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Injured Giordano hoping for lengthy run from Flames

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com

CALGARY -- Mark Giordano is making strides. Literally.

Giordano sustained a torn biceps muscle in his left arm in late February in what was expected to be a season-ending injury, but the Calgary Flames captain has resumed skating on his own and isn't ready to rule himself out for the Stanley Cup Playoffs just yet.

"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 New Jersey Devils forward Steve Bernier in the final minute of a 3-1 win on Feb. 25, was expected to be the final blow to a plucky Flames group that had managed to maintain a presence in the playoff picture through the first five months of the season.

Calgary rallied to a 12-6-3 record over the final 21 games of the regular season without Giordano to earn its first trip to the playoffs since 2009 and a date against the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference First Round. Game 1 is Wednesday at Rogers Arena (10 p.m. ET; CBC, USA, TVA Sports).

It might've given Giordano an opportunity to extend his season too, but it would take a lengthy run from the Flames before he could return.

"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."

The original diagnosis had him missing 4-5 months. Giordano is roughly six weeks removed from undergoing surgery to repair the arm.

He finds himself 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."

Before sustaining the injury, he set up the game-winning goal in New Jersey. Giordano's assist on Sean Monahan's goal gave him a new career-high in points at 48 and, at the time, put him on top of the NHL's scoring race among defensemen.

The 31-year-old was among those earning consideration for the Norris Trophy, and potentially the Hart Trophy, until his season was stopped at 61 games.

Now he's left to find another way to support teammates as they meet the Canucks in the opening round of the playoffs.

"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."

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