At the tail end of TSN's highlights of the Calgary Flames-Columbus Blue Jackets clash, a comment was made about Miikka Kiprusoff's performance this season.
Kiprusoff "continues to struggle," said broadcaster James Cybulski, reading from a script that noted the Flames netminder has allowed three or more goals in seven of eight starts.
Talk about numbers not telling the story.
Yes, it's true Kiprusoff has only once surrendered two or fewer goals this season. Curiously, it was in a 2-1 defeat.
Yes, he has a goals-against average of 3.23 and a .902 save percentage.
Those are facts.
But to say he's been struggling is dead wrong.
Through the first 10-game segment of the season, which concludes with tomorrow night's clash against the Edmonton Oilers, Kiprusoff has been the club's MVP.
Say what you want about the goals allowed, but you have to dig beyond that stat to see the real picture. Over the last three games, Kiprusoff has surrendered eight goals.
Three have come while the opposing teams were enjoying a 5-on-3 powerplay. Two have been on regular powerplays. One came on a shorthanded breakaway. Two have been at even strength -- one of which came within seconds of killing a penalty.
However, in the last game, Kiprusoff slammed the door when it was tied, including a couple of fantastic saves while the Blue Jackets had another 5-on-3 powerplay -- lasting nearly two minutes.
That performance was another display of Kiprusoff being clutch when his team needed him most.
Just like in the 20-save first period in the season opener, both wins in Edmonton and in the victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.
Through it all, remember, the Flames have been outshot by an average of nine pucks per game.
Sure, Kiprusoff wants a lower GAA and a higher save percentage, but he's not struggling. He's been a difference maker, and the Flames are winning games because of it.
Ten games into the campaign and the Flames will have played the Vancouver Canucks and the Blue Jackets twice and the Edmonton Oilers three times -- half of their meetings this season. Sure doesn't make for a compelling schedule at crunch time. Just as absurd is the fact the Flames are done travelling to Edmonton before the end of December. After playing host to the Oilers on New Year's Eve, the Alberta rivals play only once more this season -- in late January. There should always be great divisional battles at the end of the season ... Can't figure out what's more surprising -- that the Flames are last in the league with an average of 23.6 shots on goal, or that they are pacing the NHL in goals per game. Didn't see either of those coming ... With back-to-back plus-3 outings, D Robyn Regehr is now only minus-1 ... Lost in the highlights pack from the club's win over the Blue Jackets was the great play LW Fredrik Sjostrom made on his goal. Not the spinarama, but the way he tapped a long, hard pass through his legs to his forehand while staying onside. Try doing that at high speed.
You have to admire the way Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews handled being rocked by Canucks D Willie Mitchell Wednesday. Toews battled to get to this feet -- twice, since he fell on his first attempt -- and wobbled to the bench instead of milking it. Even better was the 'Hawks told him to go to the room instead of trying to play with a possible concussion ... Ex-Hitmen G Justin Pogge was summoned by Anaheim Wednesday but was sent back to ECHL Bakersfield because G Jean-Sebastien Giguere was OK to serve as backup against the Dallas Stars despite a wonky groin ... Ex-Hitmen LW Jerred Smithson scored his first goal this season Wednesday for the Nashville Predators. In his 10th year, Smithson should reach NHL game No. 400 this season which means a full pension. Not bad for an undrafted player who is the only one of the team's four centres from the 1999 WHL championship team who's still in the NHL.
You don't say
"There's definitely frustration. You have to be able to deal with that and put that aside as quick as possible. So that's really our job right now."
-- Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer to the Orange County Register on the team's early-season struggles