SUN Hockey Pool

Concussion plan scores thumbs-up

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:57 PM ET

The NHL’s plans to try reducing concussions are getting the thumbs up from the Calgary Flames.

However, Matt Stajan admits the players themselves must take ownership of the injury woes, too.

“Any shot to the head is dangerous. There’s going to plays where it’s unavoidable, but players have to take responsibility,” Stajan said Tuesday. “For the most part, we’ve all played this game a long time and at a fast pace, so when you hit a guy you know somewhat where you’re hitting him, so guys have to have more respect.”

The league unveiled a five-point plan during the GM meetings, which includes forcing players to meet with a doctor during a game when a concussion is suspected before returning to the ice.

“If you can’t make that decision for yourself while you’re on the bench, then you’re definitely not right,” said defenceman Cory Sarich. “I don’t think it should affect too many cases, but I think there will be a couple when guys think they can play.”

The league is also looking to implement tougher standards on boarding and charging.

Kotalik to return?

Just when we thought Ales Kotalik’s days with the Flames were done, he may be on his way back to Calgary.

Kotalik, whose struggles and big contract earned him a spot in the minors, was placed on re-entry waivers Tuesday. He could return to the Flames in time for Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. If Kotalik is claimed, the Flames would be on the hook for his salary — US$3 million per season on a deal which runs through the 2011-12 campaign — but he couldn’t play for that other team this season.

The Flames have faced a wave of injuries with centres Brendan Morrison (knee) and David Moss (ankle) on the shelf, and LW Freddy Modin playing through a wonky back.

Kotalik has four goals and 19 points in 18 games for the AHL Abbotsford Heat, and received kudos from Heat head coach Jim Playfair.

“He’s a guy that’s played at this level,” Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. “He’s had production in the past at this level. Who knows? Maybe if he can come back and give us the production that we would like him to.”

Speaking of Moss, he was wearing a walking cast on his right foot and nobody knows when to expect his return.

“It’s something that is indefinite. It’s certainly not day-to-day,” Sutter said.

Glencross a proud papa

Curtis Glencross was racing after the morning skate to get back to visiting his wife, Tanya, and their first child. Daughter Carter Ryann was born Monday night, coming into the world at 7 lb., 2 ounces.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Glencross said. “Everybody talks about it all the time, but you never really realize what they’re talking about until you experience it yourself. It was awesome.”

Sarich lauded

Defenceman Cory Sarich was named the recipient of the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award, presented for perseverance, determination, leadership on the ice and dedication to community service.

Among several activities he’s involved with, Sarich is the honorary chairman of the Country Hills Classic Golf Tournament and spearheaded the Movember campaign among the team to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer research.

“Very nice to get rewarded for the very little work I do in the community,” said Sarich.

“This is my home, so I’m just trying to be part of the community.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/RandySportak


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