SUN Hockey Pool

Captain in cage makes for curious choice

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Roberto Luongo has set a modern-day precedent with a goalie being named captain, but don't expect to see the same happen with the Calgary Flames.

Jarome Iginla isn't planning to surrender his captaincy to Miikka Kiprusoff.

"I asked him right away, and he said he's good," Iginla chuckled.

The Vancouver Canucks decision to name Luongo their captain -- the first NHL netminder to have that distinction since Bill Durnan of the Montreal Canadiens in 1947-48 -- had tongues wagging around the league.

"I was surprised," said Iginla, Calgary's captain since the 2003-04 season. "I imagine a lot of people were, and had to look it up whether it had been done before, but I guess it was in the '40s. It's definitely unique, but whatever works for them.

"Their team, their business."

League rules prohibit netminders from officially wearing the 'C.' It prevents goalies from leaving the crease to talk with referees and creating an unofficial time out.

The normal on-ice duties in Vancouver will be handled by a trio of Canucks alternates: Ryan Kesler, Mattias Ohlund and Willie Mitchell.

Although Luongo could paint a letter on his mask.

"I did think of that," Luongo said. "I'm not sure if I'm going to do it, but those things are secondary and something I'll decide along the way."

Essentially, the Canucks named Luongo captain both for his importance to the squad and his off-ice leadership.

When put that way, it doesn't sound so off-base.

"I think there are a lot of good goalie leaders around the league, and there have been for years," Iginla said.

"I know (Martin) Brodeur is a big part of the team and a leader in New Jersey and has been for a long time. (Olaf) Kolzig was known that way in Washington. There's no question goalies can lead and help lead on the team.

"Part of being a good team and having good leadership is a good group of guys. It's not one guy. You hear more, 'leadership group.' Lou, I got to play with him a bit, and you see he answers a lot of questions already. It's not surprising he's one of the leaders on the team."

Kiprusoff, however, didn't seem interested in having the same duties.

"Sounds kind of weird for me, actually," Kiprusoff said. "A goalie can't be captain anyway, so it's funny."

Jamie McLennan, now a scout for the Flames but formerly Luongo's partner in Florida, reiterated the view a goalie can be the best leader on a team.

"I think a lot of guys are unwritten captains," McLennan said. "That's the way it's viewed in the room.

"And good for the fraternity. Some respect."

Flames head coach Mike Keenan witnessed Luongo's leadership abilities.

"I don't know their team well enough to make an assessment, but I know Roberto has the qualities that you need as a captain," Keenan said.

"It'll be interesting to see ... whether the officials will now cater to him by going to his net with the inability of the goalie going to them."

Keenan said he hadn't considered doing the same during his coaching career, in which he's led teams with goalies who were leaders in the same way as long Luongo.

"And some strong personalities come to mind," Keenan said. "But we had other strong personalities on the teams that wore the 'C' and wore it well. You go back to (Ron) Hextall, who's got a really strong personality, but we had (Dave) Poulin in that situation; We had Belfour but in Chicago we had a number of people that were strong personalities as well but didn't play goal."

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FLAMES REPORT CARD

GOALTENDER

Miikka Kiprusoff: Sure he made a handful of strong saves after his Flames fell behind 2-0, but that rough start won't help any team.

DEFENCE

Robyn Regehr: The best of the blueliners, although that's not saying too much. Strangely had no hits through the first two periods.

Mark Giordano: A rather non-descript performance from Giordano, who is trying to prove he deserves to be a top-six defenceman.

Adam Pardy: Had some positive moments during the contest but has to be better to deserve an NHL spot out of training camp.

Cory Sarich: Stepping in so Jarome Iginla didn't fight Nathan McIver was his best play of the night. That will win him accolades from his teammates.

Dion Phaneuf: Below average performance. Was victimized by Mason Raymond's speed in the first period, and the night didn't get much better.

Adrian Aucoin: Wasn't the only defenceman to have a bad night but was caught chasing his man behind the net on fourth goal.

FORWARDS

Curtis Glencross: Probably the club's best forward on the night. Had three hits and three shots on goal in the first period alone.

Dustin Boyd: A couple of nice offensive plays created scoring chances on goaltender Roberto Luongo. Has to be better on faceoffs.

David Moss: A couple of solid scoring chances during a first-period powerplay. Playing with more confidence than last year.

Andre Roy: Played his role very well in this game. He was banging bodies and keeping the peace, and he even had a quality scoring chance.

Jamie Lundmark: Not all that visible, although he played less than 10 minutes. Not too shabby on a couple of penalty killing shifts.

Rene Bourque: Nice blocked shot early in the affair. Didn't have the same jump as he's shown fans and coaches in previous outings.

Brett Sutter: Having a tough time with the speed and the strength of true NHL opposition and it showed on the West Coast.

Eric Nystrom: Showed some spunk by throwing his body around and crashing the net. That's his game, and he needs to continue to show it.

Wayne Primeau: Had a couple of good energy shifts early but not his best game of the pre-season, and he needs to be at his best.

Craig Conroy: Was inserted on a line with Jarome Iginla and Rene Bourque after the first period. Nice promotion for the veteran centre

Mikael Backlund: Too many soft passes, especially in the defensive zone. He's going through a big learning process in a bid to make the jump to the pros.

Jarome Iginla: Minus-2 in the first period. Hasn't had a strong pre-season, with only two points and a minus-4 rating through three games.

CANUCKS 6 FLAMES 1

FIRST PERIOD

1. Vancouver, Edler 1 (Demitra, Pyatt) 0:21

2. Vancouver, Hansen 2 (Kesler, Burrows) 4:37

Penalties -- Primeau Cal (holding) 2:06, Hodgson Vcr (hooking) 7:15, Glencross (hooking) 10:49, Aucoin Cal (holding) 14:50.

SECOND PERIOD

3. Calgary, Regehr 1 (Glencross, Phaneuf) 4:54

4. Vancouver, Demitra 2 (Wellwood, Nycholat) 9:15 (pp)

5. Vancouver, Nycholat 1 (Burrows, Kesler) 15:36

Penalties -- McIver Vcr (hooking) 0:27, Pardy Cal (holding) 8:18, Iginla Cal (roughing), McIver Vcr (roughing, fighting) Sarich Cal (fighting) 19:46.

THIRD PERIOD

6. Vancouver, Hansen 3 (Kesler, Burrows) 4:58

7. Vancouver, Raymond (Demitra, Brown) 9:51

Penalties -- Demitra Vcr (hooking) 7:35, Hodgson Vcr (hooking) 14:24, Pyatt Vcr (hooking) 17:17, Brown Vcr (interference) 17:42, Burrows Vcr (tripping) 18:35.

Shots on goal

Calgary 12 10 14--36

Vancouver 10 7 6--23

Goal -- Calgary: Kiprusoff (L,2-1-0); Vancouver: Luongo (W,3-0-0).

Powerplays (goals-chances) -- Calgary: 0-7; Vancouver: 1-4.

Referees -- Frederick L'Ecuyer, Chris Lee. Linesmen -- Ryan Galloway, Shane Heyer.

Attendance -- NA.


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