Kipper turns aside trophy talk

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:34 AM ET

Modest as ever, Miikka Kiprusoff shrugged off the possibility of taking home the league's top honour as he left the Saddledome yesterday for another summer.

Kiprusoff is a finalist for the coveted Hart Trophy as the NHL player deemed most valuable to his team. The Calgary Flames star is also the frontrunner for the Vezina as top goaltender when the awards are handed out June 22 in Vancouver.

"It's going to be interesting," said the soft-spoken Finn, understating his accomplishments. "I think I had a pretty good regular season but it's tough now -- we just lost in the first round of the playoffs so it's going to take a little bit of that away. We'll see what's going to happen."

Despite his apparent lack of enthusiasm, Kiprusoff admits being mentioned with fellow Hart finalists Jaromir Jagr of the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks star Joe Thornton is a source of pride.

As is his shot at the Vezina, with competition from New Jersey Devils veteran Martin Brodeur and rookie Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist.

Calgary's other hardware hopeful, Dion Phaneuf, is a longshot for the rookie-of-the-year award against highly touted young stars Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.

"It's definitely something that's very nice, to be recognized in a group with those two guys," said Phaneuf of his Calder Trophy opponents. "They both had great years. I'm very honoured to be in that group."

Phaneuf wasn't at his best in the playoffs but a reported broken bone in his foot and a sprained knee might have kept him from maintaining his presence from the regular season. His post-season numbers have no bearing on the award, though, and Phaneuf said his stellar rookie season was an educational experience.

"It was definitely disappointing to finish earlier than everyone wanted to but, personally, I learned a lot," said Phaneuf. "The guys were great, we've got a lot of great leadership in our room. Like I said coming into camp, I wanted to learn as much as I could and improve as much as I could.

"I still have a lot of work to do to improve and that starts in the summer with having good summer training and coming back to camp ready to go."


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