Big Blows to lineup

Gior­dano, Lomberg sus­pended af­ter Wild dust-up

Calgary Sun - - SPORTS - kan­der­[email protected]­media.com @KDotAn­der­son

The Cal­gary Flames will be with­out two key pieces of their lineup along with one of their role-play­ing for­wards as they en­ter a big week­end on the Na­tional Hockey League sched­ule.

That was the re­sult of Fri­day’s phone hear­ings for cap­tain Mark Gior­dano and re­cent call-up Ryan Lomberg, who were both dished out sus­pen­sions fol­low­ing a rau­cous third pe­riod in Thurs­day’s 2-0 win over the vis­it­ing Min­nesota Wild.

On top of it, Mikael Back­lund is out with a con­cus­sion fol­low­ing the hit he ab­sorbed by Wild de­fence­man Matt Dumba. Bill Peters said on Fri­day that Back­lund — the team’s sec­ond-line, top twoway cen­tre who is also a spe­cial teams ace — would be out for both games this week­end.

The Flames square off with the Nashville Preda­tors, who were the thirdbest team in the NHL be­fore Fri­day’s ac­tion, on Satur­day and play the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers in the sec­ond edi­tion of the Bat­tle Of Al­berta at Rogers Place on Sun­day.

Af­ter plead­ing his case, Gior­dano was slapped with a two-game sus­pen­sion for knee­ing Mikko Koivu, who is deal­ing with a lower-body in­jury. Lomberg, who has been play­ing fourth-line min­utes, will also miss two games af­ter he was given an ad­di­tional game on top of his one-game sus­pen­sion ,which was im­me­di­ately as­sessed af­ter try­ing to pick a fight with Dumba in the fi­nal minute of Thurs­day’s vic­tory.

Lomberg, who was re­called on Nov. 23, had hopped the boards and was com­ing to the de­fence of Back­lund af­ter the open-ice hit. Dumba was not pe­nal­ized, but Lomberg was as­sessed a mi­nor penalty for in­sti­gat­ing, a ma­jor for fight­ing and a game mis­con­duct un­der rule 46.12 for be­ing an in­sti­ga­tor in the fi­nal five min­utes of a game. Bill Peters was also slapped with a $10,000 fine on Fri­day.

“There are some black and white rules that we know and re­spect and un­der­stand,” said Flames gen­eral man­ager Brad Tre­liv­ing of Lomberg’s sus­pen­sion, which will cost him $7,634.40 of his $710,000 salary at the NHL level. “I think in Ryan’s case, we love the kid’s heart. In his mind, he’s do­ing the right thing to come to the de­fence of a team­mate that he feels took an un­nec­es­sary hit. So, I to­tally get it from (his point of view).

“But I un­der­stand the rules and un­der­stand the rule­book as it’s ap­plied to those sit­u­a­tions.”

As for Gior­dano’s sit­u­a­tion, Tre­liv­ing called it dis­ap­point­ing.

“The two games, for me, I view it dif­fer­ently,” he said. "Mark plays the game real hard, he’s played it for 13 years with­out be­ing sus­pended. Things hap­pen and I’ll just leave it at that. There was cer­tainly no in­tent to hurt the player, to hurt Koivu at all. I have a great deal of re­spect for Koivu. But we just view it dif­fer­ently, not just look­ing at that play in iso­la­tion, there were a bunch of things that could have hap­pened dif­fer­ently and didn’t and you move on.

“We’ll turn the page. We have a big task at hand (Satur­day) night.”

The video that was re­leased by the NHL’s Depart­ment Of Player

Safety out­lines the ex­act play of the in­ci­dent in­volv­ing Gior­dano which came at 6:17 of the third pe­riod.

Koivu had come down the right wall and took a pass from a team­mate as Gior­dano stepped up in an at­tempt to poke check the Wild cap­tain. Gior­dano missed and, upon re­al­iz­ing that Koivu was about to beat him down the wall, quickly ex­tended his knee out­ward and di­rectly into the knee of Koivu with force.

“Gior­dano in­ten­tion­ally ex­tends his knee to make con­tact when he rec­og­nizes that Koivu is about to carry the puck around him for a pos­si­ble scor­ing chance,” the video ex­plained. “While we ac­cept Gior­dano’s as­ser­tion that he mist­imed the play and was just at­tempt­ing to close off Koivu’s lane and limit his space, the end re­sult of his mo­tion was di­rect and force­ful knee-on-knee con­tact.”

The key points ex­tracted from the video stated that the in­ci­dent was knee­ing, that Koivu suf­fered an in­jury on the play, and there was no rel­e­vant his­tory or past sus­pen­sions hav­ing been given out to Gior­dano in his 784game NHL ca­reer. Prior to this event, he had re­ceived one fine worth $10,000 for slew-foot­ing An­toine Rous­sel on Feb. 17, 2013.

Gior­dano will for­feit $72,580.64 of his $6.75-mil­lion salary for Thurs­day’s in­ci­dent.

“We dis­agree with the de­ci­sion,” Tre­liv­ing said. “But it doesn’t mat­ter what we think. I don’t think by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion Mark was try­ing to in­jure the player or any­thing like that. He was try­ing to close off the lane, ob­vi­ously he made con­tact. You never want to see a player in­jured but I know, from Mark, there was cer­tainly no in­tent to in­jure.”

GETTY IM­AGES

Cal­gary Flames cap­tain Mark Gior­dano has been sus­pended two games for knee­ing the Min­nesota Wild’s Mikko Koivu.

AN­DER­SON KRIS­TEN

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