IRVING WINS BACKUP BATTLE
“It’s awesome, no better feeling,” he said. “It’s taken a lot of hard work and a few obstacles along the way but I couldn’t be happier.”
Irving, in the eyes of head coach Bob Hartley, felt the 24-year-old asserted himself better in the shortened camp.
“We felt he was better,” Hartley said after Friday’s practice. “It’s not fun, it’s not a fun situation but this is a very competitive business and you have to make the right decision and more importantly, the most honest decision and that’s what we feel we’ve done.”
The decision came down to a combination of Thursday’s scrimmage and the body of work from both goaltenders all week, Hartley revealed.
“Yesterday was a big day,” he said. “Combined to Kipper’s day off, they each had their own net. It was a battle but we felt from the first day to yesterday, overall Leland was the clear winner.”
KIPRUSOFF RETURNS TO ICE
After taking a break from the action a day ago, Kiprusoff returned to the ice Friday.
With a heavy workload anticipated ahead, both he and Hartley will carefully manage Kiprusoff's workload between the pipes.
“Yesterday we decided it’s best to take it easy and stay off the ice and do other stuff to get ready today and work hard,” Kiprusoff said.
And the goalie worked, according to the Flames’ coach.
“We had a pretty good practice today and Kipper comes to me and says, ‘I want more shots’,” Hartley said. “This guy is unbelievable. He reminds me a lot of Patrick Roy. Patrick Roy, as soon as practice is over, he would stay and want more shots and Kipper came to us and said ‘I need more shots, I want more shots’.”
Kiprusoff can expect to see plenty of rubber throughout the season.
“We have a plan and we will do everything in the best interest in Kipper and the Calgary Flames but the guy is a thoroughbred,” Hartley said. “I know what thoroughbreds like to do. They like to run. They don’t like to sit in the stable.”
“I think it’s just spreading and increasing the leadership,” he said. “Those two guys, I think they’ve shown lots of leadership from Day 1. They’re great NHL veterans. They love it here with the Flames.
“When you get a letter, it’s a chance to go one step further and to increase your leadership. I think it’s a nice recognition. It’s responsibilities – it’s added responsibilities and I think they’ll do very well.”
Cammalleri and Bouwmeester will don A’s during road games 1 through 24 home games 25-48, while Giordano and Glencross will wear letters at home games 1-24 and road games 25 through 48 this season.
“It’s one of those things that are a great honour,” Glencross said. “Not a lot of guys get the chance to wear a letter. It was pretty cool.”
Glencross was caught off guard, but welcomed the news.
“Yeah, this morning it was a surprise,” said Glencross, who has played 287 career games with the Flames. “They mentioned in our meetings earlier in the year right before the lockout started they thought of me as one of the leaders on the team and they wanted me to really try to push the guys and be one of those guys that guys can come to and talk to.”
To little surprise, Sven Baertschi will stick in Calgary.
Hartley is hoping the 20-year-old’s youthful enthusiasm and energy can help ignite the Flames.
“You always look at him, he always has a smile,” Hartley said. “The kid loves to come to the rink. I think he brings lots of passion, lots of fire and excitement to the game and for a team, you always need that new blood to spark the team.”
As an emergency call-up last March from the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, Baertschi did just that, scoring three goals in five games.
But Baertschi will not be judged on his offensive contributions alone, cautioned Hartley.
“I told him to give us what he can and I think at his young age he can give us a lot but I will not judge Sven’s game only by his offensive numbers,” Hartley said.
RETURNED TO ABBY
Byron has five goals and 13 points in 26 games in the American Hockey League this season. Carson has yet to play this season.
Goaltender Henrik Karlsson has been designated for assignment but currently remains with the team.
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