Monday, June 7, 2004
Flames workhorse on the ice in finale
TAMPA, Fla. -- Robyn Regehr joined the growing list of injured Calgary Flames at the worst possible time, but he's playing.
Regehr sustained what the team called a lower body injury in the Flames' double-overtime loss in Game 6 on Saturday night and nearly missed the Stanley Cup finale on Monday.
The defenseman reportedly was seen leaving the Saddledome on Saturday with his left foot in a cast. He didn't practice Monday and didn't speak to reporters. Flames coach Darryl Sutter said Regehr would probably sit out Game 7, but he made it into the lineup and onto the ice.
Regehr entered averaging 26 minutes, 37 seconds of ice time in the playoffs -- the most of any player in the finals.
He also pounded on Lightning forward Martin St. Louis throughout the first six games, but Regehr was on the ice when St. Louis scored the winner 33 seconds into the second overtime on Saturday.
The Flames were without forward Shean Donovan for the second straight game. He injured his right leg in Game 5 when Lightning defenseman Jassen Cullimore fell on it.
Calgary has missed forwards Steven Reinprecht and Dean McAmmond since the regular season, and then lost defenseman Denis Gauthier and Matthew Lombardi during the playoffs.
All four have been out since they were injured. Forward Chris Simon missed 10 games early in the postseason before returning at the start of the Western Conference finals.
Flames defenseman Toni Lydman returned from a late-season concussion and played three playoff games before missing 20 straight. He got back in the lineup for Game 5 of the finals and had an assist.
After 1,758 regular-season and playoff games, Dave Andreychuk reached his best chance to win his first Stanley Cup.
The question is, will it be his last.
"I am going to wait and see what happens in the game and then wait and talk to [Tampa Bay general manager] Jay Feaster and see if they want me back," he said Monday before Game 7. "I've been doing that for the last few years now so nothing really changes with this game, but it sure would be nice if I could go out with a win."
The 40-year-old forward had never reached the finals in 22 seasons before getting there with the Lightning. Much like with Ray Bourque three years ago, all eyes in Game 7 were focused on Andreychuk and his long quest for a championship.
Andreychuk didn't make any announcements about his future before the final game of the season, but he clearly has ideas about what's ahead.
"I think it would change things," he said of capturing a championship. "I still want to play, but it would be nice to go out a winner."
Kerry Fraser was picked, along with Bill McCreary, to be the referees for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Fraser was originally slated to work Game 6 in Calgary but he was pulled from that assignment after absorbing abuse from Flames fans in Games 3 and 4.
Objects and derogatory remarks flew Fraser's way during the Flames' 1-0 loss that evened the series 2-2. The lone goal was scored when Calgary was down two men early on.
Hard-hitting forward Ville Nieminen was given a major penalty and ejected late in the third period as the Flames pushed for the tying goal. That, plus perceived missed calls by Fraser, turned the crowd against him.
McCreary also worked Game 6 on Saturday. In that contest, Martin Gelinas deflected a puck on goal that nearly put the Flames ahead.
One television replay appeared to show the puck crossing the line, but the NHL determined that nothing conclusively on or off the ice showed that a goal should've been awarded.
The Calgary Flames took a hard route to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
By going the limit against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Flames tied a record by playing 26 postseason games this year. The 1987 Philadelphia Flyers, who lost the seventh game of the finals to Edmonton, also played 26.
Had Calgary clinched the Cup on Saturday night at home, the Flames would've finished in a second-place tie with the New Jersey Devils, who played 25 playoff games in 2001.
The Devils lost the finals in seven games.
While the Flames were putting in that time, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff was involved in all of it. Through 25 games, Kiprusoff played 1,595 minutes -- breaking the playoff mark of Vancouver's Kirk McLean, and Ed Belfour of Dallas.
McLean played 1,544 minutes of 24 games in 1994. Belfour matched him five years later when he helped the Stars with the Cup in a 23-game run.
Naming rights Brad Lukowich knows the pain of not getting your name on the Stanley Cup. It's even worse when you play for the winning team.
NHL rules stipulate that for a player to have his name etched on the Cup he must play half of a team's regular-season games or get into one game in the finals.
Lukowich missed out three years ago with the Dallas Stars because despite playing 14 regular games and eight in the playoffs, he didn't suit up during the finals. He doesn't want to see the same thing happen to Lightning teammates such as Eric Perrin and Stan Neckar.
"I already have lobbied," Lukowich said a few hours before Game 7. "Don't let what happened to me happen to them."
Lukowich played the first three games of this final series but a suspected concussion, that cost him two games in the conference finals, forced him to miss the rest of the matchup with the Calgary Flames.
He is not bitter about that because he knows he can't give us much as his healthy teammates.
"I'll probably be in the lounge," he said. "I'll have a blood pressure machine on this side, the Valium on this side."