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Brouwer close to returning, Ferland's status unknown

Brouwer has been medically cleared to play; Ferland missed practice on Thursday

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- The prognosis is positive for Troy Brouwer.

Micheal Ferland, not so clear.

Though Brouwer seems set to return from a fractured finger sustained against the Vancouver Canucks on Dec. 23, Ferland's status remains a little cloudy.

"Ferly didn't practice today," Calgary Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We'll see how he is in the morning.

"But it certainly changes the dynamic having Brouw if he comes back in." 

Brouwer isn't thinking about the 'if.'

He's more focused on the 'when.'

The 31-year-old has missed eight games and two periods since being hit by an errant dump-in by teammate Kris Versteeg and is determined to avoid watching a ninth from the sidelines.

"I've been cleared," Brouwer said. "Now it's just up to the coaches whether or not they want to insert me into the lineup. After you win sometimes you want to keep the lines the same. We'll see what Glen has to say.

"I have been cleared though, yes.

"You can practice as much as you want and I've been skating hard the last week in practice. I'm feeling the puck and shooting the puck. Everything's been going great.

"Now I just need some minutes in the game."

Not so fast, Troy.

"We're going to see," Gulutzan said. "To be honest with you I've met with two or three of our guys now. Today was his first full practice. We'll see how everything held up with battling and everything like that.

"We won't know until tomorrow."

Brouwer has eight goals and 17 points in 36 games this season.

But his return would have an even larger impact off the scoresheet.

"He's a big part of this team," forward Matt Stajan said. "He's one of our leaders. He has a lot of experience that up front … there aren't many older guys so it's nice to get him back. He plays on all the specialty units. He plays the right way. You get a guy like that and he's going to help our lineup add depth.

"It'll be great to see him back because it's never easy to miss time during the season for anybody."

Brouwer might not miss another minute.

Gulutzan drew up lines in practice Thursday with the expectation he would have the Vancouver, BC product at his disposal when the Flames host the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

Brouwer returned to a line with Versteeg and Sean Monahan, while Johnny Gaudreau joined in with Sam Bennett and Alex Chiasson.  

"We're comfortable together," Brouwer said. "That's what I love about playing with them is you have that comfort factor. We know where we're going to be on the ice. Three guys that play similarly. I feel like me and Mony are pretty close. He's got more skill than I do, and Steeger has more skill than both of us.

"Together we compliment each other well. We're smart with the puck and we try not to get ourselves in trouble. It's a good compliment."

The plan, Brouwer permitting, is to reunite the trio.

"We'll see how he is tomorrow and the skate," Gulutzan said. "If all the docs check out then we'd be able to put him in. If that was the case then we would probably leave that line."

Ferland, however, wasn't among the line rushes.

The 24-year-old didn't skate at all.

"He creates a lot of energy and is great on the forecheck," started Stajan. "The other team has to know when he's out there because of the way he plays. He's an effective player for our team. He's been doing a good job this season with his role. 

"I think he's really come into his own as a player and the way he has to play. We're seeing that progression as the year goes on here. 

"Hopefully it's not too bad and we don't miss him at all, or for too long."

Gulutzan isn't sure yet on Ferland.

"He wasn't able to skate today but we think he'll be able to skate tomorrow," he said. "We just gave him the day for maintenance.

"We'll see tomorrow."

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