Hot Higgins on the hobble

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:51 AM ET

Christopher Higgins got the boot.

Not out of town. It was to help him leave the Saddledome.

The Calgary Flames left winger didnít play in Monday nightís clash against the Detroit Red Wings due to an undisclosed injury.

However, a major clue is the fact Higgins left after the morning skate wearing a walking boot on his right foot. He didnít require crutches.

Nigel Dawes dressed in his place against the Red Wings.

Higgins, who has two goals and three points in 12 games as a Flames ó all coming in the last five outings ó played in Sunday nightís clash against the Vancouver Canucks.

He spent about five minutes on the ice Monday in an optional skate, went for treatment and then left the arena without speaking to the media.

Dawes laced up for the first time since the Olympic break, and skated on a line with Craig Conroy and David Moss.

ďItís been one game in almost two months. I want to get out there and try to contribute and help this team,Ē said the left winger, who went into the clash with 10 goals and 26 points in 52 games this season.

Itís been a rough go for Dawes since the middle of January.

A knee injury sent him to the sidelines for 10 games, but he returned for the final game before the Olympic break, a 3-1 win over Anaheim on March 13. However, the additions via trade combined with a few other players returning from injury, notably Rene Bourque and Conroy, left him an odd man out for the past while.

Dawes also battled illness for more than a week since the league started up again, which is why he didnít partake in an optional skate or morning skate last week in Detroit.

ďItís difficult. Itís frustrating. Things are going well and then a bunch of guys came in, that shook things up, and then itís timing with the injury,Ē Dawes said. ďThen, when the teamís been playing well, you canít change things up, so you have to be ready to go.Ē

Although itís never a good time to be hit by injuries, itís not like the Flames can complain about their situation.

They have only 94 man games lost to injury this season ó compared to the nearly 400 compiled this season by the cellar-dwelling Oilers.

As well, Calgary still as a couple of extra healthy forwards in rookie centre Mikael Backlund, who took part in Monday nightís game-day skate, and right winger Brian McGrattan.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca


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