Long memories haunting Fraser

GARY LOEWEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

Referee Kerry Fraser admits to human error regarding a blown call on Wayne Gretzky -- a missed penalty that, 16 years later, still rankles some Maple Leafs fans.

But, evidently, Doug Gilmour shares the blame for Gretzky not getting a five-minute major for high-sticking the Leafs star.

"Any official absolutely has nightmares when they have an effect on the game -- and a negative effect," Fraser said yesterday on Leafs Lunch on AM640, reflecting back on the incident in Game 6 of the 1993 Western Conference final between Toronto and the Los Angeles Kings out on the West Coast.

"When it crosses over into what occurred that night, the human error, the element that we miss ... I think about it often."

Gretzky drew blood when he clipped Gilmour on the chin, but Fraser had an obstructed view and the linesmen missed it as well.

Fraser said he asked Gilmour for his side of the story, and the Leaf said he was hit on the follow-through of Gretzky's shot.

Replays showed otherwise and the Kings centre should have been penalized for a high stick.

Gretzky went on to score the winning goal when he should have been serving a major, and the Kings wrapped up the series in Game 7 at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Fraser yesterday faced the wrath of a handful of callers with long memories -- one suffered from sleepless nights, and an e-mailer said it was "the game that broke my heart."

But the referee handled them with aplomb.

While agreeing with one gent that he blew the call, Fraser said: "I hope you got it all out -- you should not carry this anger and resentment."

After 16 years, yeah, Fraser is right. It is time to give it a rest.

Turf wares

Shockingly, Maple Leaf Sort of Expensive Ltd., is missing out on a valuable money-making opportunity.

MLSEL is trucking in fresh turf to cover the plastic grass at BMO Field for a soccer game tomorrow between Toronto FC and Real Madrid.

Executive vice-president Bob Hunter was asked what MLSEL would do with the turf after the game.

"Cut it up in small pieces like this and make it available (to fans)," he said jokingly.

It wouldn't be the first time.

Remember Mats Sundin's milestone 500th NHL goal?

The mesh was removed from the net, chopped into 2,000 pieces and converted into sports memorabilia that made thousands of dollars for MLSEL.

Scissor kick, anyone?

Capitals SAV-iour

The goaltender formerly known as Simeon Varlamov has changed the spelling of his first name to Semyon.

As Varlamov rose to prominence for the Washington Capitals during the playoffs last spring, it vexed him that his name was being mispronounced.

For the record, it's SEM-yon Var-LA-mov.

Since his middle name is Aleksandrovich, calling him by his initials might be a SAVvy move.


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