Flames name Giordano 19th captain in team history


The Calgary Flames have found a replacement for longtime captain Jarome Iginla, naming defenseman Mark Giordano the 19th captain in franchise history.

“Mark represents all the qualities that we set as a coaching staff and an organization,” said Calgary head coach Bob Hartley in a statement. “He is a quality man who is proud to represent the Calgary Flames both on and off the ice.

“We are very happy with these three men leading and setting the example for our team, and especially our young players, as we move through this crucial yet exciting period in the history of the Flames franchise.”

Hartley reached a decision on who his next captain would be last week, but told reporters he had “a certain timing,” on making the announcement.

Giordano, 29, was tabbed by numerous people as the logical choice to succeed Iginla as captain. Flames forward Mike Cammalleri told the Calgary Sun last week that Giordano “would be a great captain of this group,” and “is a guy that I have a tremendous amount of respect for.”

A former standout with OHL Owen Sound, Giordano signed with the Flames as an undrafted free agent in 2004 and worked his way through the American Hockey League before making his NHL debut in 2005-06.

(It’s worth pointing out Giordano actually left the organization for a full season in 2007-08, playing in Russia with Dynamo Moscow during a contract dispute.)

He’s since represented Team Canada at the 2010 World Hockey Championships and had a stellar ’10-11 season, posting career highs in games (82), assists (35) and points (43).

That same year, he signed a five-year, $20 million deal with the Flames.

By donning the “C,” Giordano will join a very select group of Calgary captains, a list that includes Hockey Hall of Famers Lanny McDonald and Joe Nieuwendyk.

Of note: with Giordano taking the Flames’ captaincy and Jamie Benn taking Dallas’ yesterday, there are only four teams left that have yet to announce their new captains: Buffalo, Columbus, Edmonton and Tampa Bay.

Related: Dallas names Benn sixth captain in team history

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.