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Giordano production, consistency keys for surging Flames

Captain has 32 points in 30 games, first-place Calgary won six of past seven

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- It may seem as if Mark Giordano never gets tired, but the 35-year-old Calgary Flames defenseman has a different take.

"If you came and sat on the bench beside me after a shift, you'd see me breathing pretty heavy after most shifts," he said.

Perhaps, then, it's better to say Giordano, in his 13th season in the NHL, is showing no signs of slowing down. The Flames captain continues to play major minutes, averaging a team-high 24:30 over 30 games, 18th-most in the League. It is the ninth consecutive season Giordano has averaged more than 23 minutes per game.

 

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"He's a real proud man, a guy who does it right each and every day," Calgary coach Bill Peters said. "He's a hard worker, he looks after himself and he has a great hockey mind. He understands the game defensively, offensively and it allows him to play very aggressively and have the puck a lot."

Ask teammates and opponents why Giordano has been so steady, and they credit the same thing.

"The biggest thing is his work ethic," said Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith. "He's a professional off the ice with the way he approaches the game, so that gives him the best chance possible. I just think his mentality off the ice has allowed him to have that consistency."

Giordano is a big part of the success for the Flames (20-10-2, 42 points), who are first in the Pacific Division and winners in six of their last seven games. They play at the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday (1:30 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, SNW, NHL.TV), the start of a three-game road trip.

Known for his defensive play, Giordano has helped spark offense for Calgary with 32 points (4-28-32), which is tied for third among League defensemen. Thomas Chabot of the Ottawa Senators and Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs lead the NHL with 33 points. Giordano leads all defensemen in assists with 28.

Video: PHI@CGY: Giordano notches SHG on the rush

He's been exceptionally good of late, scoring eight points (1-7-8) in the past three games.

"My big thing is to try and be good defensively," Giordano said. "And then I've been put in a lot of good situations offensively this year."

Giordano credits part of his scoring success to being on Calgary's first power-play unit with forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk. Giordano has 10 points, all assists, on the power play.

But Giordano's value to the Flames extends beyond scoring, even though his 410 points are 11th-most in franchise history.

"He's saved my butt a couple of times this year," Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie said. "I always know he's going to be back there if something breaks down. He's a guy who can do everything: provides offense, he can check guys down and he's physical. I've been with him for a long time now, and he's still the same player as when I started [in 2010]."

Predators defenseman Roman Josi said, "he's an unbelievable player. He's got a great shot and has been doing it for so many years, playing consistently and playing that well for so many years. I love watching him play. He's really smart, plays hard and plays with an edge."

Giordano keeps his offseason workouts consistent, tweaking where necessary to remain on top of his game. As the NHL gets faster, Giordano said speed has been his primary point of emphasis in summer training.

Video: DAL@CGY: Giordano roofs shot over Khudobin's glove

"As far as the gym, we do a lot of core, a lot of balance stuff. Most of our lifts are isolation, so you do one leg at a time for strength," Giordano said. "But I've always felt like the best way to improve is on the ice. I have a great on-ice skating coach [Brad Wheeler]. That's his main focus, is always speed and acceleration. I think it's been helping me for sure.

"I feel if you have your legs going and you're in good shape, cardio-wise, everything else falls into place. When you make mistakes out there, it's usually because you're tired and you're caught out there. So, I try to focus on speed an endurance, for sure."

Giordano has never been a finalist for the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman. Though he has not finished higher than sixth place (2014-15) in voting, St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, Giordano's teammate in Calgary from 2009-13, said Giordano should be in the conversation.

"[Scoring] usually determines it in a lot of people's minds, who the best defenseman is, for some reason. But he's a guy that plays a real all-around game," Bouwmeester said. "He plays against other teams' best players and he's their best defenseman. I don't know who else is having a good year. The way their team had evolved, they've got some real offensive guys and he was always a skilled guy who could be put in all situations and thrive. It doesn't really surprise me what he's doing."

Nor does it surprise that he's been playing so well for so long.

"I try to work hard," Giordano said. "I feel fresh and the body feels good, so hopefully that keeps going."

NHL.com correspondents Aaron Vickers, Robby Stanley and Lou Korac contributed to this report

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