CALGARY - The limp in his walk and look on his face said it all.
Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano will be on the shelf much longer than everybody was hoping.
An MRI showed Giordano suffered partially ruptured tendons in his hamstring, and it will be around three weeks before he can even be re-evaluated for a more concrete return date.
“Not news you want to hear,” Giordano said at the Saddledome Friday.
It’s a big loss for the Flames, who are already losing pace in the NHL’s Western Conference playoff chase. Giordano has averaged more than 22 minutes per game this season — second most on the team — and collected four goals and eight points in 23 games before getting injured.
“We’re going to need a lot of guys to step up in this situation,” said GM Jay Feaster.
“It’s not just the kids. It gives a lot of guys a chance.”
The Flames are also without defencemen Anton Babchuk (hand) and Brett Carson (back).
Babchuk is to have the pins removed from his hand in the coming days, but is still a few weeks away from playing.
Carson is on a conditioning assignment with the AHL Abbotsford Heat.
The plan is for Carson to rejoin the Flames Dec. 11, after playing five games for the Heat, and be with the club for its four-game trip in the middle of the month.
Calgary summoned Joe Piskula, a 27-year-old defenceman who played five games for the Los Angeles Kings in 2006-07, but has been in the minors since.
“The good news from an organizational perspective is we have more depth than we had last year and now it’s a matter of putting that depth to the test,” Feaster said.
Still, you know they’d rather have Giordano patrolling the blueline, but the freak injury in Monday’s clash with the Nashville Predators has put him on the shelf.
“Just an innocent play. I went down to block a shot and on the way back up, I think what happened is my skate got caught in a rut in the ice,” he said.
“I felt a sharp pain in the back of my leg. I knew something was definitely wrong.”
Still with the defence, Cory Sarich, who was scratched in four straight games and nine of 11 outings prior to Thursday’s clash with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has reportedly asked to be traded.
Feaster wouldn’t confirm or deny the request and said: “Those conversations are not something I’m comfortable sharing with the media. Cory is an important part of the group here, an important part of the mix right now. As I said, it isn’t just the kids that have an opportunity, it’s other players on the blueline with an opportunity to step up, and that includes Cory.”
All kinds of teams are looking for help on the blueline, but Sarich’s contract may come into play right now. The 33-year-old is in the final year of a contract with a US$3.6-milion salary cap hit.