Mark Giordano, out since Feb. 25 with torn biceps, took part in a full team practice with the Calgary Flames on Saturday, but head coach Bob Hartley quelled the notion of a dramatic and sudden return to the lineup.
“Today, it’s a good step in the right direction but he’s still very far,” said Hartley, as per Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun.
Despite the absence of their captain, best defenseman and arguably best player in Giordano, the Flames still managed to exceed expectations by getting into the post-season.
After a victory in the first round over Vancouver, the Flames are in tough (very tough) against the Anaheim Ducks. Game 2 of that series goes Sunday.
Calgary’s GM GM Brad Treliving said at the beginning of March that his prize blue liner was done for the season as a result of the injury. On Saturday, Giordano expressed optimism with the recovery.
“I don’t know,” Giordano told ESPN. “I think overall, rehab’s gone really well so far. You can’t really put a timeline on it, you’ve got to see how you function out there and how you feel. But so far everything’s gone really smoothly. So hopefully it keeps going that way.
“We haven’t really talked about putting a date on it. It’s going to be a lot more of this stuff and ramping it up more before I can even think of playing.”
The Flames trail the Ducks 1-0 in the series, after a brutal 6-1 loss in Game 1.
We continue to wait for a decision from Mike Babcock. Will he remain as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, or choose to take over behind the bench of another National Hockey League team, starting a new path in his career?
Don Cherry, during his Coach’s Corner segment on Friday, offered his input and advice for Babcock:
“Of all the guys in the world that should tell Babcock what to do, it’s me,” said Cherry, a Jack Adams Award winner as the NHL’s coach of the year with the Boston Bruins in 1975-76, as per Sportsnet.
“I have some suggestions for him,” Cherry continued. “I would say San Jose. Don’t go to a rebuilding team, it’ll break your heart. You only have one life, enjoy it. Go to San Jose. I bet he goes to San Jose, I think that’s where he’s going to go.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning can take a 2-0 series lead on the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, and Steven Stamkos has yet to score in this post-season.
That’s now eight straight 2015 playoff games without a goal for Stamkos, who recorded 43 goals during the regular season. It could be that he’s soon due for a breakout performance. But the opportunities to score, he admitted to Sportsnet.ca, have been increasingly more difficult to come by.
In Game 1 against Detroit, Stamkos has eight shots on net. Since then, he’s had only 17 combined in the last seven games.
“It’s just getting tougher and tougher,” Stamkos told Sportsnet.ca. “When you’re out there and you’re trying to get to the net, there’s guys obviously that have a job and they don’t want to be on the video the next day because they let you go in the slot or let you have an opportunity to score.”
Luckily, for Stamkos and the Lightning, Tyler Johnson has taken some of the pressure off with his playoff-leading seven goals. No other player on Tampa Bay’s roster has more than two goals so far since the Stanley Cup tournament began.
The Minnesota Wild has met the Chicago Blackhawks three years in a row in the post-season, getting eliminated in each of the previous two occasions.
With Devan Dubnyk enjoying a resurgence in his career since getting traded to Minnesota out of Arizona and a deep lineup that has gained valuable experience in playoff hardship, the Wild has been a force since turning its season around in mid-January, and this team’s chance of finally getting past the Blackhawks in the playoffs has never been this good.
Still, Minnesota trails this second-round series 1-0 after a loss on Friday.
But the Wild’s valiant comeback attempt, which fell just short despite roaring back from a three-goal deficit in the second period, has the Blackhawks on notice.
“They won the game, but they’re probably not feeling too well about the pushback we had. We came here to get one and hopefully we get one,” said Chris Stewart, as per The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The Wild and Blackhawks meet in Game 2 on Sunday in Chicago.
“We’re looking at a team that’s played as well as anyone over the last 50 games,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville told USA Today.
“That’s our challenge. They’re dangerous, they’re fast. They’re quick. They have a lot of weaponry in their attack. They have a mobile defense. We have a dangerous team on the other side and they’re going to get their turns. Every game is going to be on the line.”
The votes are in. Johnstown, Pennsylvania, will host the inaugural Kraft Hockeyville USA event, which will feature an exhibition game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning on Sept. 29.
The event will be broadcast live on NBCSN. The Cambria County War Memorial Arena will also receive $150,000 in arena upgrades, including to its ice-making equipment and scoreboard.
“The response we’ve seen from these communities and their rallying support for each other has been truly inspiring,” said Jane Hilk, chief marketing officer and president, Kraft Beverages and Snack Nuts Division, in a statement.
“Since the voting period began, we’ve received an astounding 20.4 million votes from passionate hockey fans across the country, and are so proud to award the inaugural ‘Kraft Hockeyville™ USA‘ title to such a well-deserving community.”