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Flames' Backlund questionable for Canucks

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Despite playing a season-high 22:51 in a 2-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday, forward Mikael Backlund could be out of the lineup Sunday when the Calgary Flames host the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Backlund missed practice Saturday and skipped the morning skate Sunday with an undisclosed injury.

"Backlund's going to be a game-time decision," coach Bob Hartley said. "I talked to him and he feels that he could be in. There's no sense in putting him in this morning. You guys [media] and I will find out basically at the same time [if he can play]."

The setback comes at an inopportune time for Backlund, who has three points in his past four games and six in his previous eight. His past five games rank in his top-7 in terms of ice time this season.

Whether or not he suits up could be his call.

"We're going to sit with the medical staff this afternoon and obviously we'll establish a plan because we appreciate what players want to do, especially in a minor injury like this," Hartley said. "The medical might staff might say, if they say it's his own decision, they feel that there's no big dangers."

If Backlund decides he can't play, Markus Granlund will step in and make his NHL debut.

"We called up Granlund in the case that Backlund can't go," he said. "If Backlund goes, Granlund won't go and if Backlund doesn't go, Granlund will go."

Granlund, recalled by the Flames from the Abbotsford Heat on Sunday, is the brother of Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund.

It's the 20-year-old's first taste of NHL action.

"I'm so excited," said Granlund, sporting stitches in his upper lift after getting clipped with a high stick in a game Saturday with the Heat. "It's a big opportunity. I'm just a young kid and this is my dream. Now I'm here and I have to do my best."

Here are the projected lineups:


TJ Galiardi - Matt Stajan - Lee Stempniak

Mike Cammalleri - Joe Colborne - Paul Byron

Jiri Hudler - Sean Monahan - David Jones

Lance Bouma - Markus Granlund - Brian McGrattan

Mark Giordano - Ladislav Smid

Chris Butler - TJ Brodie

Derek Smith - Shane O'Brien

Reto Berra

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Christopher Breen

Injured: Mikael Backlund (undisclosed), Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain), Kris Russell (MCL sprain), Dennis Wideman (broken hand), Blair Jones (meniscal tear)


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen

Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Mike Santorelli

David Booth - Brad Richardson - Zack Kassian

Tom Sestito - Zac Dalpe - Dale Weise

Dan Hamhuis - Christopher Tanev

Andrew Alberts - Kevin Bieksa

Jason Garrison - Yannick Weber

Eddie Lack

Joacim Eriksson

Scratched: Jeremy Welsh

Injured: Roberto Luongo (lower body), Ryan Stanton (high left ankle sprain), Alexander Edler (knee), Alexandre Burrows (broken jaw), Jordan Schroeder (sprained ankle)

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