As if the cards weren't already stacked against the Calgary Flames in this rebuilding season, the NHL announced Tuesday that team captain Mark Giordano will be out of the lineup for the next six-to-eight weeks, recovering from a broken ankle. It is a major loss to a team that was a modestly successful 5-4-2 out of the gate, heading into Wednesday night's home date against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Giordano, who replaced Jarome Iginla as the team's captain back in September, was a big part of the team's unexpectedly solid opening month. When he went out of the lineup, he had recorded nine points in his first eight games, bringing an unexpected offensive component to what was already a well-rounded complete game.
There were even hints that if Giordano continued to play at that same high level, he would be a candidate for one of the final two roster spots on Canada's men's Olympic hockey team. One thing about Giordano – after playing a full season for Moscow Dynamo in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League (2007-08), he wouldn't have any issues with the culture shock.
Giordano has missed the last three games already and the team was 1-2 in that span. The Flames also confirmed that winger Lee Stempniak, who was tied for third with Giordano in team scoring with nine points, has a broken foot. Officially, Stempniak is listed as being out "week-to-week."
The only good news for the Flames is that both Matt Stajan and Michael Cammalleri, who missed eight and seven games respectively off the start of the season with injuries, are back playing. Cammalleri has five points in his first four games back and Stajan two in his first three.