Kiprusoff Flames' nod for Masterton
Steve MacFarlane, QMI Agency
|Miikka Kiprusoff. Photo by Al Charest/Calgary Sun
DALLAS - Miikka Kiprusoff might not win some of the hardware many feel he deserves for his performance this year in the Calgary Flames nets.
But he was selected by the Calgary chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association as the Flames candidate for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
"It's an honour," said the goaltender. "I've never been nominated for that before. It's nice. It's a nice thing."
Celebrating the traits of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, the 35-year-old Finn isn't the typical nominee.
The award has become somewhat of a recognition of players who have overcome injury or illness to continue their careers.
Kiprusoff's dedication and work ethic has kept him healthy for most of his 10 NHL seasons.
"I've been fortunate to play and stay healthy here for many years," said Kiprusoff, who spent his first three years with the San Jose Sharks as the third netminder behind Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala.
Then came the Darryl Sutter trade that brought him to Calgary.
"I've come a long way. I've been able to play a lot of games here every year," said Kiprusoff, who's started at least 70 games for the Flames every year since the 2003 trade and is creeping up on that mark again this year, with stellar numbers that would garner much more attention league-wide if the team was more successful.
Kiprusoff became the team's franchise leader in wins and joined the NHL's 300-win club this season. Since the lockout, he's made the most starts, earned the most wins and made the most saves of any NHLer.
Modest and private, Kiprusoff is asked if he can be proud of his accomplishments considering his humble beginnings after coming over to North America.
"In San Jose, that was my goal — to be a starting goalie," Kiprusoff said. "It didn't work out there, and I got the chance to play here. Here, I really got the chance to be a starting goalie. That was one of my goals when I came over a long time ago."
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