I feel good. I feel like hopefully the rehab is going better than expected, but it's still a bit early for that. I really have to start gaining my strength and stuff back. Hopefully we go really deep and then we have a decision to make afterwards, but right now it's still a bit early. - Mark Giordano
CALGARY, AB -- Mark Giordano doesn’t want to miss out on the fun.
But the Calgary Flames captain knows he has to be careful, at the same time.
Sustaining a torn biceps muscle in February in what was expected to be a season-ending scenario, Giordano was back on skates at Scotiabank Saddledome, taking a spin to see where he’s at, and where he could soon be.
“I'm trying to stay in shape and condition,” Giordano said Monday. “I have to meet with the surgeon a bunch more times before that becomes a reality, but I feel good. I feel like hopefully the rehab is going better than expected, but it's still a bit early for that.
“I really have to start gaining my strength and stuff back. Hopefully we go really deep and then we have a decision to make afterwards, but right now it's still a bit early.”
The injury, coming after getting tangled up with forward Steve Bernier in the late stages of a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 25th, was thought to be a devastating blow to a plucky Flames group that had managed to maintain a presence around in the Western Conference playoff picture through the first five months of the regular season.
There’d be no chance, most predicted, that Calgary could hang around sans Giordano.
The Flames did, and it might turn what was originally a season-ender into a temporary setback.
“We know where Mark’s injury is at,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. “The next step of the process was getting him out for a little twirl. We’re sort of living day-by-day now. That’s down the road a little bit. But yeah, our first priority with Mark is making sure we’re staying with the program in terms of the proper rehab procedure.
“That’s the next step is get a little twirl on the ice. That’s not anything that’s weighing on our minds here.
"We’re worried about Wednesday.”
Giordano was in the midst of a Norris Trophy caliber year at the time Bernier’s stick got wedged between his back and his arm while attempting a slap shot to clear the puck out of his own end and out of harm’s way a month and a half ago.
He had 11 goals and 36 assists through 60 games, ranking him first -- a tie at the time -- in points among defencemen.
“I went through my first lengthy injury of my career this year and it was some of the toughest…there were some real tough days, especially when you’re watching the team,” teammate Joe Colborne said. “When the team wins it’s a little easier but after a loss it’s tough.
“I can only imagine it’s that much harder when we’re going to the playoffs.”
The original diagnosis was four-to-six months. Giordano is midway through his seventh week.
He’s cautiously optimistic.
“You really have to be smart,” Giordano said. “This isn't a minor injury. It's a major injury. If you don't rehab it properly, it could affect you down the road. So I'm not going to push it to that extreme or take a risk. And it's not me -- our staff won't let me. They're great. They understand that I want to get back in there bad, but they're going to make sure it's 100 percent before I come back. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks and go from there.”
When the Flames open a seven-game set in the Western Conference First Round against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, Giordano will remain on the sidelines.
He won’t be out of sight, though. Nor out of mind.
The captain declared he would still find a way to lead.
“I think just being around, trying to sort of be an easy guy to talk to for some guys when things aren't going well,” Giordano said. “It's tough not playing, but just positive reinforcement. If I see a young guy have a great game, I'm going to let him know and try to pump him up a bit. The same goes with some of our veterans. I really enjoy being around.
“I feel like you fall out of your routine pretty quick if you just sit at home and do nothing all day, so I come to the rink. I'm trying to get better quick, first of all, and then be in all the meetings and be around the guys. It's a lot of fun.”
It’s helpful, too.
“He’s the backbone of our team,” Colborne said. “He’s our captain. When he speaks, guys listen. To be that kind of sounding board we can bounce ideas off him and just talk to someone who might not be the coach but someone who’s in the room all the time.
“He has so much respect of the guys here that it’s always nice to have him around.”
Whether it's on or off the ice.