Castaways strike back

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:55 PM ET


 Darryl Sutter got his revenge.

 So, too, did Miikka Kiprusoff.

 Although they'll never admit it, revenge likely played a part in helping motivate the Calgary Flames against the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference final.

 Sutter, after all, was fired by the Sharks two months into the 2002-03 season, while Kiprusoff was sent packing to Calgary last November for a draft pick.

 "I'm sure it was a big thing, although nobody wants to say anything," said Flames winger Shean Donovan, himself a former Shark. "But it's always big when you play your old team. Sure, Kipper has proven himself all year but I'm sure he wanted to prove himself against (Sharks goalie Evgeni) Nabokov.

 "He was his backup."

 And for the coach?

 "He's the one who built that team," Donovan said of Sutter. "It takes time to build a good team like that. And he's come here and tried to build this team a lot like that one."

 During the post-game celebrations last night at the Saddledome, Sutter shook hands with every one of the San Jose players.

 "They're still where organizations are (supposed to be) in terms of depth and development -- that teams have to look at and model themselves after," Sutter said.

 "And I've said a lot of times that if we can be where they are in two years in terms of development and overall organization, we'll be in good shape."

 Some would say they already are, as Sutter has the Flames headed to the Cup final.

 "Not really," said Sutter, when asked if his dismissal from the Sharks last winter was a blessing in disguise.

 "Hey, that was a good team there, too. We could have done it there, too."

 But now he's doing it here with the Flames.

 Surely, that must be sweet.

 "Obviously, there is something to that," said Flames winger Dave Lowry, another former Shark. "But we never talked about it once in this dressing room -- not once this whole series. We just looked at them as another opponent, as another team we had to get by to get where we wanted to go.

 "It feels good to do it with this group of guys here.

 "I enjoyed playing with San Jose. But those days are gone.

 "It was either we shake their hands and wish them luck or they shake our hands and wish us luck.

 "So we did whatever we could to make sure it was us moving on."


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