To (need) air is human

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:00 PM ET


 The Flames' hard bodychecks in Game 3 took the wind out of Tampa Bay's sails but Calgary's altitude might have taken it out of the Lightning's lungs.

 Flames winger Martin Gelinas wasn't surprised to learn of reports yesterday several Tampa Bay players were taking oxygen between periods of Game 3.

 The former Vancouver Canuck said teams based at sea level can have trouble adjusting to playing in arenas at high altitudes like in Calgary, some 3,500 ft. above sea level.

 "I guess it does a little bit ... I remember when I was in Vancouver, when we went to Colorado (higher than 5,000 ft.) or Calgary (3,500 ft.) we used to feel it for a period then you get back to normal," said Gelinas, 33, generally considered the most fit Flame.

 The visitors Saturday night, who live and train at sea level, appeared sapped of their energy in the third period, something Flames winger Ville Nieminen also pointed out about the Detroit Red Wings in Round 2.

 At the time, Flames coach Darryl Sutter scoffed at the notion, contending Calgary's altitude isn't a factor as it's the same for both teams. But Gelinas said athletes who train at higher altitudes become accustomed to working out in thinner air.

 After signing with Calgary as a free agent in the summer of 2002, Gelinas said his workout regimen leading up to training camp was affected by the high altitude of the Rockies.

 "I was here all summer training and I could feel it," Gelinas said.


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