CALGARY - Brent Sutter wasn't, at first, willing to divulge any potential lineup changes for next game.
But he decided to announce one.
After the tuneup in anticipation of Saturday afternoon’s clash with the Nashville Predators, Sutter was asked whether he anticipated any roster moves.
“I’ll tell you Kipper’s playing goal. You guys will be happy about that,” he said.
Obviously, Sutter didn’t like any second-guessing regarding his decision to start Henrik Karlsson against the New York Rangers Thursday night, his second game already this season, instead of No.-1 netminder Miikka Kiprusoff.
“You guys should love it because you’ve been talking about it for two years that Kipper’s playing too many games. Well, now, you’re seeing it take place.”
To his credit, Karlsson was certainly good enough to beat the Rangers, even though the club fell 3-2 in overtime.
None of the goals could be pinned on Karlsson, whose career record is now at 4-6-7, rewarding the faith Sutter showed in him.
Sutter will turn to Kiprusoff against the Predators, but he will continue with a plan drawn up this summer and taking them through to November, whether or not Kiprusoff is as strong as he was in the 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers early this week.
“We expect Kipper to play very well every night, as should our other goalie, so that shouldn’t come into play when our decision is being made,” Sutter said. “If Kipper’s going to play 74 or 75 games, (Karlsson will only play) one game a month, but with our schedule, it’s not the right thing to do.
“We need Karl playing games for us, and we need him playing well.
“He gave us a chance (Thursday).”
Kiprusoff will celebrate his 35th birthday next week, so he’s no spring chicken, and he expects the lighter workload will pay big dividends down the road.
“It’s more like a long-term plan. It’s how we feel in three months or so,” Kiprusoff said.