Miikka Kiprusoff - at the centre of a storm this week, after a Vancouver Canucks fan directed a laser pointer at him during an NHL game - said he wasn't aware of the intended distraction until it was brought to his attention by his teammates.
"I saw after the game on TV what happened," the Calgary Flames goaltender said yesterday, "but during the game, I didn't notice it. I heard our players saying something about it. I didn't have any clue what they were talking about."
The incident was raised after a Hockey Night in Canada clash last Saturday between the Canucks and Flames in Vancouver, where an unidentified fan, sitting in the general area of the bench, tried to distract Kiprusoff with a green laser pointer directed toward the goalie's face.
Television replays show the light flickered off his mask, but Kiprusoff said it never got directly into his eyes.
"I always close my eyes when they shoot anyway," quipped Kiprusoff, who added, "That's not cool. You don't do that, but when there's that many people in the stands, sometimes there are a few dummy ones in there, too. It's a challenge to make sure it doesn't happen again."
GM Place will be the main venue for men's hockey during the Winter Olympics next month. Does that make apprehending the culprit even more important, given partisanship can ramp up even further in a gold-medal game as opposed to a regular-season NHL match?
Kiprusoff will suit up for Finland in the 2010 competition. Presumably, he doesn't want a repeat of the incident if he happens to be playing against Canada.
"I believe Canadian fans are classier than that," he said.