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Injury bug bites Flames blueline

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- The blueline of the Calgary Flames is black and blue.

Without defenceman Ladislav Smid for the past 11 games because of an upper body injury, and Dennis Wideman for 19 games because of suspension, injuries to Deryk Engelland and TJ Brodie could have the Flames facing the Arizona Coyotes on Friday with a depleted back end.

“They’re all day-to-day right now,” Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. “We don’t have any more. The medical staff told us they’re all day-to-day, but there’s going to be more testing today. Hopefully we’re going to have some results tonight or tomorrow.”

Brodie sustained an upper body injury against Nashville, a game Engelland missed because of a lower body injury. Rookie forward Sam Bennett also left the game against the Predators with an upper body injury.

“The medical staff, the doctors are working on our guys,” Hartley said. “There’s going to be some tests being made on a few of them. As of now everyone is day-to-day, but we don’t know for sure who’s going to be in or out tomorrow.”

Brodie has 36 assists and 40 points in 58 games this season. He leads the Flames in average ice-time at 25:42 per game. He wasn’t on the ice for practice Thursday.

Engelland, who has seven points and a minus-2 rating in 58 games this season, did not participate in practice, either.

“Look at yesterday morning … everyone was basically on the ice except Deryk Engelland, and this morning we had a hard time finding four defencemen,” Hartley said. “That’s the way it goes in our business. You always need to be able to adapt. At the same time, we don’t feel any of those injuries are serious, so hopefully tomorrow everyone can be in the lineup.”

Absences mean increased roles for the likes of Tyler Wotherspoon and Jakub Nakladal, who have 36 NHL games of experience between the two of them.

It also gives newly acquired Jyrki Jokipakka an opportunity to get better acquainted with his new team.

“This is the time of year, I think, when you look around the league and guys get bumps and bruises and stuff like that,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. “Our guys who have come in, Naks, Spooner, Joki, coming in are doing a great job stepping up and filling roles. We’ll see what we have in the lineup tomorrow and go from there.”

Who’s available remains to be seen.

But Hartley expects those who are to be ready.

“You need to be ready in this business,” Hartley said. “Injuries, performances, penalties…anything can happen. At any given moment you have to be able to play with different partners. Sometimes play also at different positions. That versatility usually always helps you. It helps you as a player. It gives you added value.

“Plus it helps your team. Obviously you need to make quick changes, changes that you didn’t think or that you were not prepared for that you need to adjust. That’s the way it goes in our business.”

CREASE CALL

Joni Ortio will get the start against the Coyotes.

“He’s playing very well,” Hartley said. “He’s in the zone. We didn’t give much [Wednesday], but when we gave a chance he was ready and made some big saves.”

Ortio is 2-6-2 with a 2.93 GAA and .899 save percentage.

He’s allowed two goals in four consecutive starts, and six of the past seven games.

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