Anytime you’re hurt, you’re always anxious to get back and you know, just trying to slide right in to what’s been going on and get back into working shape - Matt Stajan
CALGARY, AB -- It’s been a patient wait for Matt Stajan.
For the first time since sustaining a knee injury in late October, Stajan joined teammates in practice Monday.
“Anytime you’re hurt, you’re always anxious to get back and you know, just trying to slide right in to what’s been going on and get back into working shape,” Stajan said. “It’s one thing to skate on your own for the last week but you haven’t been skating with guys and getting up to the pace of the game and moving the puck, so it’s good to feel that today.”
Stajan was forced from an Oct. 28 loss against the Montreal Canadiens midway through the third after a knee-on-knee collision with defenseman Jarred Tinordi, who was penalized on the play.
He’s missed 14 straight.
“Anytime you can’t be out there to help your team, I think it’s tough for any player,” Stajan said. “The good thing is we’ve been playing really well and when you’re winning like we are, I think it gives everybody whose on the shelf, unfortunately, it does give you a little bit more time maybe to take the extra day to get healed up and in the long run that’s probably important.
“We don’t have to rush back and with the depth in our organization and, you know, so we’ll go day by day now and hopefully I’ll be in as soon as possible. I want nothing more than to get back out there and play.”
Despite returning alongside teammates, coach Bob Hartley said there was no set timetable for his return.
“Every time we get a player in a full practice we know that he’s getting closer,” Hartley said. “Right now we’re just working on his game conditioning, the timing of the game also.
“We’re going to evaluate day-by-day. We’re going to talk with our medical staff and we’ll just make sure we do what’s best for them.”
Stajan has a goal and an assist and a plus-2 rating in 11 games with Calgary this season.
GIORDANO EARNS NOD
After an impressive month, Flames captain Mark Giordano has been named the NHL’s First Star for November.
“It’s pretty cool, I mean looking around the league there’s some guys who’ve had some pretty good months and some players up there who, you know, obviously are right up and deserve it just as much,” said Giordano, who becomes the first member of the Flames since Jarome Iginla in 2009 to earn the nod. “But it feels good, and again just trying to be consistent and play well every night. More importantly, more happy about what’s going on with our team and the way were playing.”
Giordano had four goals and 16 points, as well as a plus-12 rating, in 13 games through November, including points in seven straight to start the month. He leads all National Hockey League defencemen with 25 points through 25 games, too.
Despite this, the nod caught him a bit off guard.
“I was a little bit shocked at first, just because I’ve seen some of the starts guys have had,” Giordano said. “I mean, obviously (Sidney) Crosby and I’ve seen that (Tyler) Seguin in Dallas scoring a ton of goals and all those guys. So you sometimes, a little bit of shock at the start, but it’s cool to get recognized and anytime you can use things to build confidence it’s good.”
Giordano’s recognition didn’t shock Hartley, though.
“He’s been unreal. Not surprising, though,” the coach said. “From the inside, we always have a chance to work with those guys every day, to see them perform, to see them prepare. He’s the ultimate pro. It’s a great reward. I’m very proud of him and I’m very happy that the NHL selected him.
“People watch. You watch the game. NHL executives watch the game. People watch our team and we’re not winning by luck. We’re winning because we’re applying ourselves in the right details of the game, we’re playing with passion and he’s the one responsible for this.
RAMO NETS PRAISE, TOO
Giordano isn’t the only member of the Flames to earn some league-wide attention Monday. After posting back-to-back shutouts, Karri Ramo was named the NHL’s third star of the week.
“It’s a good recognition I guess but overall it means we played good, the whole team. We got wins but that’s it.”
Ramo went 2-0-0 for the week, stopping all 58 shots he faced to earn back-to-back shutouts and lead the Flames to two wins on their three-game road trip.
He made 32 saves for his first shutout of the season in a 2-0 win against the San Jose Sharks Wednesday. Ramo then posted 26 saves in a 3-0 triumph over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday to extend his personal winning streak to four games.
It’s one shy of his career long set Jan. 22 – March 24, 2014 (5-0-0). The run has helped push his season record to 6-2-1 with a 2.28 goals against average and .919 save percentage.
It’s also helped Ramo earn a third straight start.
“Rammer right now with back-to-back shutouts, it makes it easy on us to keep riding with him,” Hartley said. “But at the same time looks at Hills practice again today. We have two great workers. Whenever we need [Jonas Hiller], he’ll be ready.
“[Ramo] is going to get beat again. As much as we would like shutouts until the end of the year, his middle name’s not ‘plywood’. There’s great shooters in the league or we’re going to screw up somewhere defensively. They’re going to beat us with a good play. It’s all about riding the waves right now.”