Marcoux recalls special time working with Miikka Kiprusoff

 

Former Flames goalie coach believes Flames legend deserves super send-off

 
 
 
 
Former Calgary Flames goalie coach David Marcoux, seen working with Miikka Kiprusoff in 2008, has taken what he learned working with Kipper into his teaching today.
 

Former Calgary Flames goalie coach David Marcoux, seen working with Miikka Kiprusoff in 2008, has taken what he learned working with Kipper into his teaching today.

Photograph by: Stuart Gradon

For six years working with Miikka Kiprusoff, David Marcoux felt like Angelo Dundee helping a young Cassius Clay blossom into heavyweight champion of the world.

Nurturing greatness has its rewards, too.

“If in his mind, Miikka is moving on to other things, I would totally like to see an opportunity for him to be remembered here,” says the longtime Calgary Flames’ goaltending coach. “Jarome Iginla will always be the hometown hero. He will stay and he will come back to this environment and he’ll always be acclaimed.

“Miikka, by his demeanour and where he’s from . . . I mean, he’s the winningest goaltender in Flames’ history. A Vezina winner. A Jennings winner. I think you’d want that to be celebrated. Calgary does a very good job of ‘immortalizing’, if that’s the word, great performances and great people.

“I think this would be a perfect opportunity for the Flames to set something up in the city for people to keep him in mind. So that when he does come back, in three years, five years, whatever, he won’t feel forgotten. For what he brought to the city, the pride he helped to instil in ’04 and the year he won the Jennings and the Vezina.

“So I think there’s something to be done here.”

Kiprusoff’s decision on retirement may not yet final — meaning not yet officially announced — but every indication is that he’ll forego the final year of his contract and retire home in Finland.

It’s safe to say that No. 34’s legacy in this town goes far beyond the record number of regular-season wins, the eye-popping highlight-reel saves, the chants of “Kip-per! Kip-per!” that echoed reverently around the Scotiabank Saddledome and that astounding run to a game, a goal, from Stanley Cup glory nine springtimes ago.

“From a skill standpoint, just tremendous flexibility, tremendous dedication and the ability to challenge shooters and make it look so easy,” critiques Marcoux. “His consistency, his ability to park it, move on and show up the next night was amazing. The amount of pressure put on this goaltender to make a difference in games was immense.

“Just the fluidity of his movements and his willingness to learn new things, to work at his craft.”

Marcoux remembers December of 2033, just after Kiprusoff arrived in Calgary from San Jose (the best second-round draft pick the Flames never had, as it turns out). He was injured, sidelined nearly a month, and spent the time tidying up some loose puck-handling skills and other odds and ends.

“You have talent but talent alone doesn’t work. You need drive, desire. You can’t be satisfied. He put in the time to improve himself.

“You ask Rhett Warrener what he meant (to the franchise), Rhett being a solid stay-at-home defenceman. Ask Robyn Regehr. Ask Dion Phaneuf. These guys know. They’ll tell you.

“Miikka’s way to get away from the game for a couple of hours was to go fishing. That was huge for him. (John) Vanbiesbrouck used to read to help his concentration and get away. Miikka liked to fish. Teaching goalies now, I give them a lot of insight in what I saw from Miikka for six years, how you need to have other things going on to play at your top level.”

The Kiprusoff Effect, Marcoux is certain, will long linger here. Why, he sees it now teaching kids, mini-Miikkas, at his goaltending school.

“You see a lot of young goalies in Calgary today, I see a lot of young goalies in Calgary today, and that’s because of the influence of Miikka Kiprusoff. Same thing with Patrick Roy in Montreal. Ask Jose Theodore why he wanted to become a goalie.

“Miikka did the same thing here. Because of his talent, because of the way he played the position, he made goaltending a cool position again.

“I hope he’s serene, with whatever decision he makes.”

gjohnson@calgaryherald.com

Follow George Johnson on Twitter/GeorgejohnsonCH

 
 
 
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Former Calgary Flames goalie coach David Marcoux, seen working with Miikka Kiprusoff in 2008, has taken what he learned working with Kipper into his teaching today.
 

Former Calgary Flames goalie coach David Marcoux, seen working with Miikka Kiprusoff in 2008, has taken what he learned working with Kipper into his teaching today.

Photograph by: Stuart Gradon

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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