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Kiprusoff closing in on career milestones

Jan 27, 2012, 2:50 PM EDT

Miikka Kiprusoff AP

Even though he’s got some time to rest and relax during the All-Star break, chances are Miikka Kiprusoff‘s mind won’t be entirely off hockey — he’s staring two career milestones in the face.

The 35-year-old Finnish netminder is just two wins away from 300 for his career and one appearance away from becoming Calgary’s all-time leader in games played by a goalie.

The 300-win plateau will be a special one. Only 26 netminders have won that many, four of them active (Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Nikolai Khabibulin and Evgeni Nabokov) — but Kiprusoff will become the first Finnish goalie to accomplish the feat.

[Quick note on the Finnish goalie record: The 2K generation has seen a wave of talented goalies from Finland — Kipper, Niklas Backstrom, Pekka Rinne, Kari Lehtonen Antti Niemi, Tuukka Rask — but prior to 2000, pickings were slim. For a long time, the record for most wins by a Finnish goalie was held by the immortal Kari Takko.]

The Flames record for appearances is also intriguing. Kiprusoff will soon break the mark (526 games) held by Mike Vernon. Once that happens, Kipper will be the franchise leader in games played, wins, shutouts and saves.

For some, that’s enough to anoint him as the greatest goalie in team history — but is that selling Vernon a tad short? Remember, Vernon backstopped the Flames not just to their first and only Stanley Cup in 1989…but also their first-ever Stanley Cup Finals (losing in 1986 to Montreal.)

Vernon also played 81 playoff games to Kiprusoff’s 52, recording 43 wins to Kiprusoff’s 24.

Feel free to debate the merits of both Vernon and Kiprusoff in the comments section.

  1. creasemasta41 - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    For the long term in Calgary, Kiprusoff is the best, judging on his stats, lack of injuries, amount of games played each season, and giving the team a chance to win on many nights when nobody else showed up to play. Of course, Vernon will always be the goalie that led the Flames to their first ever Stanley Cup, and his numbers with the organization aren’t too shabby either. Given the fact that Kipper could play 3-4 more years, he could solidify his place as the best Flames goalie in their history. Until then it looks to be a toss up determined on how much importance you put on winning the cup

    • danphipps01 - Jan 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      Let’s also not forget Kiprusoff had only two years or so with a team in front of him that was as good as the ’89 Cup squad, or even close. From 2007 on, he’s had utter shit to work with. Still brings home the wins.

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