UNIONDALE, NY -- Questions about the condition of Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano rolled in. Answers couldn’t be rolled out.
A day after Giordano left Calgary’s 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils late in the third period after being hooked down by Devils forward Steve Bernier, Flames coach Bob Hartley had little to offer up on the condition of the all-star defenceman heading into Friday’s game against the New York Islanders.
“Mark is still under evaluation,” Hartley said. “There’s no update at this time.
“He’s still under evaluation. We will know later.
“He’s under evaluation so he’ll probably be, maybe (be) a game-time decision.”
There’s no understating any loss of Giordano.
The 31-year-old is in the midst of a career-year, holding a share of the team-lead with 48 points alongside Jiri Hudler, while his 37 assists leads all Flames. He represented Calgary at the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus last month and is regarded as a potential Norris Trophy candidate as the League’s top blueliner.
His impact goes well beyond statistics, regardless of how impressive they are.
“His work ethic is the backbone of this team,” forward Joe Colborne said. “You see him on the back check and playing so hard and playing hard minutes. His work ethic in the weight room, the way he prepares for every game, he’s the ultimate pro, I guess, and it’s something that all of us younger guys coming into the league have been able to look up to and try to model ourselves after as much as we can.
“He’s such a leader on this team for that reason. Nothing to do with anything on the ice with how good of a player he is, but his preparation, his approach to the game, his mental approach is second-to-none.”
But the Flames aren’t considering life without all that until official word comes in.
“Still don’t know,” defenceman Kris Russell said.
“Until we find that out there’s no pressure at all. We don’t know so I guess we’ll see tomorrow.
“Until we find out what’s going on we’re just taking it day-by-day. We’re going into the game like we usually would.”
There’s the hope, clearly, that whatever ails Giordano doesn’t keep him out for the long-term.
If he is, it’s time for others to step up.
Corey Potter, who has served as a healthy scratch for 19 games this season and has drawn into just six in over two months, could be called upon should Giordano be completely ruled out for Friday.
Potter isn’t going to try to fill the captain’s shoes, though.
“Oh, I'm not trying to replace him,” Potter said. “That's tough shoes to fill. He's a relentless worker and our leader, it's going to be impossible for me to fill those shoes. I'm just going to come in, play hard and try to help the team win any way I can.
“Hopefully he plays. I don't know what the story is, I don't know what the doctors are saying, but he's our leader and hopefully he's good to go. They haven't told me anything yet.
“I've been waiting for a while to get an opportunity to play, so if he's not ready to go, that's what I'm here for. I'm here just in case somebody goes down, and I'll be looking forward to getting out there if I do.”
Hartley’s uncertain, though.
“We always prepare but we’re not going to get too far ahead,” he said. “[Giordano]’s under evaluation. After this we’re going to be in the situation to react accordingly to what the medical staff will say.”