SUN Hockey Pool

Giordano's ready for his comeback

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:49 PM ET

Watching the Calgary Flames bulk up on defenceman by signing Jay Bouwmeester, adding Staffan Kronwall and making a deal for Anton Stralman was probably tough for Mark Giordano.

Not nearly as tough as sitting out during the NHL playoffs as his team suffered another first-round exit, this time at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.

“I don’t want to say you want to sit out at any time of the year, but that’s probably the worst time of year to be sitting out and watching,” Giordano said after a skate at the Saddledome during training camp.

“It was disappointing.”

He had surgery to repair a tendon torn during a hit in Minnesota in February, then rehabbed hoping the Flames would get deep enough in the post-season to allow him a chance to return.

It never came.

So the 25-year-old spent his time over the warm months getting ready for the new season.

“For most of the summer, I was doing normal workouts. I think it was June I came back and got all cleared to go and do whatever I needed to do,” Giordano said.

“I feel great.”

Looking great on the ice will be even more important for the Toronto product, with all those defencemen looking to take ice time away from him. Kronwall, Stralman and Adam Pardy, as well as prospects Matt Pelech, John Negrin and Keith Aulie, would love to displace Giordano from the top six behind veterans Bouwmeester, Cory Sarich, Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr.

“It’s the way it is — you try and develop the best team you can do,” said Giordano. “That’s what I’m sure Darryl and the coaching staff is doing.

“To have depth is huge in this league. We have a lot of really good defencemen who are all capable of playing in the NHL, so you’ve just got to work hard and earn your icetime.”

While a few of those stars have their spots sewn up, the rest will have to catch the eye of incoming head coach Brent Sutter — who is putting in a defensively sound system in place but wants his rearguards to be able to move the puck well.

“I just look at it as a whole new staff in here, a new opportunity to prove yourself and make a good impression,” Giordano said.


Photos