Roman Hamrlik practised as if he was going to play. He took part in powerplay drills alongside Dion Phaneuf and even took a couple of slapshots at one of the Max Bell Centre nets.
But the jury is still out on whether or not Hamrlik -- whose latest setback during an injury-plagued season came in late January when he broke a bone in his hand -- will suit up for more than just the warmup tonight in Edmonton as the Calgary Flames kick off a seven-game road trip.
"I will tell you this, he's gonna play somewhere on this trip," said Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter before the team flew north yesterday. "I said that the last two long trips we were on and he played once and that was it. He's going to play somewhere on this trip, hopefully more than once."
Twice in January, Hamrlik returned briefly on the road after missing more than a month of action because of a sprained knee. In the first instance, the 31-year-old defenceman re-injured his leg. In the second, he blocked a shot with his left hand, resulting in a nasty gash and broken bone.
Hamrlik is hoping to have better luck upon his next return, which he says could be as early as tonight.
"We're going to know (this) morning," said Hamrlik. "I'm really excited just putting the jersey on and hopefully play Edmonton. The hand's feeling really strong. Hopefully, like I said, (I'll be able to play in) the next couple of days."
The veteran has five goals and 14 helpers in 33 games this season but struggled in two comeback attempts.
Sutter wants to see the version of Hamrlik who racked up eight points in his first 11 games as a Flame.
"It's not just, 'Whoop-dee-do, Roman Hamrlik,' " Sutter said. "We need all of Roman Hamrlik when he comes back in. Not just sort of ease your way back in."