Big Blows to lineup
Giordano, Lomberg suspended after Wild dust-up
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.”
Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano has been suspended two games for kneeing the Minnesota Wild’s Mikko Koivu.