Kiprusoff can’t save Flames from 10th straight road loss as a report has him refusing to leave Calgary
Trade deadline talk continues to dominated the conversation as Calgary falls 2-0 in Chicago
CHICAGO — Just try to keep track of these Calgary Flames. Dare you.
They win like crazy at home. Lose like mad on the road.
Their captain, reportedly, has agreed to be traded — to one of only four cities.
Their goalie, reportedly, has refused to be traded — to any of the 29 cities.
Which leaves the roller-coastering Flames . . . where exactly?
Shopping Jarome Iginla (who apparently has a short-list of acceptable destinations). Keeping Miikka Kiprusoff (who apparently won’t report anywhere if he’s dealt).
And, yes, losing some more.
The Flames have piled up a franchise-record 10 straight defeats on the road — and nine straight at the United Center — the most recent being Tuesday’s 2-0 setback to the mighty Chicago Blackhawks in National Hockey League action. Outshot 35-16, the Flames fluttered home to prepare for Wednesday’s joust with the Colorado Avalanche — the only outfit sitting below them on the Western Conference table.
Back in Calgary, though, waves of speculation will continue to roll.
The latest wrinkle is a report Tuesday that Kiprusoff, despite having no restrictive clauses in his contract, is putting his foot down, move-wise, and ordering team brass to leave him in Calgary.
The goalie, however, refused to speak to reporters after the game.
Assistant general manager John Weisbrod, when asked about the Kiprusoff rumour, appeared surprised. He added that he won’t comment “on trade-deadline issues.”
And Iginla, who refused to talk to reporters in the morning, held fast to his party line post-game — that no information, in-season, will come from him. Even if the deadline is only a week away.
“It’s part of hockey,” the Flames captain said of the hubbub. “I haven’t been (the subject of) this much speculation since I started playing. But guys go through it all the time, every year at the deadline. And it’s my turn. Honestly, when you get in a game and you’re wanting to play, you’re not thinking of those things — and you shouldn’t be.
“As far as the rumours and stuff, it’ll work itself out in five or six days. We’ve been dealing with it now for a few weeks. Five or six days, it’ll go fast.”
Especially with games scheduled for Wednesday and Friday and Sunday and next Wednesday, only hours after the deadline.
“There’s speculation about a lot of us,” said Iginla. “At least when you’re playing, you try not to get too caught up in it. Our job is to be ready and to be better than we were (Tuesday) night.”
How important is it to position yourself to win a Stanley Cup?
A mirthless chuckle, then: “OK, I’m done, guys.”
Meanwhile, the Flames continue to falter.
They could not beat goalie Ray Emery, who boosted his record to 12-0-0. And they permitted goals from defencemen Nick Leddy and Brent Seabrook.
Lee Stempniak, credited with four pucks on net, represented a full quarter of the team’s output in that department.
“We were playing one of the deepest teams in the league, when it comes to talent,” said coach Bob Hartley. “They scored the first goal and they really shut us down. We had no answer to generate any attack.
“We had a couple of decent chances on the power play, and Emery came up with a few good saves. If we could have got one goal, I think we could have turned it around. It didn’t happen.”
Earlier in the day, the Flames had been buoyed by their last meeting with the Blackhawks — Feb. 2 at the Saddledome. And while a 3-2 shootout loss may seem shrug-worthy, it wasn’t. The Flames dominated that evening, outshooting the Blackhawks 47-19.
“That was our best game of the season,” Hartley noted after the morning skate. “Our best effort, our best execution. Looking at our situation, we’re in must-win games. So drop the puck.”
Puck dropped, however, the Blackhawks — who had lost, horrors, two games in a row — crawled all over the Flames. “We have to look at our own situation,” said Hartley. “Looking at the standings should be our only motivation. Right now we’re fighting to get back in the pack to fight for a playoff spot.
“Whatever’s going on with the other team — whoever we’re playing — shouldn’t matter to us.”
Follow Scott Cruickshank on Twitter/CruickshankCH
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Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff stops Chicago’s Dave Bolland as T.J. Brodie tries to slow him down during Tuesday’s game in the Windy City. Kipper made 33 saves, but the Flames, who managed to flutter just 16 shots on net, fell 2-0.
Photograph by: Bill Smith, NHLI via Getty Images