Thursday, December 31, 2009

NEWSFLASH: the refs give gio the shaft (AGAIN)

i'm heading down to the 'dome tonight with two of my favorite people in the universe to watch the suddenly hot flambés play the truly unfortunate greasers.... i'll tell you what, though: our recent wins have been closely fought, hard-hitting matches against mediocre (at best, in the case of the northerners) teams and not downright domination in any shape of the word. unless you're talking about dion over kopitar.... cause that was a HIT. ;)

if you're looking for me, i'll be the half-cut idiot in the #5 GIO jersey with the stupid cardboard new years hat.... ;)

anyhow. a quick note on last night's game:

i've mentioned before how utterly shafted gio gets when it comes to officiating. it's actually kindof hilarity, at this point, cause i don't think i've ever seen a player draw the short stick as often, where the zebras are concerned....

historically, there was the one (ahhh, infamy) from dec 29/08, where veilleux scored for the wild but play continued; the whistle didn't blow until gio tossed the puck over the glass, drawing a delay of game penalty. after review, the goal was awarded but somehow the penalty stood and gio sat in the box into the third period.... the refs admitted in the post-game that they'd screwed up and were hella glad that neither the PP nor the PK resulted in a score. hello insult ? meet injury.

a few weeks ago (and maybe someone can remind me what game it was so i can post the highlight here), gio took a stick in the face and the refs called a two-minute minor on the opposition. #5 was CLEARLY bleeding from the mouth, and our captain was vocalizing his case, but the refs still didn't add on the extra two.... NHL RULE 60.2: Any contact made by a stick on an opponent above the shoulders is prohibited and a minor penalty shall be imposed. apparently (this was news to me), the second minor for drawing blood, on said high-stick, is awarded by referee's discretion. hm.... well ---here's the thing about that regulation: this particular instance (when it was my boy giordano who was bleeding) is the ONLY TIME i've EVER seen a dude take a stick in the face, bleed, and NOT have the aggressor get the extra two. EVER.

classic giordano.

last night was the best, though, i gotta say.... after the puck jumped gio's stick at the blueline, and with dustin brown in position to take off towards kiprusoff, my #5 takes a stick infraction (hooking/tripping). but... but wait !!! brown is awarded a penalty shot ?!?! how the hell do ya FIGURE ??!? well here's the thing: if I knew it shouldn't have been a penalty shot, my thinking is that the current era of national hockey league referees and linesmen might want to re-read the effin' rulebook:


In cases where a player is fouled from behind (Rule 91(b)), four criteria must be met in order for the Referee to award a penalty shot:

  1. The infraction must have taken place in the opponent's half of the ice, i.e. over the center red line.
  2. The infraction must have been committed from behind.
  3. The player in possession and control (or, in the judgment of the Referee, clearly would have obtained possession and control of the puck) must have been denied a reasonable chance to score.

    (NOTE) The fact that he got a shot off does not automatically eliminate this play from the penalty shot consideration criteria. If the foul was from behind and he was denied a "more" reasonable scoring opportunity due to the foul, then the penalty shot should be awarded.

  4. The player in possession and control (or, in the judgment of the Referee, clearly would have obtained possession and control of the puck) must have had no opposing player between himself and the goalkeeper.
let's break this down a little bit, in the case of last night's game --exhibit A:

1. the infraction occurs on the WRONG side of the red line.
2. infraction is committed from behind (okay, fine, sure...)
3. hard to say if dustin brown was denied a reasonable chance to score, being that he's A HECKUVA LONG WAY FROM THE NET !!!!
4. this one's the kicker for me: i'd like to think that jokinen, in full stride (as seen above), would most certainly have made it back to finish the play between brown and miikka kiprusoff. if gio had neither tripped nor hooked the LA player, brown still would have had to get his feet going and his speed up, by which time jokinen would most definitely have been in his way.....

no matter. brown whiffed the shot, gio avoided the box, and the flames won the game.
let's hope tonight can go as well !!!!!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

i guess i should weigh in.....

so the canadian olympic team will be announced in an hour and therefore this is my last shot at throwing in my two cents before the deadline. my selections make up a bit of a frankenteam, but i think they belong together and could win a gold.... so when yzerman goes a different direction (and no doubt he will), i'll spend two weeks in february arguing that MY team canada includes shane effing doan and i still think he's got captaincy potential....

realistically, i'm not sure i've really thought about it enough to be attempting this with any kind of respectable authority, but here goes:

1. brodeur, luongo, fleury
way too easy. if the goalies actually deviate from this list, my jaw will hit the floor. i would've said cam ward over fleury in the summer but a terrible start to the season, coupled with the truly unfortunate thigh laceration. make the selection for team canada's netminders wayyyy obvious.

2. heatley - thornton - marleau
i'm not a big fan of heatley as a person, and i'm not a huge fan of the other two as players.... but as a trio i have to admit that these three just work. they work the way that iginla doesn't work with nash and crosby, and the way ovechkin works with semin and will also probably work with malkin or kovalchuk.... so i say bring the sharks' top line as a unit.... annd DONE.

3. nash - iginla - crosby
look. all these three dudes are gonna be in vancouver in february so you might as well put'em on a line together and just hope they don't get scored on.

4. getzlaf - perry - ????
this is tough cause there are so few natural lefts in the league that heatley and nash would both probably look pretty good on this line. and hey, if you take heatley off the top line then there's really no need to buy marleau a ticket to vancouver. so i get a little stuck on this one.

5. j.staal - doan - d.cleary
call me crazy but i had my eyes open at the olympic camp and these three made up the best line out there. it's a grind line that can score, in my opinion. sign me up ---i wanna watch these guys play together every night.

6. keith - seabrook
(see #1) ... i actually think that there's something to be said about keeping defensive pairings together cause there has to be an innate sense of where your partner is/is gonna be in order to keep pucks out of nets. for the same reason, i would probably name both shea weber AND dan hamhuis to this team but since it's such a longshot, let's just presume that stevie Y is smart enough to keep AT LEAST these two together. as a side note, i realize now why i so often refer to brent seabrook as keith seabrook (and it's not ONLY because his little bro is a baby flame).

7. jaybouw - pronger
this is tough for me cause i cannot STAND "elbows" but i figure i should get used to it now cause he's gonna be on this team and he's admittedly not a terrible defender. jaybouw's been struggling as of late but he'll be fine. to imagine stevie Y continuing without either of these two is a joke.

8. boyle - weber
i take boyle over mike green and i take shea weber over pretty much everyone else: niedermeyer and regehr included.... i still maintain that if dan boyle had subbed in for an injured chris pronger in the 06 olympics, we would've medalled....

alts: mike green

ps: if dion makes the team, i will be wicked upset with everybody hockey-canada related.


16/23 isn't TOO bad. 70%.

eric staal scares me a bit, his stats haven't been great this year (but admittedly i haven't had a chance to see him play much).

i guess if i really sit and think about it, jordan staal is a poor man's mike richards --so stevie Y did the right thing there.

as they were announcing the team it occurred to me that if heatley or thornton gets injured, team canada is now carrying patty marleau for no reason.

i realized at 10am that i'd totally overlooked niedermeyer (the guy i'd favoured as the captain back in the summer, being that he's the most decorated hockey player of all time) but i didn't notice the omission of toews until they called his name. meh... at least the oversights were made by ME and not stevie Y.

i'm a bit surprised at the selection of doughty over jaybouw, mind you. i'm not saying it was a mis-step (not yet, anywasy) but i'm definitely suggesting that it made my face screw all up and my brow furrow. on the other hand, boyle over green (in my humble opinion) was the right choice and i was overjoyed when they announced the shark's name..... i seriously WOOHOO'd. like.... LOUD. after further consideration, i realize that doughty is kindof a nice combination of green's offense and jaybouw's puck moving.... so maybe stevie Y actually put some thought into it and didn't select doughty at 9am this morning with the stand-by paper-and-hat method...

this team will take some getting used to.

Monday, December 21, 2009

monday randoms: "a valiant effort..."

as mikeH alluded to in the previous post, i have been away in vegas on a bit of a thelma, thelma, & louise style vacation for a few days.... and while we DID indulge in the colossal-sized slushy drinks with an outrageous amount of booze, neither me nor my friends are the gambling types (we ended up three bucks down, and i'm pretty sure we topped out up $2.61). also, i didn't get the chance to watch any hockey at all, so i 'm suffering from a bit of withdrawl... by the sounds of it, missing a couple of last weeks' flames games might have been a good idea. still, i caught the women's game (canada v. USA) last week and will check out the juniors play finland tomorrow... aaaand of course, there's the new year's eve tilt against the greasers that i attend every year (which i'm SUUUPER excited about). so there will be hockey upcoming, to be sure....

other random monday things to discuss:

1. GIO
while i didn't see anything other than a handful of highlights, i understand that my boy gio had a bit of a career game v. the kings.... the comment thread over at kent's place indicates that i might've missed a pretty good opportunity to enjoy watching #5 throw some weight around, dodge the people's elbow, and also to see mike keenan eating crow on the subject.... ;) on another tack, do you ever notice how the world tends to evoke thoughts and memories when you're not stuck inside your day-to-day activities ? well, thank you las vegas for reminding me of this, as i stood across from the bellagio watching the dancing fountains:

2. THE SWEDISH CHEF (aka: børk børk børk)
i give mikeH full props for writing an email to the org last week, but i REALLY want to give my new pal deliciouscorn a MASSIVE hat tip for helping us on our latest mission: to have the swedish chef tune played by the organist in the 'dome and get the crowd respond with "bork bork bork" (or the norwegian/danish way that mikeH likes to spell it, seen above -----i like the look of that but i just don't have the heart to tell'im that ø is not in the swedish alphabet.... a more accurate spelling would be bårk bårk bårk but i'm guessing only shep would understand how to correctly pronounce this... buuuuuuuut i digress...).

it turns out that DC doesn't just KNOW the organ player, he IS the organ player.... is that rad, or WHAT ?!? i have absolutely no idea what would have turned him onto reading htp (unless my pal sjc had something to do with it, which is totally possible) but welcome, welcome, welcome !!! apparently the swedish chef chant took it's inaugural spin out of the pressbox against the preds on saturday with two minutes left in the third, and was largely overlooked due to the intense audience concentration on the on-ice action (ie: the flames trying to equalize with time running out)... it sounds to me that mikeH got himself a seat in the bleeders JUST to hear history in the making, but managed to also miss it..... the good news is that, according to DC, the "director" (i'm guessing floor director or the like) called the tune "a valiant effort" and it'll get another go during upcoming home games. he even showed the "other" organist how to play it.... :) ENORMOUS fait accomplis from this end. we'll give the iggy holler a run for it's money yet, friends..... *curtsey*

3. birthdays
so it's my birthday today which means i'm old. pretty much that's it except i'd like to acknowledge that via text message and over on the ol' facebook, i got some nice wishes from my friends, my pal strombo, some of my blogmates, and an especially amusing note from awildermode:

"Happy Birthday to the most awesome person I have never met. ;)"

HILARIOUS. i'll be down at the ol' ship & anchor tonight for some celebratory bevvies. odds are that you'll be able to find me by simply asking around if you were interested in swinging by... hey, the place ain't that big.

4. johnson pardy
nothing really to say, here, other than i always like to mention my most favorite of pairings. also ? if johnson's not improving then at least he's started to contribute offensively, and hopefully pardy's fully healed and back in the lineup. hey, remember that.... what's his name.... sarich ? i wonder what happened to that dude.

5. fisher-underwood nuptuals
start the countdown today on how long before mike fisher asks to be traded to the preds.... apparently he and country music starlet, carrie underwood, are officially engaged.... hm. that means that her elusiveness on ellen a few weeks ago was just that. fairly devious for a devout christian, methinks... ;) ffwd to 1:40 ish to see her both gush about ottawa's #12 and define the term "backhanded compliment." also ? as mentioned on one of those gossip blogs, she'd better not change her name... only one carrie fisher should be allowed in this galaxy....

6. A-O
caught this little gem on puck daddy today. ovie (who i love, don't get me wrong) proves that anybody can model with the right stylist, good lighting, and a talented photographer.... my level of curiosity surrounding the ink on his back reminds me just how badly i STILL want to know why the hell lombo writes HENHENHEN on his sticks. cause he still does down in the desert, fyi.... i know cause i watch.

k, well that's it for now.
see you all soon !!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

While the cat's away...

...mikeH gets to play. With WI drinking two foot tall, slushy cocktails in Vegas this week, and considering I managed to snake a ticket to last night's game (thanks half-price), I figure I might have stored up enough minor points to add a little something to the blogosphere. Always good to see a win. Here we go:

GIO!!! - Okay, so I may not have quite as desperate a crush on this guy as my respected blog colleague, but I have to say, he is sure fun to watch. J.Bo and Gio are by far our strongest defensive pairing, and got the start last night. Then watching Gio throw some pasting hits was just spectacular. Twice he lost a glove from the impact (maybe his grandma could sew a string on them), but every hit was clean and set the tone for the whole team. All I know is Dustin Brown is probably being treated for a case of PGSD (Post-Gio-Stress-Disorder).

Johnson Pardy - When Aaron Johnson leveled Oscar Moller in the open ice, all you heard from me and my buddy was, "Welcome to the Johnson Pardy!" Sure I may be biased, but that interference call was bullshit, the puck was right there.

Pocketdawes - Another tally for pocketdawes off a beauty pass from Lanks, and the "second" line continues to click. Other Pocketdawes discussion below...

Børk, børk, børk - as usual, my favourite swede had a good game, even if he didn't hit the score sheet. I e-mailed the team last week to put forward WI's suggestion that the organist learns the Swedish Chef music, so that when they play it the crowd can cheer, "Børk, børk, børk," at the appropriate time. I'll follow up if I get any sort of response from the team's entertainment people.

In non-Flames hockey info, WI, myself and a couple of WI's buddies (Em and Lori) caught the Canadian National Women's team vs. the US at the 'dome on Tuesday night. All I can say is, if those were the two best women's teams in the world, then Canada is #1. Hayley Wickenheiser plays a whole different game; her passes are so fast, her teammates sometimes have trouble getting control. If Canada has a weakness, its that they play a rough and tumble game, which in women's hockey earns you serious penalty minutes. Can't wait to watch them in the Olympics.

At the women's game, we stopped for a few of that favourite Saddledome treat, Pocket Dawgs. It wasn't particularly busy around the kiosk, so WI had a chance to fully inform the manager of the numerous sponsorship opportunities available with Nigel Dawes. It was a lot like this:

"Seriously, all you need to do is change ONE LETTER, and pocket dawgs become pocketdawes! You could donate to charity or give a discount whenever pocketdawes scores. The possibilities are endless!"

Okay, maybe I didn't actually hear the convo, but she was pretty excited and I have to say, pocketdawes is a solid nickname.

It was also recommended to me that I should replace my imaginary girlfriend (you probably haven't met her) with #12, Meaghan Mikkelson (D) (interview clip) from the Canadian squad. Now, Meaghan is in fact a real person, so I am going to limit myself to saying that she's hot and loves hockey, so she's aces in my book. Good luck to her and the team, and I'll be cheering at the TV when she's on the ice. I will be in Van during the games, but with tickets being complicated and expensive, not likely I'll get to see them in person. Still, if anyone has a good idea for a fan nickname for Meaghan that I can shout from the stands, I'm taking suggestions.

Looking forward to afternoon hockey this weekend and the Canadian Junior squad on Tuesday where we'll get to see a little action from Nemisz. Go Flames!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

just for kicks....

i found this little gem this morning and i gotta say, it makes me love nystrom just a little bit more... if you ask ME, his answers are pretty much bang on.... ;) also, freddan's been a favorite of mine for ages and i like him even more now: i fully respect his logic (and humour) in this clip....

aaaaaand brandon prust proves undenyably that he's just a caveman deep down inside.

huge matchup against the avs tonight.
fingers crossed...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

i have interesting friends (aka: slow news day)

i got the most unbelievably hilarious text message yesterday:

"have you ever heard of a guy named pat lafontaine ?"

uh.... uh-hunh. ummm.... the dude's an effin' HALL OF FAMER.... not to mention that when i was young and my brother and i would play hand-hockey with the neighbourhood kids in my basement (picture it: one-on-one, hands and knees, rolled up sock for a puck) and i was ALWAYS NYI. what can i say, my brother was bigger than me and therefore had veto on being the flames. ;)

anyhow, i'm not sure why but a buddy of mine apparently spent the day with the dude at his house on long island. i'm guessing it was for some tv thing (my friend is known to occasionally tote a wickedly high-end pro camera) but he says there are a ton of photos he took cause he was constantly thinking of me [um, obviously he was thinking of me because he's working my dreamjob]..... for some reason, i feel a little weird posting his personal snapshots here so let me just describe them to you, instead.

the first pic is a team USA jersey, framed and signed by what i presume to be the entire 1984 olympic team. according to my buddy, ol'patty went to the attic and put on his sarajevo jersey for the first time since... the second pic is of the priceless hockey relics above his fireplace: there are some vintage skates and gloves, and what i dare say would be a game-worn lafleur jersey. apparently there are some good stories involved with the items....

anyhow, the pic that i WILL post is this one cause it's pretty beautiful ---like a painting. i guess if you're a hockey legend, you can afford a kickass home on a lake. ;)
*sigh* now i kinda miss that guy....

Thursday, December 10, 2009


at the 'dome, the dawgs are ALWAYS winning....

i'll give full credit to awildermode for making up the nickname "backelhinney", but i came up with "pocketdawes" all by myself, and i'm awfully proud of it... i told my buddy jho, the other day, that it was the best nickname of all time but he seemed to think that king tut still holds that title (i totally disagree, mind you).

last night, my friend fwy gave me a pair of bleeders and so mikeH and i braved the snow to watch the flames play the thrashers. i think it was the altitude (coupled with the zillion 'dome pints that i ingested along the way) that made me tell everyone in section 303 about nigel's new moniker. i'll be honest, though, they were amused.... Interestingly, another pal o'mine, bennie, sent me the following in an email this morning:

"So I went to the game last night and had really sweet seats the the fan960 gave me. Lower bowl 20th row in a corner. Man are they ever quiet down there. I’m used to sitting 18 rows up in sec225. Anyway, I’ve got a few heroins into me and when dawes scored I stood up and tried to start a pocketdawes chant. Crickets. No one joined in. got a few laughs though. that nickname rules. ;)"

pockedawes, the way mikeH likes him: with mustard and cheese.
(big-ups to my bro for the p'shopping)

on another tack, i've got hand it to ken king for walking along the 'concourse' in the 300's about halfway through the third period. seriously, that's a really good way for the organization's president to get accosted by drunks [so, obviously, i took this incredible opportunity to ask a question for my pal in SoCal]. The exchange went a little bit like this:

"excuse me, sorry.... mr. king ?"

kk, not looking even the slightest bit put out (though, admittedly, not overly excited), acknowledged me with something like, "hi there."

"i just wanted to ask you when you think #14 will be raised to the rafters ?"

kk paused at this, and replied something that i would have probably remembered after the first two or three beers, but after four i'm afraid his initial response has gotten lost in the recesses of my brain.... he continued, "well, some time needs to pass."

"not too much time, i hope...." i said with a grin, "cause you gotta retire 14 before 12."

he smiled a little, i said thanks, and i went back to the chair i was occupying (which was totally not assigned to me). his response leads me to believe that fleury will most likely get his jersey retired eventually, but that it might take another few seasons.... i suppose that's fair ---after all, theo only just got reinstated by the league 3 months ago, after being suspended for six years.... ;)

onwards and upwards, i guess....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

if you don't adore giordano, this post might make you puke.... ;)

while i've really liked the guy since his multi-game call-up in 2005/2006, it was just over a year now since i announced mark giordano was my favorite current flames player, and decided that it would be his nickname adorning my favorite jersey (sooooo, we can call it our anniversary, if you like)... ;)

alot of people think that my devotion is based on his rugged good looks and strong italian roots, his uncanny ability to grow a 5 o'clock shadow at 10am, his resemblence to mr. bean, and the way he skates with his tongue out (concentrating like a five year old). the truth is: i'm thoroughly amused by gio's antics but let's not mistake my fascination with him for my fondness for forsberg ---which is a totally different kindof thing... ;) i love gio because he's always been a positionally solid defenseman with a great outlet pass, who makes WAY more great decisions than he does bad, and can skate his way out of trouble.... he's a dude that's overcome going undrafted and is probably the only player to ever roll the dice against darryl sutter and WIN... oh, and he's pretty affordable in the salary cap era.

convincing other folks of my boy's greatness wasn't always easy, but i sure did my best to get the word out.... what can i say ? i've always pulled for the underdog, and gio has made a career out of being an underrated player... bear in mind that his last coach pretty much called him out for getting hisself clutterbucked.

in the past few seasons, gio has climbed his way from undrafted torontonian, to farm-team regular, to russian league ground-stander, to 3rd pairing-low minutes defender to punching bag (keenan era), to goon, to a guy who regularly lines up beside one of the league's elite: jay bouwmeester... and let's be honest, friends: he doesn't look out of place in that 20-or-so minutes per night role on a division-leading team's top pairing (note to anybody who thinks 4 & 5 are NOT the team's top two ? dream on.....) .....ahhhh, it's like watching a flower bloom: soooo beautiful.

one of my alltime favorite blogger quotes came from kyle [and it's been so long i can't even remember what kyle's website was] who said very aptly, "I'd rank our defence as Phaneuf, (Robyn) Regehr, Hamrlik, Ference, Warrener, Giordano, Ritchie (Regehr), You, Me, Darryl Sutter, Zyuzin." while this was written as a comment on how godawful zyuzin was (is?), it still listed gio as a mid-range defender at quite a young age....

well, i was just alerted to the presence of a public loveletter to my boy gio that was printed in an actual semi-respectable publication (thanks to olddog for the heads-up) where he gets some serious love from his peers... allz i gotta say is that it's about freakin' time.... ;)

i'll cut and paste it here, for those future days when it's no longer a vyable link (it's just that good).


Keeping track of his old pals, Craig Conroy remembers tuning in one night.

This is early 2006-07, and Conroy, then with the Los Angeles Kings, eagerly watches the Calgary Flames visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.

One new face dazzles him.

“He scored two goals,” Conroy recalls. “I thought, ‘Wow. Who is this guy? Giordano? Never heard of him.’ ”

At that, the geyser of gushing becomes completely uncorked.

“Now? Just to see how good he is on a daily basis . . . . ”

Kind words, which is Conroy’s hallmark.

But before you smirk and slot this warm — and getting warmer — appraisal of Mark Giordano into the Conroy-being-Conroy file, know this: buzz is widespread.

Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock, the other morning, is asked about Calgary’s defence. He responds by singling out Giordano. Calls him underrated.

Two weeks ago at Anaheim, Flames coach Brent Sutter, after fielding the obligatory queries regarding Dion Phaneuf, Robyn Regehr and Jay Bouwmeester, takes happy hold of a Giordano question and whacks it out of the park.

