The Calgary Flames have been on of the NHL’s feel good stories during the first quarter of the season.
But the loss of defenseman Mark Giordano is a hard kick to the lower midseason. He been like a poor man’s Scott Stevens for Calgary, serving as captain, playing tough, logging big minutes, contributing points and helping young partner T.J. Brodie settle in at this level.
Now Giordano could miss the next two months with a broken ankle. For a team trying get by with marginal goaltending from Karri Ramo and Joey McDonald, this injury could be disastrous.
The Flames are facing a makeover under new hockey czar Brian Burke, so this would not be a great time to add veteran defensive help. If anything, this team needs to get younger.
Doing that without Giordano providing grit, leadership and defensive zone stability will be difficult.
For reasons nobody can comprehend, the Calgary Flames have refused to hit the “reset” button after years of sputtering.
The franchise sought incremental upgrades instead, allocating hefty payroll chunks to add veterans like Mike Cammalleri and Dennis Wideman. Patchwork roster repairs haven’t helped and the Flames are destined to miss the playoffs yet again.
They doomed themselves by losing nine straight road games, allowing 38 goals in the process. At no point this season have the Flames strung together three consecutive victories.
So why not move out the twilight-year veterans, gather some more draft picks and prospects and start anew?
That time may finally be coming – and coach Bob Hartley acknowledged that.
"Right now, there's no lying about this," he told Calgary reporters Sunday after his game-day skate. “We are in trouble, and we have to rally.
"I've been talking for a long time about a big string of wins. Well, if it doesn't happen very soon, we'll have to start preparing for other things.”
Barring a miraculous turn of events, iconic Flames winger Jarome Iginla will finally get into play. TSN reports that Iginla has given the team a list of teams he is willing to move to, including the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.
Calgary Sun scribe Randy Sportak suggests defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Mark Giordano, should also be moved, if they are willing to waive no-movement clauses. Both would have some real value in the marketplace.
Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff probably offers less value, since most contenders seem more than comfortable with their situations in net.
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