries saw the injured reserve shrink until only Dennis Wideman and his broken hand remained.
Of course, then yesterday’s game in Pittsburgh happened. Both Curtis Glencross and Kris Russell left the game – in the first and third periods, respectively – with lower-body injuries. Glencross’ injury is bad enough that he’s been placed back on the IR, while the team has summoned Derek Smith from the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL for the time-being. Odds are Russell will probably miss some time based on that move.
Eleven Flames have missed time due to injuries this year, with the majority of them being significant, somewhat fluky injuries. Mark Giordano missed 18 games with a broken foot. Curtis Glencross missed 15 with a knee injury. Dennis Wideman has missed 12 games to-date with a broken hand. Chris Breen missed 12 games with shoulder surgery recovery and an abdominal wall strain. Mike Cammalleri missed a combined 8 with a hand injury and an illness. Matt Stajan missed 8 games with a lower-body protuberance. Lee Stempniak and Sean Monahan both missed 7 games with foot injuries after blocking shots. T.J. Galiardi missed 7 games due to back spasms. David Jones missed 4 games with a shoulder injury. Brian McGrattan missed just 1 game with a lower-body injury. Outside of Breen, these are all NHL regulars being taken out of the line-up for prolonged periods. As a result, Flames coach Bob Hartley has never had the option of using his full, regular line-up.
Healthy scratches this year tell another story. Chris Breen has been scratched 16 games, Derek Smith 15 times and Tim Jackman, prior to his trade to Anaheim, sat a dozen times. The team’s treatment of Breen is admittedly puzzling to me. He’s still fairly young and they seem to be hesitant to waive him for an AHL stint, but they also never, ever dress him. Other scratches: Blair Jones (7), T.J. Galiardi (6), Sven Baertschi (4), Shane O’Brien (4), Lance Bouma (3), Joe Colborne (2), Lane MacDermid (2), Max Reinhart (2), Chad Billins (2) and Mikael Backlund, Roman Horak, Paul Byron and David Jones (1 each).