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Tanev Flies Home With Flames After “Scary” Incident

Calgary Flames defenceman Chris Tanev takes puck to head but cleared to fly home with team after loss in Montreal.



When Chris Tanev stays down on the ice, you worry. The Calgary Flames defenceman is the definition of tough. 

Just ask his head coach. 

“I told the players the toughest guy in the building’s Chris Tanev, let’s go do it for him,” Flames bench boss Darryl Sutter told his troops after losing the rugged rearguard halfway through a 2-1 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night. 

Tanev was doing his typical shot blocking thing but spun at the last second with a Nick Suzuki shot rising to eye level. He ended up taking it in the skull — but not in the face. 

No blood was apparent, but Tanev’s mop of hair may have been sopping it up. Regardless, there was enough impact to keep the pain-resistant defender from getting up for a couple of minutes. Initially, he looked like he might have lost consciousness. 

“It’s tough,” said Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom. “He doesn’t stay down very often. When he stays down, you’re worried.”

Rasmus Anderson said much the same. 

“Usually he gets right back up,” said his fellow blueliner. 

Not this time. 

But there he was mingling with his concerned teammates as they prepared to fly home, shirt and tie and all. 

“Just talked to Tanny. I know the feeling and I know the sound,” Sutter, who knows a thing or two about taking pucks to the head from his own playing career, said during his post-game presser. 

“He’s just outside right there with his shirt and tie on. Right outside the door.”

A good sign. But you have to wonder at times whether a long flight home is the best thing for a player known for shaking off serious injury. This is a guy who returned in the second round of the playoffs with a wing that needed surgery. He put that off until his Calgary Flames were eliminated. 

But this story isn’t about the controversy of concussions. It is about the conviction Tanev’s team played with as in-game injuries complemented an already depleted roster. 

Before the game even started, the Calgary Flames lost Elias Lindholm and MacKenzie Weegar. Lindholm is nursing an unknown upper-body injury but took the morning skate. Weegar was ill and skipped the early practice. 

Mikael Backlund stepped into Lindholm’s spot. Brett Ritchie was activated on the fourth line, while Milan Lucic continued to sit out. 

After the Tanev injury, the Flames also lost Nazem Kadri for a bit after Suzuki caught him with his head down, smashing Kadri’s visor into the bridge of his nose. 

Kadri returned and thanks to a stellar night from Markstrom and a pretty good one from Jonathan Huberdeau, the Flames battled their way to a single point

“Hard fought. Tough one. You’d like to get rewarded with the other point,” said Sutter, who was asked what he needs from his players when faced with that kind of adversity. 

“That’s when you need a little bit more out of different situation players. You get in back-to-backs and three-in-four and all that stuff, you’ve got to be able to count on players.”

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