Langkow cleared for workouts

Flames forward Daymond Langkow has been cleared to begin working out with the team again. (JIM...

Flames forward Daymond Langkow has been cleared to begin working out with the team again. (JIM WELLS/QMI Agency)

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:42 PM ET

Soccer games aren’t unusual at the Saddledome during optional practice days.

Seeing Daymond Langkow taking part, however, is no longer a regular occurrence.

But there he was Friday morning, kicking the ball around with a handful of his Calgary Flames teammates. Saturday morning, a stall in the locker-room sprung up with his equipment and a nameplate.

They’re first signs in a long while Langkow has reason to be positive about a possible return to the NHL after suffering a fractured vertebra last March.

A specialist based in Carolina who deals with football neck injuries has cleared Langkow to resume light workouts and projects a possible return to his hockey career in two to three months.

Unless the Flames reach the Stanley Cup final, that means it’s still unlikely the 34-year-old centre currently on the long-term injured list will play until next season.

But his teammates are excited to have him around for some kick-ball for now.

“He’s still got it. I don’t think he’s lost much,” said David Moss, one of the half-dozen trying to keep the ball in the air in the lower level of the Dome Friday.

“Definitely. He hasn’t missed a beat,” added Curtis Glencross. “He always went for it. He’s one of the better players. He’s still got it.”

What Langkow is rediscovering now is a bond with teammates who haven’t seen much of him since he shut down his on-ice activity early this season in his attempt to return from a fractured vertebra at the base of his neck — the result of an Ian White slapshot that hit him as he fell awkwardly during a game against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul last March.

“It’s great,” said Moss, who skated with Langkow early in the year as he was rehabilitating from an injury of his own early this season. “Personally, I’ve known Langks for a long time and he’s a good friend. You miss guys like that around the room and on the road trips.

“When he’s around, I think all the guys love seeing him and like to see he’s doing better.”

Langkow and his loved ones participated in the family skate at the Heritage Classic last week, and has been around his teammates at the Saddledome a lot more in the last few weeks.

“It’s been great. He’s one of them guys that’s always in a good mood. Kind of a bit of a comedian out there,” Glencross said.

“To see him out there playing soccer — he hadn’t played since last year before his injury — and he was having some fun out there, too.

“It’s huge for his confidence and just kind of the psychological part of it.”

Things have been tough for Langkow since the March 21 game that forced him to miss the final 10 of the regular-season last year. He was standing in front of the net when checked by the Wild’s Greg Zanon and during the fall was struck in the back of the net by White’s shot. He stayed overnight in Minnesota but returned to Calgary the following day.

After setbacks in each of his comeback attempts in the summer and fall, Langkow is reportedly making more slow progress and is doing light workouts.

“He’s been around lately,” Moss said. “I’ve seen him more in the last few weeks than I have for most of the year, which is a good sign.

“He seems to be doing better and progressing.

“It’s nice to have him around.”


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