Flames Injuries and Scratches Round-Up

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).

    • It had been upsetting to see Glencross an Russell being supplemented to the injury list. From a fan’s perspective, one would wonder about the physicality of the sport. If the Flames are succumbed to injuries on an ongoing, when will the team reach an elite status?

      May God be with the coaching/management staff.

    • It had been upsetting to see Glencross an Russell being supplemented to the injury list. From a fan’s perspective, one would wonder about the physicality of the sport; because should the Flames be succumbed to injuries on an ongoing basis, when will the team reach an elite status?

      May God be with the coaching/management staff.

    • Stockley

      Sort of mind-boggling. He’s UFA at the end of the season. Either play him and decide if Mr. Breen is in the team’s future plans, or waive him and either a) lose him to a team that WILL play him or b) see if coach Ward can work some more magic and continue his development. I don’t see how it benefits anyone for Breen to just sit and watch. He has that size the team seems to covet but reports I’ve read on his ‘truculence’ are conflicted.

      • I don’t know about his aggression, but whenever I’ve watched Breen I’ve always come away with the fact that both his speed/agility and puck handling abilities are below NHL level. Personally, he has never been a prospect of note in my mind.

        • Stockley

          His only real asset seems to be size and he seems less than inclined to use it. I think he’s a depth level/ahl pro at best. If he can’t even unseat O’Brien in the lineup it doesn’t bode well.

      • Stockley

        Maybe there is no room for him down in Abby. We already kinda know what Breen is & I could kinda see the team cut him loose next year. They want the openings to see what we do have in Tspoon, Ramage, Cundari & Seiloff is due back soon. So if no one picks Breen up, then what. This is back to where I felt Feaster always signed too many players that hindered development opportunities, ie Mackbackup.

        • This is my thinking as well.

          I have a feeling those on the Flames development side of things don’t want to use the likes of Wotherspoon, Ramage and eventually Sieloff when he returns this season if it can be avoided. I think their approach this year with those 3 in particular in addition, Granlund and Ferland is to keep them in the AHL the whole season. I do think Feasters team on the development side of things was learning somewhat from their mistakes with SVEN (Monahan aside) Reinhart and such from last year. That they really wanted to give the younger more promising prospects in ABBY a full year there of learning before calling them up.

          • loudogYYC

            I really hope this is the plan but I doubt it. However this should not preclude bringing up Billins as he has been the most offensive of the Dmen there, he also is a pp specialist and this team just lost one of it’s best and the other one is already injured. The Flames PP could really use a shot in the arm.

  • RKD

    That’s a shame, it must really be frustrating for Glencross. It looks serious as it was reported he was seen in a walking boot and on crutches. Both were fluky, GlenX was delivering a hit and fell back and twisted on his left leg while going down. Monahan crosschecked a Pens player who came down right on Russell’s left knee.

  • I’d rather they play Smith over Breen anyway. The only thing that’s puzzling to me is why they thoink they’d lose him on waivers, or why they’d even mind, based on their unwillingness to play him. Freeing up a contract if he gets claimed is not really a bad thing.

  • I really hope Russell isn’t injured long.

    He has probably been our 2nd best D all season. Arguably even our best since Gio spent so much time in the infirmary.

    I am waiting for the day when Gio, Brodie, Smid, Russell and Wideman all play in the same game..

    I wonder if we ever will with so much turnover expected?

    I wouldn’t mind keeping all 5..

    Wideman is the one who is most likely to be traded but I feel like we need more RHD not less.

    • piscera.infada

      I agree, I really like our D core. It has the ability to provide some solid stability if healthy through the lean years, while allowing the youngsters to develop in the correct situations – whether that is in the AHL or the CHL. There’s some promise in our defensive prospects, but they all need time to season. As I see it, we can probably get a solid few years out of the likes of Wideman, Gio, Brodie, and Russell (I really hope the resign him), while testing some guys in the bottom of the rotation. After that, you simply need to make the right choices about who you can move on from (ie: Wideman, maybe Gio). But as it stands now, that group is one of the strengths of this team (they aren’t world-beaters, but they are very good considering the position the team is in – compare them to the group(s) in Edmonton, Buffalo, Florida, Carolina, etc.).

      It’s really an ideal situation in my eyes, injuries notwithstanding.

