Injured d-man makes return to ice

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 5:15 PM ET

 Flames defenceman Toni Lydman returned to the ice yesterday for the first time since sustaining an 'upper-body injury.'

 Lydman, out since suffering what's believed to be a concussion in the third game of the Vancouver series, skated for about 10 minutes. It's a big step that could mean a return within a week or two provided there are no setbacks.

  Lydman chose not to speak yesterday and Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter wasn't divulging anything either.

 "I don't even want to talk about players who are injured," he said. "When I see him practising with his teammates, then I'll consider him part of our team.

 "Right now, he's an injured player."

 Defenceman Andrew Ference didn't skate and Sutter was coy about his availability for this afternoon's game.

 "He's got a black eye," Sutter said.

 "What time's the puck drop? If you come to warmups and he's there at quarter after two, he's in the lineup."

 - - -

 FINN FLAM: Left-winger Nils Ekman, a healthy San Jose scratch for Game 3, practised on a line with C Wayne Primeau and RW Marcel Goc yesterday. "We'll try to get Ek back in," said head coach Ron Wilson. "He's been struggling. He's (been) a very important part of our team all year. Sometimes it's best to sit back and watch and relax a little bit. If you can get in the press box or higher up, the game looks a lot easier, trust me."

 Ekman's return could be at the expense of RW Niko Dimitrakos, who practised with the Sharks' usual scratches, RW Scott Parker and C Mark Smith.

 "That's a possibility," Wilson said.

 "We have to figure out what we're going to do on our powerplay. Niko has been a point man. I've got some tough decisions to make, I guess."


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