Signs of the times for Flames
More and more players are sporting fresh scratches and shiners at Saddledome
STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
|Flames forward sports a shiner at practice Saturday at the Saddledome. )JAMES MACKENZIE/Special to QMI Agency)
Their fight to make the playoffs has left its marks.
A few more members of the Calgary Flames left the ice bleeding Friday night during a hard-fought 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Olli Jokinen’s lip was cut by Rick Nash’s errant stick.
David Moss’s bloody nose was courtesy of Antoine Vermette’s weapon.
Tom Kostopoulos had his cheek split open by the puck, and took another couple of stitches to the lip thanks to goalie Steve Mason.
And Mark Giordano was shoved into a post, splitting the brow over his right eye open.
At least that one didn’t require stitches for the defenceman, who has taken 20 or 30 of them during a tough season. Just some glue.
“It’s really more of a scratch than a cut,” Giordano said with a laugh. “You go through a couple weeks where you’re looking good and nothing’s happening, then it happens so fast, whether it be pucks or sticks.
“I sort of ran into the post and cut myself. I was sort of in a battle and fell, (was) pushed — whatever you want to call it — into the post.”
Tim Jackman has been sporting a black and bloodied eye most of the season. His latest one is the result of a couple of scraps during a game against the San Jose Sharks more than a week ago but still gets stopped on the streets.
“The other day, I was at Starbucks and a lady asked me what happened to my face,” Jackman said. “I told her I was in a bar fight.”
Close enough. Pride is on the line every night for a Flames team scratching and clawing to stay afloat in the Western Conference playoff race.
“You’ve seen it a lot lately. Guys have a lot of ice bags and a lot of marks on their face. Guys are sacrificing their bodies. It’s been great,” Jackman said. “The importance of the games has just been so high lately that guys are doing whatever it takes.”
Hope none of them have aspirations of doing any modelling in whatever spare time they have between now and the end of their season.
“There’s a few guys looking ugly right now,” Kostopoulos said. “Sticks are flying, elbows, everything.”
It was a flying puck that nailed him for four stitches on the left cheek Friday night to go with a pair on the lip after a meeting with Mason’s stick.
“It was just a bad pass by Steve Staios — six feet off the ice,” Kostopoulos deadpanned.
“It’s playoff-type hockey right now,” said Jokinen. “It would actually be pretty sad if we wouldn’t need ice packs and we wouldn’t have cuts on our faces.
“It’s not just us. It’s other teams, too. We’ve been battling for our lives here the last couple of months and it’s the same thing pretty much every night — we’re playing teams in the same situation we are.”
About the only guy who hasn’t had an obvious flesh wound in the last couple of months is the guy who’s covered from head to toe.
“Some people say goalies are crazy,” said netminder Miikka Kiprusoff. “But if you look at those guys ... standing in front of the net with the padding they have, that’s pretty tough.”