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Tanguay out with strained neck

Alex Tanguay is out indefinitely with a concussion following an innocent looking bump in the third...

Alex Tanguay is out indefinitely with a concussion following an innocent looking bump in the third period of a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks Monday. (Martin Chevalier/QMI AGENCY)

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:08 PM ET

Alex Tanguay's came by his injury so quietly, most of his teammates weren't even aware he was hurt until they stepped out for the morning skate and the skilled winger wasn't with them.

"I was talking to him this morning," said Flames centre Matt Stajan after Wednesday's practice. "I didn't even realize."

After taking a knock to the head late in Monday's win over the Chicago Blackhawks, Tanguay skipped Tuesday's optional practice. The team announced Wednesday he was concussed and would be out indefinitely.

But hours later, they determined it was a neck strain and their star would only be out on a day-to-day basis.

Acting GM Jay Feaster said the 31-year-old didn't complain after the game but felt off the following morning.

He took part in the team stretch Wednesday morning ahead of the game against the Ottawa Senators but left early, before his teammates took the ice for a brief skate.

"I was surprised," said Iginla, one of the few to notice the hit from Brent Seabrook that preceded a holding-the-stick call on Tanguay in the third period. "It looked fairly innocent.

"Talking to him, it was just a bit off the boards. He hit his head or something just the wrong way."

"He's just not feeling quite right."

The news he's not concussed -- which means he won't have to go through the league's many steps of evaluation to return -- is great for the Flames.

"He's a big part of our team," Iginla said. "We look forward to getting him back."

Tanguay has 14 goals and 42 points in 55 games, and was on a tear with 10 points in 10 games before Wednesday's absence.

"Hopefully, he's back soon," said Stajan, who chatted with Tanguay during the stretch.

"But you don't want to mess around with anything like that."

With all the attention concussions are getting around the league, the Flames were playing it safe with Tanguay.

Further evaluation by the team's head physician, Dr. Kelly Brett, determined it wasn't as bad as they initially thought.

Head coach Brent Sutter still had to make adjustments after finding out early in the day Tanguay wouldn't be able to play.

"Hey, it's all part of the game," Sutter said. "We'll be fine.

"He can't play. We're not going to dwell on it. We can't worry about it. You're going to go through times where you don't have everyone at 100%, so you have to adjust."

Struggling winger Rene Bourque took Tanguay's spot against the Senators on the top line beside Brendan Morrison and Jarome Iginla.


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