Underdog card flies onto table

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:44 PM ET


 Not all playoff series are won or lost on the ice.

 Sometimes, points are scored before the first puck drops or anyone breaks a sweat.

 Flames coach Darryl Sutter yesterday got a jump on the Red Wings by chalking up a few points in hockey's version of head games.

 "I'm not talking about Detroit anymore," Sutter announced before an eager throng of media, microphones poised for action, as the team packed its bags for Motown.

 Without missing a beat, he then promptly did just that, installing the mighty Red Wings as heavy favourites against his outclassed squad in the conference semifinals.

 "It doesn't matter what you say about them, they're obviously the clear-cut favourite going into this series," Sutter proclaimed.

 "But there's no pressure on us. I think it's a great experience for our team and you know (Detroit's) not going to hold anything back."

 Sutter then issued a rallying cry for the Flames, who in his mind have been on the ropes all season, fighting for respect while craving to scratch a seven-year playoff itch.

 "It's not that hard for me to understand or for anybody in our locker-room to understand because I've said it a thousand times," Sutter continued.

 "Every day we've had to go into our locker-room and circle the wagons because of something that went on outside, or something they have heard or something they have been told. That's why their mental toughness is as good or better than any team I've ever been associated with."

 For the Flames to knock off the veteran-laden Wings, Sutter said his team must continue with the physically punishing style that worked against Vancouver.

 "They have assembled a lot of guys who have won before, so you're not going to rattle them," Sutter said. "We're going to play our game and we're not going to let them rattle us, let's put it that way.

 "They're a high-end peak-skilled team, a veteran team, so from an overview going into the series, it's how your young guys adjust to their veteran lineup."


Videos

Photos