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Calgary Flames

Flames Blueline Not The Same Without Tanev

The Calgary Flames are not nearly as good a team without Chris Tanev, who missed Wednesday’s game after taking puck to the head in Montreal.



Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said he was thankful there was no fracture after Chris Tanev took a puck to the back of the head in Monday’s game in Montreal. 

But that word is the perfect description of what the blueline looks like in the absence of the veteran defender. Fractured. 

The good news is Tanev shouldn’t be out of the lineup too long. No one within the organization has mentioned the ‘c’ word but in addition to whatever physical damage was done to the exterior of the XX-year-old’s cranium, the impact of a frozen rubber puck going 90 mph could certainly cause some sensitivities. 

"He's better," Sutter said after the trip home. "We'll go day-to-day with him. Thankful there's no fracture with where it hit."

The hockey is occasionally secondary to health, or other scary moments. There’s no other way to describe what happened Monday. 

"It's scary," admitted MacKenzie Weegar, who missed Monday’s game with an illness but returned for Wednesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, a second straight shootout loss for the Flames. 

"He's your teammate, but he's also a friend and a good buddy of ours. You think about your health and stuff like that. It's scary and you hate to see that happen, and the first thing you want to do is see if he's OK. Thankfully, he was.

"He's a warrior. I think everybody in Calgary knows he's a tough, tough guy and for him to go down like that is obviously tough to see, but I'm really happy he's OK."

The Calgary Flames defence has shown it’s not OK without him on the ice. 

Especially with the depth of what was expected to be one of the best blueline brigades in the league already impacted by the personal absence of Oliver Kylington. 

There is no timeline for Kylington’s return. 

Tanev’s latest absence could end as early as Friday against the St. Louis Blues for the last pre-Christmas contest on Saddledome ice. 

Let’s hope there’s nothing cognitive lingering because the extra minutes picked up by Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Nikita Zadorov and MacKenzie Weeger takes a bit of a toll. Sutter mentioned Zadorov being a bit fatigued on Wednesday in particular. 

But it’s that or playing Michael Stone and Connor Mackey circumstances that are hard to trust them in. 

“We don’t have a choice, we’re putting two guys in situations they’re not normally played in and they’ve got to rise to the challenge,” Sutter said. “It doesn’t matter how many minutes but they’ve got to give you quality shifts.”

That’s Tanev’s specialty. 

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