Broken fingers have been a sensitive subject in Calgary this year — remember Johnny Gaudreau and slash-gate? — so it came as little surprise that the latest busted digit, on the hand of veteran winger Troy Brouwer, caused some consternation.
With good reason, though.
Unlike Gaudreau, Brouwer’s finger wasn’t broken by an opponent’s incessant chopping but, rather, a slapshot from teammate Kris Versteeg.
“It’s a buddy on your team. It was definitely in my head the rest of the night and kind of rattled me,” Versteeg said, per the Calgary Herald. “Thankfully we got the win. I talked to him right when it happened, and the day after, and the day after that just to see what was going on.
“It definitely had me rattled. He’s a friend and a teammate and a big part of this team.”
Versteeg and Brouwer go way back. The two spent three years together in Chicago, capturing the Stanley Cup in 2010, and recently reunited as linemates under Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan.
The two had formed a fairly effective unit as wingers between Sean Monahan, but all that came crashing down on Dec. 23 when, in a win over the Canucks, Versteeg unloaded a slapper late in the first period…right around the time Brouwer skated in front of him.
And that was it. Broken finger, sidelining Brouwer “week-to-week.”
It’s a tough blow, given Brouwer’s production — eight goals and 17 points through 36 games this year — and his veteran leadership. Despite only joining Calgary this offseason, Brouwer was immediately named one of the club’s alternate captains and, as GM Brad Treliving explained, was an important voice in the dressing room.
“Troy has a strong voice and a presence,” Treliving said. “He holds people accountable.”