Giordano passes first test after injury
STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
|Flames defenceman Mark Giordano during practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alta., Jan. 9, 2012. (MIKE DREW/QMI Agency)
CALGARY - Not every player could sit out for six weeks nursing a serious hamstring injury that involves the words ‘ruptured’ and ‘torn,’ then jump right back into his regular role without looking like he’s missed a single game, never mind 21 of them.
But there was Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano cranking out more than 21 minutes in Thursday’s 1-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks, joining a rush in overtime and assisting on the game-winning goal.
“Nothing Gio does surprises me,” said Flames head coach Brent Sutter. “The kid’s a warrior. He’s always ready to play. He’s gonna throw everything out there to give your team a chance to win. His sacrifice in a game is enormous, to do whatever it takes.
“It was great to see him on the ice and playing.”
Even better to see him suit up for a second straight game Saturday night during the Flames’ meeting with the Los Angeles Kings on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.
Giordano went down in a heap at the Dome in a Nov. 29 game against the Nashville Predators, feeling a pop in his hamstring.
The diagnosis wasn’t great, but he began feeling better after a couple of weeks. Pushing himself for a full week on the ice before jumping into the lineup, there was only one hiccup.
His first shift. First pivot. First fall.
He sees it as his first real test of how well the injury has come along — mentally and physically.
“I don’t know what it was — a rut or something,” Giordano said with a grin. “It was definitely a good test for my hamstring. It was funny, I got pretty airborne.”
While in the air, all those thoughts of what could go wrong came rushing in.
“That’s what goes through your head,” Giordano said.
That, and how embarrassing it would be if the Ducks scored.
“I think they went offside or something, thank God,” Giordano said with a laugh. “It was good to get it out of the way early, I guess.”
He came through late, too, proving once again how important he is to the Flames roster and any potential playoff push they hope to make down the stretch.
Exchanging passes with Blair Jones during the four-on-four overtime, Giordano dropped the puck back and went to the net. He swung and missed on the rebound, but Jones picked it up and deposited it into the net for the critical victory that gave the Flames eight straight wins at home heading into Saturday’s contest against the Kings.
And that was Giordano keeping things simple in his first game back.
“Obviously, you don’t feel as sharp as you would have if you had been playing all along. But you really try to just make an easy play, make the first play that I saw, and keep it really simple defensively,” Giordano said. “My conditioning felt pretty good. I didn’t really notice a difference in that area. Maybe a little bit of rust with the puck and little things like that.”
A little rusty on that first pivot, for sure.
“We caught the guy. He was running up top, the guy that shot him,” Sutter joked, alluding to a sniper in the upper deck that knocked Giordano off his feet on his first shift. “We got him in the stands.”