The Calgary Flames could be without their captain until Christmas.
The Flames announced on Tuesday that Mark Giordano will miss six-to-eight weeks with a broken ankle.
“It's brutal,” Giordano said. “You don't want to miss any time but if you have to, you're hoping it's something not as significant as that time frame. But there's nothing I can do. Now, I just have to take care of it properly and get back.”
Giordano suffered the injury blocking a shot in the second period of Calgary’s 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings eight days ago.
“I sort of felt it but, honestly, it didn't feel that bad,” he said. “I played the third but really didn't feel it much. The next day, in my (skate) boot, I started feeling it. I still didn't think it was that bad until I got the scan.”
He finished the game and took the pre-game skate against the Phoenix Coyotes the next night before withdrawing.
It’s a big loss for coach Bob Hartley, who needs to find a way to fill Giordano’s 25-minutes a game.
“We can’t win with guys that we don’t have. It’s as simple as this,” Hartley said. “It’s not how tough, how easy it is. Number one, it’s never easy to win in the NHL and number two, it opens the door for some other guys for extra responsibilities. That’s the only good part of an injury.”
That suits Smith just fine.
“Obviously you don’t want to see anyone go down, especially your captain, your leader, but it’s going to give guys like me and [O’Brien] more opportunity to get into the lineup and play,” he said. “We have to make the most of it and try to do everything we can to help the team win.”
STEMPNIAK SIDELINED, TOO
Giordano isn’t the only player relegated to a walking boot, either.
The Flames also announced Tuesday that forward Lee Stempniak will also miss time with a broken foot.
Stempniak, listed as week-to-week, was understandably discouraged by the injury.
“It's frustrating,” he said. “You come into the start of the season and you're feeling good, have a good training camp. I felt the team was playing well, and to not be a part of it is tough.
“You work so hard to play the games and not being able to play is tough. When you feel like you're playing well and contributing and helping the team, it makes it more frustrating. Hopefully, I don't miss too much time, I can get back on the ice at some point soon, and get out there quicker than expected.”
The 30-year-old has four goals and nine points in 10 contests this season, with each point coming in a different game. His consistency is not be easily replaced, but Hartley noted it’s a situation not unlike Giordano’s.
“It’s going to give some extra responsibilities to some other guys whether its on penalty killing or power play or 5-on-5. [Stempniak] was on the ice in many key situations for us. Well, [Stempniak]’s not here. We still need to go. We can’t shut down.”
COLBORNE READY FOR T.O.
Acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in late September, Joe Colborne is ready to face his former team Wednesday night.
“You always want to show well against your old team, but I’ve moved on from that,” Colborne said. “I’m so excited with the opportunity that we have here as a team and right from day one it’s been a great experience for me and they’ve given me a great opportunity, especially these last few games, playing with some great players.
"I couldn’t be happier with where my career is right now.”
The 23-year-old has one goal and three points in 10 games for the Flames this season.
But beyond the point totals, Colborne has impressed his new coach.
“Judging from close, judging from far with Joe, he’s so open to learning,” Hartley said. “He’s learning to use his size to his advantage. He has great skills. He has a great understanding of the game whether it’s in video sessions or just on the ice. He makes a mistake and right away he can almost figure it out by himself and that’s very rare for a young player. So far, I’ve been very impressed with Joe.”
“I felt that Sven (Baertschi) had a real strong game, was skating, was first in the corners. He made some great plays. The part with the puck, he has it. What he has to learn is to compete for a full 60-minutes. There’s some dirty areas out there. It’s not all chocolate cake out there. You need to put your working gloves on, you have to put your boots and you have to dig in corners, battle in front of the net and he’s a young player and like many young players, you can’t just do the parts that you like.”
The Flames host the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday (6 p.m. MT, TSN).
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