The Calgary Flames learned Friday they'll be without leading scorer Jarome Iginla for a minimum of one week due to a sprained MCL in his left knee. "It's always tough getting injured but it's part of hockey and a lot of guys go through it," Iginla said Friday. "Thankfully over my career, I haven't had that many. I'll deal with this one and try to get back as soon as I can."
The injury occurred halfway through the second period of Thursday night's 5-4 overtime win over the Florida Panthers when Iginla had his leg pinned up against the boards on a hit by Panthers defenceman Bryan Allen.
Not knowing how badly hurt he was at the time, the Flames captain got into a spirited bout with Allen moments later. However, after serving his fighting major, he went straight to the Flames dressing room.
Iginla is taking a positive approach to the rehab.
"You try to stay positive, take care of yourself, and do what they (doctors and trainers) tell us," said Iginla, who has 23 goals and 30 assists in 39 games. "There's no surgery or anything like that and that's a good thing. It's sore today but we'll see what they say in a week."
Iginla has proved to be a very durable player throughout his 10-year NHL career, never playing less than 70 games in a season and four times playing in all 82 games. Over the last five seasons, Iginla had missed just eight games with his current iron man streak ending at 158 consecutive games played.
Flames players realize that Iginla's absence is going to leave a big hole in their lineup.
"It's tough as obviously he's the leader of this hockey club," said centre Daymond Langkow. "A guy like that, you can't replace him, but you have to buckle down. We've had some young guys like David Moss, who had a huge goal last night, that have come in and that's what we need."
Veteran defenceman Robyn Regehr agreed.
"We're going to be missing a guy that's a good leader on the team, a guy that always does it by example, and a big part of our offence," said Regehr. "You can't look at it as just one guy is going to fill the void of Jarome Iginla, that's unreasonable. As a team, we need to get more from everyone as those are some big skates to fill."
Iginla had been the Flames' hottest player, named the NHL's first star for December with 10 goals and 16 assists. Not far behind has been Kristian Huselius. With five goals and six assists in the last eight games, Huselius is playing his best hockey since coming to Calgary in a trade last season.
"Everybody knows how important Jarome is to this hockey club," said Huselius. "For us to keep winning games, it's going to be about everyone in this locker-room giving a little bit extra."
Allen, meanwhile, was a one-man wrecking crew Thursday night. Five minutes into the game, he flattened right-winger Chuck Kobasew resulting in Kobasew banging his head on the ice. Kobasew is expected to be out for at least five days with the head injury.
Later in the first period, an Allen slapshot hit Langkow on the right ankle. Hobbling worse than Iginla was on Friday, Langkow did not practice but says its only a bruise and he says he plans to play Saturday night when the Flames host the Dallas Stars.
With the loss of the team's top two right wingers, veteran forward Tony Amonte knows that he'll be amongst the players asked to do more. Proof of that was the season-high 23 minutes of ice time he logged Thursday night, which was over three minutes more than his previous high this season and nine minutes more than the 14 minutes he's been averaging.
"For guys like myself, we're going to be getting a lot more minutes and we're really going to have to step up," said Amonte.