Flames holding out hope as top defenseman and Norris winner Mark Giordano undergoes MRI

Flames holding out hope as top defenseman and Norris winner Mark Giordano undergoes MRI

Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, missed practice Wednesday to undergo an MRI, the team announced.

Giordano, the Flames’ captain, sustained a lower-body injury in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. He left the game in the second period, after attempting a one-time shot that stretched his legs awkwardly as he fell to the ice.

Interim coach Geoff Ward said after practice the team was awaiting results of the MRI. Without Giordano, Calgary practiced with T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic as the top defensive pairing as it prepared to host the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

“He’s good defensively, he’s physical, he blocks shots,” Brodie said of Giordano. “And offensively, everyone knows what he can do. He’s just an all-around great player.”

Giordano, 36, is in his 13th season in the NHL. He has five goals and 27 points for the Flames, but his true worth is on Calgary’s back line, where he leads the team with an average of 23 minutes, 57 seconds on ice per game. He has 143 shots on net, most of them slap shots from the point.

“One of two things usually happens. You can come together as a group. Or the other way is to let it affect you in a negative way. So, we have a decision to make, obviously,” Ward said. “But we’re confident the guys in the lineup are capable of stepping up.”

Giordano’s career season was 2018-19, when he became the first Flame in franchise history to win the Norris as the league’s best defenseman. He was also just the fourth player 35 or older to win the award, after finishing second among NHL players at his position with 74 points.

“Every team has to go through injuries,” center Derek Ryan said. “If there is a time that he’s going to be out of the lineup, that just means more opportunities for other guys to pick it up.”

The Flames, who raced to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference last season, are right at the cutoff line for the playoffs this season. As play began Wednesday, they were in the No. 2 wild-card slot, with 60 points.

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