SUN Hockey Pool

Injuries ease salary crunch

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:12 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Daymond Langkow and Ryan Stone have company.

Winger Ales Kotalik joined them on long-term injured reserve Thursday with a sprained knee.

All three will be out for at least 10 games and 24 days, giving the Flames some temporary salary-cap relief, with Langkow's US$4.5 million and Kotalik's $3 million shelved for now. But when ready to return, their pro-rated salaries are also added back to the cap total and the team would have to ensure it was back under the ceiling of $59.4 million.

Kotalik's knee injury wasn't thought to be serious and he could be available again after the opening 10 games. Langkow's fractured vertebrae could keep him out all season. Stone had off-season knee surgery and is out indefinitely.

Matt Stajan (shoulder) and David Moss (shoulder) are both on injured reserve and will be available in seven days should they be healthy enough to return.

CONROY SITS OUT OPENER

Craig Conroy's confidence took a hit. So did his climb toward a 1,000th NHL game.

The 39-year-old veteran centre sat out the season opener in Edmonton Thursday night in favour of Brett Sutter, who has had a busy few days.

Sutter was put on waivers Tuesday, then re-assigned to the AHL Abbotsford Heat in a paper transaction before flying to Edmonton with the team to face the Oilers.

He was officially called up Thursday morning and centred the fourth line with tough guy Raitis Ivanans on his left side and Stefan Meyer on his right.

That left Conroy as the 13th forward. The odd man out. Still nine games short of a silver stick.

"You just never know. Uncertainty. You come hoping for the best," said Conroy, who was trying to remain upbeat. "It's always disappointing. You want to play, especially the home opener for them and just the first game of the season for us.

"You've got to battle through."

Like fellow veterans Steve Staios and Cory Sarich, who also sat out Thursday, Conroy looks forward to his next opportunity to play. "If you get an opportunity, you've got to grab hold," he said. "You can let it beat you up or ... wish the guys good luck, come and do your workouts and skate as hard as you can."


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