Conroy, Langkow expected to play

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

You know the playoffs are just around the bend when even Craig Conroy is tight-lipped.

The chatty Calgary Flames centre was forced to leave the ice early in Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Canucks in Vancouver with an undisclosed upper-body ailment, but wasn't about to expand on his mysterious injury yesterday.

"It's just one of those things. Like they said, upper-body injury," Conroy said with a laugh. "Last night it just didn't feel very good."

Unsure or unwilling to disclose how it happened, Conroy compared it to the sudden inflamation of his knee earlier this month.

"Kind of freak," he said. "Nobody was even around me, just got sore and wasn't able to come back.

"I don't really want to say what, exactly ... but hopefully it'll be quick and then it will settle down and I'll be able to play."

His chances of suiting up? Pretty good if the healing process doubles by the day.

"I feel much better today than I did yesterday. Yesterday, real bad. Today, probably 50% better," said Conroy. "Hopefully that translates into another 50% and we're ready to roll."

His return is important.

The Flames were missing their two top middle men in Sunday's clash, with Daymond Langkow leaving to deal with a death in the family and Conroy managing just three shifts in the first period.

Langkow is expected to play, and Mike Keenan said Conroy is day-to-day, but if the status of either player changes, the Flames will have to deal with the gaps in their lineup.

"Well, it's part of the game. Injuries are going to happen in the playoffs and you've got to adjust and not make excuses out of it," said veteran winger Owen Nolan.

"It's an opportunity for someone to step up and take their place. It's not the end of the world when we lose players. It obviously hurts our team a little bit, but it's a team game and we need guys to step up in those situations."

Conroy would rather play than watch, though.

"It's frustrating. You just want to be a part of it and playing," he said. "When these little things happen, it's disappointing, especially with the time of season it is. That's the thing that makes me the most disappointed - you want to be in there more than anything now, and to not be able to play (Sunday) night was tough.

"With my knee earlier, that was scary and everything was all right, so hopefully this will be the same thing."


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