Cherry lauds Karlsson's fist pumps

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:01 PM ET

Just when you thought you had Don Cherry figured out, he throws a change-up.

In his Coach’s Corner segment this past weekend, Cherry showed Henrik Karlsson’s fist-pumping antics during Calgary’s 3-2 shootout win over Minnesota Friday caught.

But Cherry praised the Flames goaltender for punctuating each save.

“This is the same way as when Muhammad Ali used to do the shuffle before he knew he was going to win. The hot dog, Sugar Ray Leonard, used to do it when he had the guy on the ropes,” Cherry said before rolling the footage. “He could look bad here, but look at this, ‘Yahoo.’ He’s going to the team, ‘Get ready.’

“I think that’s inspiring. It’s great. It’s not a hot-dog move.”

Karlsson admitted Monday he wasn’t just celebrating the saves, but also hoping to fire up his teammates and catch the opposition’s attention.

“It’s a little bit of a mind game, me against the other goalie, in shootouts. I want to show him, also, that I’m there,” he said.

His teammates loved it, too.

“Guys on the bench were laughing hysterically. It was great,” Brendan Morrison said. “Even a couple of the officials were laughing. I wouldn’t say he’s a young kid, but he’s a rookie in the league showing his enthusiasm and excitement, his passion, to help the team win. It was contagious all the way to the bench.”

Karlsson, who has a 2-1-1 record this season, is animated in practice, too, and admits showing that emotion puts him at his best.

“You can’t go too far. You have to keep calm and focused, but as long as it’s in the lines, it’s good for me,” he said.

Backlund given a seat

Rookie centre Mikael Backlund was scratched during Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, but not as punishment. Coach Brent Sutter felt Backlund’s game had flattened out and a look from above would help.

“It’s trying to do the right thing with a young player to allow his development to take place, not having to throw him to the wolves all the time. We don’t want to set him up to fail,” Sutter said. “It was a good time to sit back and watch a game, watch how (Jonathan) Toews does it, how he plays, and watching our team and how they play. He’ll get back in the lineup.”

Ice chips

Defenceman Steve Staios is out at least a week after suffering a shoulder injury. At the same time, blueliner Adam Pardy is ready to go after missing all the season due to a dislocated shoulder suffered in the pre-season. “I’ll come to the rink ready to play. It’s Brent making that decision, but the last five or six days I’ve done a lot of battle practices and the shoulder feels good, so they’ll make a decision.” ... C Ryan Stone, out due to knee surgery in March, practised with the team for the first time Monday. “I’ve got to get in shape, get my timing. I couldn’t make any passes out there. I’ve been passing pucks to Rich (Hesketh, the strength and conditioning coach), so my passes were a little behind (the targets).”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

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