Langkow's passing fancy

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

The frustration of missing the one game was bad enough for Daymond Langkow.

Throw in the fact the Calgary Flames were mired in their recently ended five-game losing skid, and it made the situation doubly painful.

And then, tack on Langkow's offensive struggles amidst the team's free fall, to boot.

It adds up to a whole lot of disappointment.

Now, imagine how relieved the centre feels, having set up Kristian Huselius' game-winning goal in Calgary's last-minute 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night.

Langkow may be quiet and soft-spoken, but takes great pride in being one of the most consistent players you'll find in the NHL.

Going four games without a point -- and missing one match due to having his bell rung -- will make any player feel they're not pulling their weight.

Langkow admitted yesterday he wasn't happy about not coming through with production while Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay were carrying the bulk of the offensive load.

"Oh, for sure. That four or five games, I know myself, personally, I'd been struggling to put the puck in the net. I was getting good chances, so it was frustrating, especially with losing," he said. "If you're winning, that's one thing, but when you're losing and I wasn't obviously pulling my weight, so it felt good to get the win and to chip in with Kristian's goal."

The Flames were thankful simply to have Langkow back in the lineup.

Out of action against the Edmonton Oilers last weekend due to a head injury suffered when Vancouver's Matt Cooke hit him in the back and sent his face into the glass, Langkow could have been on the shelf for a lengthy period.

However, the gritty centre missed only one clash. Cooke was given a minor penalty for boarding, but received no further discipline.

"I saw it that night. It doesn't look that bad, but I know how he hit me," Langkow said. "I was gonna try to turn up the boards there, but I went face-first into the glass. He always seems to have those borderline hits, so you have to know when he's out there."

But now, Langkow wants to put that incident in the past.

After all, the 31-year-old is a key component to the team's fortunes, and more pressing is the need to turn that victory into a winning streak, with the Flames facing the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow in the provincial capital before going to Vancouver to face the Canucks Sunday.

For that to happen, the club needs Langkow -- and linemate Huselius -- to regain his early-season form. After a torrid start, he's now gone eight games without a goal, yet still has 18 points (8-10-18) in 17 games.

He isn't the type of player to go into a prolonged slump, so Langkow fully expects to get his offensive game back on track.

"I had a pretty good start, and usually I'm a slow starter," he said. "Points-wise, it usually evens out, but you try not to be a streaky player. A lot of it is confidence. When you have a lot of confidence and you're scoring, you get breaks. And when you're not scoring, it's just the opposite.

"When you have that confidence, you try to do whatever you can to keep it."

There is another issue surrounding Langkow, although it's on the backburner.

Due to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, Langkow is in need of a new contract. Playing the final season of a three-year pact that paid him US$2.442 million per season, the veteran said his agent and Flames GM Darryl Sutter have had some talks, but didn't want to disclose any details.

"I don't want that to become a distraction," he said. "Obviously, I'd love to stay here. I love the city, my family loves it, it's a great organization, the fans, everything.

"Hopefully that stuff will work it's way out. It's my agent's job.

"Right now, they're talking a little bit. It's tough with the salary cap and stuff, but I'd love to stay here."


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