Gio’s value to Flames ‘no se­cret’


The Cal­gary Flames are on a roll.

They’ve won their last four games, they’re 8-1-1 in the last 10, and have one of the most po­tent top lines in the Na­tional Hockey League.

But they’re about to face some ad­ver­sity with­out their cap­tain Mark Gior­dano, who was sus­pended for two games on Fri­day for knee­ing

Mikko Koivu, and topline cen­tre Mikael Back­lund, who suf­fered a con­cus­sion in Thurs­day’s 2-0 win over the Min­nesota Wild.

They’re also with­out fourth-liner Ryan Lomberg, who was also sus­pended for his late-game ac­tions when he jumped Wild de­fender Matt Dumba, who had laid out Back­lund.

Those play­ers, of course, were added to the fact the Flames are still with­out de­fence­men Michael Stone (blood clot) and

Ju­uso Val­i­maki (lower body) and for­ward Michael Fro­lik (lower body).

Los­ing their cap­tain — their heart and soul leader — is big. Gior­dano has three goals and 26 as­sists (which

was fifth in NHL scor­ing head­ing into Fri­day) and is sec­ond on the Flames with a plus-16 rat­ing.

“Ev­ery­one ob­vi­ously knows how good of a player Gio is,” said Flames de­fence­man Travis Ha­monic. “It’s no se­cret. He’s one of the best, if not the best de­fence­man in the league … He’s a heck­uva per­son, a hel­luva player. He plays the game hard and fair ev­ery night. He’s been do­ing it for 13 years.”

Goal­tender Mike

Smith agreed.

“Your cap­tain is a huge part of your team,” he said. “G’s the back­bone of this team and on any given night, he’s our best player.”

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