SUN Hockey Pool

Flames' Langkow recovery going slow

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:56 PM ET

Daymond Langkow’s recovery from the neck injury he suffered late in the season is going slower than expected.

Flames GM Darryl Sutter said that was a factor in the decision to re-acquire fellow centre Olli Jokinen via free agency on Canada Day.

“There’s still an issue,” Sutter said Friday. “We are 100 days post-injury and we thought he’d be further along than he is. He’s probably in the 60% area. I know we’re 100 days away (from training camp), but it is a concern.”

Langkow’s season ended in the March 21 game against the Minnesota Wild when he fell to the ice head-first at the exact moment he was hit in the back of the net by a puck shot by teammate Ian White.

Langkow, who’ll turn 34 in September, was on the ice for several minutes, was carted off via stretcher and spent the night in hospital. He wore a neck brace for several days, and didn’t return to action, ending a disappointing season in which he managed 14 goals and 23 assists in 72 games.

Neither Langkow or the team has ever divulged what his exact injury was — be it muscular or involving one or more vertebra.

Training camp will open in mid-September, so Langkow has plenty of time to recover for the coming season.

Still, with more than three months having come and gone, the possibility of it being career threatening is there.

“Lanks is a friend of mine, right?” Sutter said, wanting to make the point he’s more concerned about the player’s life outside the game. “From a professional standpoint, we’ve got to do everything to ensure he’s able to perform and it’s not something long-term.

“It’s the healing process. We thought he would be further along at this point and we’re hoping he gets good news.”

Langkow’s agent Nathan Zaseybida said he believes the player with 1,013 NHL regular season games under his belt is on the road to a full recovery.

“He’s progressing. We’re optimistic he’ll be ready to go. I know he’s feeling good,” Zaseybida said Friday.

“He did a lot of therapy at the end of the season and into the summer, and it’s a matter of letting it run its course. That’s where we’re at.”

Langkow has two seasons remaining on a four-year contact worth US$18 million.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca


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