Calgary Flames 34 Days Until the Season Starts: #34 Miikka Kiprusoff

CALGARY, CANADA - APRIL 19: Miikka Kiprusoff
CALGARY, CANADA - APRIL 19: Miikka Kiprusoff /

With only 34 days left until the regular season starts, let’s take a look at a former Calgary Flames player with that number (but I’m sure you all already know who it is).

Since the start of August, we’re counting down the number of days left until the regular season starts up again! Everyday until the start of the season, we’ll be talking about a Calgary Flames player whose number correlates with how many days there are left.

Its now the last day of August! This month went by really slow for some reason. Is that just me? But at the same time, it went relatively quick. I feel like we just started this countdown yesterday.

Yesterday, we talked about a goalie who has the NHL record for most assists in one game with three. That was #35 Jeff Reese. With 34 days until the regular season starts up, let’s take a look at #34 Miikka Kiprusoff.

Me: *sobs uncontrollably*

Related Story: 35 Days Until the Season Starts: #35 Jeff Reese

Who is Miikka Kiprusoff?

Name: Miikka Sakari Kiprusoff

Birth place: Turku, Finland

Position: G

Catches: Left

Birthdate: 1976-10-26

Height: 6’2” / 188 cm

Weight: 85 kg / 187 lbs

Drafted by: San Jose Sharks, 116th Overall 1995

Stats with all NHL teams, regular season:

Wow before Reese, we didn’t talk about a single goalie. Now we’re talking about two in a row. But let’s move on to Kipper.

Miikka Kiprusoff was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in 1995, but didn’t make his NHL debut until 2001. Up until then, he was playing with TPS of SM-Liiga. In 1999, he was awarded the Urpo Ylönen trophy which goes to the best goaltender of the season. He also was a force in the playoffs and was awarded the Jari Kurri Trophy as the best player in the playoffs and his team won the SM-Liiga Championship that year.

After that year, he joined the Sharks AHL affiliate and finally got a call up in the 2000-01 season. He got his first NHL win on March 29, 2001 against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

During the playoffs that year, Evgeni Nabokov had the flu and Kip would be playing in his first ever NHL playoff game. He won 3-2 against the St. Louis Blues in an impressive 39-save performance and became the first ever Finnish born goaltender to win an NHL playoff game.

The following season would be the same for Kip. He would mainly serve as a backup or to relieve Nabokov when needed. He was sent down to the AHL again, but would again be called up.

Now let’s get into the most important season of his career.

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2003-04 Season

In 2003-04, Kip was frustrated when another backup came to town and his main role was keeping the bench warm. So a trade ensued in November and thus – Miikka Kiprusoff joined the Calgary Flames. And talk about perfect timing.

In his first game in a Flame jersey on November 20th 2003, Kiprusoff helped the Flames win 2-1 with 22 saves against the Montreal Canadiens. Until the end of the year, Kiprusoff’s NHL career completely turned around.

He would end up winning 12 of the 17 games he played and allowing just one goal or fewer in 11 of those starts. WOW. Talk about improvement. The Flames in that stretch were second in the league in points with 28 points and 12 wins in that 18 game stretch. At that point, the Flames were also seventh in the league with 44 points.

In that stretch, Kip had the second most amount of wins among goaltenders and had the second best save-percentage with 0.941. Because of this, he was named the Defensive Player for the month of December. But unfortunately because the Hockey Gods don’t want Kip to have anything nice, he suffered an injury and was sidelined for four weeks.

But when he returned, he picked up right where he left off. And he helped the Calgary Flames make the playoffs – for the first time in eight years. Something else happened that season: Miikka Kiprusoff had an NHL fight.

Goalie fight! Goalie fight! We don’t see goalie fights often so when we do, boy we treasure those moments.

Kiprusoff had a shutout in their playoff clinching game against the Phoenix Coyotes where the Flames won 1-0. He earned a standing ovation.

CALGARY, ALBERTA – MAY 19: Miikka Kiprusoff #34 and Rhett Warrener #44 of the Calgary Flames. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
CALGARY, ALBERTA – MAY 19: Miikka Kiprusoff #34 and Rhett Warrener #44 of the Calgary Flames. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images) /

Kiprusoff also had 15 wins in the post-season and five shutouts. But we all know how this story goes and the Flames lost in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, after Kiprusoff’s incredible season, he was a runner up for the Vezina trophy as the goaltender of the year.

Related Story: Throwback Thursday - A Day Flames Fans Will Always Remember

Two years later (because lockout in 2004-05), Miikka Kiprusoff finished the regular season off with the second most amount of wins among all goaltenders (after Martin Brodeur) with 42 wins. After his 40th win, he beat Mike Vernon for most wins in Calgary Flames franchise history. He also finished with the third best save-percentage out of all goalies who played at least 20 games with 0.923.

Because of all this, he was awarded the Jennings Trophy (given to the goalie with the fewest goals scored against him), he finally won the Vezina that year, and he was also a runner-up for the Hart Trophy (most valuable player during the season).

The following season, Kip had his ups and downs, but for the third year in a row, he was nominated for the Vezina. However, he was a runner-up this time.

For the next few years, again Kip would have his ups and downs but ultimately, he was the best goaltender the Flames had since Mike Vernon. In 2011, Kiprusoff got to play in an outdoor game when the Calgary Flames played the Montreal Canadiens in the Heritage Classic (it was freezing in Calgary that day). The Flames won 4-0 and Kip became the first goaltender NHL history to get a shutout in an outdoor game.

Then 2013 came and it was a sad time for Flames fans. With speculation that he would most likely retire, in his last home game of the season against the Anaheim Ducks, everyone at the Dome gave him a standing ovation in a 3-1 win and chanting his name when there was still some time left on the clock. Kiprusoff was named the first star of the game. I was at that game and it seemed like the standing O lasted hours.

That ended up being his last home game. I’ll be over here crying if anybody needs me.

Kiprusoff has also played internationally on several occasions. He’s played for the WJC twice, the World Championship twice, the World Cup of Hockey once, and even made the Olympic team once. He won the silver medal at the World Championship twice and won Bronze at the Olympics.

Next: When Will Miikka Kiprusoff Have His Number Retired?

Kiprusoff had a successful career with the Calgary Flames and has many impressive things to add to his resume. The one missing is a Stanley Cup.

But that’s alright, we all know it was stolen from the Flames in 2004. Yes, I’m still angry about that.