Mark Giordano couldn’t play past Feb. 25 last season because of torn biceps, but that’s not an issue for him anymore.
“It’s been a while,” Giordano told the Calgary Herald. “I started skating a bit toward the end of last year and shooting the puck a little bit. I got home, took a bit of rest, and got right into the strengthening phase of my recovery. I’ve felt great. Honestly, I’m 100 per cent today.
“There’s nothing in my mind that’s physically going to hold me back.”
Giordano was having a fantastic campaign prior to his injury, which has led some to speculate that he would have won the Norris Trophy had he been able to complete the campaign. Although he still has a season left on his five-year, $20.1 million deal, the Flames moved all uncertainty about his future by inking him to a six-year, $40.5 million extension over the summer.
At least on paper, Calgary is going into the season with one of the most impressive defensive groups in the league as they’ll also feature Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, and Kris Russell.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Retired baseball player Mark McGwire called hockey players “the best athletes on the earth.” (LA Kings Insider)
Guy Carbonneau, Marty Turco, Greg Adams, and Richard Matvichuk are among a group of Dallas Stars alumni that will take part in a charity game against the Israeli National Team. The contest will be held on Sept. 12 at the Dr Pepper Arena located in Frisco, Texas. (Dallas Morning News)
We already wrote about the top-10 players in each position as far as the ratings for EA Sports’ upcoming video game NHL 16 are concerned. From that we could determine who the game’s top rated players were, but there are a lot of players that have the same overall rating, so for example figuring out which player among those with a 94 rating was the highest wasn’t doable. Now it is though as the top-50 overall list is out. (EA Sports)
The 2015-16 Calder Trophy race might be more than just Connor McDavid vs. Jack Eichel. (Postmedia Network)
Patrice Bergeron is looking for the Boston Bruins to be more consistent this season and he thinks part of the solution is to avoid getting comfortable with a one-goal lead. (CSN New England)
Jakub Voracek will donate $1,000 for every point he records in 2015-16 to his new foundation, which seeks to help those with multiple sclerosis. (Puck Daddy)
Dmitry Orlov didn’t play at all with the Washington Capitals in 2014-15 due to a wrist injury, but now he’s finally in a position to resume his career.
“I feel good,” he told CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I’m ready to go. My wrist is fine right now. I can shoot, I can do everything. I feel good, I feel fine and I’m ready to play. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
The 24-year-old defenseman has been practicing at Kettler Capitals Iceplex while he waits for the start of training camp. Orlov has also spent a good amount of the summer working with teammate John Carlson.
“(Orlov’s) skating great, he handles the puck just as great as he ever used to and his shot is definitely there again,” Carlson said.
Orlov, who did record three assists during a three-game AHL conditioning stint towards the end of 2014-15, is hoping to help fill the void left by Mike Green. Although he’s unlikely to match Green’s offensive contributions, Orlov might prove to be a mainstay on Washington’s third defensive pairing.
The Arizona Coyotes signed Dylan Strome to an entry-level deal back in July and roughly two months later they have inked their other 2015 first round pick, per the team’s website.
Nick Merkley has agreed to a three-year entry-level contract with Arizona. He was taken with the 30th overall selection.
That draft pick originally belonged to the Chicago Blackhawks, but the Coyotes acquired it along with Klas Dahlbeck in exchange for Antoine Vermette on Feb. 28. Vermette won the Stanley Cup with Chicago before returning to the Coyotes this summer on a two-year, $7.5 million deal.
Merkley had 20 goals and 90 points in 72 games with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets last season. He scored another five goals and 27 points in 19 playoff games to help the Rockets win the Ed Chynoweth Cup. Kelowna went all the way to the Memorial Cup championship game before falling to the Oshawa Generals in overtime. Merkley recorded three goals and two assists in the tournament.
While Strome might make the Coyotes’ opening game roster, it would be more surprising if Merkley did the same. Still, he’s part of an impressive collection of forward prospects that Arizona has assembled in recent years. While Arizona’s offense was a big weakness last season, in a few years it might be the squad’s strength and Merkley could be a significant part of that.
Related: Coyotes sign Dahlbeck, acquired in Vermette trade
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was recently on TSN 1290 in Winnipeg when the subject of Patrick Kane came up — sort of. Kane was the topic being referenced but neither the interviewer or Toews used his name in this particular exchange.
In the interest of giving what Toews said proper context, here is the full transcription of the question and answer, per the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc:
If you have difficulty reading it in that format, here is it again:
Host: “Jonathan, I do want to ask you one question about being the captain of the Blackhawks. Obviously, most people are aware of a situation that has been developing regarding one of your star teammates. Obviously, I won’t ask you to comment on anything like that but when something like that happens during the offseason does your focus as far as dealing with your teammates as well as the media change going into training camp as the captain of the team?”
Toews: “I think you just have to have confidence that things like that will resolve themselves over time. For the time being, you stay together as a team. You support your teammate … uh, teammate, teammates that are maybe going through a rough patch. You saw it last year with some rumors that spread around through social media about several guys in the locker room. It’s not the first time we’ve seen situations like that and eventually you deal with it internally and you stay together as a team and you’re confidence as individuals and as a group that everyone kind of stays together. At the end of the day we always say to each other that what is said and what is done within the locker room is the only thing that matters. We don’t let anything going on on the outside affect the way we do our jobs and the way we come to work together as a team. Again, I get a lot of credit because I have the ‘C’ on my sweater but I think we have a great group of guys who understand what it takes to be a leader, what it takes to be a part of a good team. Clearly it’s more than just what happens on the ice. There’s always a lot of things being said and things going on off the ice but no matter hwat, we do a good job of sticking together.”
Kane is under police investigation for allegedly raping a woman. He hasn’t been charged with a crime at this time.
A recent Chicago Sun-Times report suggested that the organization feels “disrespected” by Kane and that other teams have inquired about his availability. However, the Blackhawks have not asked him to waive his no-trade clause.
Related: Hawks’ biggest question: What happens with Patrick Kane?