October 6, 2011
Kiprusoff copes with Banff misadventures
By RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
BANFF, ALTA. - Miikka Kiprusoff experienced the great outdoors during the Calgary Flames sojourn to Banff.
As harrowing as it was at times, he wants to go back.
On Monday, the Flames goaltender had his ear clipped by Brendan Morrisons hook while they were out fly fishing.
On Tuesday, a Raitis Ivanans shot hit him flush in the mask, sending his face guard crashing to the ice.
Interesting last couple of days, for sure, Kiprusoff said.
Good thing the team returned Wednesday to Calgary. Who knows what would have happened next?
At least the Finnish goalie was able to laugh things off first the fishing incident, during which Morrison also hooked Jarome Iginla.
It was pretty funny. The guy has been talking how great a fisherman he is, and then we see him in action, and the only things he could catch were his own teammates, Kiprusoff said.
As for the puck to the mask, he wasnt happy in the immediate moments after during which Ivanans immediately tried to apologize for his shot getting so high but was more laid-back about it.
Those happen once in a while, so you get used to it, Kiprusoff said.
Of course, there was a highlight for him and everyone else on the team.
Gen. Rick Hillier, the former defence staff chief for the Canadian forces who headed the NATO mission in Afghanistan in 2004, spoke to them during dinner.
Really interesting, Kiprusoff said. It was really good too see.
The message was about leadership and its value when pushing for team goals.
To hear some of his stories of things around the world is really incredible, said Flames head coach Brent Sutter. Its incredible the people over there fighting for your country, fighting for world peace and freedom how they sacrificed themselves.
You believe in certain things as a coach. I was always a captain or assistant captain of teams, and as a coach, you have to be a leader and you always want to make sure your leadership is where it needs to be. It was good to listen to someone else talk about that at his level.
Everyone is looked at as a leader, and rightly so, and its no different than a hockey team. You look at a hockey team, and everyone in the dressing room has to lead in their own way and do whats necessary for the betterment of the group.
READYING FOR PUCK DROP
The NHLs regular season will kick off Thursday night on three fronts.
The Flames will still have two days to wait before starting up against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Considering the their last pre-season game is now a full week in the rear-view mirror, you bet their champing at the bit.
Its a really long time, especially when you jump right in and start playing pre-season games right away and then have to take a step back, said Flames forward Lee Stempniak. Weve had some really good practices, and it really gave us time to focus on systems and get things in order to be our best.
I think well be ready to go for Saturday.
Youll be seeing the highlights on TV and see the scores, and that gets you excited. Its one of the most exciting times of the year everybody gets back into the swing of it, and the Saddledome will be rocking. I cant wait.
It cant come soon enough.
As much as the players appreciated their two-day bonding getaway in Banff and practices to instil their system play, the games in other cities will get them thinking its time to play.
Im excited to watch some hockey, said Flames defenceman Mark Giordano. Its a little bit longer of a wait than you want, but its going to be a good atmosphere Saturday at home.
Still, the Flames have unveiled their 22-man opening-night roster.
Thats thanks to finalizing it Wednesday. Defenceman Jordan Henry was sent to the AHL Abbotsford Heat, while C Brendan Morrison (knee), LW Raitis Ivanans (post-concussion) and C Mikael Backlund (finger) are all on the injured list and D Brett Carson has non-roster status because his back injury was suffered in the off-season.
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