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Monahan, Flames say he's OK for Game 2

by Kevin Woodley /

VANCOUVER -- Calgary Flames first-line center Sean Monahan didn't take part in an optional practice on Thursday but was in good spirits afterward, especially when the subject of what's ailing him came up.

Monahan had an uncharacteristically poor Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. He missed the Flames' regular-season finale Saturday and sat out practice on Monday, leading to lots of speculation about a shoulder injury.

"I've heard a lot of things lately that were wrong with me, but I'm perfectly fine," Monahan said with a smile. "I was sick for a little bit there, but I'm good to go. I got a lot of texts before the game asking if my shoulder was OK and stuff like that, but I wasn't really sure what they were talking about. A lot of people can speculate, but I'm 100 percent."

Monahan was only 25 percent (3-for-12) in the faceoff circle in Calgary's 2-1 victory, and that came mostly against Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, who won less than half of his draws during the regular season. The poor showing in the faceoff circle led to some of the speculation, as did Monahan getting three shots in 20:09 of ice time and finishing minus-3 in Shot Attempts after he was third on the Flames in scoring with 31 goals and 31 assists.

"Obviously I don't think I played my best game, but we got the two points and I know I can be better," Monahan said. "I didn't skate for a few days and as the game went on I was feeling better, so Game 2 will be a big game for me."

Calgary coach Bob Hartley received text messages and emails from people saying they heard Monahan had a shoulder injury.

"I would like to make sure we understand once and for all: Sean Monahan has no shoulder injury," Hartley said. "This kid has played 22-23 minutes in the last month of the season. We were making a push to be in the playoffs and I felt in many games he was our best player and if you want to win the big games your best player needs to be on the ice. So I sat with him and he wanted to keep playing. I shut him down because we want him to be here for the long haul. Sean Monahan is not injured."

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