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Hip injury prompts Kiprusoff to opt out of Finn team

12/22/2005 - NHL Miikka Kiprusoff Calgary Flames + more

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff withdrew his name from Finland's Olympic team on Thursday, citing advice from doctors to rest a hip injury.

Kiprusoff has inflammation of the hip and will use the time during the Olympics to help heal the injury.

"It is in the best interest of the Calgary Flames that I use this opportunity to ensure I am totally recovered for the NHL playoff drive," Kiprusoff said in a statement. "I have always
been very proud to represent my country in international competition and I'm disappointed that I will not be joining them at the Olympics in Italy."

Kiprusoff was the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie in 2003-04 when he led the Flames to the Stanley Cup final.

Rookie Kari Lehtonen of the Atlanta Thrashers and Fredrik Norrena of Sweden's Linkoping were the two other goalies named on the country's Olympic roster on Thursday.

Thursday was the deadline day set by the International Ice Hockey Federation for the 12 teams to submit 23-player rosters. The United States made its selections on Monday, and Canada and Germany followed on Wednesday.

Captain Saku Koivu of the Montreal Canadiens and veteran winger Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks were also named to Finland's 23-man team, as well as forwards Jere Lehtinen of the Dallas Stars, Olli Jokinen of the Florida Panthers and Jarkko Ruutu
of the Vancouver Canucks.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Tuomu Ruutu, Jarkko's younger brother, was also picked despite missing most of the season with back problems.

The 32-year-old Koivu's younger brother, Mikko, a forward for the Minnesota Wild, is also on the roster.

Sami Salo of the Canucks, Aki Berg of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toni Lydman and Teppo Numminen of the Buffalo Sabres, Joni Pitkanen of the Flyers, Kimmo Timonen of the Nashville Predators and Ossi Vaananen of the Colorado Avalanche round out the squad.

Forward Mika Hannula and defenseman Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings were the biggest surprises when Swedish coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson announced his roster.

Kronwall was injured early October and underwent successful ACL surgery.

Forwards Pavol Demitra of the Los Angeles Kings, Marian Hossa of the Atlanta Thrashers, Ladislav Nagy of the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky will be among major Slovak stars.

The main omission is Pittsburgh Penguins right winger Ziggy Palffy, who has retired from the national team.

The Czech Republic will be backstopped by Ottawa's Dominik Hasek, a veteran of three previous Olympics, and powered up front by NHL scoring leader Jaromir Jagr.

Jagr entered play Thursday with 23 goals and 28 assists for the New York Rangers, who placed four others onto the Czech team. Jagr and Martin Rucinsky will be making their third appearances, and Martin Straka is going to the games for a second time.

New York defenseman Marek Malik, best known for ending the longest NHL shootout with a highlight-reel goal in the 15th round earlier this season, will be a first-time Olympian. And he is taking teammate Petr Prucha with him.

Prucha has been an overall surprise all year, making the Rangers out of training camp, being their second-leading goal scorer, and qualifying for an Olympic team that won gold in 1998 -- the first time NHL players participated.

"Of course I'm happy to be among the best players in the world," Prucha said. "I just hoped, but was a little bit surprised."

The Rangers also are sending Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has excelled in his rookie season in the NHL, and Slovakian forward Marian Hossa. Both are making their first Olympic
appearances. Hossa's brother Marian, a two-time NHL All-Star who plays for the Atlanta Thrashers, was chosen for the second time.

The Russian team hadn't made its team known by early Thursday night.

Italy is the only country not to feature any NHL players. Switzerland has three, two of whom are goalies -- David Aebischer of Colorado, and Carolina's Martin Gerber.

Latvia has two NHL defensemen, Sandis Ozolinsh of Anaheim and Colorado's Karlis Skrastins. Latvia's top goalie will likely be Arturs Irbe, formerly of the Carolina Hurricanes.