CALGARY – No excuses, Mark Giordano wants it known he’s sorry.
He’s sorry for the hit he delivered, the injury it resulted in, the two-game suspension it warranted and the predicament it puts his team in.
“Obviously bad timing by me on the hit,” said Giordano of a third-period knee-on-knee hit along the boards he initiated with Minnesota veteran Mikko Koivu Thursday.
“It was a bad play. I didn’t get him, I missed him. Our legs collided and obviously I had no intent to injure him.
“I have a lot if respect for that guy. He’s been a great player in the league for a long time. I feel bad. I feel bad for the result.
“Obviously a 2-0 game in the third I’m not going after anyone or trying to hurt anyone. I’m trying to play the one-on-one and I felt like I didn’t get there in time and timed the whole play wrong.”
Giordano said he immediately tried apologizing to Koivu, but the Wild forward was irate, slamming his stick on the boards and yelling at Giordano before leaving with an injury sustained on the play.
Koivu missed Friday’s game in Edmonton and because of it Giordano will miss Saturday’s game against Nashville and Sunday’s visit to Edmonton.
“I tried to apologize to him right away but obviously he was upset and wasn’t having any of it then,” said Giordano of his first suspension in a 784-game NHL career.
“I talked to (Ryan) Suter at the box and told him to relay the message that’s not what I was meaning to do.
“We’ll run into each other, I’m sure, if not by text or phone then next time we play them I’ll reach out to him for sure.”
Giordano was assessed a two-minute tripping penalty on the play, drawing the ire of Wild coach Bruce Boudreau after the game who suggested the league should look at it.
It sure did.
“I was surprised our legs hit like they did – I was trying to close him on the all and the result was a bad one,” said Giordano.
“I just hope he gets back and is playing sooner rather than later. You hate to see a guy go down like that.
“I’ve played a long time. I try to play the game hard and the right way. Throughout everyone’s career you’re going to have plays you wish you could have back. I’ve been a pretty clean player my whole career and in this instance I missed my timing and the result was bad.”
Especially for the Flames, who also lost Mikael Backlund to injury (he’s in concussion protocol) after a hellacious hit by Matt Dumba that drew a two-game suspension for Ryan Lomberg after he immediately tackled the Wild defenceman in the final minute.
Lomberg understood why he was assessed an automatic game suspension (and one additional game) for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of a contest.
“The rules are pretty black and white and I broke it, so just take the suspension and move on,” said Lomberg, who jumped on the ice after Backlund left it, labouring.
“I was standing up for a teammate. I thought (Backlund) was in a vulnerable spot and he kind of got taken advantage of. It’s part of my role to defend my teammates. I just thought it was on me to answer the bell.”
It sets up a mighty challenge for the Flames Saturday night when they face the conference-leading Predators without their top defenceman and top shut-down centre.
Derek Ryan will jump up to the second line between Sam Bennett and Mathhew Tkachuk as the Flames shut-down line.
Alan Quine was summoned from Stockton and will play on the fourth line.
Travis Hamonic and Noah Hanifin will likely play first-line minutes at the back end, moving T.J. Brodie and Rasmus Andersson to the second pairing and Dalton Prout-Oliver Kylington to the third unit.
The Flames have picked up 17 of a possible 20 points of late and everything seemed to be trending well, until the final period of Thursday’s 2-0 win ultimately cost the team three players.