Dono watches in agony

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:11 PM ET


 TAMPA -- It was the most punishing hockey game Shean Donovan's ever experienced but he never took a check or fired a shot.

 That said, he did plenty of sweating as his Calgary Flames fought the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night at the Saddledome, Donovan's right knee too sore to go.

 "It's harder watching than playing," Donovan sighed yesterday, recalling his viewpoint of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final from a far-too-serene position in front of a TV in the dressing room.

 "I'd never missed a game as a Flame.

 "You battle through the schedule all season, then you come to the last game of the year and you need one win and to have to watch the game is horrible."

 The second-year Flames winger saw his team drop the crucial contest 3-2 in double-overtime and he's in Tampa for tonight's Game 7 finale, uncertain if he'll play.

 Donovan fell hard driving to the Bolts net in Game 5 with Lightning defenceman Jassen Cullimore falling on his right knee.

 After the game Flames coach Darryl Sutter called the wound a charley horse but it now appears more serious.

 "That's really hard, that sucked, I mean you want to be part of it," conceded Donovan, who netted 18 goals and 42 points without missing one of the club's 82 regular-season dates while his injury leaves a one less speedster in the Flames lineup.

 He scored five times and added five helpers through 24 playoff games this spring.

 "I was a part of it all year and bonded with these guys all year.

 "To miss the battles and stuff, I mean that's what we do."

 As usual, both teams are keeping the status of injuries under wraps until game time tonight.

 Keeping with that theme, Donovan was coy when asked about his knee and the possibility he'll dress tonight, although it doesn't sound promising.

 "It feels alright I guess, we'll see tomorrow," Donovan shrugged.

 "There's a chance.

 "It would be tough.

 "Everybody dreams about it -- Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final -- so everybody wants to be in that game.

 "It would be a situation where I wouldn't normally be playing ... they'll have to do something ... I don't know, we'll see."

 Donovan acknowledges the pressure his teammates felt in Game 6 at the Saddledome with the entire city poised to celebrate its first Stanley Cup in 15 seasons.

 Despite the disappointment, Donovan insists the team is upbeat and ready to play its best tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum.

 "We realize everybody wanted to win it at home but it's not a big deal, it's over now, now it's one game to win the Stanley Cup," insisted Donovan, without a ring in 10 NHL seasons.

 "All of us have dreamed about the chance to do this, now we get it. Obviously, the guys were sad after the game but it just takes one guy to come into the room and say, 'Hey boys, we've got to win one game to win the Stanley Cup,' so that's pretty special.

 "We've been the underdogs all throughout the playoffs and everything's thrown out the window when it comes down to just one game."


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