THE CAPTAIN IS BACK
On Tuesday, head coach Bob Hartley expressed hope that captain Mark Giordano would be able to play against the Phoenix Coyotes this evening.
This morning, the captain was given the go-ahead by team doctors.
"He got the green light, he was cleared. He'll be in the lineup tonight," Hartley announced in his post-practice media address.
While Hartley has made it clear that injuries won't be used as an excuse for losses and lackluster performances, the team sorely missed the veteran rearguard during the six weeks he was sidelined with a broken ankle.
"At the NHL level ... at any level ... I feel that when you wear the C, not only are you a great player but you're a special person," Hartley explained. "Our best leader is coming back to our group.
"I've already sat with him. We're going to communicate during the game. We're going to see how he feels. He's worked tremendously hard so his conditioning should be great."
Giordano is anxious to get back into the lineup, adding the frustration of being unable help his team mounted throughout his recovery period.
"I'm pretty excited to get back and get those first couple shifts in," the defenceman smiled.
"You'd like to get into the game as soon as possible. Obviously a hit or something positive happening in that first shift would be nice."
As Hartley mentioned, Giordano has been a workhorse in the gym over the last six weeks and he feels confident that he has remained in game-shape throughout his recovery.
"I felt pretty good in the past couple of practices but yeah, you've got to get into the game to really know how you're going to feel. I worked pretty hard with Rich [Hesketh] and the guys who have been out so it should be okay."
RAMO BACK IN
Karri Ramo will get his second straight start tonight. The Finnish netminder is coming off a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in which he made 22 saves.
"He looked very solid, very composed," Giordano said. "Earned another start for himself and that's good for him. He's worked hard in practice for a long time and it's nice to see him get rewarded."
SHUTTING DOWN THE 'YOTES
The Coyotes are the back half of a back-to-back Alberta set and while Hartley and his crew are cognizant of this, the bench boss doesn't put a lot of stock on teams tiring out in that second game.
"I think that's good stuff for you guys," Hartley said. "Just look at us last weekend. We go into Anaheim, we play a poor game and the next day we beat the LA Kings with a much better effort and it was back-to-back games.
"[The Coyotes] are a great team. Very few weakness, a well-balanced hockey club. They can score, they can play defence, they have a great goalie. We'll have to be at our best."
ESCAPE THE COLD
Coming to the game tonight? Avoid the cold and head to the Scotiabank Saddledome early! The doors and concessions will open at 6:00 PM MST! The Jumbotron will be running video features from 6:00 PM until game time.
VS. THE COYOTES
All-time vs. the Coyotes: 80-67-20-6
All-time vs. the Coyotes in Calgary: 48-28-9-2
Last 10 games vs. the Coyotes: 4-4-2
Last 10 games vs. the Coyotes in Calgary: 5-4-1
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Mikael Backlund needs 5 games for 200.
David Jones needs 6 games for 300.
TJ Galiardi needs 7 points for 100.
Chris Butler needs 7 games for 300.
Mark Giordano needs 7 games for 400.
Kris Russell needs 10 games for 400.
Derek Smith needs 11 games for 100.
Tonight's game will be broadcast on Sportsnet West at 8:00 PM MST. Sportsnet 960 The FAN will carry the radio broadcast.
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