She Bangs for the buck

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:38 PM ET

 If there was ever any question the Flames have truly taken centre stage on the Canadian sports scene consider the fact the club got a phone call from an agent representing American Idol laughingstock William Hung Friday.

 Turns out the tonally-challenged crooner is hoping to get in on the action by making an appearance at Game 3.

  It just doesn't get any bigger than that.

 Other notes, quotes and anecdotes from a city ready to explode:

 - - -

 QUICK HITS: Shocking revelation by Darryl Sutter made following his first full stone-faced season behind the bench: "I can tell you 100%, unequivocally that in my life I have never been stressed out." ... Great line by Sports Illustrated's Bill Scheft on Miikka Kiprusoff: "He's got it all: the glove hand of a young Patrick Roy and the groin of a young Dominik Hasek." ... Best quote of the San Jose series came from Rhett Warrener when asked about the Mike Mane Showdown between Mike Commodore and Mike Ricci's lids: "It's tough because they're so different -- one goes up and one goes down." Incidentally, this marks the third time Warrener has joined a new NHL team and gone straight to the finals that year ... Having attended the first two road games of every Flames playoff series since 1986, superfan Kim (Santa) Thomas has racked up quite a MasterCard bill over the last six weeks. His trip to Vancouver cost him $800, Detroit was $2,700 and San Jose was $1,500. Included in those costs are the price of tickets, accommodations, airfares, cabs and plenty of beer, er, incidentals ... Ville Nieminen when walking by a rink at the Sharks practice facility that was littered with everything from figure skaters to speed skaters: "Chicago Blackhawks practice," he laughed ... Nieminen on the inconsistency that has stalled his career: "My teammates told me on my last team that it's such sick skill that I have. I have the flu all the time." ... Those questioning the decision to pick Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and/or Shane Doan for Team Canada should know the trio formed a line at the worlds in 2003 that Lanny McDonald says is still being heralded overseas as one of the best lines in tourney history.

 - - -

 LOUDMOUTHS: It was a year and a half ago when Sharks coach Ron Wilson made a token comment about San Jose fans being the loudest in the league. How desperate does a journalist have to be to manufacture a story suggesting he still feels that way, especially after the show Calgary fans have put on this spring. Truth be told, Wilson had to be embarrassed by his fans after they booed their team out of the Tank the last two games ... No fans have been louder than those at the 'Dome these days -- it's simply impossible and any veteran NHL scribe, player, manager or coach will tell you that ... Damn near brought a tear to my eye on 17th Ave. the other night to see a beautiful pair of, well, road hockey games going on during the festivities. Get your mind out of the gutter ... San Jose forward Todd Harvey when asked if he was scared of sharks while surfing: "Ah, yeah, but you've got a better chance of getting hit by lightning than being eaten by a shark." Turns out the Sharks won't be seeing the Lightning until next fall at the earliest ... The smile on the face of FAN 960 anchor Rob Kerr stems from the new furniture in the 'Dome's famed Hot Stove Lounge. "We took it out of Kerr's playoff bonus," said FAN program director Kelly Kirch ... Sutter on the pre-season odds that saw the Flames as 100-1 longshots in Vegas to win the Stanley Cup: "People who think they know -- they don't know."

 - - -

 FULL MONTY: Lest we forget, the Calgary Flames have Pat Quinn to thank for Steve Montador's overtime winner in Game 1 against San Jose. Three years ago, the Flames put defenceman Wade Belak on waivers. Had he not been claimed by Quinn in Toronto, Montador would have been the odd man out in Saint John and would have been bumped down to Johnstown of the East Coast League. Instead, Belak headed to Hogtown and Montador took advantage of a key injury to start his progression towards the NHL ... Worth mentioning -- Andy Murray, who coached Canada at the world championships last year, had this to say about Flames Jarome Iginla, Robyn Regehr and Dean McAmmond after they all elected not to attend the annual tourney last spring: "All of (Calgary's) players said no to us and all the Oilers said yes," said Murray, who was obviously frustrated at the time. "That's maybe why that team plays in the playoffs most of the time and why the other one doesn't." Not to make excuses but McAmmond hadn't played in a month because of the botched league/Craig Button trade fiasco, Iginla had shoulder problems and a wedding to prepare for and Regehr was disinterested after being relegated to bench duty once fresh recruits arrived for the medal round a year earlier ... Sharks forward Mark Smith, expanding on the three-man surfing club he belongs to with Todd Harvey and Scott Hannan: "By far I am the best," laughed the Saskatchewan native. "They're still on the beginners 'shake and rattle' routine. We had some people take us out and teach us how not to get killed but when we started we all just got abused. We're getting down all the lingo -- so killer, so stoked -- actually, don't put that in the paper, it makes us look like posers."

 - - -

 PARTING GIFTS: Sutter when asked what his instructions were before overtime in Game 1 versus the Sharks: "Hit and hope," he laughed. "No I'm just kidding." ... Peter Maher is still fielding plenty of calls from around the league on his call of Martin Gelinas' overtime goal in Game 6 against Detroit. After all, it was the Call of the Day on ESPN: "I'm amazed at how much play it's getting," said Maher, who figures he went a little overboard on it. "I'm still embarrassed every time I hear it. There were two too-many 'Yeah Baby's.' " Nursing a cold throughout the San Jose series, Maher tried like heck to stay away from people on off days as his voice had started to disappear. He'll be fine for the Stanley Cup final ... The best Sharks player early in the last series was forward Alex Korolyuk whose hatred for the hard-nose ways of Sutter was well documented -- so much so he left the Sharks last year to play in Russia. He returned to San Jose this year because Sutter had been fired, giving him an obvious incentive to get back at his former coach with a good effort. Sutter tried to downplay the rocky relationship: "You know what really bothers me about that. I heard one of our famous Canadian reporters that never managed, coached or played a game talking about that. To me that's an insult to the players -- the three left wingers playing ahead of him were Marco Sturm, Scott Thornton and Adam Graves, so you figure it out." ... Andrew Ference on whether early success in the San Jose series would go to the players' heads: "Our coach is pretty sobering."


Videos

Photos