'It's tough to watch'

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 5:19 PM ET


DETROIT --  Around these parts, he's now known as Villain Nieminen.

 And Vile Nieminen.

 But those slings and arrows from the Detroit fans and media didn't bother Flames forward Ville Nieminen as much as having to sit out yesterday's critical playoff game against the Detroit Red Wings due to suspension.

 "I've never been suspended before. It's tough to watch," he said prior to the matinee at the Joe Louis Arena.

 "We are not happy but we have to live with it and get ready for Game 6."

 Nieminen received a one-game banishment for a charging infraction after he hit Wings goaltender Curtis Joseph late in Thursday's fourth game at the Saddledome.

 Dave Lowry drew back into the lineup for the first time since suffering a massive abdominal injury that required surgery in early January.

 Nieminen will be able to return tomorrow night when the Flames have a chance to close out the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.

 Immediately after Game 4, he gave a couple of weak excuses but yesterday owned up.

 "Things like that happen in the playoffs. Good thing nobody was hurt," he said. "But obviously it was stupid and unnecessary."

 The pesky forward, who played his best game of the series prior to the brain cramp, said he didn't receive any harsh words from his teammates but admitted it was tough to deal with the fact he'd made a mistake that could have hindered them so much.

 "We were not even talking about the suspension. There's so many other things going on in life and in hockey than being suspended," he said.


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