Calgary Flames defenseman Ladislav Smid left Friday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins with what the Calgary Herald reported as an upper-body injury.
Smid took a high and devastating hit from Penguins defenseman Simon Despres in the second period and did not return. Below is a GIF of the hit, courtesy @myregularface.
There was no penalty called on Despres. Now, will the league see it differently and issue supplemental discipline? There hadn’t been an announcement from the league’s Department of Player Safety.
“It looked like a forearm or something to the head,” Flames star defenseman Mark Giordano told the Calgary Herald. “It all depends on how the league sees it.”
Meanwhile, the once red-hot Flames have now lost four in a row, after getting defeated 3-1 by the Penguins, who were without their star Sidney Crosby, as he’s held out of the lineup for at least one more game for precautionary reasons.
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley is concerned that young forward Markus Granlund might have suffered a concussion during Friday’s 3-0 exhibition defeat against the Vancouver Canucks, the Calgary Sun reports.
The Flames might limp a bit into the beginning of the 2014-15 season if this pattern holds and rapid progress isn’t made. David Jones will miss Sunday’s preseason game with a lower-body injury while Ladislav Smid is still recovering from what sounds like a pretty nasty tooth infection.
There is a bright side, though; underrated center Mikael Backlund reportedly resumed skating on Saturday. That said, it’s too early to get too excited about the useful 25-year-old pivot:
“It’s encouraging,” Hartley told the Calgary Sun. “Right now he’s so far behind, we’re going to ramp him but, but at the same time, we’ll be careful with him. We’ll try to get him ready for Game 1. We got some good news and you should see him (practising fully) soon.”
Backlund is considered a diamond in the rough along the same lines as defenseman Mark Giordano in Calgary, so if the team wants to surprise some people this coming season, having a healthy Backlund would make a difference.
Raphael Diaz will be wearing red in training camp — just not the shade Detroit envisioned.
On Monday, reports out of Switzerland claimed Diaz will attend Calgary Flames camp on a PTO, turning down an earlier invite from the Red Wings in the process.
Diaz, 28, appeared in 63 games for the Canadiens, Canucks and Rangers last year, scoring two goals and 15 points. Known primarily as an offensive defenseman — he had 14 points in 23 games with the Habs during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign — Diaz also represented Switzerland at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and played in four playoff games with the Blueshirts en route to last year’s Stanley Cup Final.
Diaz is also a right-handed shot, something the Red Wings had been looking to add all summer. It’s possible the Swiss rearguard liked his chances of sticking in the NHL with Calgary more than Detroit, which makes sense — the Flames’ projected top six isn’t overly deep with Mark Giordano, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Kris Russell, Ladislav Smid and Deryk Engelland; as such, the likes of veterans Sheldon Brookbank (also on a PTO) and Corey Potter (signed to a two-way deal) came aboard in the hope of landing jobs.