TJ Galiardi will make his return to the Calgary Flames lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday after back spasms forced him to miss six games.
Needless to say, the 25-year-old is eager to get back at it.
“It was a really weird thing,” Galiardi started, “but I’m trying to find a positive in everything and for that, I just was able to get myself back healthy and fresh and press the reset button and now I’m ready.”
The injury crept up on the Flames forward after Galiardi was a healthy scratch for a game in late November. A simple one-game reset turned into a three-week absence.
“It started as a mental [break] and ended up being a physical one because of the injury,” said Galiardi, who has five assists and six points this season. “I thought it was going to be a one-game thing, kind of a wake-up call and I think I’ve missed seven. It’s one of those things. You never know how your body works and when you get hurt, you get hurt. There’s nothing you can do about it except work your hardest to get back.
“Now that I’m back, I’m not going to worry about anything like that. I’m just going to go play my game. Hopefully the results will follow.”
Those marching orders come directly from coach Bob Hartley, who confirmed Galiardi will make his return against the Hurricanes.
“Whenever you’re in the lineup and you’re a veteran, you need to contribute,” Hartley said. “That’s the pressure of any member of the National Hockey League. You’re playing at the highest level. Obviously the timing, you always have to give time for the timing, but the effort, the commitment has to be there and that’s the way that we’re going to create a new culture over here.”
MONAHAN, GLENCROSS MAKING STRIDES
Galiardi’s return isn’t the only good news on the injury front for Hartley.
Curtis Glencross, who has missed 14 straight contests after suffering a second-degree sprain of his MCL against the Minnesota Wild on November 5th, skated with the team for the third straight day. The Flames’ coach didn’t entirely rule out the 30-year-old out as a possibility against Carolina.
“There’s possibilities on Glennie yet,” Hartley said. “We didn’t get the green light from the doctors.”
Sean Monahan is also awaiting the go-ahead. The 19-year-old rookie returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since heading to the injured reserve list after suffering a hairline fracture in his foot.
“I feel good,” Monahan said. “It’s nice to get back out there with the team. It’s pain-free right now. It’s why I’m out there. I’m trying to get back in game shape and work my way back in the lineup.”
RAMO BACK BETWEEN PIPES
After watching Reto Berra make back-to-back starts, Karri Ramo will return to the crease when Calgary hosts Carolina.
Ramo made 72 of 77 stops in three consecutive starts from Nov. 30th to Dec. 6th, earning two wins in the process.
“We sit every morning with Clint (Malarchuk) and Jacques (Cloutier) and Marty (Gelinas) and we discuss and we felt that Karri gave us a real good run last week,” Hartley said. “He had kind of the bad decision on the Colorado goal but it was already planned that Reto would start in Edmonton. I felt Reto was dominant in the game coming off a win, had the momentum so I thought it was just common sense to start Reto [Tuesday]. He played well but we lost.”
Hartley is still testing out the two relatively unproven goaltenders.
And while he’s not using a ‘win and you’re in’ system, the Flames coach is still trying to sort out which goaltender can regularly help give Calgary consistency in net.
“We have two goalies that can give us good minutes,” he said. “On top of playing those guys to allow us to win, I’m trying to find out if the two of them can carry the load as No. 1 goalies in the NHL or if one of them is a better No. 1 and the best way to know this is to put them in key situations.”
“The progress, I’m seeing it. As a coaching staff, we’re pretty happy because I think it’s more than baby steps the way that the Colborne’s and the Monahan’s and the Baertschi’s and the young Brodie’s and our two goalies are performing. I think there are lots of good spots in our game. We’re rating those guys every day and we see our own ratings going up and up but at the same time, the ratings don’t really matter. It’s the standings that really count.”
The Flames host the Hurricanes at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday (7 p.m. MT, SNET-FLAMES). Calgary is currently riding a four-game winning streak on home ice against Carolina.