SUN Hockey Pool

Won't see damage new-look Flames can do

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:13 PM ET

RALEIGH, NC -- The real shame for the Calgary Flames has nothing to do with who's playing.

It's who isn't.

Adding centre Olli Jokinen and defenceman Jordan Leopold at the trade deadline gives the Flames a top line -- Jokinen, Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri -- which nearly every other team would envy and a top-four crew on defence as impressive as any around the league.

Too bad we'll never really know how good this Flames team could be.

Not while Daymond Langkow is out of action with his hand injury. Or Rene Bourque with his sprained ankle. Or Todd Bertuzzi with his wonky knee.

Even if -- or when -- they all return, it won't be at 100%. And with the abuse you take in the playoffs, they won't ever be.

As it stands, Bertuzzi is due back a couple of weeks before the playoffs begin.

Bourque, if he follows the general rule of eight weeks for his high-ankle sprain, would be ready when the second season begins.

Langkow is presumably closest, but his status remains day-to-day and you can't help but wonder whether the problem is worse than they're letting on. (Hey, Langkow is the real deal when you talk about tough players, so if he's out of commission, you know it's serious.)

Should that trio return in time for the playoffs, it gives Calgary a legitimate second line and allows the gang of Craig Conroy, David Moss and Curtis Glencross to be a fantastic third line.

Even if they return in those aforementioned time frames, Langkow, Bourque and Bertuzzi will need to work themselves back into game shape while dealing with the rigours of post-season action.

It's too bad, because having a full roster -- don't forget Mark Giordano is also out of action and would be a perfect third-pairing defenceman the way things are now -- would make the final five weeks of the regular season very entertaining.

Flaming C-notes

Flames defenceman Cory Sarich happened to be tuning into last Saturday night's Oilers game when Edmonton captain Ethan Moreau took an inadvertent stick in the eye -- of which the impact isn't yet fully known. Sarich's wife, upon seeing the incident, said to him, "That's why you wear a visor." He agrees. "I've got three girls at home I'd like to see when my career comes to an end." Whether Moreau will recover fully isn't yet known, but this incident is the latest proof players need to stop playing macho man and start protecting themselves. "The belief is if you're a grinder or a guy who plays that kind of game, a visor takes something away from that is a stigma people have to get over," Sarich said. We'll happily match up Flames captain Jarome Iginla as being a player as tough as they come, and he wears a visor -- a result of a close call years ago. Iginla is of the belief current NHLers should be allowed their choice, but feels the time has come to make all newcomers wear visors. "Guys are already wearing them out of junior, it wouldn't be an adjustment. I don't think it's a big deal to have them wearing them. People who haven't can have that choice. I'd be a big fan of seeing young guys coming up wear them because it doesn't make a difference to them to change." ... Earlier this season when goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was told he'd been given an assist in a game the night before, he joked about being the team's highest-scoring European. It's no longer the case with the addition of fellow Finn Olli Jokinen, and Kiprusoff knows it. "I better pick up my passing game," he said with his dry wit ... With all the fuss about the fact Michael Cammalleri is due to become an unrestricted free agent, it's worth remembering David Moss is in the same boat. Cammalleri may be impossible for the Flames to sign, but it would be a shame to lose Moss. The seventh-round draft choice, who went into last night's game with 19 goals, has developed into a heck of a player.

Hockey talky

Having been in Philadelphia on trade deadline day, I can attest it's nowhere near as fun as it is in Canada without the wall-to-wall coverage. Instead of watching the great job Canada's national sports networks do, yours truly was up-to-date on the Manny Ramirez contract talks. Big whoop ... Certainly, the Flames stole the show with their splashy deals, but the somewhat quiet trade that you can't help but believe will have a big impact saw Samuel Pahlsson go from Anaheim to a Chicago Blackhawks team that needed a proven playoff performer at forward ... Speaking of the Ducks, are they tanking the season? A team that wants to make the playoffs and is in the thick of the mix among the handful of clubs battling for spots six through eight can't honestly say it wants to make the post-season and get rid of key players like Pahlsson and Travis Moen ... Just wondering, is there a reason the young and talented Patrick O'Sullivan, dealt to Edmonton, is on his third NHL organization in four years? ... A correction to make: Last week in this space, it was noted Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason collected his eighth shutout to tie Ken Dryden's 37-year-old NHL record for shutouts by a rookie. Oops. We still have a Tony Esposito hockey card noting his mark of 15 goose-eggs in his debut season, 1969-70.


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