The Calgary Flames have turned many doubters into believers this season. With their consistent play throughout the year, the Flames have put themselves right into the playoff mix; with much credit going to the leadership and play of Flames Captain Mark Giordano. But as the Flames woke up on Thursday morning, things are looking to be a little bittersweet for the hockey club. Calgary is coming off their 2nd game of a 7 game road trip, and knocked off the New Jersey Devils with a 3-1 win on Wednesday night. But as the final minutes trickled off the clock, and just as TJ Brodie scored on an open net, Flames Captain Giordano found himself in quite the discomfort behind the net when he was taken down awkwardly behind the Calgary net. After remaining on the ice for a few moments, Giordano got up and headed directly to the Flames locker room causing the heart rate of Flames fans everywhere to increase in much of a panic; knowing what losing Giordano could mean for the Flames and for their playoff hopes moving forward.
#Flames captain Mark Giordano will be re-evaluated tomorrow.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) February 26, 2015
It’s only a matter of time before the Flames will know the status on Giordano, as well as the severity of his injury; but for the sake of the Flames and their playoff hopes – finding themselves now back in the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, here’s to hoping that the Captain misses little-to-no time at all.
The Heart and Soul of the Flames
Mark Giordano is indeed the Heart & Soul of this young Calgary Flames team. Since taking over captaincy of the team after Jarome Iginla was traded, Giordano has been nothing but pure class and a true leader on and off the ice. He has elevated his game to an entirely new level; and causes many people to forget that he is an un-drafted player who once found himself playing for the KHL, uncertain if he’d ever have an NHL career at all. But ever since being given a shot with the Flames, Giordano has continued to improve season after season, establishing himself as one of the top defenceman in the league. The passion he shows for the game, and for the team speaks volumes on his character; not to mention proves why he was the right choice to be the leader of this team as they began their rebuild.
One thing that the Flames do not want to see is a repeat of the 2013-2014 season. Calgary lost Giordano early in that season due to a broken ankle, and during that time the club only managed to pick up 5 wins throughout 18 games. A repeat of this is something that the Flames cannot afford at this point and time in the season, seeing as they are right in the playoff mix. Once the Captain had returned from his injury, as well as subsequent to the All-Star break, the Flames were able to put up one of the best records in the league to finish off the season, and had Giordano not suffered that injury so early in the season, who knows what could have been.
How do Flames Fill the Void?
If Giordano does indeed miss any significant time after being evaluated by the team, how will the Flames fill the void that is left on the blueline? Averaging over 25 minutes a game, Giordano is one of the Flames’ leaders in ice time and won’t be an easy hole to fill. With Wideman and Russell both playing exceptionally well this season, those are some big minutes to fill. And would the Flames be willing to make a trade for defensive depth, in hopes of being able to replace those minutes? With Andrej Sekera being moved already, there aren’t many depth defencemen left out there; and the Flames most likely aren’t willing to pay the price, as they do not want to give up young assets to damage the future and take a step backwards in their progressing rebuild. Therefore, if Giordano misses any time due to injury; it is likely that Tyler Wotherspoon will see some playing time in the NHL, and get the call-up from Adirondack.
But it may be too soon to panic.
The news of Giordano walking around and moving normally after the game is a good sign. Does it mean that he is in the clear? Not at all. With the way the Captain went down at the end of the game, everything happened so quickly that it was hard to tell where he could’ve sustained the injury in the first place. The Flames are staying very mum on the status of Giordano’s status until they receive more information from his evaluation.
One thing is for sure, and that is that if the Flames are looking to stay alive in the playoff race, now is the worst time possible to lose their top defenceman to injury. Not only will this damper the Flames playoff hopes, but it will also put a fork in the road in Giordano’s path to the Norris Trophy; as the Flames star defenceman was one of the front-runners for the award as the season winds down.
Will the Flames go into panic mode, or will they be able to breathe a sigh of relief? It all depends on the news that comes from Giordano’s evaluation; but it’s a sure bet that Flames fans everywhere will be praying to the Hockey Gods that their captain is good to go.
Time will tell if that is indeed the case.
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Adam Scharfe is a Calgary Flames news writer for The Hockey Writers. You can follow him on Twitter @scharfy93