Miikka Kiprusoff officially retired from the NHL on Monday, months after it became apparent that he would.
Here’s what GM Jay Feaster said about the Calgary Flames goalie; no word if he had to run this wordage by Brian Burke first:
“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.”
Please recall Kiprusoff refusing a trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs last deadline because of the birth of his second child. Feaster again:
“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.”
Five things we’ll remember about Kiprusoff on the day of his retirement ...
That Vezina Season. The 2005-06 season was a wacky one in the NHL, as post-lockout rules played havoc with defensive systems. Kipper responded with a 42-win season that saw him sport a League-best 2.07 GAA and a .923 save percentage, playing an NHL best 4,380 minutes. He was the bridesmaid to Marty Brodeur in 2003-04, and topped him and Henrik Lundqvist in 2005-06. (Brodeur was nominated somewhat inexplicably, with a bloated 2.57 GAA.) Kiprusoff became the first Finn to win the Vezina.
That Scorpion Save. Shooters have their signature moves. Kiprusoff was one of the few goalies that could claim the same:
The Scorpion Save. It happened more than once in his career, and it was never not awesome.
That Contract. His 2007 extension for six years and $35 million, but its structure was what made it memorable: Starting at an $8.5 million base salary in 2008-09 and plummeting to an absurd $1.5 million in 2013-14. Yes, a 36-year-old Kiprusoff was going to make slightly less than J-S Giguere. Yup. Uh-huh.
The contract was cap circumvention, underscored by his decision to retire. But as the Senators found out with their admission that Daniel Alfredsson’s contract also intentionally circumvented the cap, the NHL no longer cares about retroactively punishing those mistakes.
The Cup Run. The Flames’ 2004 run to the Stanley Cup Final, before losing to Tampa Bay, saw Kipper post an obscene 1.85 GAA with a .928 save percentage, pitching five shutouts. He gave up more than one even-strength goal only once in the seven-game series, with a shutout in Game 3.
The Kipper Kid. Finally, we’re wondering what this kid’s thinking today.