Sports Hockey


Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff reportedly retires



Miikka Kiprusoff has told Calgary Flames teammates he won’t be back.
He has reportedly told national team officials in Finland he isn’t planning to play again.
Question is, why hasn’t he told Flames management? What’s he waiting for?
The Kiprusoff saga took another twist Tuesday, with reports from his homeland that the 36-year-old puck-stopper declined an invite to Finland’s Olympic camp because he’s hanging up his pads, even quoting him as saying, “If Calgary has not announced it, you guys can do that.”
Old news, right?
“They used a statement that Kipper had made at the end of the season,” Flames GM Jay Feaster told TSN’s SportsCentre. “Kipper, he admitted that he made the statement, but it was a couple of months ago. What we’ve said all along is that we realize this is a very difficult and important decision for him, and we’re not forcing an answer. We’re going to continue to have dialogue.”
Kiprusoff has the gift of goaltending, not the gift of gab, so it’s hard to imagine that will be a lengthy dialogue.
He already said goodbye to the fans, skating by his lonesome to centre-ice and raising his stick in salute after a first-star performance against the Anaheim Ducks in the final regular-season game at the Saddledome.
Soon after, when the Flames returned from a road trip and reported to the Saddledome for their season-ending medical exams and exit interviews, it sure sounded like he’d already said goodbye to his teammates.
“He’s kind of said that he’s pretty much done, I think,” said Flames winger Curtis Glencross in an April 28 chat with the media. “Unless something changes over the summer here or the next couple of weeks, just talking to him, I don’t think he’ll be back.”
Does anybody think he’ll be back?
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported Tuesday the Columbus Blue Jackets — needing a Plan B in case Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky returns to the KHL for a wheelbarrow full of Rubles — have asked for permission to speak to Kiprusoff.
Maybe they can convince him to spend next season in Ohio.
Good luck with that.
Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis tried to convince him to pack his bags for Ontario at the trade deadline, but Kiprusoff told Flames brass he wanted to stay put.
“I was thinking a lot about it, but I did get the feeling, doubts it was the right thing to do,” Kiprusoff explained just hours after the deadline passed. “If you start second-guessing, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do for the Leafs.”
Fast-forward to this summer, and the Flames are going to give the flexible Finn plenty of time to second-guess himself on his future.
They’re prepared for the post-Kiprusoff era, having re-signed backup Joey MacDonald and lined up Reto Berra and Karri Ramo to challenge for the starting job at the Saddledome.
That doesn’t mean they’ve given up hope that Kiprusoff will change his mind and opt to honour the final year of his contract.
He is, after all, the Flames’ all-time leader in wins (305) and shutouts (41). His goals-against average of 2.46 and a save percentage of .913 in a Flames uniform are better than any other full-time starter in franchise history.
Even after struggling for big chunks of last season, Feaster & Co. obviously think Kiprusoff is worth the wait.
Either that, or they’re not ready to take ‘No’ for an answer.

On Twitter: @SUNGilbertson

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