Hasek's act flops in referee's eyes

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

Call this one a gift from one of the greats.

The Calgary Flames can thank Dominik Hasek's tribute to Keanu Reeves last night for helping the hosts out of a tailspin that threatened their playoff chances.

Not that the Flames are out of the woods just yet.

But Detroit's future Hall of Famer most certainly did his part to ease tensions around here by giving the Flames a six-point cushion on ninth-place Colorado.

Late in the second period of a tight 1-1 affair, the 42-year-old method actor tried parlaying a minor bump from a crease-crowding Jarome Iginla into a dramatization unfit for even Lunchbox Theatre.

Flailing onto his back and staying there with hopes of drawing a penalty, the melodramatic 42-year-old looked up just in time to see Kristian Huselius' game-winning powerplay goal sail just over his mask. In an otherwise brilliantly played game by both goalies, the stunt cost the Wings at least a point and could end up costing his club its third-straight Presidents' Trophy.

While Hasek tried to defend his juvenile actions after the game by suggesting he was walloped by someone's elbow as two players fought for goalmouth position, a furious coach Mike Babcock would have none of it.

"It wasn't interference at all -- our goalie tried to draw the penalty and he dove and they shot it in the net," spat Babcock, who said he's warned Hasek of such well-known hijinks in the past.

"In the past AND I just mentioned it tonight. The bottom line is embellishment is something that happens in our game probably too much and when you try to draw a penalty and it doesn't go your way, it's a tough one."

While his teammates were too classy to call him out on it, you can bet there was a measure of frustration on their bench that matched Babcock's. After all, it kept the Wings one point away from catching Nashville.

"I don't know... somebody hit me in the head with an elbow -- I don't know if it was our player or their player but I went down and before I found the puck and get up, they scored the goal," stuttered Hasek.

Babcock reviewed the play and informed a passing scribe there was contact from Iginla's elbow but nothing that warranted the violent reaction every ref from here to Minsk has seen before.

"I told him, 'That's why nobody calls it,' " said Babcock.

No one in the Flames dressing room was either surprised or upset by Hasek's shenanigans but some had to fight off a grin at how foolish the six-time Vezina and two-time Hart winner looked.

"It was a good call by the referee to ignore the dive," said Huselius.

"It wasn't the best shot but it went in. Obviously, if the referee would have blown the whistle it's a good play but it worked out for us."

None of this takes away from the gutsy effort from a Flames club that suddenly looks a lot like the one that beat the Wings as part of their 2004 playoff run. Two powerplay goals and an emphasis on defence was the tonic GM Darryl Sutter was asking for when he addressed the troops a day earlier.

"We played desperate hockey and that's the way we have to play the rest of the season," said Daymond Langkow. "It's an important win because I think as a group we slipped."

Maybe Hasek should've just said the same thing.


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