Dono done in by knee

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:31 PM ET


 TAMPA -- The biggest game of his life and Shean Donovan ended up like the 22,717 strong that filled the St. Pete Times Forum.

 A spectator.

 Donovan, who suffered a knee injury in Game 5, did all he could to take the ice in last night's Game 7.

 He donned a brace on his left knee.

 He took part in the morning skate.

 He was even part of the pre-game warmup.

 But when the puck dropped, the right-winger was in street clothes, the victim of a torn MCL suffered in Game 5 when Jassen Cullimore fell on his leg.

 "I felt good in the morning but all day it felt worse," he said after watching his team fall

 2-1 to the Lightning in the deciding game.

 "In the pre-game skate, it felt like I turned it a little more. I was gonna be no hope.

 I would have done nothing for the team.

 I would have just went out there and taken somebody's spot who could play."

 No player wants to be a bystander when his team is in the Stanley Cup final.

 But there was Donovan alongside an injured brigade that included a couple of important players lost during the playoffs -- defenceman Denis Gauthier and centre Matthew Lombardi -- as well as two more felled before the magical run began, centre Steve Reinprecht and Dean McAmmond.

 It made the disappointment even worse.

 "It's kinda hard to live with yourself when you feel you should have helped," said Donovan, the team's second-leading goal scorer during the regular season.

 "I thought I could have but it didn't work out."

 Defenceman Robyn Regehr played despite a sprained ankle that would have kept him on the shelf in the regular season.

 "Winning Game 5 actually hurt us more than it helped us because the injuries were sustained in it," said GM-head coach Darryl Sutter.

 Hockey's a game known for its participants playing through pain.

 For overcoming adversity.

 The Flames certainly put a stamp on that aspect through this season and the playoffs, something they all could take a little solace in after falling short of their ultimate goal.

 "I think anybody would give his left leg for this thing," said defenceman Steve Montador. "Actually, I think it's Dono's right leg and I bet he would have given that. If anything could have been done, guys would have done it.

 "Yeah, anyone would give their left leg for that one time to lift that Cup."

 Added Donovan: "I've never been with a team that's been this tight and worked this hard and done what we did.

 "I'm proud of our guys. We battled through injuries, we battled through everything and were one win away.

 "They played great. They fought hard and we could have won it."


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