Backlund, who was in the rotation to anchor the Flames' top line, will instead be sidelined after a slash in practice broke a finger and required surgery. Now he joins Brendan Morrison, the other player in the mix to lead Calgary's No. 1 unit, on the injured list. At least Morrison is practicing and could possibly play, but he's dealing with a knee injury and there's no telling how ready he'll be.
As a result, the Flames are likely left with Matt Stajan or Olli Jokinen taking the opening faceoff and joining Jarome Iginla's scoring line. Let's just say Stajan doesn't exactly scream top-line center and Jokinen seems destined to fit elsewhere with Calgary this season. It will also give prospect Roman Horak a chance to show what he can do. The 20-year-old Czech played well enough this preseason to earn himself a spot on the roster.
It's a bad break (no pun intended) for Backlund, who started to come on strong near the end of last year playing with Iginla and Alex Tanguay. In 73 games, his first full NHL season, he had 10 goals and 15 assists with 10 of those points coming in the final 17 games.
Here's what Backlund had to say on his Twitter account: "I'm very sad and disappointed... But I'll work hard and be back soon to help the team to make the #playoffs!!"
The Flames could obviously use Backlund on the ice as soon as possible as he seems primed for a breakout season. Hopefully for Calgary, he isn't out long, because the Flames can ill-afford to fall behind the Canucks early in the Northwest Division and Western Conference races.
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