Kipper tips hat to Marty

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

A case could be made Miikka Kiprusoff has been the NHL's best goalie this season.

Certainly, the Calgary Flames netminder is near the top of the pack.

However, Kiprusoff couldn't help but marvel at Martin Brodeur's latest accomplishment, collecting a 104th career shutout.

"That's unbelievable," Kiprusoff said.

"Every record he's been breaking -- his stats -- it's amazing how long of a period of time he's been able to play at that high level.

"Those 40, 35-win seasons year after year -- that's not easy to do. If you look at 104 shutouts, it's going to be tough for someone to break."

Brodeur surpassed the old standard set by the legendary Terry Sawchuk Monday night when the New Jersey Devils beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0.

Brodeur set the new mark for games by a goaltender last week and last season set a new standard for wins by a netminder. He has 580 victories in 1,032 games played.

Kiprusoff has 33 career shutouts and 222 wins.

Mike Vernon holds the Flames franchise record for wins (262), but Kiprusoff already has the mark for shutouts.

Brodeur's achievement was special to see for Flames head coach Brent Sutter, who was bench boss of the Devils the last two seasons.

"Marty's a great goaltender and just another huge feather in his hat," Sutter said.

"When you see a goaltender like Marty, who's a tremendous goalie, and him being rewarded last year with wins and this year with shutouts, it's a reflection on your team and the makeup of your organization. When that goes on, individuals will be rewarded for it."

Festive fun

Last night's exhibition game between Canada and Finland in anticipation of the World Juniors was a chance for Brent Sutter to catch up with Willie Desjardins.

Desjardins will guide Canada's squad in its quest for a sixth straight gold medal.

He is also head coach of the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers, so he and Sutter had a few words.

"Not just on the world junior team but a few comments on Medicine Hat and Red Deer -- in a good way," Sutter, who owns the Red Deer Rebels, said with a grin.

"Willie's gonna do a good job. He's a great coach."

The tournament, which opens Boxing Day, is near and dear to Sutter's heart. He coached Canada to gold in 2005 and 2006, which started the run of championships.

"I'm the biggest fan. We had success for the two years, and they've carried it on," Sutter said.

"I'm proud of anyone who puts the jersey on but also proud of the staff they have to work around it, because there's a lot of work to be done around it and a big-time commitment from everybody."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos