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LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

Hamonic takes latest injury in stride, saying when you play the game like he does you're bound to get some bumps and bruises

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

The man affected doesn't believe there's a malevolent gremlin off somewhere gleefully jabbing pins into a Travis Hamonic voodoo doll.

He disputes the theory of hex bags hidden surreptitiously in his stall. Rules out dark-arts curses or heathen's spells.

Doesn't feel jinxed. Can't, even squinting skyward, spot any dark clouds overhead, dogging his every on-ice stride.

"Means you're playing hard,'' reckons Hamonic, hoping for another return to the Flames lineup when the San Jose Sharks pay an important intra-divisional call Thursday evening (click here for tickets).

"If you don't go through a season when you're not getting banged up or stitched up … well, that's when I quit playing hockey. That means I'm not doing my job to the best of the ability.

"When you play the game hard and the style I play, things are going to happen out there.

"I'm not shy about physicality or laying my body on the line.

"That's part of my personality."

A philosophical shrug.

"Bad luck?

"Hard-luck?

"I look at it the other way. I'm pretty grateful. I feel I have a guardian angel up there, that God's watching over me. Everything I've had happen this year, in a negative way, could've been worse.

"I haven't missed a ton of time. I'm thankful for that.

"That's what I focus on. I feel fortunate that the things that have happened to me I can deal with."

Back with his mates for full practice Wednesday following a light skate on his own the day before, there's hope he'll be available to face the boys in teal.

As everyone is aware, it's been a series of unfortunate events this year for Hamonic.

A facial fracture/broken jaw sustained during that Game One scrap against Vancouver's Erik Gudbrandson that cost him time and teeth. The need for a full protective face-mask. Too many pucks to the face in subsequent games to keep track off.

Then, after suffering a "lower-body" injury on an awkward tumble at the Capitol One Centre in D.C. the first date back from the All Star break, Hamonic missed the second game of the quick road trip, a Sunday matinee in Raleigh, N.C.

The hardest part mentally," says Hamonic, "is not being around the guys. We're built to come to work and compete. When we're not doing that, it's frustrating, sure.

"We're playing well as a team, we can be even better, it's an exciting time, and you want to be a part of that."

Video: "It's starting to feel better.. Had a good day today"

In 42 starts this year, Hamonic's chipped in with a dozen points and is a plus-9 while developing a nice camaraderie alongside newcomer Noah Hanifin.

"A very competitive guy. Obviously,'' says Hanifin. "He puts himself into positions where he's sacrificing his body. Unfortunately he's had some tough, tough injuries this year: The jaw, I don't know many pucks to the face, tweaking the knee.

"Hopefully he's back quickly. We miss him.

"Hammer's a huge part of this team. We feel it when he's out of the lineup, definitely, but in saying that I also think our D corps has a lot of pieces, a lot good players."

Flames' boss Bill Peters has his fingers crossed.

"It's leaning in positive direction but we'll see."

When playfully prodded to elaborate on the injury, Peters smiled enigmatically.

"You can guess … Hang on. Lower body or upper body?" 

He flipped and imaginary coin. 

"Nope. Still lower."

Video: "All our upcoming games are going to be a battle."

After sustaining so much damage and suffering much misery in the facial area this year, the fact that this mild setback was listed as "lower body" at least changed the region of discomfort.

"We had to mix one in, right?" kidded Hamonic gamely.

"The jaw, first week or so, was the toughest, I'de say. I was pretty badly swollen up. Didn't make for the nicest picture.

"But, as I said, I choose to look at it from the glass-half-full standpoint.

"The hardest part the first couple days might've been not really being able to play with my daughter (Charlie) as much I'd have liked to.

"We've got a good medical staff. They've done a good job of getting me ready and back out there to go.

"Had a good day skating today, have a good day tomorrow and re-evaluate everything.

"Can't wait to be out there again. The sooner the better."

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