Byron bounces back

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

Despite taking an hellacious check to the head that left him motionless on the ice for several minutes Monday, Byron Ritchie expects to be back on the blades today.

Ritchie, who was leveled by Vancouver's Jarkko Ruutu in the pre-season clash earlier this week, rode an exercise bike for 20 minutes yesterday and said he had no problems.

"I didn't have any concussion symptoms after the hit," said the centre. "The doctors checked me out a couple of times after the game and between periods and I passed all the tests.

"I felt pretty good (Tuesday) and feel fine now. I rode the bike and feel fine."

He plans to go for a skate today with the hopes of partaking in a full practice tomorrow.

Aside from a headache Monday night, he said he experienced no dizziness or nausea.

Ritchie said he harbours no ill will towards Ruutu because of the hit, unlike complaints heard from Jeremy Roenick over the crushing check he received from Denis Gauthier.

"He got me in the head but my head was down. If later in the season the same thing happens with his head down, I would do the same," said Ritchie, the 28-year-old first-year Flame. "He's that type of player, a physical player, and I'm the same. It was kinda my fault for having my head down."

He did take a peek at the replay but didn't want to eye it too often or too closely.

"I saw it on the highlights but it's not something you want to watch over and over again," he said. "I was at the end of a shift and trying to get the puck out of my zone. I lost the puck in my feet or something and looked down to get it and Ruutu got me with my head down."

Ritchie, who has a one-way contract through next season, has scored two goals in his three contests and made a strong point with his play.

IGGY DISAGREES: Jarome Iginla remained politically correct but took offence to Sean Avery's remarks about former teammate Denis Gauthier.

Avery, of the Los Angeles Kings, remarked Gauthier's hit on Jeremy Roenick was "typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on, running and playing tough and not backing anything up."

Iginla said, "Everybody has their own opinions but I think they were a little carried away. Guys are emotional when their teammates take a pretty hard hit but I think Gauts' comments were pretty good. He said he didn't mean to hurt anybody and he's trying to earn a spot on the roster, a spot in the rotation.

"Gauts is a tough hitter. I saw it on TV and he's got a little more than that. I thought he actually let up a little more than he could have."

THREE CUTS MADE: Calgary trimmed its roster to 29 yesterday, sending forwards Tomi Maki, David Moss and Brandon Prust to AHL Omaha.

The Flames now have three goalies, 10 defenceman and 17 forwards in camp.


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