SUN Hockey Pool

Giordano's plan to stick around

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- The numbers tell the story for Mark Giordano.

With the Calgary Flames defence corps depleted, Giordano has shouldered a heavy load the last two games and he's passed the test with flying colours.

Giordano, the club's No.-7 defenceman when everyone is healthy, normally will skate around 11 minutes in NHL games he dresses.

The last two tilts, though, his ice time added up to 18 minutes and 21 seconds and then a career-high 20:09.

Moreover, the 23-year-old product of Toronto has a plus-two rating and an assist to his name.

"It's a great opportunity. It sucks to see your teammates hurt but, at the same time, this is a chance for me to step up, play more minutes and show the staff I can adjust and play against top lines," he said. "I'm going to look to playing a good team (tonight) in Anaheim and really stepping up."

Veterans Roman Hamrlik, Andrei Zyuzin and Rhett Warrener all missed Saturday's 6-3 win in Phoenix due to injuries, which put Giordano, Richie Regehr and Brad Ference into the fray, a likely scenario again tonight when the Flames meet the league-leading Ducks.

"It's awesome to develop together but there's also internal competition and now our job is to create competition for when those guys come back," Giordano said.

Right now, it's Giordano who's earned the highest spot on the depth chart among Cal-gary's younger trio.

Last season, the Flames turned first to Regehr, younger brother of veteran Robyn Regehr, when it was time to call up a defenceman.

But Giordano, who made his NHL debut Jan. 30 (missing the AHL all-star festivities because of it) has climbed the depth chart.

"I had a good summer and a good year last year, no injuries and stuff like that. I trained hard and came to camp ready," he said. "All I was focused on was making this team. Hopefully I'm here now for the rest of the year and I can't be satisfied."

Making Giordano's ascent all the more impressive is that he was signed as a free agent after finishing his junior career.

Inked by the Flames July 6, 2004 -- the same day Richie Regehr was also signed -- Giordano has achieved what so many others chosen over him in two NHL entry drafts couldn't.

"It would have been nice to have been drafted but that's a small part of it to me," said Giordano, who has two goals and a helper in 13 games. "The main thing is you end up playing here and we've proven you don't have to be a high pick to be a NHL player.

"I don't really think about stuff like that."


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