When T.J. Brodie went down to the ice after blocking a shot and didn’t get back up, the entire season flashed by Flames’ fans eyes. We’d already seen this story: a broken hand early in the pre-season led to nine Brodie-less games to kick off the start of the season, and with that, the Flames were already starting from the bottom.
When you can only win two games without your best defenceman – and when those two wins come in overtime, no less – it’s kind of an indication you need your best defenceman. That’s easy to say for any team, but the Flames really, really need Brodie.
Fortunately, it appears his injury may not be as bad as initially feared, as Brodie took part in the morning skate – and, according to Bob Hartley, will play tonight.
The good news: Brodie is, evidently, still capable of skating. Skating is necessary to play hockey, so if Brodie can still move about on the ice, then even if he isn’t at 100%, he’s still capable of playing. (If things had been bad enough to have placed Brodie on the injured reserve retroactive to Wednesday night when he was first hurt, he’d have had to miss the next three games, including tonight’s contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets.)
The bad news: It’s possible Brodie may not be at 100%, but that’s really about it.
When that’s the worst news one can come up with, though, you’re in a pretty good situation.
Let’s not forget Brodie wasn’t officially ruled out of the contest against the Carolina Hurricanes until the third period, when the Flames already had a 4-1 lead and looked good to win the game. Let’s also remember that tonight’s game is against the Blue Jackets who, with 45 points through 53 games this season, are literally the worst team in the NHL this season.
As a general rule, the Flames need Brodie – but not having him tonight wouldn’t have been the end of the world, either, so that should speak to his health.
The Flames are keeping the same lineup from their victory over the Hurricanes, so Jakub Nakladal will not make his NHL debut. Deryk Engelland and Ladislav Smid will remain the Flames’ bottom pairing.
Though with the Flames travelling to play the second of a back-to-back for tomorrow, hopefully he at least makes his debut by then. The Flames have already recalled him as a just-in-case option only to sit him earlier this season, and considering how Nakladal was a European UFA the Flames beat out other teams to sign, it’s really not a good look to future prospects to simply never give him a shot.