Getz back

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:29 PM ET

The Calgary Hitmen have a solution to their biggest problem. A team that has struggled mightily to find the back of the net will welcome back its most dangerous offensive weapon tonight.

Sniper Ryan Getzlaf, who has missed the last 11 games with a concussion, skated yesterday with his teammates and said he's anxious to get back in the lineup.

"It was nice to be back on the ice with the guys," said Getzlaf, who will be reunited with centre Shaun Landolt and winger Andrew Ladd. "Obviously, I didn't feel 100 percent but it was good to be with the boys again."

The Hitmen went a surprising 6-3-1-1 while the Anaheim Mighty Ducks first-rounder was on the shelf but have scored just four goals in their last three games against teams with a combined .370 winning percentage.

And with the red-hot Kootenay Ice in town tonight (7 p.m., The Fan 960), GM/head coach Kelly Kisio couldn't be happier to see his top gun back on the ice.

"We've really dried up the last three or four games," Kisio said. "We've done a pretty good job keeping the puck out of our net but as far as scoring the two or three goals a game we need to win, we haven't been able to do it."

Ladd had trouble wiping the smile off his face yesterday after skating with Getzlaf.

"It's pretty exciting when you get someone like him back," Ladd said. "He definitely adds another dimension to our offence."

Getzlaf, who skated all week by himself while the team was on the road, is aware of the impact his return could have as Calgary attempts to climb the clogged Central Division standings.

"That's a part of my game I need to step up and be account- able for," said Getzlaf, who has 23 goals and 40 points in 39 games this season. "But it's everyone in our room. There's a lot of guys in there who should be getting a few more points every night.

"But it'll come. As long as our defensive game is there, pucks will go in the net for us."

Getzlaf hasn't suited up since being blasted into the boards by Flames prospect Dion Phaneuf Jan. 25 in Red Deer. Sitting in the press box has been torture.

"It's been brutal to watch the guys go out and battle every night," said Getzlaf, who hasn't had a headache in more than a week. "Knowing that you're one of the leaders and you can't be with them, it's hard on a guy. Especially because I haven't missed that many games in my career with injuries.

"I'm not used to not playing."

While Getzlaf's return should provide a spark to the listless Hitmen, Kisio knows his club can't afford its traditional slow start against the powerful Ice.

"I think they're probably the best team in the league, from what I can tell," he said. "It's a challenge but if we come out at the start of the game like we have the last two or three, it's going to be done in the first 10 minutes.

"We have to make sure we come with a burr under our saddle and be ready to go."


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