SUN Hockey Pool

Gelinas nearly returned to Flames

ERIC FRANCIS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

The truth can finally be told about the former Flames player Darryl Sutter had his eye on re-acquiring just before this year's trade deadline.

While it was widely speculated 42-year-old Gary Roberts might be plucked off waivers to add grit and experience to Calgary's lineup, the object of Sutter's affection was someone much more contemporary.

Sun Media has learned Sutter's energy was instead focused on bringing back 2004 playoff hero Martin Gelinas.

"He was going to be a minimum salary player who would come back to Calgary where his family is -- it would've been perfect," confirmed Sutter when asked about the 38-year-old.

Gelinas, who recently returned to Calgary after spending the latter half of the season with Bern in the Swiss A League, confirmed he too was excited about the possibility. However, Gelinas said Bern wouldn't let him out of his contract.

Sutter insists there was more to it than that. Either way, it never materialized.

Gelinas is still holding out hope he can return to the Flames -- a desire the Scarboro resident had ever since he became a free agent following a playoff run here five years ago that saw him score the series-winning goal in all three rounds before his apparent Cup-winner was overlooked in Game 6 of the final.

After two years with Florida, The Eliminator spent a year in Nashville, where he was invited back last year contingent on testing his injured knee in the minors.

He refused (a decision he now questions) and hoped another team would sign him before leaving his family to play in Switzerland where he had 15 goals and 22 points in 27 games.

Gelinas said he likely won't return to Europe next year and is pressing hard for one last NHL showing.

While Sutter-bashers will suggest Gelinas is just another example of the Flames GM bent on signing retreads, the fitness freak may be a logical fit for the cash-strapped Flames. Or maybe the final opportunity has passed.

Now more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world that can't possibly be surprised Craig Conroy shone as an in-studio panelist on TSN yesterday.

AROUND THE HORN

Memo to the crack marketing staff of the Pittsburgh Penguins: When you decide to copy everyone else by blanketing your crowd with t-shirts, you may want to consider picking a colour that matches that of the home team instead of the white the visiting Washington Capitals wear ... Best sign of the playoff so far was spotted in Carolina: "Yes we Cam." ... Hands up all those devastated Skate Canada won't be relocating to Calgary. Thought so ... With 20 goals in his last 25 playoff games, is Detroit Red Wings winger Johan Franzen one of best clutch players in the game or simply a regular-season flop? ... The only thing more impressive than the hockey played in the Hitmen's Game 6 overtime loss was the job Shaw did on the broadcast.

PARTING GIFTS

A few highlights from reader Pat Walsh's Top 10 things about being a Flames fan: 10) Not a moment of our short Alberta summer is wasted watching hockey; 9) You can always run into your favourite player, usually at the ninth-hole shack when you are grabbing a hot dog and a beer; 8) Rhett Warrener and Wayne Primeau are always available to make an appearance at your kid's birthday party; 7) The Safeway Score-and-Win hasn't paid out in months -- next powerplay goal we all get Foreman Grills; 4) Wanting 'Mini Kipper' sold like that Slumdog Millionaire kid.


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