Zyuzin could benefit from forward thinking

STEVE MACFARLANE, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

The defensive-minded Calgary Flames may turn to a defenceman to bolster their injury riddled offensive corps.

With three regular forwards sitting out yesterday's practice, Andrei Zyuzin sported a white jersey instead of the black sweater his fellow rearguards wore.

After sitting out the last three games as a healthy scratch, the Russian is itching to get back into the lineup any way he can.

"As long as I'm playing hockey, I don't mind," said Zyuzin. "If they need me to play as a forward, I'll play as a forward."

Andrew Ference understands the Russian's eagerness to return to the lineup.

"It is whatever it takes," said Ference. "You want to get into the lineup. He told me before (he'd play) goalie. I said, 'I don't think they're going to put you in goal.'

"You feel bad when a guy sits like that but it's the sport. All of us have been there some time in our career. Without a doubt, you're jumping in whatever position you can get."

Head coach Jim Playfair said it's possible Zyuzin will get some playing time as a forward.

It may come as early as tonight -- the Flames recalled Dustin Boyd and Carsen Germyn from the AHL but are going to be without both Jarome Iginla and Chuck Kobasew for the game against the Stars. Darren McCarty and Marcus Nilson aren't expected to return, either, and Daymond Langkow skipped practice and was hobbling yesterday after blocking a shot with his foot Thursday.

"(Zyuzin) may see game action," said Playfair. "Look at Steve Montador, that's what got him into the National Hockey League and kept him there for a block of time -- the ability to go up front."

Zyuzin won't feel out of place if he gets the opportunity.

He was used in that capacity in Minnesota last season.

STARS ON ICE:

Tickets to the Flames' skills competition go on sale today at all Calgary Co-Op locations for $8 or Ticketmaster for $10 plus GST. The event takes place at the Saddledome Feb. 4 at 11 a.m.


Videos

Photos