NHL.com would like to hear from you as we present our first installment of "Who's Better?" This week, we pit two of the NHL's premier shot blockers in Vancouver's Roberto Luongo
against Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff.
Luongo, who was traded to Vancouver by the Florida Panthers prior to the start of the 2006-07 season, has impacted teammates and management so much that the 29-year-old goalie was named team captain last week. Luongo, who'll wear the "C" on his mask, is the first NHL goalie to be named captain since Bill Durnan of the Montreal Canadiens in 1947-48.
Tale of the tape
G - CGY (#34)
HEIGHT: 6' 1" WEIGHT: 184
G - VAN (#1)
height: 6' 3"
Luongo, the highest drafted goalie in NHL history at No. 4 by the Islanders in 1997, was a nominee for the Vezina Trophy as the League's top goalie in 2004 while with Florida and again in 2007 with Vancouver. He finished runner-up both seasons to New Jersey's Martin Brodeur. His best season was his first in Vancouver when he finished 47-22-6 with a .921 save percentage and career-low 2.29 goals-against average. Luongo, who represented Canada in four World Championships, winning gold twice and silver once, is also a three-time NHL All-Star.
Kiprusoff, a second-round pick (No. 116) by San Jose in 1995, was a reserve goalie with the Sharks before being traded to the Flames on Nov. 16, 2003. There, he established himself as one of the NHL's elite, finishing his initial campaign in Calgary with a career-low 1.69 GAA, a modern League record, and .933 save percentage. Kiprusoff, who won the Vezina Trophy in 2005-06 after going 42-20-11 with 10 shutouts, a 2.07 GAA and .923 save percentage, was also named an NHL All Star in '07. He represented Team Finland in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, but would lose to Brodeur and Luongo of Team Canada in the title game.
In 2007-08, Luongo finished 35-29-9 with a 2.38 GAA, .917 save percentage and six shutouts in 73 games. He possesses size (6-3, 205) and a solid understanding of the butterfly style. Luongo, who does lack puck-handling skills, has stolen some contests for his team on more than one occasion.
Kiprusoff, 31, went 39-26-10 with a 2.69 GAA, .906 save percentage and two shutouts in 76 games last season. He is extremely confident in his positional play and, as such, has become an extremely effective stand-up goalie. While he has been known to bounce back from allowing a few bad goals, he needs to prove he can carry a heavy workload as his win total has declined each of the last three seasons (42 in '06, 40 in '07 and 39 in '08). "Kipper" was fourth in the League in minutes played (4,398:19) and "Louie" was sixth at 4,232:32 during the 2007-08 campaign.
Luongo is 197-219-57 with a 2.60 GAA, .919 save percentage and 38 shutouts in 490 career games spanning eight NHL seasons. Kiprusoff, meanwhile, is 159-101-37 with a 2.37 GAA, .915 save percentage and 26 shutouts in 309 games spanning seven seasons.