PITTSBURGH - A huge win.
And the return of a beloved and valued teammate.
Those two things made for a lot of smiles Sunday morning when the Flames gathered for video sessions, treatment and an optional skate at PPG Paints Arena.
Among those that took to the ice was defenceman TJ Brodie, skating for the first time with teammates following a scary incident 10 days ago when he passed out during a practice.
Video: "The support from that room, it's incredible."
After being taken to hospital and going through a battery of tests since, he began skating on his own and then flew in to Philadelphia Saturday to join the club for the back half of this four-game road trip.
He's a game-time decision for tomorrow night's tilt with the Penguins, awaiting some final medical clearance.
However, the impact he's had on the club over the last 36 hours has already been profound.
"Well, it's exciting," said head coach Bill Peters. "It's an emotional boost. It's good to see him - get the group together again - and he'll be a game-time decision tomorrow. So we hope to get him in the lineup."
Captain, longtime D partner, and good friend Mark Giordano said his return has given the team a shot in the arm.
"Ya, it's great," said Giordano. "I think after what happened to Brodes, for this past week to go as smoothly as it has with all the tests and all that, you know put hockey aside, to see him doing well and ok and obviously now back out there (on the ice) it's, honestly, it's a boost and really, really happy to see as players, as teammates, and, like you said, as a friend."
Video: "To see him doing well ... it's a boost."
To a man, the sentiment was the same.
"It's huge," agreed Matthew Tkachuk. "It's been a tough past week-and-a-half for him and for us, not having him around. But for him to be around now - it's just the jolt of energy, just having him back … it's great, it's great.
"Happy for him, happy for his family and, you know, for us to have him back, he's a huge part of our team. He's definitely going to help."
Video: "For him to be around now, it's a jolt of energy."
Said associate coach Geoff Ward: "Anytime you set a teammate come back from what TJ went through, it's an emotional lift for everybody to have him walk back in the room. Knowing that he's going to be able to get back out there and play with you.
"We're a family, so anytime you get somebody rejoin your family it's a good feeling," he added. "We're happy he's back and look forward to him playing again."
Video: "I'm real happy he's back with us."
Giordano said Brodie is champing at the bit to get back in the lineup.
"We've been texting back-and-forth and he's been ready to play now for a few days," said Giordano with a big grin. "Hopefully we'll get him back soon. I think going through a skate and a pre-game skate is another test for him but he looks great."
Brodie announced the starting lineup in the dressing room prior to the club's 3-2 shootout win over the Flyers Saturday, a victory that snapped a six-game losing run.
Not only has Brodie provide an inspirational lift, his skill and veteran presence on the ice when he returns will be a boon to a team looking to build on Saturday's win.
Video: "He'll be a game-time decision tomorrow."
"He's in there and the guys were in a good mode obviously today coming off a win and seeing TJ around the guys knowing he's going out to skate," said Peters. "If he comes in he's going to play with Gio, that's a group that's been together a long time, that pair, so a lot of things fall into place if he comes back into the lineup and it'll be a big boost for us from the skill-level department, too. He's a skilled guy, skates well, moves pucks."
Assistant coach Martin Gelinas said Brodie certainly brings many positive elements to the dressing room - and the ice.
"What he brings off the ice is a lot of good things," said Gelinas. "He's always got a good attitude, he's positive, and on the ice it's just the way he can skate and make plays. He's a big part of our hockey team so having him back sure makes a big difference."
The timing, agreed Gelinas, couldn't be better.
"We need to be positive around here," said Gelinas. "We had a big win yesterday, and it was nice to have him there, and now he's back, he's getting back on track and hopefully he'll back on the ice for us soon, so it's all positive."
Video: TJ Brodie is with the Flames and could play on Monday