The Calgary Flames will have a welcome sight in goal on Wednesday as starting netminder Miikka Kiprusoff returns to action.
Kiprusoff, 36, hasn’t played since suffering a grade 2 MCL sprain in a game against Detroit on Feb. 5, but will be between the pipes when the Flames take on the Sharks at the Saddledome.
To say Calgary’s struggled without Kipper is a slight understatement. Since he’s gone down, the Flames have started three different goalies — Leland Irving, Danny Taylor and Joey MacDonald — who have allowed a combined 44 goals.
(Speaking of Taylor, the Flames sent him to AHL Abbotsford today.)
How Kiprusoff responds to such a lengthy layoff will be monitored across the league.
The veteran has two seasons left on the six-year, $35 million deal signed back in 2008 and could be a tantalizing bit of trade bait at deadline time.
He does have a high cap hit ($5.8 million) but will only make $1.5 million in salary in 2013-14, so he could be a viable target for a team looking for a veteran presence in goal — should the Flames fall out of playoff contention, of course.
Calgary heads into tonight’s action sitting 13th in the Western Conference, four points back of eighth-place Dallas.
Leland Irving’s chance to shine as the Calgary Flames goalie in the wake of Miikka Kiprusoff’s “slight” MCL sprain has instead landed him back on the farm.
The Flames on Saturday reassigned Irving to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League and recalled Danny Taylor.
Irving and Taylor have found themselves in a similar situation down on the farm, when Taylor was chosen over Irving as the Heat’s number one netminder.
“By sending Leland to Abbotsford at this time he does not require waivers. We want Leland to go down and work on sharpening his game. At the same time this enables us to continue to evaluate Danny Taylor at the NHL level,” Flames general manager Jay Feaster said in a statement released by the club.
Irving, 24, is the Flames’ first-round, 26th overall, selection from the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Irving allowed two goals on only four shots faced in his last start for Calgary, against the St. Louis Blues Friday. He was pulled after just four minutes and seven seconds of the first period. The Flames as a team gave up four goals in the first period and went on to lose 5-2.
The Flames also put centre Blair Jones on waivers.
The Calgary Flames will be without their starting goalie, Miikka Kiprusoff, for another two weeks with what the club is calling a “slight grade two MCL sprain.”
Kiprusoff, 36, has missed the last three games while backup Leland Irving has taken over the starting duties.
Yesterday, the Flames claimed goalie Joey MacDonald off waivers from Detroit. MacDonald will battle Irving for the backup job while Kiprusoff is out.
Calgary also announced it has placed recently signed goalie Danny Taylor on waivers with the intention of sending him to AHL Abbotsford.
The Flames lost 2-1 in a shootout last night at home to Minnesota, dropping their record to 3-4-3 after 10 games. It was the third time they’d fallen in a shootout this season.
“The bottom line is that we don’t take any moral victories … we have to win games,” said general manager Jay Feaster.
On the bright side, Feaster said that forward Mike Cammalleri (hip) “should be good to go tomorrow” against Dallas.
Mikko Koivu celebrated his 500th career National Hockey League game in style.
Koivu calmly faked to the backhand, then went forehand, sliding the puck past a helpless Leland Irving for the shootout winner, as the Minnesota Wild got past the Calgary Flames with a 2-1 victory.
“It wasn’t pretty by any means,” Wild forward Devin Setoguchi said to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“That might have been one of the ugliest wins that you’re going to see. But we’ve found a way to get the win, and that’s all that matters.”
Irving was making his third straight start in place of the injured Miikka Kiprusoff.
He made 23 saves in regulation and overtime combined but was beaten on the only two attempts he faced in the skills competition.
“You get in shootouts and you get a couple of good moves, you get a couple of lucky moves, you get a save, you get a good goal and you get the win. But right now, we’re not getting it,” Flames head coach Bob Hartley told NHL.com.
Flames GM Jay Feaster is expected to address to the goaltending situation in Calgary some time today.
Following a sequence that saw Miikka Kiprusoff injured, Danny Taylor signed and Joey MacDonald claimed off waivers, plenty of questions arose regarding Calgary’s goaltending situation.
Soon, we’ll get some answers.
Flames GM Jay Feaster will reportedly address the media on Tuesday about that exact situation, a team spokesman told the Canadian Press.
As it stands, Calgary’s goaltending situation is this:
— Leland Irving is the temporary No. 1 and has started the last two games (vs. Vancouver and Columbus) after relieving Kiprusoff in last week’s win over Detroit. He’s 1-1-0 with a 3.40 GAA and .879 save percentage.
— Taylor served as the backup against the Canucks and Blue Jackets.
— Kiprusoff is on IR with a lower-body injury. He skated on Monday but did no standard goalie movements (ie: butterfly, knee bends.)
— TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that if all goes well, Kiprusoff will return this week and MacDonald will become his No. 2.
— The Calgary Sun’s Randy Sportak brings up a good point: Why, if Kiprusoff is close to returning, the Flames would decide to add two contracts in Taylor and MacDonald, bringing them to 49 total?
Flames head coach Bob Hartley has forwarded all player personnel queries to Feaster.
As for the present — it was Irving and Taylor practicing prior to Monday’s home date with Minnesota, with MacDonald set to arrive in Calgary later in the evening.