McLennan concedes inactivity 'a tough job'

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

You may have seen the TSN footage.

Backup goaltender Jamie McLennan -- then toiling for the Florida Panthers -- tying starter Roberto Luongo's skates, doing his grocery shopping and pedalling an exercise bike by hand while Luongo, perched on the seat, reads a magazine.

The bit ends with McLennan daydreaming of driving a Zamboni over Luongo, letting an evil laugh slip and then running away from his interview knowing his secret is out and he's not happy with his role.

The comedic take on McLennan's duties was exaggerated but supporting Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff isn't any easier than it was with Luongo in Miami.

While McLennan could get his second start of the season tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks, or this weekend against the L.A. Kings, he's accustomed to his perch at the end of the bench on game nights.

"People don't realize it's a lot tougher than you think," said the affable 35-year-old Edmonton product.

"You look at how much I played lately, I've had one game since training camp. One game in two months.

"When you do get in, you try and shake off the rust as quickly as possible. You look at people who have had injuries and been out for a month. It's tough for them to make an immediate impact the first game they get back and that's kind of what happens."

But, as the hilarious TV spot proves, McLennan has the personality to embrace the role in a way past Kiprusoff stand-ins Philippe Sauve and Brian Boucher were unable.

Boucher, who will likely watch from the 'Hawks bench for tonight's matchup at the Saddledome, had an admittedly difficult time with the inactivity after being dealt from Phoenix in a deal that saw Sauve go the other way .

"It's nice to play. As much as you're happy just to be part of the league, you want to play," said Boucher, who has already started 10 games for Chicago. "It was difficult (in Calgary). You're basically there just in case (Kiprusoff) gets hurt."

McLennan won't gripe, despite being scolded after his streaky debut outing in Columbus -- a 5-4 shootout win for the Blue Jackets.

"I don't sit and feel sorry for myself. It's a great job. It's a tough job."


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