Goalie's sis Winged but OK

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

Wednesday was a tense day for the McElhinneys, and it was only partially due to Curtis getting his second start between the pipes for the Calgary Flames this season.

While Curtis McElhinney was tending goal in Detroit trying to shut down the defending champion Red Wings, his sister Shelby was dealing with traffic of her own.

Shelby is a Calgary police officer and was involved in an accident that day, although her injuries are minor.

Curtis insulates himself on game days and didn't know about the incident, so he wasn't distracted during his first start in almost a month.

"I got home pretty late, and I didn't see the email until about 3 a.m. All I could think of was 'Holy smokes,' " said the Flames goalie. "I talked to my dad, who was on the night shift, and found out everything was all right. It gives you a bit of a scare when something like that happens.

"They were going through the intersection and tried to slow down a bit. The other vehicle came through and they actually t-boned him. If they were going faster, they would have hit her car. In that respect, they were a bit lucky.

"The car looked a lot worse than it was."

McElhinney appeared on his way to getting his first NHL victory, against the Stanley Cup champions no less.

The Flames led the Red Wings 3-1 with about 10 minutes left in the third when Henrik Zetterberg scored to cut the lead. Brian Rafalski tied it with about six minutes left, and Nicklas Lidstrom scored in overtime to complete the comeback.

Being that McElhinney only gets to start about once a month because starter Miikka Kiprusoff is a workhorse, he has to make sure the loss doesn't linger in his mind.

"It's frustrating because you only have a limited number of starts," the 25-year-old said. "Your job is to get wins when you get the chances.

"The tough thing is not knowing when the next game is going to come. You lose, and the biggest thing you want is to get back out there and get at it again.

"I have to patient in my job. I'm behind a guy who likes to play a lot of games. The Detroit game was a great experience for me, and I would have loved to have beaten them."

McElhinney has yet to play in front of family this season at the Saddledome, as Kiprusoff has made every home start.

The Flames have back-to-back games starting tomorrow in St. Louis and finishing Wednesday in Minnesota.

But that doesn't automatically mean McElhinney will get another opportunity. He has the difficult job of being ready at a moment's notice but not playing for a month.

"I'm just been happy to play regardless of where it is," McElhinney said. "It would be nice to play at home. Most of my family comes to every game. If I got the chance, I would love for it to be my first win. As long as I get the chances, I'm happy about that."

But when it comes to tough jobs, Curtis will admit his sister's is much harder.

"There's a lot of responsibility, and it's something as a family we're pretty proud of," McElhinney said about Shelby, who is a year younger than him. "To be honest, I would have never saw her in that profession growing up. It's neat to see and makes me proud as an older brother.

"She gets to see quite a bit in her job."


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