Today’s called-off practice meant Darryl Sutter was able to avoid another potentially tense encounter with the Calgary media. There’s at least one part of Sutter’s past in Calgary, though, that he enjoys discussing, and that is goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. Sutter often brings up Kiprusoff among a list of goalies — including Ed Belfour and Mike Vernon — that he has been fortunate to coach. When Kiprusoff broke into the NHL, with San Jose in 2000-01, Sutter was the coach. Then, when Kiprusoff got traded to Calgary in 2003, Sutter was coaching there as well. Sutter played Kiprusoff in 74 games in 2005-06, and Kiprusoff, now 35, has turned in three 40-win seasons. Of course, Sutter now has a pretty successful goalie in Jonathan Quick, who has strung together three consecutive 30-win seasons — best in Kings history — but Sutter didn’t mince words recently when asked how Quick compares to Kiprusoff…
SUTTER: “He’s won 40 games a season for how many seasons, so there’s no comparison. … You have to prove that over a period of time. Jonathan has had a great season, but you have to be a 40-win goalie. There’s two guys this year that are going to do it, and those guys are aces.’’
Question: Just in terms of personality and such, any similarities?
SUTTER: “Kipper, I had him as a young guy who was still sort of finding his way, had to learn the discipline and the preparation. He had to learn all that. They have similar work ethics in practice. Kipper really worked at improving what he thought he needed to improve. He would really work at that. I think that’s something Jonathan will learn, as he goes along.’’
This season, Quick has a 32-21-11 record, a 1.96 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage, while Kiprusoff has a 34-20-11 record, a 2.35 goals-against average and a .921. Kiprusoff has long been known as a workhorse, and could play as many as 72 games this season.
SUTTER: “Every year it doesn’t change, even with Brent (Sutter, Calgary’s coach). Their plan was to get that 60 (games), whatever that magic number is. When you’re always in such a competitive playoff race, there’s no plan in stone. Kipper is the best back-to-back goalie that I’ve ever coached. Not even close. He was so good the second night. The only time I would ever see anything was maybe when it was a three (games) in four (nights). He was an unbelievable back-to-back goaltender. And he did a lot of that.’’