Eyes wide shut

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:11 PM ET


 TAMPA -- The day before, Calgary Flames GM-head coach Darryl Sutter denied Ville Nieminen was with the team in Florida.

 "He's not on the trip," Sutter said in his infamous press conference Wednesday.

 During yesterday's morning skate, though, Nieminen was part of the fun, albeit for a while longer than most since he worked out with the Black Aces after the rest of the boys left the ice.

 "There was a seat available on the plane for me," Nieminen explained of his presence.

 Certainly, there was a good reason for the Flames' left-winger to stay in the Stampede City and not bother flying across the continent to Tampa for last night's Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final.

 He had to sit out the match against the Lightning due to the one-game suspension assessed from his boarding call late in Game 4, the second time he's been banished in the playoffs.

 "It's tougher because of the situation right now," he said. "Last game I was suspended, I watched one period. I'm not going to watch any tonight."

 Besides, he has to gear up for what could be the season finale tomorrow night at the Saddledome.

 "I know one thing, I will be well rested," he said with a grin.

 However, Nieminen should only smile so much. After all, it's his hit on Vincent Lecavalier from behind that forced the Flames to go without an integral piece of their attack last night against a Lightning team already loaded with more top-end talent.

 "Are there some things in your life, if you look back, you wouldn't have done?" Nieminen said when asked if he'd do things differently. "I think everybody in this room has those things.

 "I think it's an old saying, 'A battle of might don't need the one guy,' " he added. "It's not one guy, it's a team who wins these things.

 "It's unfortunate I'm not playing and if I'm letting my teammates down, let's put it this way, it's tough to watch."

 Nieminen repeated what seems to be the most common phrase of this post-season -- 'no comment' -- and wouldn't discuss whether he felt the punishment was deserved.

 "I have no comment on that," he said.

 "It's not the players who decide the suspension. It's people somewhere else."


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