When Daymond Langkow was injured on March 21, 2010 after being struck in the neck by an Ian White slap shot, the scene was terrifying. Langkow fell to the ice and didn’t move and had to be taken off on a stretcher with fractured vertebra. Langkow hasn’t played a game since then but today the Calgary forward received some great news.
Flames acting GM Jay Feaster announced this afternoon that Langkow has been cleared to resume full practice with the team. While Langkow’s been out for so long and this is a big step, it’s a big one on the way to getting him back on the ice. With the Flames having just five games left to play this season, we’re hoping that he’ll be able to get at least one game in this year. Getting to do that will be tricky as Feaster makes clear.
“In as much as Daymond has not played in an NHL game in more than a full-calendar year there remains issues relative to getting him ready to return to the line-up such as conditioning, rebuilding muscle mass, readiness for game speed and game timing, etc. At such point in time when the coaching staff determines that Daymond is ready to return to the line-up we will make the necessary roster transaction(s) to activate Daymond.”
Getting back to peak physical shape is key for Langkow because you’d hate to see anything happen to him further on his comeback to slow him down. The one downside to this story is that the Flames are all but eliminated from the playoffs. With so few games remaining compared to other teams in the hunt out West, it’d be spectacular to see Langkow’s return coincide with a Flames run into the playoffs.
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.
Read more about his rise here.
In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).
Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.
See it for yourself:
Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.
He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.
Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.
Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:
No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.
The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?
He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.
Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.
He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.
With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.
Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?
Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: