CALGARY -- It was going better than expected for the Calgary Flames, but the loss of their captain as well as one of their top forwards has thrown a dash of cold water on the team.
Captain and No. 1 defenceman Mark Giordano is out six to eight weeks with a broken ankle. He took a shot off the right ankle in the second period of a road game against Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 21. The Flames revealed the severity of his injury Tuesday.
"It's brutal," Giordano said. "You don't want to miss any time, but if you have to you're hoping it's something not as significant as that time frame."
Another shot broke a bone in the foot of winger Lee Stempniak last week in Dallas. His status is week to week. The lower right legs of both Flames were encased in plastic walking casts Tuesday.
"I feel like the team is playing well and to not be a part of it is tough," Stempniak said. "The swelling is going down so hopefully it's not too long."
Just above .500 and without a loss in regulation at home so far this season, the rebuilding Flames (5-4-2) were giving their fans reasons for optimism.
An unexpected bonus has been the performance of 19-year-old forward Sean Monahan, who is among the league's rookie scoring leaders with six goals and four assists in 11 games.
But for a team without stars and a squad that requires maximum effort to win, the Flames will have to drain their tanks for victories, particularly if Stempniak is out long term.
Giordano and Stempniak were tied for third in points on the team with nine each behind Monahan with 10 and Jiri Hudler with 13.
It's likely Giordano won't return to the lineup before his predecessor as Flames captain, Jarome Iginla, returns to Scotiabank Saddledome on Dec. 10 as a member of the Boston Bruins.
With defenceman Chris Breen day to day with an abdominal strain, the Flames had just six healthy defenceman Tuesday. Head coach Bob Hartley didn't seem to be in a hurry to summon reinforcements from Abbotsford, B.C.
Calgary hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight and the Detroit Red Wings on Friday before departing on a four-game road trip.
"I'm very comfortable," Hartley said. "We're not in back-to-back situations. We feel that it's important for our young players to play in the American League."
-- The Canadian Press