New papa Miikka Kiprusoff brushes off trade rumours
Flames goalie expected back in the net for Calgary against Nashville on Thursday
NASHVILLE — Changing nappies is, naturally, more on Miikka Kiprusoff’s mind at the moment than changing teams.
“I try to stay out of that,” shrugged the habitually-nonplussed goaltender of trade speculation. “I try to keep it simple, still. I try to help team here. Try to win games.
“Everything else is out of my control.
“So there’s no reason to think about it. At all. It’s NHL. Every year, it’s the same talk. A part of the game. My name is out there, too.
“But I can’t worry about it too much.”
Along with captain Jarome Iginla and defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, Kiprusoff’s name is front and centre among the Calgary Flames on the trading block. This is, never forget, arguably the best puck-repeller of the world’s best league over the past decade.
Even at 36, he could be a difference-tipper for an ambitious organization looking to make a post-season splash.
Chicago is rumoured to be sniffing around. Toronto, too. Any team with Stanley Cup aspirations that needs shoring up between the pipes would be unbelievably daft not to at least inquire about the possibility.
With one year left on a deal that plummets to $1.5 million in 2013-2014 and his no-movement clause expired, the time has never seemed more ripe for the unthinkable prospect of the 2006 Vezina Trophy winner changing addresses.
“I’ve been traded once in my life” — from San Jose to the Flames back in 2003 — “and it was probably the best thing that happened in my hockey life,” Kiprusoff mused. “But, like I say, I just try to do my job here. That’s it.”
Given the perpetual state of mediocrity of the franchise that he’s propped up for so many seasons, he might secretly actually welcome a move.
A trade and a solid playoff run somewhere else would certainly up his bargaining power, assuming his desire is to remain in the NHL for a few more years.
Kiprusoff rejoined his mates here in Music City after wife Seidi gave birth to Oskar, the couple’s second boy, on Monday at Rockyview Hospital, where, he wanted emphasized, the staff could simply not have been more supportive.
“Everything’s good,” reported dad. “Everything went well. It’s been a long time. My other son (Aaro) is old (seven, actually), so I don’t even remember how to handle a baby.
“But I guess it’s coming back.”
When he was asked if Oskar would grow up to be a Gumby-elasticized goaltender like his pa, it was put to Kiprusoff that the boy might be wiser to take a different pro career route. Say, a tennis star swatting baseline rallies weekly in dream vacation spots, like, for instance, Monaco.
“Yeah,” joked Kiprusoff. “No taxes.”
As pleased as pop was by the new arrival, Aaro had to be just as ecstatic. After all, a baby-brother sidekick. Nothing better, right?
“Yeah, he was pretty happy,” said Kiprusoff. “It’ll probably take a couple years before they can play together but he can’t wait. It’s cool.”
And the complexities of successful diaper manipulation for a guy out of that rather messy loop a while now?
Kiprusoff smiled. “It’s OK. I’ve been practising.”
IGINLA STAYS COURSE
Speaking of swirling speculation, Iginla, the captain, was again deflecting the ongoing speculation regarding his future as a Flame.
“You try to focus on the games and my job — which is a great job — is to prepared and do my best on the ice. It’s fun and that’s why you try not to worry about the other stuff.
“I said at the beginning of the season that I wasn’t going to talk about any possible scenarios because it’s just a headache for our team and the guys. We’re in a race right now, and that’s where my mind is.”
BACKLUND PLAYING THROUGH INJURY
Mikael Backlund is giving himself a thumbs-up. The centreman played Monday in Dallas despite a cracked bone in his right foot and came away feeling no ill effects.
“It went better than I thought,” he reported Wednesday. “Not too bad. Obviously the medication kicked in a little later and made it feel better.
“It’s still sore but once the game started, I felt pretty good. I didn’t think about it too much.”
RESPECT FOR ORR
The peerless Bobby Orr turned 65 on Monday, making everyone of a certain ear feel that little bit older, sorer and slower.
“A big Bobby Orr fan,” gushed Hartley, who, you should know, is an even bigger baseball nut. “I have a stick signed by Bobby Orr and a picture signed by Bobby Orr.
“In Colorado, I was talking to Bobby a lot. And when I got to Atlanta, Pete Orr, a good Canadian boy, was a reserve player for the Braves. And he wore No. 4, because of Bobby Orr. So I placed a call to Bobby and he sent a picture, that famous picture” — airborne after being tripped by St. Louis Blues’ defenceman Noel Picard after scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Boston Bruins against Glenn Hall in the spring of 1970 — “and Pete Orr was pretty happy about this.”
Follow George Johnson on Twitter/GeorgejohnsonCH
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