CALGARY -- Mark Giordano has already missed three games for the Calgary Flames.
He’s about to miss a whole lot more.
The Flames announced Tuesday that Giordano is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a broken ankle, suffered while blocking a shot in Calgary’s 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 21.
“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.
“It's tough. I was pretty disappointed when I heard the news. You almost feel it's a letdown for the team. But there's nothing I can do about it now, honestly. I wish it didn't happen, obviously, but I'm just going to try and get better as soon as possible.”
The loss of Giordano affects the Flames at both ends of the ice, as the steady defenseman was also off to a terrific start offensively with two goals and nine points in eight games while averaging over 25 minutes of ice time prior to his injury.
Coach Bob Hartley readily admits he couldn’t replace Giordano, but instead is now tasked with finding someone to replace his minutes.
“We have no one that can fill Gio’s spot,” Hartley said. “Dennis Wideman or [Kris] Russell or [TJ] Brodie, they’re all different individuals by themselves and on every team it’s like this, but at the same time you step up, you take the new role that has been given to you.
“All those guys, as soon as Gio’s injury was out there, I had a meeting with the entire team and I challenged the entire team. If one guy picks up five percent and another guy picks up 10 percent and 15 percent, we might compensate. We have to find a way. No one feels sorry for us.
“You ask Derek Smith, you ask Shane O’Brien, you ask anyone on this team if they want extra responsibilities, the answer is pretty simple and is very easy -- it’s yes. It’s up to you when you get that chance to really make the best out of it.”
Smith, who has played just one game for the Flames this season, is hoping to take advantage of the unfortunate opportunity.
“I’m excited,” he said. “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. We have to make the most of it and try to do everything we can to help the team win.”
It was the same song from Russell, whose 27:12 of ice time in Giordano’s absence against the Washington Capitals on Saturday was the second-highest single-game total of his career.
“I think everyone’s got to step up,” Russell said. “He plays in all situations, so it’s going to be a six-man effort to try to help eat those minutes. He’s a big loss, obviously, but I think we just have to show that when a guy gets injured like that we can step up and challenge ourselves to be better.”
That challenge extends off the ice too.
The Flames will look to replace some of the leadership qualities brought by Giordano, who was given the team’s captaincy in September following Jarome Iginla’s departure around the trade deadline last March.
But a leadership-by-committee attitude makes that role a little easier to fill, according to alternate captain Mike Cammalleri.
“Nothing much changes as far as day-to-day,” Cammalleri said. “We’ve definitely done it by committee and that will stay the same. It’s important to understand that Gio is a significant part of our lineup and as a leader undoubtedly, however I firmly believe it’s never about one guy and it’s all about how we play as a group.”
It’s not unlike how the captain himself views the situation.
“Our team's built and played this year really well as a team,” Giordano said. “One guy coming in and out of the lineup isn't going to change the way we play. I'd like to be around the guys as much as possible.
“Being hurt, you're obviously not in it as much as you are when you're playing. I just need to be positive and encouraging.”
Author: Aaron Vickers | NHL.com Correspondent
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