SUN Hockey Pool

Gloomy lottery for King

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

The look on Ken King's face mirrored the disappointment felt by Flames fans during yesterday's draft lottery.

A tight shot of the team president's visage on TSN after the club was selected to pick 26th overall at next week's draft showed a man trying desperately to remain composed.

However, you could clearly see the devastation in the eyes of a man who looked like he just took a gut punch.

"I think I failed in an effort to remain stoic," chuckled King, while catching a New York City cab to the airport.

"It was tough. Are you kidding? But hey, that's professional sports."

But King believes they can overcome the ping-pong ball misfortune.

"Better to be smart than lucky," he said, referring to the mind of Darryl Sutter and his scouting staff.

Sutter thought it was a premonition when 2004 Stanley Cup opponent Tampa Bay landed the last pick.

"When Tampa came up (for the 30th and last pick), I thought, 'Hell we're done right there.' "

Not only did the televised lottery secure the club's worst draft standing since 1982 when Dave Reierson went 29th, it also ensured a pick too low to grab a player capable of making an impact this year or maybe even next.

Although the draft will snake in reverse order after the first round, the Flames don't have a second-round pick, having traded it to San Jose for Miikka Kiprusoff. But Sutter expects a compensatory pick after the second round for losing Craig Conroy to the Los Angeles Kings.

"I'm going to do everything I can to get more picks," he said.

What's worse for Flames fans is the fact Sidney Crosby's new address is in Pittsburgh. And that will ensure the junior phenom will only make the trip to Calgary once every three years as part of the league's new scheduling setup.

With only 10 games against Eastern Conference teams every year, the Flames will play host to all five teams from one east division while visiting all five from another east division every year. Should Crosby happen to be injured when the Penguins come to town, it could be six years before the most talked about junior star since Eric Lindros sees Cowtown.


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