Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/09/13 at 11:59 AM ET
Calgary, AB – The Calgary Flames announced today the retirement of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff from the National Hockey League.
“Miikka has been up-front with us since the trade deadline that he wanted to finish his outstanding playing career as a Flames player, and that the 2013 season was going to be his last,” said Flames General Manager Jay Feaster. “We, as an organization, made it clear to Kipper that we did not want him to make a rash or hasty decision. We wanted to give him time to get refreshed during the summer and spend some additional time to make his decision. Had we been prepared to accept Miikka’s position back in April we could have announced his retirement at the end of the season. We purposely chose to wait and give him more time to ensure this was the course he wanted to take. In returning to Calgary this month he advised us that his decision remained the same, and that he was retiring as a player.”
“Miikka Kiprusoff has been the backbone of the Calgary Flames since his arrival here in 2003, and every night for more than 70-nights per season, his magnificence between the pipes gave the team a chance to win. He inspired hope and confidence, and he made those around him better players as a result of his brilliance. Miikka will take his place in the pantheon of great NHL goaltenders, and his place in Flames’ history is secure. He will be missed by players, teammates and fans, and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”
Kiprusoff played nine seasons for Calgary and concludes a spectacular career as the Flames all-time leader in wins (305); games played (576) and shutouts (41).
“I decided to retire at the end of last season,” said Kiprusoff. “I appreciated Jay Feaster and the Flames organization permitting me to take the summer to be 100 % sure. It’s an important decision for me personally, my family, the Flames organization and fans. Jay and I had conversations over the summer and nothing had changed for me and upon returning to Calgary last week, I once again spoke with Jay and confirmed with him that I would be retiring.”
“I’ve been very lucky to have spent 10 years of my career in Calgary. There is no better place to live and play. I look forward to taking the next year with my family to enjoy everything wonderful about southern Alberta.”
“I have so many people to thank for their tremendous support including the Flames ownership group who always provide the team with every resource to be successful as well as creating a family environment for the players off the ice. To the staff who work so hard to make every game night special for the fans and most importantly, Flames fans who through good times and bad, our fans never left our side. And finally, my teammates for making it fun and rewarding to come the rink everyday.”
Kiprusoff was acquired by the Flames on November 16, 2003 from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a second round draft pick. He finished the 2003-04 regular season with the Flames posting a modern day NHL record GAA of 1.69. His stellar play continued into the playoffs as he won 15 games, five of them by shutout, leading the Flames to within one victory of a Stanley Cup championship and was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
In 2005–06, he broke Mike Vernon's franchise record when he recorded his 40th win of the season, against the Minnesota Wild on April 8, 2006. He was not only touted as the top goaltender in the league, but also argued to be a candidate for the Hart Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player in the NHL. Finishing the season with a 42–20–11 record and a team record 10 shutouts, he was named a first team all-star and awarded the Vezina Trophy, as well as the William M. Jennings Trophy. He was also named a finalist for the Hart.
Kiprusoff recorded another 40 wins campaign and played in his first All-Star Game during the 2006–07 season. He recorded his 21st shutout in a Flames uniform on March 27, 2007, to break Dan Bouchard's franchise record and earned his third consecutive nomination for the Vezina Trophy.
In 2007-08, he missed the 40 win plateau by one, posting a 39-26-10 record but led the league with 45 wins in 2008–09. The following three seasons he notched 35, 37 and 35 win campaigns en-route to becoming the 27th goalie in NHL history to record 300 career wins. He reached the mark with a 4–3 victory over his former club, the San Jose Sharks. The truncated 2012–13 season provided Kiprusoff another milestone as a 4–1 victory, once again over the Sharks, on March 6, 2013 marked his 300th win as a member of the Flames. He would conclude his illustrious career with 319 wins, a 2.49 GAA, 44 shutouts and a .912 save percentage.
During his career in Calgary, Kiprusoff became a spokesman for the Children’s Cottage Society and the Rainbow Society of Alberta, an organization that aims to grant wishes for children with chronic or life-threatening conditions. While backstopping the Flames, he donated $10 for each save he made.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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