CALGARY, Alberta -- Referee Kerry Fraser was pulled Friday
from his Game 6 assignment after feeling the wrath of angry Calgary Flames fans earlier in the Stanley Cup finals.
Instead, Bill McCreary and Stephen Walkom -- the same officials
from Calgary's Game 5 victory at Tampa Bay -- will be the referees
Saturday night when the Flames can capture their second Stanley
Fraser had objects thrown at him and heard boos and derisive
chants during Game 4 when Tampa Bay evened the best-of-seven
series. The Lightning scored the only goal of the game during a
two-man advantage early in the first period.
With just over four minutes left, Ville Nieminen was given a
major penalty for boarding Vincent Lecavalier, which ended any
hopes the Flames had of getting even. And perceived non-calls from
the partisan crowd also increased the anger coming from the seats.
Fraser was also one of the referees for Game 3, a 3-0 victory
for the Flames in Calgary.
The change came two days after Calgary coach Darryl Sutter
alleged that many in the NHL don't want the Flames to win the
With 28 games left in the regular season,
Calgary coach Darryl Sutter split the remaining contests up into
seven-game segments in an attempt to get his team into a playoff
The plan worked. The Flames went 16-10-2 the rest of the way and
earned four victories in each seven-game "series" to earn their
first playoff berth in eight years.
"We had so many guys that hadn't been in the playoffs before,"
defenseman Andrew Ference said Friday. "To get in that mind-set of
what it takes to concentrate on a set number of games and in the
series kind of a fashion was beneficial."
It didn't get to the point where they felt the pressure of a
Game 7, but it did help the Flames recognize what were the
important games on the schedule.
"It wasn't at the forefront of every conversation we had but it
was definitely there as another thing we can concentrate on,"
Ference said. "A lot of the big games that we had during our
playoff stretch just happened to fall in certain games within the
series that would either clinch it or put us ahead."
Shean Donovan played only three shifts after the second period Thursday because of a leg injury.
Flames coach Darryl Sutter called the injury a charley horse,
but it looked to be more serious than that when Lightning
defenseman Jassen Cullimore fell on Donovan's right leg.
Sutter was asked on Friday whether he expected Donovan to play
in Game 6. He wasn't going to offer any information without getting
some in return.
Miikka Kiprusoff was the latest winner of the green hard hat given to the Calgary Flames' unsung hero after each
His 26-save performance in a 3-2 overtime victory in Game 5
earned him the honor. Calgary only needs one more win to capture
its second Stanley Cup, and the Flames don't care who the hero is
as long as there is one.
"I think all guys that play are heroes," forward Marcus Nilson
said. "Doesn't really matter who ends up putting the puck in the
net. When you win, you win as 20 guys and that's 20 heroes."
The Tampa Bay Lightning held an optional skate
at the Saddledome on Friday following their overnight flight from
All of the Lightning took the opportunity to get on the ice less
than 24 hours after an overtime loss put them on the brink of
elimination in the Stanley Cup finals.
"Sitting on that plane for five hours ... it's a good thing and
they will feel much better (Saturday)," Tampa Bay coach John
Tortorella said about why all of his players practiced.