SUN Hockey Pool

Stefan's gaffe doesn't do Flames favour

STEVE MACFARLANE, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

The Calgary Flames were busy winning their own extended game when Patrik Stefan's now infamous miss-take took place.

But thanks to repeated replays, they've seen the Dallas Stars centre miss an empty net, fall, then watch as the Edmonton Oilers raced the length of the ice and tied the game with seconds left in regulation Thursday night.

The Stars won in a shootout but that all-important Oilers point didn't do the Flames any favours in the Northwest Division standings.

"Very unlucky," said Byron Ritchie before the Flames and Stars faced off at the Saddledome in last night's late tilt. "The puck just hopped over his stick. I'm kind of choked because he gave Edmonton a point they didn't really need, so it's too bad that happened.

"But I feel for him."

Andrew Ference said the Flames might give Stefan the gears even though the ridiculing is normally reserved for teammates.

"We didn't want the Oilers to get that point so he should get some ribbing from us even if he isn't a Flame," joked Ference. "What was he waiting for?"

Truth is, Stefan -- the Atlanta Thrashers' first overall pick in 1999 -- felt he was being extra cautious on the play, guiding the puck to the crease and waiting till the last second to deposit the insurance goal on the scuffed ice surface.

"I think the biggest mistake I made was that I tried to be too safe," said Stefan, who admitted he also now laughs at the gaffe. "I saw it was bad ice, tried to carry it all the way in. Last second, when I was just about there, it jumped over my stick.

"As soon as I got the puck, I looked behind me and there was really nobody close. I'm like, 'You know what, why don't I take it all the way in. It's the safest play.'

"Well, it wasn't the safest play."

Stefan laughed when told of the Flames' thoughts on the extra point for Edmonton.

"I'm fully 100 percent sure I didn't do that because I wanted to give Edmonton one point," he said with a laugh. "Believe me, there was nothing more I wanted than to just put the puck in the net."

Stefan, who took a four-game point streak into last night's game with the Flames, took some shots from teammates over the miscue but said they have been pretty gentle.

"They've been awesome," said Stefan, whose role with the Stars has increased with injuries to Mike Modano and Eric Lindros. "They've been joking with me. It's easier when you win the game. It was big."

Goaltender Marty Turco said the mocking might have been worse if Stefan was hotdogging rather than the victim of a bad hop.

"I think maybe other teams would be a little harder. Right now, I think the wound is still stinging a little bit for him even though we did win the game.

"You joke and rib him a little bit but I think over time he'll feel better about it.

"Right now he's a little more vulnerable."


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