Flames notes: NHL squad keeps fans in dark about two key injured players
Exact ailments and recovery timetables for Stempniak and Giordano shrouded in secrecy despite their very public appearances in walking casts
The rampant paranoia, the John le Carre/CIA coverup secrecy levels surrounding NHL injuries have, alas, reached epidemic, leaguewide proportions.
“Lower-body” injuries could, technically, mean anything from an inflamed ingrown toenail to amputation below the knee.
Well, it can be revealed — and was, in fact, in front of a couple thousand witnesses Sunday — that the “lower” in “lower body” for both Mark Giordano and Lee Stempniak are below the shin. On the right-hand side.
Even given that shocking bit of see-for-yourself information, the exact nature of those injuries, or possible recovery timetables, remain shrouded in the usual tired, confusing covert secrecy.
With the Flames flogging — technically, unveiling — their new third jersey at the first Flames Fest down at the Saddledome, both the highly-influential Giordano and the highly-dependable Stempniak made their way onto the ice for the obligatory photo op with their right feet/ankles encased in protective walking boots. This, no matter how screechingly silent the organization wants to be on the injury issue, cannot be good. (You’d think maybe a week after the fact the guy shelling out for one of those spiffy new jerseys might appreciate at least an indication of why and possibly how long the captain of his favourite team might be missing from the battle field?).
And despite the rather unmissable footwear being modelled by both players, the team would did not provide an update on the situation.
Well, Giordano has been out a full week now. Three games.
Stempniak, meanwhile, was forced to sit out his first of what could be many in Saturday’s 5-2 dusting of the Washington Capitals.
We know the new jerseys will be on the ice Friday when the Detroit Red Wings pay a visit, because the Flames came clean there.
Giordano and Stempniak? Hmmm, that remains something more of a mystery.
BRODIE EARNS PRAISE
In the aftermath of the spirit-raising bossing of the Caps, coach Bob Hartley singled defenceman T.J. Brodie out for special praise, calling his performance the best he’d yet seen from the young D-man.
“Not only for this season,” Hartley reiterated Sunday, “like the last 48 games (of the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 campaign) also. Defensively he made some unbelievable decisions. He had jump in his play. He was creative with the puck. He put pucks at the net. T.J., what he has to learn is that he’s gonna get better. He doesn’t know how good he is.
“I think that he has to create higher expectations for himself and at the same time believe he can be a real good defenceman in this league. He can be a top defenceman in this league. It’s our job to get this out of him. He’s getting quite a big chunk of ice, and it’s not by gift. He deserves it.”
Brodie, who logged 26:18 in ice time and was even on the night, lagged behind the pairing of Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell on the stat sheet (each +5, over 28 minutes and contributed two points), but Hartley couldn’t stop gushing about his 23-year-old puck-moving point man.
“I’ve coached many players and with maturity they grow into a role and suddenly their career takes off,” he said. “I think with T.J., with our situation over here, with a bunch of young players, I think the quicker he’ll realize this, the quicker he’ll be a star player in this league. This is a player that can make a difference.”
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