Humble guy

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:47 PM ET


 VANCOUVER -- Minutes after Chuck Kobasew handed Miikka Kiprusoff the game puck from Tuesday's 4-0 win, it found a special perch atop the netminder's locker stall.

 Still wet from a perfect 20-save performance that netted Kiprusoff his first career playoff shutout, the puck had been placed on edge, displaying the team logo he's represented so well since joining the club mid-November.

 Asked what he'd do with the biscuit that represented his biggest accomplishment in professional hockey to date, the humble Finn shrugged.

 "Actually, I don't have any shutout pucks from before the season," he whispered.

 "I don't know what to do with them."

 With that, he grabbed the puck from the top shelf next to his mask and slipped it onto a lower shelf with four other pucks and rolls of tape and gauze.

 The other keepsakes were given to him by teammates following his four regular-season shutouts.

 While most players immediately get that type of memento framed, mounted or shipped off to family members, the laid-back goaltender seems content to have them collect dust in his stall.

 "Knowing Kipper, he's so humble he'll probably use them for street hockey," laughed Flames president/CEO Ken King, not at all surprised by the netminder's attitude towards souvenirs.

 "He needs to build a plaque or something for them -- something to display them in," said Craig Conroy, always quick to offer friendly advice for his pals.

 "The team is usually pretty good at that. Maybe they'll do something. They do a pretty nice job.

 "He's got so many, maybe they're trying to save some money."

 The shutout pucks and accolades continue to pile up for the Hart Trophy contender as he has bounced back from a shaky series opener in which he saw very few of the five goals he allowed.

 A quiet owner of the NHL's modern-day record for goals-against average during the season, Kiprusoff has since allowed just three goals in his last three outings, earning first-star honours Tuesday to regain the spotlight that shone briefly on Canucks backup Johan Hedberg.

 Now more than ever, no one disputes the fact Kipper will be the man most likely to decide the series, one way or the other.

 Steady but not spectacular Tuesday, Kiprusoff was the obvious benefactor of a total team effort.

 The Canucks were out-hit and out-worked by a Flames team that extended its season by at least two more games.

 Not usually one to play the puck too much, Kiprusoff tore a page out of Hedberg's book when he rifled a pass to Denis Gauthier at centre ice, which Chris Clark parlayed into a pivotal powerplay goal.

 The assist was Kiprusoff's first in the playoffs, landing him in a tie for sixth in team scoring.

 Did he keep the puck?

 Not on your life.


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