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Kiprusoff appreciative to stay with Flames

by Aaron Vickers /

CALGARY -- Miikka Kiprusoff's heart wasn't in Toronto.

Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster, meanwhile, didn't have the heart to ship out the franchise's winningest goaltender.

After trading Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester, Feaster kept Kiprusoff – who was wanted by the Toronto Maple Leafs -- in Calgary at the keeper's request.

"I was doing lots of thinking the last few days," Kiprusoff said. "It was up and down. This morning, I come to the rink and I talk to Jay and I said I'd really like to finish the season as a Flame and I don't think its fair to the other team if I don't feel 100 percent in going to go anyways. It's been tough thinking, for sure, the last few days."

Feaster had every option to move the goaltender, whose no-trade clause expired last June, but chose to honor Kiprusoff's wish despite an offer from the Maple Leafs. After talking to Toronto and taking his family into consideration -- including newborn son Oskar -- Kiprusoff chose to stick around in Calgary.

"Miikka was clear that he didn't want to lead Toronto on, that he didn't want to go there if his heart wasn't 100 percent set on it and committed to it," Feaster said. "In having the conversation with Miikka today, we made the decision that we're going to keep Miikka Kiprusoff here."

For all Kiprusoff has given Calgary in his nine seasons as netminder, Feaster said the choice was clear.

"From an organizational perspective, a player who has done as much as Miikka has done for this organization … and I still stand by what I had said last year at the trade deadline when it was asked about Kipper, you know, where would we be without Miikka Kiprusoff, is there a sub-30 … for everything that that player has done for the organization, we talked as an organization and said that we felt it was appropriate that we would honor that request," Feaster said.

The Flames' career leader in wins and shutouts was aware he could've been traded to Toronto at any point -- regardless of his wishes -- and was appreciative of the loyalty the team showed him.

"If I go, I know I can help the Flames, they get something, probably, for me," Kiprusoff said. "This morning when I talked to Jay Feaster and I said how I feel, after I find out they want to keep me here, it kind of didn't surprise me. That's how they've been treating me here since I came and that tells a lot about this organization. It's first class and I really appreciate that."

Feaster doesn't expect any backlash on Kiprusoff's decision from Flames fans after trades of Iginla and Bouwmeester earlier in the week netted the retooling organization a pair of first-round draft picks.

"I would hope that people would recognize … this guy’s been pretty good for this organization," Feaster said. "Fans certainly have that right to get emotional. I would just hope that as fans think about it more, that they look at it and say you know what, that’s a pretty first-class guy who wants to be here and is still committed to the Flaming C."

Kiprusoff's commitment to close out the season with the Flames is strong. He wasn't so sure about a pledge beyond that, though.

Retirement is still up in the air at this stage.

"That's one option but like I say, I would really like to finish the season and after that I'm going to make my decision," he said. "I'd really like to talk with the Flames before that and go from there."

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