Calgary waives veteran enforcer McGrattan


The Calgary Flames placed Brian McGrattan on waivers Friday.

McGrattan, 33, is regarded as one of the NHL’s toughest and most feared fighters — but this season, he’s been unable to display his handiwork; McGrattan has only made eight appearances for the Flames and has failed to register a single fighting major.

McGrattan scrapped 20 times over the last three seasons combined, per HockeyFights.

A veteran of over 300 NHL contests, McGrattan enjoyed a career year in Calgary last year under new head coach Bob Hartley, scoring four goals and eight points in 76 games while teaming with Kevin Westgarth to form one of the league’s most fearsome pugilistic duos.

The two starred in the now-infamous line brawl against Vancouver from last January:

This year, though, Calgary overhauled its toughness by letting Westgarth walk, then bringing in Deryk Engelland and Brandon Bollig.

After another concussion, Ballard admits playing days could be over


Minnesota defenseman Keith Ballard hasn’t played since suffering a concussion on Dec. 9 — one of the multiple head injuries he’s suffered during his eight-year career — and, on Monday, told reporters this might be the one that ends his career.

“I’m not ready to make that decision right now,” Ballard said, per the Wild website. “I’ll make it if I get to that point, but I might not have to make it depending on how long these symptoms last.

“I definitely think about it, yeah.”

Ballard, 32, suffered the concussion and three facial fractures on this hit from the Islanders’ Matt Martin:

Prior to this, Ballard suffered serious concussion symptoms while a member of the Vancouver Canucks during the 2011-12 campaign. Per the National Post, the veteran rearguard would sleep “as many as 18 hours a day,” and “when he tried to do light exercise, he would get nauseous and go right back to bed. For days.”

Ballard was also shaken up — though he said he didn’t suffer a concussion — during last spring’s playoffs, on a hit from then-Chicago forward Brandon Bollig:

The cumulative effect of all these head injuries has Ballard worried about his future both on and off the ice. He’s previously stressed the importance of fatherhood and the ability to be there for his children once his playing days are over.

“That’s still more important to me than playing hockey,” Ballard said of being a dad. “But I’m not going to make that decision right now. I’m going to let this play out and see how I feel, and hopefully things clear up and I can get back and play.

“If it’s a choice between trying to stick it out and play — and maybe say you’re feeling well when you’re not — or getting hit again and just deciding it’s time to be done, it’s a decision for down the road. But it’s something I’m definitely going to think about.”


Giordano on his visor: ‘I’ll try to get used to it’


Flames captain Mark Giordano is wearing a visor, for now.

The defenseman had a close call Saturday night after Chris Neil’s stick caught him near his left eye.

Giordano left for repairs, which included stitches on his eyelid, and came back sporting a visor.

“It was close — a close call,” Giordano told the Calgary Herald. “But nothing (damaged on) the actual eye, so that’s a good thing. The stitches are on the outside — it didn’t go through (the eyelid) or anything.”

Flames coach Bob Hartley would like to see all his players wear a visor.

“We’re in an era right now when the game is so quick — pucks are flying, sticks are flying — you need to protect your eyes,” he said. “I would like everyone to wear a visor.”

Giordano was part of a group of six Flames not wearing a visor. Dennis Wideman, Brian McGrattan, Brandon Bollig and Deryk Engelland currently don’t wear one.

“It’s just personal preference. They fog up and get water on them from time to time. So that’s a bit of a bother,” Giordano said. “But I’ll try it again because it was pretty close to being a bad eye injury. And I don’t want to, obviously, put myself at risk if I don’t have to. I’ll try to get used to it over the next few weeks.”

Any rookie entering the NHL now must wear a visor part of new rules, which grandfather them in for first year players – something Giordano is in favor of.

“I think it’s a good thing,” said Giordano. “I just think certain guys — myself included — for whatever reason, it was tough to get used to it. I’m going to try it again. Hopefully, I can keep it on for good.”

Video: Bollig takes exception to a Borowiecki hit


Senators’ Mark Borowiecki caught Flames’ Lance Bouma with a big hit early in the second period.

Brandon Bollig didn’t like it and decided it was time to drop the gloves.

Bollig got a minor penalty for roughing in addition to his fighting major on the play.

Video: Bollig runs over linesman Don Henderson

In the final minute of the first period Flames forward Brandon Bollig ran over linesman Don Henderson.

The two were able to share a laugh following the end of the period.