A day after being stretchered off the ice in a scary incident, Flames centre Daymond Langkow flew back to Calgary on Monday.
The 33-year-old spent Sunday night in a St. Paul hospital following the Flames' 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild, undergoing a battery of tests after taking a shot off the back of his neck.
"I think any time you see a player that's taken off on a stretcher, obviously it plays on your mind," said Flames' assistant coach Dave Lowry.
At 5:20 of the second period, Langkow was checked in front of the Minnesota net by Wild defenceman Greg Zanon. With Langkow's head down as he fell forward, Calgary blue-liner Ian White fired a point shot that hit his teammate at the base of the neck in between his shoulder blades.
Langkow, who is out indefinitely, lay motionless on the ice for 10 minutes before being carried off on a stretcher.
"I think everyone was just scared," said forward David Moss, who watched as Langkow was strapped to a backboard and wheeled off the ice. "Not knowing what was going on, not seeing him move was a scary moment."
The Flames later found out that Langkow, a veteran of 13 NHL seasons, had feeling in all his extremities
"I think after the period we found out he had movement and feeling," Moss said. "It was a great relief."
While the Flames switched their attentions to preparing for Tuesday night's home game against the Anaheim Ducks (7 p.m. MT, Sportsnet West), players were nonetheless still concerned about Langkow's well being.
"You never want to see that," said defenceman Cory Sarich. "It's scary, especially when it's a teammate and a guy you're close with. It's freaky and really scary, but (we're) just glad to hear he's doing well and that's the main thing."
Forward Eric Nystrom said trainers from both the Flames and Wild took every precaution to deal with Langkow's injury.
"The stretcher obviously looks bad when it comes out but if it comes down to a neck injury, you want to make sure it's handled properly and they did a great job of that," Nystrom said. "As a teammate, you hate seeing that come on the ice.
"It's obviously scary, but this game is fast and the puck is hard and guys are big and strong. Unfortunately things like that happen."
With the Flames in a battle for their playoff lives, Langkow isn't the only injury the club is dealing with, as Christopher Higgins and Curtis Glencross are both on the mend from lower body injuries.
"We've been fortunate through most of the year, we haven't had to really battle a string of injuries," Lowry said. "What it does now is it gives other guys opportunities and this is the time of the year when you need players to step in and to elevate their games."
With the Ducks also looking to string together some victories to get back into the Western Conference playoff picture, Lowry said the Flames have to match Anaheim's intensity level.
"We have to make sure that we focus in and make sure that the level of desperation in our room is greater than theirs," Lowry said. "What we believe as a group is if we continue to play the way that we're capable of playing, we give ourselves a good opportunity to win every night."
Sarich said that the Flames have to forget about the loss to the Wild and concentrate on beating the Ducks before heading out on a three-game road trip to face the New York Islanders, Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals.
"What's in the past is in the past and that's how you have to approach it," Sarich said. "If you dwell on what has gone on, especially the negative stuff, you'll never get anything accomplished going forward."
Nystrom still has confidence that the Flames can get themselves back into a playoff position with 11 games remaining on their schedule.
"Obviously you can't afford to have any losses really, but we're still so close and there's still plenty of games left," said Nystrom, who has scored goals in three straight games. "We've just got to stay level headed and just win some games."
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