SUN Hockey Pool

Nothing riles Kiprusoff

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:09 PM ET

What were the odds that Miikka Kiprusoff might have snapped after seeing the closet-like dressing room his Calgary Flames were forced to squeeze into at Lakeshore Lions Arena yesterday?

You would have had a better chance of seeing Pat Quinn and Richard Peddie sharing a bag of donuts up in the stands.

Almost nothing, it seems, can rattle Kiprusoff, a huge reason why the Flames have been so successful the past two seasons.

The seemingly unflappable Calgary Flames goaltender apparently has adopted the same philosophy of Mad Magazine character Alfred E. Newman.

The one that says:"What, me worry?"

RELAXED

Whenever there is a stoppage in the action, Kiprusoff often can be seen leaning back on the crossbar, shoving his mask to the top of his head and taking a moment to analyse his surroundings.

We're not talking Battlin' BillySmith here, folks.

"Some guys need to be more pumped when they play but that's not my way,"Kiprusoff said yesterday. "It doesn't work for me.

"I just try to relax and watch the puck."

Maple Leafs fans will get the rare opportunity to witness Kipper do his thing when Toronto hosts the Flames tonight at the Air Canada Centre. Kiprusoff has not played at the ACCsince his Finns dropped a 3-2 decision to Team Canada in the gold-medal game of the World Cup back on Sept. 13, 2004.

To be fair, no one would blame the defending Vezina Trophy winner if he were upset at the lack of offensive support he has received from his Flames teammates thus far this season.

Calgary has scored just five times in four games, yet finds itself with a respectable 2-2 record thanks, in large part, to Kipper.

But, once again, he remains cool, calm and collected.

"I don't think it's my job to worry about (our offence)," he said. "My job is to stop the puck. That's what I concentrate on doing.

"It's not as easy (as it might look). It's a lot of work and the travel can be gruelling. But it's fun."

After grilling Kiprusoff for several minutes, he finally admitted to being irked at times by a couple of opponents who have made a living by planting their butts right on his doorstep.

"Tomas Holmstrom and Ryan Smyth are a challenge for me,"he said with a chuckle. "They do a good job.

"Ryan sometimes spends more time in my crease than I do."

Finally, we found something -- or someone -- that actually bugs Kiprusoff.Stop the presses!


Photos