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Flames G Miikka Kiprusoff retires from NHL
CALGARY, ALBERTA (AP) - Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff announced his retirement on Monday after 12 NHL seasons.
The 36-year-old Kiprusoff, who began his career with the San Jose Sharks, joined the Flames in 2003 and spent nine seasons with Calgary _ including the team's run to the 2004 Stanley Cup finals.
Kiprusoff says he made the decision to retire at the end of last season, but thought about it over the summer before making an official announcement that he was "100 percent sure."
"It's an important decision for me personally, my family, the Flames organization and fans," Kiprusoff said in a release. "I've been very lucky to have spent 10 years of my career in Calgary. There is no better place to live and play."
The native of Turku, Finland holds Flames records with 305 wins, 576 games played, and 41 shutouts.
Kiprusoff made his NHL debut with San Jose in March 2001 after a two-season stint with Kentucky of the AHL. Kiprusoff spent parts of three seasons with San Jose before being traded to Calgary on Nov. 16, 2003, for a second-round draft pick.
That deal helped shape the Flames franchise for the next decade.
Kiprusoff finished the 2003-04 season with a modern day NHL goals-against average of 1.69 and carried his stellar play into the playoffs. He won 15 postseason games and had five shutouts while leading the Flames to within one victory of a Stanley Cup title.
He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL's top goalie, that season and won the award two years later after finishing the 2005-06 campaign with a 42-20-11 record, a 2.07 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage, and a team record 10 shutouts.
The Flames have fallen on hard times in recent years, having missed the playoffs the last four seasons. Kiprusoff struggled last season with an 8-14-2 record, 3.44 GAA, and .882 save percentage. Calgary finished 13th in the Western Conference with 42 points.
Despite the lack of team success later in his career, Kiprusoff's numbers are still impressive. In 623 career regular-season games with Calgary and San Jose, he went 319-213-71 with a 2.49 GAA and .912 save percentage.
"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," Flames general manager Jay Feaster said. "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."
The Flames, who are in a rebuilding mode, hired former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke last week to be their president of hockey operations.
By Donald Lambro
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