“He’s probably been one of our most steady guys, right from the get-go,” starts Sutter, whose Flames next face the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night. “He can skate. He can move the puck. He’s a battler. He gets into the areas you need a defenceman to go into. He wants to be the first guy on the puck when he’s playing in his zone.

“He’s been a real, real good player for us — very solid.”

No argument there.

In 26 outings, Giordano has suffered only five minus nights — nothing worse than minus-one, and none in the past month.

But talking about his fine play isn’t easy for Giordano. And not only because Aaron Johnson and Adam Pardy are cackling nearby.

Is he at least proud of his progress? He waves it off.

“Once you start thinking like that, you get too comfortable where you are. You hear a lot of positive talk. When you hear something good from your coach, it goes a long way.”

And, as Sutter notes, the 26-year-old has been sturdy since September. While star forwards struggled in the early going, while high-profile defencemen hiccuped through adjustments, Giordano smoothly left the gate.

He, however, had had as much to worry about as anyone else, after losing the final months of last National Hockey League season because of injury. He needed to prove himself. Again. To another coach.

Cutting short his campaign had been Minnesota thumper Cal Clutterbuck, who pasted him.

(Then-boss Mike Keenan publicly scolded his defenceman for being unprepared for the lick. “I don’t blame myself — it was a hockey play,” Giordano says now. “I had the puck, I tried to make a play, he hit me.”)

The resulting ripped-up shoulder tendon required surgery.

The resulting lineup hole required Jordan Leopold’s addition.

“Everyone talks about (losing Rene Bourque and Regehr to injuries down the stretch) . . . but, to me, I think Gio was the key to the whole thing,” says Conroy. “I said it last year and I’ll say it again — he brings so much more than people give him credit for. He finds you, when you’re open, in stride, on your tape. And he gets back to get the puck quick. As a centre, I’m coming back to support him and he beats a lot of guys on his own down low. That creates time and space for the rest of us to get out of the zone.

“Very under-rated in my opinion.”

While modest in self-assessment — “We’re only 20-some games in . . . I’ve felt pretty good” — Giordano’s best asset is unwithering fearlessness. Not in a brawling sort of way, although he has shucked his gloves twice this season.

But in a gimme-the-puck sort of way.

At his first camp, it was obvious (even to reporters) that he played without pause. Unlike other young blueliners, there was never a hot-potato aspect to Giordano’s approach.

“I have to want the puck. It’s part of my game — I have to want to make plays,” says the Toronto native. “When I’m not playing well, that’s exactly what happens — you shy away from taking chances, you shy away from wanting to make plays. That’s when you hesitate, and that’s when guys in this league will jump all over you.”

Meaning swagger stays at the top of his priority list.

There is no substitute for poise, Giordano knows.

“Confidence, that’s the biggest thing. One year, a guy will be top of the league, the next year, he won’t. Why is it? It’s not because his skill’s gone away. It’s because his confidence has gone away, right?”

Averaging 19 minutes nightly, Giordano, who represents a cap hit of $892,000 US for this season and next, has supplied eight points and a plus-three rating.

Which makes him, what exactly?

A No. 5 defenceman? A No. 4?

A No. 3 on another team perhaps?

Giordano declines to play along.

“I don’t want to define myself in a certain role,” he says. “The thing with me, I just want to be solid every game, be a big part of it every game.

“I don’t want to be considered just an extra depth guy or anything like that.”

----scott cruikshank, calgary herald dec 1/09

eff, yeah people !!! bring on the love for my BOY !!!!

ps: i'm guessing there will be a zillion posts and texts tomorrow to alert me to this article, cause there's a whole helluva lot of people that see gio and think wi.... which i'm undenyably proud of, btw. also proud that when you google-image "mark giordano" at the bottom of the first page is the separated at birth that i did a few years back...


ps: gio, if you're reading this: i want my jersey signed. ;)