VANCOUVER, BC -- He’s nowhere near ready to join his teammates in game action, but having captain Mark Giordano around in the morning skate is a boost for the Calgary Flames.
Giordano, sidelined since late February after undergoing surgery to repair a torn biceps muscle, skated alongside -- in limited fashion -- his crew in preparation for Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday (8 p.m. MT; CBC, SN960).
“He’s our leader and has been from the start,” alternate captain Kris Russell said. “He’s a big reason we’re at where we are at today. Just seeing him on the ice, he looks good. He’s a guy that works hard off the ice. It’s a boost to our confidence knowing that he’s close.”
Giordano sustained the injury after getting tangled up with forward Steve Bernier in the final minute of a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 25.
He underwent surgery to repair the injury in March, a procedure initially thought to be season ending.
But Giordano, who led all NHL defencemen in scoring at the time of the injury, resumed skating Monday on his own in Calgary and joined teammates on ice at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Wednesday.
"Getting back in shape, it's all part of the plan -- the process of rehab,” Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. “With an upper-body injury the good thing is that we can get him skating and everything. He's our captain and there's not a guy that preaches the good news like Mark Giordano. To be around our team while he gets back into game shape, I think it's a great combo for us."
With just 275 games of experience, compared to 806 on Vancouver’s side, the addition of Giordano, at least in pre-game form, is a big one.
“He's such an influence on everyone on the team,” Brodie said. “To have him out there with us, it's definitely nice. He brings a little bit of that relaxing atmosphere to the guys, I think, and calms us down.”
“It just shows how much he’s come back from his injury,” Johnny Gaudreau said. “He’s already back skating on the ice with us a little bit. It gets the guys a bit more motivated because you see him out here and it’s just exciting to have him back on the ice.”