SUN Hockey Pool

Dropping the Hammer

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:22 PM ET

Another innocent looking play may test the depth of the Calgary Flames blueline.

One of the team's top-four defencemen, Roman Hamrlik, could be lost for an extended period of time with a knee injury after he had his right leg knocked into the boards by Devils winger Grant Marshall during Wednesday night's 4-1 win over New Jersey.

The Flames went without rearguard Robyn Regehr for the first 14 games of the season because of a sprained MCL suffered in the waning seconds of a pre-season tilt. The club hopes the prognosis is better for Hamrlik, who will undergo testing when the swelling subsides.

"It's a little bit swollen. It was kind of painful last night and today so I'm just taking it easy," said Hamrlik yesterday after limping into the dressing room. "We're going to know better (in) the next 24 hours. I'm going to have an MRI and hopefully we're going to have a better idea of what's going on."

Marshall went after Hamrlik along the boards early in the game but missed the check and wound up only getting a piece of the defenceman's leg.

"I kind of left the right leg behind me," said Hamrlik. "He didn't even hit my body, he just hit the knee and my knee hit the board. I felt a little pain and that's why I decided not to play anymore."

The Czech defender seriously injured the same knee more than a decade ago while playing for his country in the 1994 World Championship.

"I tore an ACL and MCL so it was a pretty serious injury," he said. "Since then it's been fine so far until yesterday."

Hamrlik is frustrated about the prospect of missing any action after making great strides with the Flames this season. The veteran is tied for fourth in team scoring with 15 points, averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time and serving as a mentor to rookie phenom Dion Phaneuf.

"I was actually feeling better on the ice," said a disappointed Hamrlik.

"I don't know how long I'm going to be out. Like I said, we're going to know more in the next 24 hours."

Unless Hamrlik makes a miraculously quick recovery and comes away from his MRI with a clean bill of health, Bryan Marchment will take his place in the lineup.

Marchment has seen action in 10 games and says he's ready to step in.

"I've been working hard off the ice, skating extra after practice and so on, and looking forward to the challenge of playing the Ottawa Senators," said Marchment.


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