Calgary’s 4-1 victory over Detroit Tuesday night proved costly, as Miikka Kiprusoff was forced from the game with a lower-body injury.
Kiprusoff has been a workhorse in goal for the Flames, averaging more than 70 games per season from 2005-06 to 2011-12. The Flames’ hopes of ending their three-year playoff drought rests on him.
The good new is Kiprusoff’s listed as day-to-day, meaning he could return within the next week or two.
For now, Leland Irving takes over the starter's role. He only had seven NHL games under his belt prior to relieving Kiprusoff against the Wings. Backing him up will be Danny Taylor, who played for the Flames’ AHL affiliate in Abbotsford. Taylor was signed Wednesday to a one-year NHL contract.
If Kiprusoff's recovery takes longer than expected, the Calgary Sun's Eric Francis doubts Flames management would stick with Irving and would instead shop for a goaltender.
Francis dismissed the idea of the Flames pursuing Vancouver's Roberto Luongo. He suggested a better option would be Ottawa Senators backup Ben Bishop, though he doubted GM Jay Feaster would agree to part with the asking price of a second round pick.
The Flames might have something else to entice Senators GM Bryan Murray. Earlier this season, Murray was shopping for blueline depth, but his team's strong start and the slim pickings on the trade market stayed his hand.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported Murray was still sniffing around the trade market, but wasn't finding much to his liking.
With Jason Spezza sidelined until the playoffs, the obvious assumption is Murray will seek a scoring center, but if Kyle Turris plays well on the first line, there won't be a need to add another center.
If Murray's still in the market for a depth defenseman, the Flames could help. Chris Butler and Derek Smith have affordable cap hits and could be made available. One of them could be pitched to Murray in exchange for Bishop.
That being said, the Senators blueline was bolstered by the play of call-ups Andre Benoit, Patrick Wiercioch and Mark Borowiecki, while Mike Lundin has returned from injury. If the Flames express interest in Bishop, the price may stay at a second round draft pick.
THE O’REILLY FACTOR
The Denver Post's Adrian Dater reports there still hasn’t been any significant progress in Ryan O'Reilly's contract talks with the Colorado Avalanche.
Dater said O'Reilly's agent spoke with Avalanche management on Tuesday, but there's no indication anything positive or negative came out of that discussion.
The Avalanche reportedly have two offers on the table for O'Reilly; one for two years, another for five, and each worth around $3.5 million per season.
It's believed the 21-year-old prefers a five-year deal worth $5 million per season, which would take him beyond his eligibility age for unrestricted free agency.
This situation is comparable to Kyle Turris' contract holdout last season with the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes eventually re-signed Turris, then dealt him a few weeks later to the Ottawa Senators.
If the intent of the O'Reilly camp is to force a trade, the Avs must either first find a trade partner willing to sign him, or do a sign-and-trade deal like the Coyotes did with Turris.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal doesn't consider O'Reilly worth $5 million per season and believes the longer this standoff continues, the more likely he won't remain with the Avalanche.
For now, the Avalanche maintain they're not shopping O'Reilly. The standoff continues.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).