Calgary Flames forward Blair Jones could only call it a bad break.
Blocking a shot while killing a penalty in Calgary’s 2-1 overtime loss against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night, Jones will miss significant time with an ankle fracture while the Flames are pushing for a playoff position.
“I had some x-rays done and it’s a broken ankle,” Jones said. “I don’t really know how long it’s going to take. It’s a tough break, especially at this time of the year. It’s an exciting time to play – pushing hard to get into the playoffs. It’s very frustrating. You kind of feel helpless.”
Jones knew immediately something was wrong after taking Ray Whitney’s slap shot off the foot.
“Sometimes when you block them it stings and you limp around but then the feeling comes back and you can manage to move around,” Jones said. “I couldn’t. I was leaning on my stick to try to stand up. I had no feeling in it. It was pretty bad.”
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla knows there is no downplaying the loss of Jones.
“It’s a big loss, there’s no question about that,” Iginla said. “We’ve ran into our share this year. We’ve found a way to hang in there and we’re going to have to keep doing that. It’s an opportunity for our younger guys.”
One of those younger guys is 20-year-old Roman Horak, recalled Friday to take Jones’ spot in the lineup as Calgary gets set to face the Vancouver Canucks. Horak has played 42 games with the Flames this season, recording two goals and nine points.
Horak, who actually played Thursday in the Scotiabank Saddledome as a member of the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat, had a quick return to Calgary.
“It was crazy. We woke up at 5 in the morning (Friday) and flew to Abbotsford,” said Horak, who is now situated between Iginla and Michael Cammalleri in the dressing room. “When I finally got home I got the call and was told I was coming back.
“I’m excited, for sure. It’s always a big honor to get called up every time and I’m going to try to do my best on the ice.”
Here is the projected lineup for the Flames:
Alex Tanguay – Olli Jokinen – Jarome Iginla
Michael Cammalleri – Mikael Backlund – Blake Comeau
Lance Bouma – Roman Horak – Krys Kolanos
Tom Kostopoulos – Matt Stajan – Tim Jackman
Jay Bouwmeester – Chris Butler
Mark Giordano – Scott Hannan
TJ Brodie – Cory Sarich