SUN Hockey Pool

Second fiddle in Flames net stays sharp

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Last we were told, the Calgary Flames had made no firm decision as to when goalie Curtis McElhinney would see his first start of the season.

Head coach Mike Keenan has been evasive all season when asked his plans, and even McElhinney wouldn't divulge if he knew as the Flames embarked for their Southern California journey.

"I guess that's the joy of being a back-up goalie," said the hometown product who was on the bench for last night's game in Los Angeles. "You never really know when you're going to play."

Conventional thinking is he'll be between the pipes tonight when the Flames travel down the freeways to Anaheim and face the Ducks, being the second half of back-to-back games and all, and seeing as Kiprusoff has started the first 11 contests.

Then again, the Flames didn't make a switch earlier this season when they played on consecutive nights.

Either way, McElhinney knows his times in the cage will be few and far between while serving as the caddy to Miikka Kiprusoff. It was that way last season while he was with the team.

At least, McElhinney admits being better prepared for the lulls in game action.

"Yeah, I think I had a little bit better expectations. I knew what to expect having gone through it last year," he said. "I thought maybe I would have played a little bit more (to this point), but you've got a guy here that plays 75 games a year and does pretty well with that workload, so I'm more used to the situation. My expectations was to be ready at any time."

Last season, McElhinney started only once and saw action in five NHL games before being sent to the AHL after Curtis Joseph was signed mid-season. He's still looking for his first NHL victory.


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