White rooting for Langkow's return

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:47 PM ET

SAN JOSE — Ian White’s eyes lit up at the news Daymond Langkow is nearing a possible return to the NHL.

Many people would be happy to see Langkow back playing for the Calgary Flames, and White is among those at the top of the list.

“I definitely would feel better if he starts playing,” said Langkow’s former Flames teammate, now a member of the San Jose Sharks, who’ll host his old squad Wednesday night.

When Langkow suffered his horrific neck injury just over a year ago, it was a combination of being shoved from behind, which made him fall face first toward the ice just as White fired a shot from the point. Langkow saw the puck coming right at him and tucked in his head, and White’s shot hit him in the spine.

“Forwards are usually yelling to keep the puck low and I tried to keep that one low and it rattles off him,” White recalled.

The resulting injury, a fractured vertebra at the base of his neck, has forced Langkow to the sidelines ever since.

The veteran centre is practising fully with the team, and even accompanied the Flames on the current road trip. The team has no firm timetable on a return, but it’s becoming a reality — a big change from a few months ago.

It was fresh news to White, who’s twice changed teams this season.

“It’s kinda been a little crazy, but I should have been following,” White said. “That would be huge for him to come back. Even if he comes back, I still feel pretty bad about what happened.

“Hopefully, he’ll be the same player as before. Hopefully, throughout his life, it doesn’t have any affect.”

Nobody could imagine blaming White for what happened, but that hasn’t prevented the accident from weighing on his mind.

“It was brutal. It was real hard to take,” said White, who was traded from the Flames in November. “You’re seeing a guy basically paralyzed on the ice. It was really tough. It’s good to see he’s doing well.

“It’s probably the worst incident I’ve been involved with or even seen. You never want to see something like that happen. That’s a huge step. It’s fortunate he could walk again. You break your neck and have problems with your spinal cord, there are a lot more serious things than hockey.”

White has gone through some tumultuous times this season, too.

The blueliner who was acquired by the Flames from Toronto last January was in Carolina only three months before being traded to the Sharks, making San Jose his fourth team in 13 months.

“This one was probably the easiest,” he said. “I haven’t been on a winning team basically my whole career, so it made a trade here a lot easier.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

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