Lobbying pays dividends

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:11 PM ET


 Who says Darryl Sutter doesn't know how to win friends and influence people?

 The Flames' occasionally crusty coach did a little polite lobbying about obstruction/holding penalties after yesterday's morning skate, suggesting teams that cry about a lack of calls should also be judged harshly -- reiterating a favourite topic from the weekend in Motown.

 The obvious suggestion was the Detroit Red Wings' star-studded lineup was benefitting from the leniency of NHL referees, including Game 2 in Detroit, a 5-2 Wings win.

 Voila!

 The Wings, last night's Saddledome visitors, were tagged with the contest's first four minors. Matthieu Dandenault was called for interference, while fellow blueliner Derian Hatcher was called for hooking after hauling down Flames sniper Jarome Iginla on a near breakaway.

 "I was surprised at the calls, yeah," said Wings head coach Dave Lewis about the work of referees Bill McCreary and Kelly Sutherland, who tagged Calgary with just two roughing minors over 60 minutes.

 "In my opinion, one was a penalty but that's my opinion."

 The fourth consecutive minor -- a roughing penalty to defenceman Jiri Fischer for punching Ville Nieminen in the back of the head -- led to Iginla's powerplay goal and a 2-1 Flames lead.

 Lewis said Sutter's officiating diatribes over the course of the first two games in Detroit and again yesterday morning might have swayed officials, while accusing the Flames of escaping several potential calls for slowing the Wings by holding their sticks.

 "I don't know," Lewis said with a tinge of sarcasm, "we're told lobbying doesn't pay a lot of dividends but I thought a couple of our guys -- (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg -- were mugged out there.

 "I thought some of their players should have had penalties for too many sticks in their hands. They usually had two sticks in their hands, one of ours and one of theirs.

 "We're going to try to take a count (from game film) of how many times we saw that in the game."

 Not surprisingly, Iginla offered an opposing view. The Flames captain said his team revisited the fast-skating style that powered the club past Vancouver in Round 1.

 "We were able to draw a lot of penalties in the first period because we were skating, because we were on more pucks," argued Iginla.

 "We created more. It was a nice change.

 "A lot of the series, we were in the box but this game, we were able to draw penalties."


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