Saprykin's game ritual sacrificed

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:43 PM ET


 Chris Dingman was not going to let Oleg Saprkyin score.

 Not even in the pre-game warmup.

 Saprykin, the last Flames player to leave the ice after the pre-game skate, has a ritual of firing the puck the length of the ice into the opposition's net.

 The early-bird fans give Saprykin an ovation if the Russian scores.

 Dingman was booed after he turned the net around and pushed it against the boards, thwarting Saprykin's attempt Monday night.

 Asked if he was playing mind games with the Flames forward, Dingman just laughed off the incident.

 "I don't know," he said. "We don't shoot pucks in their net, so ...

 "It wasn't a big deal. Our focus was on winning the game, simple as that."

 Dingman tried to stop Saprkin's shot prior to Game 3 but proved to be a poor goaltender as he was beaten from 100 ft.

 "He tried to save it the game before but he couldn't," Saprkyin said yesterday. "So he turned the net around. I was laughing. We still threw it at the net even though he turned it around. It was funny."

 Saprykin and d-man Mike Commodore fired a few pucks at the back of the far net, drawing cheers from the Saddledome crowd.

 Such pre-game rituals have sparked major brawls in the past, such as the 1987 Wales Conference Final between the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers.

 Habs agitator Claude Lemieux liked to skate the length of the ice after warmup and put a puck in the other net.

 That is, until Philadelphia's Ed Hospoder and backup goaltender Chico Resch gave him a solid beating that instigated a dressing-room-clearing brawl.

 Saprykin, though, is undaunted, jokingly suggesting the 6-ft. 4-in, 240-lb. Dingman should keep his head up.

 "Next time, I'll shoot at his head if he tries that."


Videos

Photos