SUN Hockey Pool

Sauve worth 'wait' in gold

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

Philippe Sauve has seen all the love his teammates have received at the Saddledome.

So it's understandable he'd want some, too.

"It would be nice," said the Calgary Flames' backup goaltender. "It comes down to being ready for whenever it is -- it doesn't matter where -- but it would be nice to play at home."

With the season at the quarter-pole, Sauve has played in three games, making only two starts. But none of that action has been at the 'Dome.

"I'm sure it'll happen one of these games. It's a matter of time and the schedule. It will be a boost playing in front of our crowd," Sauve said after yesterday's off-ice workout.

Maybe as early as tonight's tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks (7 p.m., Sportsnet)?

"Oh I don't know," Sauve answered.

Although Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter has said he'd like to see Sauve play around 20 games this season, his coaching history has shown a willingness to ride a strong goaltender through the season.

Ed Belfour played in more than 70 games in consecutive seasons when Sutter was at the helm of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Evgeni Nabokov played in 67 games in Sutter's final full season behind the bench in San Jose and 66 the year before.

Which could mean -- barring any injuries -- Sauve's action could be more like 12 to 16 games. No matter, according to the 25-year-old.

"It doesn't matter how many starts you get. What matters at the end of the line is how many points you picked up for your team," he said.

Which is the kind of attitude goaltender coach David Marcoux wants to see.

"Philippe Sauve is a character guy. He doesn't see himself as a backup, he sees himself as a No. 1 goalie in the making," Marcoux said.

"He accepts the role here ... and is appreciating what he has but, in practice, he is the hardest-working guy."

Until he receives that nod for a 'Dome start, Sauve will continue in the role he's held for much of the last six weeks, serving as backup to undisputed No.-1 netminder Miikka Kiprusoff.

"Basically, (I'm) staying sharp and trying to get ready for that next start."


Videos

Photos