Sometimes a query shouldn't even be necessary.

Bob Hartley waited for it anyway. In fact, the Calgary Flames head coach pretty much demanded it.

As he started for his post-morning skate media scrum, Hartley paused, knowing full well the topic on everybody's mind.

After all, No. 1 goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was one of only two netminders on the ice, the other being Joey MacDonald, and was the first one to leave, usually the sign who will be in net.

Still, Hartley waited for somebody to ask whether Kiprusoff would return to action after missing 13 games due to a knee injury to face the San Jose Sharks

“Geez, I never thought that would be the first question,” Hartley said facetiously. “Yes, Kipper's starting.

“He feels great. The medical staff has cleared him. We will see Kipper between the pipes tonight.”

The Flames (8-8-4) went a month without Kiprusoff. In his place, the trio of Leland Irving, MacDonald and Danny Taylor – who was assigned to the AHL Abbotsford Heat Wednesday afternoon – combined for a 6-5-2 record.

“Our goalies, while he's been out, have played well and given us a chance to win,” said captain Jarome Iginla. “But to have Kipper back – he's one of the best goalies, most consistently one of the best in the game – it would be a big boost.”

Kiprusoff had a rough start to his season, a 2-3-2 record with a 3.23 goals-against average and .870 save percentage, but looked on his form in the Feb. 5 game in Detroit when he was injured late in the second period.

To their credit, the Flames stayed within hailing distance of the Western Conference's elite eight without Kiprusoff, but you know his return will be a jolt of energy.

“It shouldn't change your game, but I really believe it does,” Hartley said of a team's reaction when their starting goalie is in net.

As for the game, the Sharks became the second consecutive team to have their arrival to Calgary delayed after playing the night before in Vancouver.

Following their 3-2 shootout victory over the Canucks Tuesday night, the Sharks couldn't come to the Stampede City due to fog in Calgary. Therefore, they returned to their hotel and traveled in the late morning.