SUN Hockey Pool

Phaneuf sidelined with leg injury

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

Only two Flames players were exempt from the exhausting conditioning skate that came at the end of yesterday's practice.

One of the absences could spell trouble for the club. Defenceman Dion Phaneuf is out indefinitely with a leg injury.

"Dion went for an x-ray," said coach Mike Keenan after the hour-long session wrapped up at the Saddledome.

"He re-aggravated an (old) injury, and then he bumped it again (Monday) night. It's a recurrence and he needs some time to heal."

Eric Nystrom, one of the better performers in Monday's ugly 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center, also avoided the 10-minute session of laps as long as an average shift.

The prospect scrapped with Ian Laperriere Monday but his arm injury wasn't a result of the fight.

"He's been icing it and looking after it now for about 10 days," said Keenan. "He wanted to practice today."

Upon seeing some players hunched over in their stalls in the locker-room, Nystrom might have been happy to know he missed out.

But it wasn't a classic bag skate, as some reporters suggested.

"Not even close. You haven't been around," Keenan said with a laugh.

"I've performed some of the best in the world. I haven't done that for a while, but that's not even close. Don't even put it on the radar screen. Are you kidding me?"

A sure giveaway was the fact the players had sticks in their hands.

"And pucks," added Keenan.

"The last time I did that was in the fall of 1993. We won the Stanley Cup.

"They weren't playing nearly to expectations. Give Mr. Lowe (Oilers GM Kevin Lowe, a Keenan player that year) a call."

While the session was fairly gruelling, Keenan said it was a skate not meant to send a message.

Although Jarome Iginla thought it might be.

"That was definitely right at the top (of difficult workouts)," said the Flames captain.

Keenan said it was just a matter of the schedule setup. There aren't many opportunities to get that kind of conditioning in on the ice.

"We would have practised like that if we had won 10 games in a row," he said.

"Don't misconstrue the workout today. It would have been in place, and I can tell you right now when we're going to do it again."


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