Giordano’s status big concern for Flames


Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano underwent an MRI on Wednesday and his status for Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators (and potentially beyond) remains unknown due to a lower-body injury.

Giordano exited the Flames’ 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday midway through the second period and did not return.

Flames coach Geoff Ward did not have much of an update on Wednesday, only to say that Giordano’s status for the time being is all speculation and that it is now in the hands of the team’s doctors and medical personnel.

“He’s your captain. It’s a huge piece for us,” Ward said. “Not only are you losing a guy that’s your top-two defenseman, you’re losing potentially your leader if it turns out to be something serious for some period of time. Anytime you lose a guy of that stature out of your lineup it has the potential to have a big impact. For us, we have to shield ourselves against that and if he does miss some time that we’re ready to step up and fill the void left by him. I don’t think one guy can do that, but a lot of guys can.”

Losing Giordano for any length of time would be a pretty significant issue for a Flames that finds itself in a fight for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. They occupy the second wild card spot in the Western Conference following Tuesday’s loss, while also sitting just two points back of second place in the Pacific Division. They are among that pack of teams in the Pacific that is separated by just a couple of points and seems to have an equal chance of getting home-ice advantage in Round 1 or missing the playoffs entirely.

While Giordano is not playing at the same level that resulted in his first Norris Trophy a year ago, he remains the Flames’ best overall defenseman and one of their top overall players.

Nobody plays more minutes than his 23:57 per game, he is by far the team’s top point-producing defenesemen, and also their most impactful defensive player.

He has only missed five total games since the start of the 2015-16 regular season.

The Flames’ next two games are absolutely massive in terms of the playoff race, hosting a Nashville Predators that is just three points behind them (with multiple games in hand) on Thursday, and then traveling to first-place Vancouver on Saturday. After that stretch they play five consecutive games against teams that are outside the playoff picture.

They have already lost five of their previous seven games, with their only two wins (January 16 at Toronto; January 29 at Edmonton) coming in shootouts. It has been nearly a month since they won a game in regulation.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Scroll Down For:

    Blackhawks F Katchouk will be sidelined by ankle sprain

    Harry How/Getty Images

    CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced Sunday.

    The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

    The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

    The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

    Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

    Getty Images

    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

    The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

    The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

    Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

    The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

    Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

    tampa bay lightning
    Scott Audette/Getty Images

    TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

    The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

    “This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

    Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

    Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

    Rasmus Sandin
    Julian Avram/Getty Images

    TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

    The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

    “Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

    The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

    Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.