Smyl doesn't lose sleep over big save

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:01 PM ET


 VANCOUVER -- It's a scene that invokes so much elation for Calgary Flames fans.

 Stan Smyl, breaking down the right wing on an overtime breakaway in the famed Game 7 of the 1989 series, denied by Mike Vernon's highlight-reel glove save.

 Understandably, it's not held in the same high regard on the West Coast. Especially from the man who had the golden chance to complete what would have been one of the biggest upsets in hockey history.

 "I'm just surprised they had colour film then. I thought it would be in black and white," Smyl said with a laugh.

 Technicolour also shows Joel Otto's winner, hardly a highlight around the Canucks history.

 With yet another Calgary-Vancouver meeting coming down to the short strokes, and possibly even a seventh-game showdown, Smyl will again be around.

 Naturally, that clip will be shown more often, and even though he didn't win the one-on-one battle with Vernon, Smyl doesn't have nightmares reliving it.

 "It's a dream that every player wants to be in," said the head coach of the Manitoba Moose, the Canucks AHL affiliate. "Fortunately for myself, I was in a position a lot of people would like and that's the thing about professional sports -- winning or losing."

 That was one of the few times Smyl came out on the wrong end.

 Through 13 season in the various Canucks togs, he willed himself to become the heart and soul of the team.

 The longest-serving captain in Canucks history, Smyl left the franchise leader in most career goals, assists and points (262-411-673). This season, Markus Naslund took over the goal title and Trevor Linden became the all-time leading points earner.

 As popular as he was during his playing days -- his No. 12 hangs in the rafters -- imagine how big Smyl would be had that shot made it past Vernon's outstretched trapper.

 "I thought about it for maybe the first couple of months. I just learned after that, it was an experience and hopefully made me a better player," Smyl said.

 "It doesn't bother me now. I talk about it a lot. Do I want to be remembered as the guy who got beat by Mike Vernon on a breakaway? No, but you've got all sorts of highlights in a career. I could show you my basement and there's a lot of things I've accomplished. That one thing won't eat at me every day."


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