The only one good thing coming out of this is that you won’t take it for granted. Getting to the playoffs is a hard thing to do year after year. The really good teams find a way to get in year after year and they find a way to get in. We’ve got to find a way to get up there and be in that conversation as well. - Mark Giordano
CALGARY, AB -- No one wears it harder than the one who wears the ‘C’.
A 10-win drop?
A 20-point decrease?
A tee-time instead of a first round date to the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
It stings Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano.
“It’s tough,” said the captain on Monday’s locker clean-out day. “It’s still a tough day and it’ll be tougher in the next few days when you start watching playoff games. Like I said, if there’s one good thing that will come out of this, and maybe for the young guys who made it in there first year last year, you take it for granted a little bit and think it’s easy to get in and it’s not. It’s really tough to get in.
“It hurts every time that we don’t get in. You see the years go by for sure. That’s what I mean when I say we can’t take that for granted. My first few years, the Flames were a team that got in every year and you just expected it almost. There’s been some rough ones, and last year not being able to play was rough for me. It was great to see the organization get back in it last year and we have to get back there.”
It was Giordano who was forced to watch, from the side, as Calgary defied naysayers and qualified for the 2015 playoffs in his absence. He sat idle, buoyed by a torn biceps tendon.
He wouldn’t be afforded the option of playing in the postseason for the first time since 2007.
With naysayers singing a different tune entering the 2015-16 season, it was instead the Flames who were fooled, sputtering out of the gate after a big off-season.
Big additions to personnel.
Plenty of momentum from the previous spring.
All for naught.
“For us as a team, it was disappointing,” said Giordano, among the quartet of Flames skaters to decline an invite to represent Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in May. “Obviously, everyone knows about the bad start and then just really inconsistent. We had our up, we had our downs, but at the end of the day it wasn’t enough.
“I think we all came in expecting to make the playoffs and then you get off to that start and it just felt like we were chasing it all year and trying to find a way to get back into the race.
“You come into the season really optimistic. I thought we made some really good moves in the offseason and I think our start hurt us, obviously falling behind and not being able to get back into the playoff mix.”
Lost, perhaps in the short-term on Giordano, is his career-year.
A career-high 21 goals, the most by a blueliner since Al MacInnis netted 28 in the 1993-94 season.
A personal-best 56 points, eight ahead of his previous total.
But the playoffs are the end goal.
Not personal marks.
“The only one good thing coming out of this is that you won’t take it for granted,” Giordano said. “Getting to the playoffs is a hard thing to do year after year. The really good teams find a way to get in year after year and they find a way to get in. We’ve got to find a way to get up there and be in that conversation as well.”
Because the captain wants back in.
“The message is how disappointing it is, but going back, the message is not taking it for granted, making the playoffs in this league,” he said. “I think it’s a tight league, every team on every night is a tough game to win.
“Don’t take it for granted and we have to do everything we can to get in next year.”