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Kiprusoff’s start tonight might be last in Calgary

Apr 17, 2013, 9:52 AM EST

Miikka Kiprusoff AP

Miikka Kiprusoff, 36, isn’t hiding the fact that he might retire at the end of the 2013 campaign. If this is his final season, it’s an unfortunate way to end his career.

The Calgary Flames are focused on getting younger as they close out their fourth consecutive season without a playoff berth, but this campaign has also been rough for Kiprusoff specifically. He has a 3.60 GAA and .872 save percentage in 21 starts, which puts him at the bottom of both categories among goaltenders that qualify.

Lately he has even lost the starting job to Joey MacDonald, who the Calgary Flames originally picked up on waivers.

“Mac (Joey MacDonald) has been red-hot,” Kiprusoff reasoned in a Calgary Herald report. “He’s playing so well. They don’t want to change the goalie that’s playing that well. But I’m getting my chance (tonight) and I’ll try to do my best.”

The Finnish goaltender is starting against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. After this match, Calgary will play in their last home game on Friday and given how the netminding duties have been allocated lately, it’s very possible that this will be Kiprusoff’s final start in the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Regardless of what happens, if he decides to hang up his skates this summer Kiprusoff will be bringing an end to a storied career.

He was a late bloomer, not really finding his way in the NHL until his breakout 2003-04 campaign. He led the Calgary Flames into the playoffs that season and, as the sixth seed, took them as far as Game 7 of the finals. That’s as close as he ever got to winning the Stanley Cup.

Even still, he’s been a workhorse and ranks 23rd in the NHL all-time list with 317 wins. He had a career-high 10 shutouts in 2005-06 en route to winning the Vezina Trophy.

“Was he perfect? No. Nobody is,” former goaltending coach David Marcoux said. “But he brought it all to his hockey club and was accountable to his teammates. You ask anybody from 2003 to today ‘Do you trust Miikka Kiprusoff?’ and the answer would be unanimous.”

  1. georgejarkko - Apr 17, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    “Storied” career? Bit of an overstatement, no?

  2. thehighcountrybear - Apr 17, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    No

  3. ethanmacleod1685 - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Did he take steroids?

  4. nananatman - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Thanks for the memories, real Flames fans know we won that Stanley Cup in game 6, Martin Gelinas goal/no goal, even as a butterfly goalie you are a stand up guy. Best Wishes.

  5. letsgopens8771 - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Yeah, Kipper is about done. Although, Kipper retires, then what? As bad as Kipper and the Flames has been, Joey MacDonald and Danny Taylor are not your starting goalies. I like the rebuilding idea, but so far, it isn’t working out for CGY. (even though Hanowski scored his first NHL goal the other night)

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      The rebuild is 3 weeks old, pretty hard to saying its not going well in that small of a sample size isn’t it? They’ve got young players up getting experience now, and they’re competing and playing well, add to that a top 5 (likely top 3) pick plus 2 more first round picks this year, as critical as I’ve been of Feaster, I think the rebuild is going about as well as can be expected at ths point, but they definitely need a new coach.

      The Flames starting goalie next year will be Karri Ramo, he’s played the last 3 years in the KHL and put up great numbers over there. They’ve also got Laurent Brossoit (sp?) who’s been dominant for the Edmonton Oil Kings the past 2 years. And their top goalie prospect is John Gillies who’s been playing at Providence College. So despite a penguins fan’s disbelief there are goalies in the pipeline.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, doesn’t Hanowski have the same number of goals as Iginla since the trade?

  6. atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Definitely the end of an era, I can still remember the November day in 2003 and commenting to my friends that getting this Finnish goalie does nothing to help the team’s scoring, that it wouldn’t help them make the playoffs that year and that he was just keeping the bench warm until Turek came back from injury, glad I turned out to be incredibly wrong on that one! His 34 will be in the rafters at the Dome sooner rather than later!

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