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Lions ink ex-Bear Idonije

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CHICAGO-- THE Detroit Lions have agreed to terms with former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije on a one-year deal, the NFL team said Tuesday.

The Lions announced the signing on their website Tuesday.

Idonije, a 32-year-old from Brandon, spent nine seasons with the Bears and recorded 281/2 sacks. He was a regular starter at defensive end the last three seasons.

Idonije told the Chicago Tribune he was prepared to start a new chapter after the Bears approached him with an offer that was lower than anticipated. He also generated interest from the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans before agreeing to terms with the Lions.

The Bears' decision to sign veteran defensive lineman Sedrick Ellis all but ruled out any chance for Idonije's return.

Flyers dumping Bryzgalov

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Calling the decision to sign Ilya Bryzgalov two years ago a "costly mistake," the Philadelphia Flyers will buy out the remainder of the goalie's hefty contract.

The move made Tuesday saves the team nearly $6 million under the salary cap for each of the next seven years. Bryzgalov was two seasons into a $51-million, nine-year contract he signed in 2011.

"Obviously it's a costly mistake that we made," general manager Paul Holmgren said. "You know Ilya, it's hard to fault him. I still believe he played pretty good, but in a salary-cap world, you need to make decisions from time to time that put you in a better light moving forward and this is one of those."

Last week, the Flyers exercised the first of their two compliance buyouts on forward Danny Briere.

Bryzgalov was 52-33-10 with a 2.61 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage in the regular season for Philadelphia, which failed to make the playoffs this year.

"What's the sense of looking back? Today we look forward," Holmgren said. "I'm not going to look back. I admit it was a costly move, but we have to move forward. No sense looking back."

Bryzgalov's quirky personality and sometimes brutal honesty with the media didn't always endear him to teammates.

But the Flyers say that didn't factor into this decision.

"I think Ilya is a colorful guy," Holmgren said. "Does he say things out of the blue sometimes? Absolutely, but I don't think he's any different than a lot of other players I have been associated with. I didn't have an issue with that. This is strictly a business decision."

The Flyers acquired former NHL rookie of the year Steve Mason from Columbus before the trade deadline to back up Bryzgalov. Mason went 4-2 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .940 save percentage for the Flyers.

Mason will likely compete for the starting job with a goalie currently outside the Philadelphia organization.

"We're in the market for goalies," Holmgren said

"How we do it, remains to be seen. There's options out there right now and we'll go at it the best way we can."

Flames still want Kipper

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames say they are not ready to give up on goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff just yet.

Kiprusoff has reportedly told the Finnish national team that he has retired, according to media reports that surfaced in Finland on Tuesday.

But Flames general manager Jay Feaster said in a statement the team is still trying to persuade Kiprusoff to come back for another NHL season.

"In light of our most recent meeting with him, the statement attributed to him by the Finnish national team does not come as a surprise. However, as we have said consistently, we will continue our dialogue with Miikka," Feaster said.

The 36-year-old goaltender has spent the last nine seasons with the Flames, helping them reach the Stanley Cup final in 2004.

He won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender for his play in the 2005-06 season.

Kiprusoff struggled last season, with an 8-14-2 record in 24 games. Kiprusoff had a 3.44 goals-against average and an .882 save percentage.

Calgary (19-25-4) finished 13th in the 15-team Western Conference last season with 42 points.

In 623 career regular-season games with the Flames and San Jose Sharks, Kiprusoff has a 319-213-71 record with a 2.49 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 26, 2013 C8

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