SUN Hockey Pool

Sutter steamed

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

CHICAGO -- Philippe Sauve remains a Calgary Flame, for now.

Still, GM/head coach Darryl Sutter said that won't be the case for long if the backup goaltender, who cleared waivers yesterday, doesn't pick up his game.

"I could ask Phil to go on conditioning (assignment) and he could say yes or no. This way, I don't have to ask him. If I want to send him down, (I'll) send him down," Sutter said. "We have two (goalies) playing in Omaha and 20 in the National Hockey League that could move here tomorrow.

"We're as good as our weakest player and the other night he was our weakest player. It's not acceptable."

Sauve was back on the bench in his usual role behind Miikka Kiprusoff when the Flames faced Chicago last night.

Sauve was placed on waivers Wednesday but no team claimed him in the 24-hour period.

Sutter was doubly upset with Sauve's performance in Denver Tuesday. Not only did he surrender seven goals, he went the length of the ice to get in an altercation with Colorado goalie David Aebischer in the final seconds.

"We're playing on about half a tank and you need your goalie to play really well and our goalie didn't play very well," Sutter said. "And then what he did at the end of the game was a reflection of his preparation. It was a very undisciplined thing to do and I don't accept it."

After yesterday's morning skate, Sauve took being on waivers in stride as best as he could.

"A lot of thoughts go through your head in those situations but you've just go to keep cool," he said. "You have to live with it. You have to come here and work hard every day, keep doing what I've been doing and see what happens. I'll just have to battle through it."

In eight games, Sauve's posted a 3-3-0 record to go with a 3.28 goals-against-average and .891 save percentage.

Sutter said the rookie netminder must provide much better.

"I'm a firm believer, if you have a clear-cut number-one goalie, he's a 65- to 70-game goalie in the National Hockey League. That's what the top guys do and they win 60 percent of their games," Sutter said. "Your backup goalie, at the most if you're healthy, is a 15-start guy and I expect him to win 10 games. If he's not, then I'm going to try somebody else.

"With Philippe, I believe your backup goalie should give you a chance to win every night, not a chance to lose, and I don't think we've got that this year.

"He's got to be our best practice player, he's got to be your hardest-working player, should be your most improved player if he's a young player. That's not an ask thing, it's a demand thing, that simple."

Sutter insisted the fact Sauve was on waivers was not that big a deal but intimated it may be a sign a move of some sort is afoot.

"That's not a headline, there's players on waivers every day and he just happened to be our player that was on yesterday," he said. "We're working on a lot of different things, and sometimes doing that saves you 29 phone calls."


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