Flames Win but lose Kipper

 

The Calgary Flames are starting to gel, despite the loss of Miikka Kiprusoff.

After playing well against Colorado last Thursday, save the final five minutes of play, and after playing great on Saturday against the Blackhawks but coming up painfully short, the Flames had their foot firmly on the gas pedal from start to finish against the Detroit Red Wings and never let up.

A goal from Jarome Iginla, his first of the season, to open the scoring got everything rolling for the Flames. A vintage Iginla goal if I’ve ever seen one. He outmuscled Niklas Kronwall in front of the net and shoved the puck underneath Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. Then Curtis Glencross converted on the Flames 5-on-3 powerplay on a beautiful pass from Mike Cammalleri.

They faltered slightly allowing Detroit to get within one, but stormed right back scoring with less than 30 seconds left in the second to take the two goal lead again. After that, they never looked back winning their second game of the season 4-1.

The overshadowing aspect of the win however, was the disappearance of Miikka Kiprusoff from the ice after the second period. Leland Irving started the third and not much was, or still is, known about Kipper’s injury. Only, that it is a lower body injury, and we think it happened when Johan Franzen fell awkwardly on Kipper forcing his knee into an awkward position.

The length of time Kipper will be sidelined is unknown as he will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

But given the type of injury – lower body usually meaning knee or groin and these injuries tend to linger – my guess would be that he would be out a couple of weeks.

Kipper hasn’t really missed anytime since his first season in Calgary when he missed a month, or 19 games, due to a knee injury. He has played 70 games in seven consecutive seasons. He is a machine and one of the most durable players, not just goaltenders, in the league.  

The Flames will miss him – that’s a given.

During that time the Flames went 7-10-2. Not great, but good enough to hold onto playoff hope that season. And that was with Jamie McClennan and Roman Turek in net.  Kipper came back and the Flames went to the Cup final.

Now, if you’re looking at this in a glass half full type of scenario, which I’m trying to do, then this could be the opportunity that Leland Irving has been craving since he was drafted in the 1st round by the Flames back in 2006.

Every injury is someone else’s opportunity. Turek’s was Kipper’s back in 2003. Kipper’s could be Irving’s in 2013.

Irving played admirable in a relief effort tonight stopping all six shots that the Wings fired at him and keeping the Flames ahead while the Wings had good sustained pressure for the first bit of the third period.

In seven games last season Irving was 1-3-3 with a respectable .912 SV%. His GAA was not as impressive at 3.19.

Irving has had a rollercoaster year. From being called up last season to back-up Kipper after Karlsson went down, to being the odd man out in Abbotsford for the AHL playoffs last season and the first half of this minor league season.

Now, he might find himself as the starter in Calgary, depending on the severity of Kipper’s injury.

And call me crazy, but I think he is up for the task. No, he is not Kipper, but there is a reason he was drafted in the first round. He has a substantial amount of skill and given the goal support that the Flames can offer him this year, I don’t think the Flames will be in as much trouble as people think if Miikka is out for any length of time.

Now this all could be just a moo point (you know, a cow’s opinion) if Kipper is fine and plays Thursday. But, I firmly believe that Irving is the most capable back-up the Flames have had while Kipper has been the number one. He is young and hungry to prove that he belongs in the big leagues. And I think that will show in his play.

I guess I should have waited to write this until tomorrow when more details are given about Kipper’s injury but I couldn’t resist writing a hypothetical blog about what might happen in the crease if the Flames long standing net minder is severely injured.

It’s just more fun to guess and speculate about what could be.

Maybe, that’s why Eklund makes up so many rumours?

 

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