ST. LOUIS, MO — The Calgary Flames, already dealing with two major injuries to their veteran group, suffered another on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild.
Left winger Curtis Glencross returned to Calgary to have a lower body injury examined after he was hurt in the team’s 5-1 loss to the Wild which gives a good indication on the seriousness of the situation.
With Thursday’s game against the host St. Louis Blues on the horizon and a quick turnaround for Friday’s game versus the Colorado Avalanche, head coach Bob Hartley wanted another body ASAP.
And, as such, the Flames called upon centre Max Reinhart of the Abbotsford Heat to meet the team in St. Louis on Wednesday.
“That’s another big loss, but, unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do,” Hartley said of Glencross who’ll join captain Mark Giordano (broken ankle), winger Lee Stempniak (broken foot), and defenceman Chris Breen (abdomen) in sick bay. “Max Reinhart has done very good in Abbotsford.
“We have a back-to-back coming up and that’s the reason of the call-up.”
Glencross, who snapped a six-game goalless skid against Montreal and is an assistant captain, gives Calgary some added firepower on offence, pads their scoring, and is a leader in their young dressing room. A 26-goal scorer in 2011-12, the 30-year-old currently has five goals and four assists after 15 appearances this season.
But it’s his gritty game and net presence that the Flames will miss.
“He has that real good feel around the net and that big body that takes up lots of room and protects the front of the net very well from the other team’s defencemen,” Hartley said. “Obviously that makes it tough on goalies. This is tough to teach. Curtis does this very well.”
Although Hartley wasn’t set on revealing his lineup for Thursday’s game, he did shuffle his lines in the wake of the injury — and it also appeared there were a few other developments.
Skating on the top line with Matt Stajan and David Jones was left winger Lance Bouma who had been a healthy scratch during Sunday’s 3-2 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks. Promoted to the Sean Monahan-Jiri Hudler line was big left winger Tim Jackman.
Sven Baertschi, the Flames’ sublimely skilled 13th overall pick from the 2011 NHL draft, was on the fourth line with Mikael Backlund and Brian McGrattan.
The left winger was a healthy scratch Tuesday against the Wild, the second game this year he was benched and criticized for his play in all three zones.
Again, for the second day in a row, the team didn’t make him available for comment.
Reinhart, meanwhile, has been productive in the Flames’ farm system as of late with three goals and six assists in 13 games and 33 shots on net. The 21-year-old has also been working a making a shift from centre to the wing and it’s growing on him.
“There’s a lot to get used to,” he said. “It’s a different style of game. You ask any centreman or winger, when they go and switch positions, there’s a comfort issue for the first couple games. But I’ve got a lot of tips and pointers from (Heat assistant coach) Robbie (Ftorek) and (head coach) Troy (Ward), I feel a lot more comfortable now . . . and I don’t really mind it. I’ll honestly play wherever I’m told so it’s not a big deal to me.”
The gritty six-foot-one, 185-pound centreman could be useful in Thursday’s lineup against one of the league’s best and deepest defence corps, led by Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester and Kevin Shattenkirk. Reinhart had been a late cut from the Flames at this year’s training camp and got his first taste of the NHL last season, playing in 11 games and scoring a goal and two assists.
“It’s not an easy league to be in,” Reinhart said. “But at the same time, it’s where I want to be. I’m just excited to get back here.
“It’s a little more comforting knowing you’re surroundings and it’s not just a shock right away. I’m pretty eager to get going.”
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