SUN Hockey Pool

Flames thrilled Kipper signed

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

Momentarily giddy would be a fair way to describe defenceman Robyn Regehr yesterday morning when cameras and microphones surrounded him to ask about his goaltender's new contract.

"It's great. What do you want me to say?" Regehr said with a laugh. "We're all happy."

Regehr and Jarome Iginla inked five-year extensions over the summer, so knowing another key part of the puzzle is in for six more seasons -- for $35 million -- is reason to celebrate in the Calgary Flames locker-room.

"I think Miikka has been one of the top goaltenders in the league ever since he came to Calgary. He's been a big reason why we've been in the playoffs the last three years in a row and the team is in the situation that it is. He's an extremely important part of the team and, as a player, I'm very happy for him. I think it's a great day for the team, as well."

The term 'hometown discount' has been thrown around a lot the past few months regarding Iginla and Regehr, who would have hit the open market this July had they not signed extensions. It can be argued Kiprusoff also took less than what he would have received had he chosen to move on, so -- despite someone's personal feelings on how much money should be considered enough -- there's no doubting the Finn's dedication to Calgary now.

"It's a huge, huge step for our team," said Iginla. "If he was unrestricted, I think it's pretty safe to say he would've got a fair share more. It's great to see that he wanted to stay here and be part of the group.

"You look over the last few years, I don't think there's a goalie that's been better consistently."

The 31-year-old's start, statistically, hasn't been great this season. Iginla says the team's inconsistent play defensively should shoulder much of the blame. You can't help but wonder whether it was in the back of Kiprusoff's mind, though, knowing negotiations were ongoing.

"I don't know him well enough but I think it must have been weighing on him a little bit," said head coach Mike Keenan when asked if the business side of things was a little distracting for his starter. "If he's human, I think that's always in the back of your mind. I'm sure there's a little bit of relief for him that it's done and it's over with and he can concentrate on his job."

Kiprusoff, though, has shown a slightly alien mental makeup over the past few years.

"It doesn't change. Unflappable is still the word," said goaltender coach David Marcoux when asked what the security of the deal means for Miikka. "For him, things just ... that was part of a deal between an agent and a GM. He indicated he did want to stay here, and as much as people want to put a lot of hype or a lot of attention to the non-signing and where's that going to go, he didn't dwell on it. He just came in here and commited himself to this team, wanted to be part of the solution here, give his team a chance to win day in and day out."

Kiprusoff will give the Flames a chance to win for years to come.

And Marcoux has some Kipperish advice for any fan who doubts that because of the goaltender's age.

"They should have Miikka Kiprusoff's mindset as living day by day and not dwelling on anything and not looking too far ahead," said Marcoux with a grin. "That's what I tell him."


Videos

Photos