Will Flames sit Kipper?

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:12 PM ET

Walking out of the American Airlines Center in a suit instead of suiting up with his teammates for the morning skate, Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff headed back to the hotel for an extremely early pre-game nap.

Seems a "bug" could force backup Curtis McElhinney into action a little sooner than expected this month as the Flames prepare to face the Stars in Dallas tonight.

"He's got a touch of the bug. So we thought we'd just leave him at the hotel and see how it is tonight," said Flames head coach Brent Sutter.

"We've got to assume he's not going to be playing. Which is fine — Curtis can play."

People will naturally wonder whether or not the netminder could be suffering from H1N1, which has popped up on a few NHL teams this season.

The Flames were immunized Friday at a Calgary clinic, sparking outcry because they didn't have to wait in line with everyone else. The vaccine takes about 10 days before kicking in, but some individuals can also feel ill as a result of the shot.

The Flames were unwilling to comment on the backlash back home over what seems at this point to be special treatment.

Kiprusoff would dress as the backup if he doesn't feel 100% by game time, because it's too late to call someone like Leland Irving up from the AHL Abbotsford Heat.

"That's not gonna work. We can't get someone here in time," Sutter said. "Kipper will be able to. I think he'll be fine and can back up (McElhinney)."

steve.macfarlane@sunmedia.ca


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