SUN Hockey Pool

'Scary' moment for Langkow

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Forget, for a moment, about the playoff race.

The Calgary Flames did just that early in the second period.

For 10 or 15 minutes that seemed an eternity for the players huddled together on the ice, there was much more than hockey on their minds.

Daymond Langkow hit the ice awkwardly after a jolt from behind courtesy of Minnesota Wild defenceman Greg Zanon.

Landing on his head, his neck wrenching under the impact, Langkow was then struck in the spine by a slapshot from teammate Ian White.

"One of the scariest things I've ever experienced, to be honest with you," said White after a 4-3 loss to the Wild that may have been overshadowed by the play that saw Langkow taken to hospital on a stretcher. "You never want to mess around with something like that."

It was an incredibly impossible combination of events that had the 18,411 spectators at the Xcel Energy Center fall eerily quiet as the medical staff rushed to Langkow's side -- the Flames centre motionless throughout the examination.

First, there was the push from Zanon, which sent Langkow bouncing off Marek Zidlicky before dropping toward the ice.

He may have seen White's shot coming and forced his head forward to avoid it, which led to his helmet hitting hard and most of his weight bending forward over his neck.

And then the puck hit him.

"It looked to me like the puck went right off his spine," said a concerned White, who scored quickly for the Flames after play picked back up again.

His thoughts no doubt went to Langkow in that moment.

"Definitely pretty scary," said Zanon, who played the game on a broken ankle. "We kind of were battling for position and I'd seen him go down. I was just hoping he didn't take (the puck) in the face.

"He said right away he was hurt and needed somebody out there, so we got the referee to stop the play.

"I hope he's doing alright."

Langkow appears to be in decent shape after the frightening incident.

He was sent to hospital for precautionary reasons but was lucid, had feeling and movement in his limbs, and was able to call his wife to let her know he was doing fine before having X-rays taken.

Remaining in hospital overnight so doctors could complete all the tests, Langkow was kept company by trainer Schad Richea while his Flames teammates flew home on the charter.

Their thoughts were with Langkow.

"It's awful not knowing what's going on. You see all the doctors talking to him, and you kind of want to know what the problem is," said winger Eric Nystrom, who stuck close to Langkow's side the whole time he was lying on the ice. "When it comes to the neck, you've got to take every precaution you can. I know the doctors did a great job."

The bench emptied and a half-circle formed around the medical team as Langkow was strapped to a board and eventually lifted to the stretcher.

"Definitely a little bit rattled," said defenceman Steve Staios. "There's definitely a time there where you're afraid for him. It becomes a difficult situation to deal with."

News trickled through the locker-room slowly after the game that Langkow's prognosis was good.

"That's great," said White. "I was praying hard for him. That's good that he's pulling in the right direction."

The Flames' playoff chances took a huge hit with the loss, but an incident like Langkow's serves as a reminder that there are many things more important than hockey.


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