    • loudogYYC

      I can’t see Wideman being a likely trade target yet. He has 3 years remaining on his deal at $5.25MM per. If his play and his numbers remain near where they are now, I can see him being a 2015 deadline trade.

      In the meantime his RH shot is needed and probably another one too, that 4 on 3 PP we had against NYR with Blair Jones as the RH point shot was pretty ugly.

  • Burnward

    As there was nothing new here this morning i decided to go and view oilersnation. Yikes what a mess, if we squint our eyes just right we might be able to see the torches and pitchforks that are out for the whole management team and broadcasters. For an organization to be in that bad of a situation 4 years into there acknowledged rebuild is quite bad. I hope the same thing will be happening here in 4 years.

    We will never be able to compare the two rebuilds as I doubt we will ever draft 1st overall 3 years in a row. Had any of those 3 picks been truely a generational player they may have been better. However I think we can compare Lowe to King, both of whom should have nothing to do with hockey.

    The problem with fans is we often buy into what management and media are selling. It seems that the Oilers fan base believed that by drafting skilled forwards they would return to their glory years; they forgot that those glory years also included: Coffey(no one on the d looks anywhere like him), plus some real defenders, as well as a guy like Anderson and Messier and there is no one on this team that could even be seen as a glimpse of these two. Not to forget Mr Fuhr. Sorry folks there is still a lot of work to go to even average.

    What about us in flames land? We drank from the Sutter cup and 960 tripe because of the almost cup. For the next few years we believed that w were just 1 or 2 players away from another run and if we just traded enough of the future we could get another run. Sutter traded away draft picks or drafted grit(character guys from the WHL for so long we forgot what a skilled prospect looked like), 960 kept selling the message; I recall 960 pumping up Mitch Wahl just a couple of seasons ago. Feaster was hired to clean up that mess and once that was done he was fired. Burke has been hired and his predominate mantra is grit and many are already to start believing him. (Note: IMO the Leafs that he rebuilt after 5 years are not much better than the Flames he has now)I’m not sold.

    As fans we should know better than to buy into what management and the Fan is selling; that is why blogs like FN are so important.

      • Burnward

        We have defence, goaltending and solid veterans up front…and this team plays hard every night.

        Three things the Oilers would kill for.

        We’re alright. I think we have to stop looking at Edmonton as a comparison, we will never be in that situation.

        • Burnward

          I agree I doubt we will ever be in that situation but I was killing time. Our rebuild has started from a very different spot. Indeed we do have a good work ethic, good defence and a core of vets up front. Things will look different in March when we move the UFA’s and become younger. Our goaltending is still up for debate but it seems that both Ramo and Berra have begun to adjust to NA hockey and Ortio is doing well in Abby. And yes we have Gilles down the road.

    • Burnward

      Cant agree to your stereo type of Burke. These guys that are upper management & talk to the MSM paint what ever picture that seems to be expected. Like Burke with Grit Chart. He threw out that `truculence` quote knowing full well that`s what the hounds love to lap up. I would love to know what Burkes real presentation was to Ownership. From what Kerr said he was getting impatient at the speed this team is getting torn down. From what Burke said, he wants a GM that is prolific at drafting. Seems to me Feaster was not a proponent of scorch of the Earth Oiler style tear down. Many on this site want McDavid something fierce, maybe Burke does too. If we unload a lot of these UFA vets that have been keeping us pretty close in games & actually getting points, how are the lions in this den going to react. Is that the route we go or do we do the competitive Feaster style thing & pick 5-9 in the next few years.

      • Burnward

        My stereo type of BB is based upon what he says and his track record. For some here is already going to turn this franchise around I don’t see the Leafs as that much better and the core of this team is better than what he started with. If we trade the 3 UFA forwards and Butler a UFA on the backend I’m good with the rebuild, if we get adequate returns. Personally I would prefer draft picks and allow BB and his GM to prove their hockey/drafting IQ. I would love to be wrong and see this team be ready to be competitive in 2 years from now. I personally think that many of the pieces of the rebuild are in the organization or in the CHL/NCAA and are unsigned. If you add the right UFA’s outside the system (2 -4 this year and 2 more the following year) this team could be back in the playoff picture. It will need the right coaching and team philosophy; skill, physical play, goaltending and teamwork but I think it can be done. However truculence for its own sake will not get it done.