Without defenceman Ladislav Smid for the past 11 games because of an upper body injury, and Dennis Wideman for 19 games because of suspension, injuries to Deryk Engelland and TJ Brodie could have the Flames facing the Arizona Coyotes on Friday lacking core in the back.
Coach Bob Hartley spoke to Aaron Vickers a writer for the Calgary Flames earlier today, and this is what he had to say. “The medical staff told us they’re all day-to-day, but there’s going to be more testing today. Hopefully we’re going to have some results tonight or tomorrow.”
Brodie sustained an upper body injury against Nashville, a game Engelland missed because of a lower body injury. Forward Sam Bennett also left the game against the Predators with an upper body injury.
Brodie has 36 assists and 40 points in 58 games this season. He leads the Flames in average ice-time at 25:42 per game. He wasn’t on the ice for practice Thursday.
Engelland, who has 7 points and a minus-2 rating in 58 games this season, did not participate in practice, either.
“Look at yesterday morning … everyone was basically on the ice except Deryk Engelland, and this morning we had a hard time finding four defencemen,” Hartley added. “That’s the way it goes. You always need to be able to adapt. But we don’t feel any of those injuries are serious, so hopefully tomorrow everyone can be in the lineup.”
Absences mean increased roles for the likes of Rookies Tyler Wotherspoon and Jakub Nakladal, who have 36 NHL games of experience between the two of them. It also gives newly acquired Jyrki Jokipakka an opportunity to get better acquainted with his new team.
Flames captain Mark Giordano spoke on behalf of the current situation as well. “Our guys who have come in, Naks, Spooner, Joki, are doing a great job stepping up and filling roles. We’ll see what we have in the lineup tomorrow and go from there.” “This is the time of year, I think, when you look around the league and guys get bumps and bruises and stuff like that.”
Hartley expects those who are needed to be ready. “Injuries, performances, penalties…anything can happen. At any given moment you have to be able to play with different partners. Sometimes play also at different positions. That versatility usually always helps you. It helps you as a player. It gives you added value.”
“Plus it helps your team. Obviously you need to make quick changes, changes that you didn’t think or that you were not prepared for that you need to adjust.”
As for who will be in net tomorrow:
Joni Ortio will get the start against the Coyotes.
“He’s playing very well,” Hartley said. “He’s in the zone, he was ready when we gave him the chance and made some big saves.”
Ortio is 2-6-2 with a 2.93 GAA and .899 save percentage. He’s allowed two goals in four consecutive starts, and six of the past seven games.