Flames itching to get back to playing hockey after 19-day break

NHL teams all had some time off during the league’s holiday break/pandemic pause.

For the Calgary Flames, it’s been a much longer ordeal.

The Flames are scheduled to play Thursday night against the Kraken in Seattle, 19 days since their last game. They had seven contests postponed because of COVID-19 concerns since a 4-2 loss to the visiting Boston Bruins on Dec. 11.

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Flames eager to get back to playing

“Obviously, it’s not the reset you’re hoping for (with COVID), but it was a good little rest,” Flames defenseman Noah Hanifan said. “Just having Christmas break, everyone got to take a step back, look at where we are, why we’ve gotten to where we are, and we’ve just got to continue that in the games. I think everyone’s got that fire back in them and is excited to get going (Thursday) night.”

After sweeping two games in Southern California at the start of the month, the Flames went winless in their next four (0-3-1) before their season was paused as 20 players tested positive.

“It’s tough to sit there for 10 days, not doing much,” Flames forward Andrew Mangiapane said of the quarantine period. “It was kind of scary for all of the guys, because you didn’t know how their bodies were going to react to catching COVID. You were scared for the whole team, a little bit. Thankfully, everybody was OK. Now, it’s time to move on from it and, say what you want, maybe it brought us closer together as a team. Now that we went through this, I think it built chemistry a little bit and we can move forward.”


A familiar face in Mark Giordano

mark giordano kraken
Sep 29, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano (5) during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames were scheduled to face the Kraken and former Calgary captain Mark Giordano on Dec. 23 in Alberta, but that game was one of those postponed.

Instead, this will be the first meeting against Giordano, who spent the first 15 seasons of his NHL career with the Flames. The 38-year-old, a former Norris Trophy winner as the league’s top defenseman, was selected by Seattle in the expansion draft.

“It’s probably pretty weird seeing him in another uniform,” Hanifan said. “Gio was obviously a huge part of this organization for a long time and was a leader for a lot of the guys that are in the core now, for years.

“Me, being a defenseman and coming in a couple years ago, I obviously learned so much from him. More importantly, the way he carries himself on and off the ice. He’s an extremely hard-working guy, got better every single year he played. That’s something I think is great. … He’s had a great career and looking forward to battling him (Thursday).”

The Kraken resumed play Wednesday with a 3-2 overtime loss to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.

“We created enough opportunities, we defended really well,” said Seattle coach Dave Hakstol, whose team had a 36-22 edge in shots on goal. “There’s not a whole lot of a script that would change after an 11-day break. It’s really disappointing to not come away with the two points.”

While all of the Flames are back from COVID-19 protocol, the Kraken still have three players on the list: forwards Mason Appleton and Ryan Donato and defenseman Vince Dunn.

–Field Level Media