Kipper lands rare job as backup

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

DALLAS -- The Flames didn't want to talk about the flu yesterday.

But they were bitten by a "bug" a day after news they received H1N1 vaccinations last week without waiting in line sparked outrage back home in Calgary.

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.

He didn't come back to the rink on the team bus, but was reportedly feeling much better before taking the warmup. He backed up Curtis McElhinney.

People naturally will wonder whether 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.

As a group, the Flames wanted to avoid the subject before their game against the Stars.

Then again, not every member of the team took the free shot in the arm.

Eric Nystrom was among those who refused.

"I just wasn't feeling good at the time, and I don't even know if (the vaccine is) best," Nystrom said. "I really don't think there's good stuff in there, so I just didn't take it."

CRAWFORD FEELS FORTUNATE

Stars coach Marc Crawford wasn't about to touch the sensitive flu subject yesterday with controversy roaring in Alberta.

But he does realize he's privileged to be in a business surrounded by a strong medical staff.

"Having access to those people is such a godsend," he said.

"I know what that's like when I was out of work. You're doing what every other Canadian and U.S. person is, waiting in line."

The Stars have had seasonal shots, and have a plan in place to deal with H1N1, but have not yet been vaccinated for that strain.


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