Frustrated vet just wants to play again

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:23 AM ET

Having gone through the paces with the rest of the Calgary Flames yesterday, Owen Nolan admitted he's now starting to campaign.

Forced to the sidelines the last three games due to a neck injury, the right-winger is pushing hard to be part of the fun tonight when his team faces the Vancouver Canucks.

"I'm trying to talk them into letting me play" he said. "It's not getting worse, it's not getting better. I don't want to sit here the rest of the year and wait for it to get better, so I might as well get out there and test it.

"Shooting, skating and all that, it's fine. It's the contact. I've got to see what happens, because that's what is making the stingers happen. I think the only way we're gonna find out how it is will be by hitting again."

Nolan suffered a 'stinger' when he accidentally collided with St. Louis forward Paul Kariya Dec. 16. Nolan was bent over and rammed the top of his head into Kariya, causing a compression of his neck, which sent a sharp pain down his arm. It's the fourth time this season he's suffered shooting pain from contact, and he went for an MRI before Christmas.

"There's some stuff in there, but they don't know if it's from years past or if it's recent," Nolan said. "That's the problem -- we don't know how to treat it, but we don't know what the problem really is."

He's practised fully with the team for a week, but has not been allowed to play. Head coach Mike Keenan said he believes Nolan will get the green light for tonight's clash, which Nolan would dearly love.

"For me, it's more painful watching the games than playing injured," he said. "I'd rather be out there with the guys giving whatever I have.

"I'd love to be a part of it."

ICE CHIPS

Centre Daymond Langkow and right winger Eric Godard didn't practice yesterday, allowed to skip due to personal reasons, but both are expected to be available to face the Canucks ... The Flames signed C John Armstrong and D John Negrin to entry-level contracts.


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