2003–04 Calgary Flames season

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2003–04 Calgary Flames
Western Conference Champions
Division 3rd Northwest
Conference 6th Western
2003–04 record 42–30–7–3
Home record 21–14–5–1
Road record 21–16–2–2
Goals for 200 (19th)
Goals against 176 (3rd)
Team information
General Manager Darryl Sutter
Coach Darryl Sutter
Captain Jarome Iginla
Alternate captains Craig Conroy
Robyn Regehr
Arena Pengrowth Saddledome
Average attendance 16,580
Team leaders
Goals Jarome Iginla (41)
Assists Craig Conroy (39)
Points Jarome Iginla (73)
Penalties in minutes Krzysztof Oliwa (247)
Wins Miikka Kiprusoff (24)
Goals against average Miikka Kiprusoff (1.69)
<2002–03 2004–05>

The 2003–04 Calgary Flames season was the 24th National Hockey League season in Calgary, and the 32nd for the franchise in the NHL. The Flames ended a seven-year playoff drought, qualifying for the post-season for the first time since 1996. The Flames defeated three division winners en route to an appearance in the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals. The Flames were defeated in the finals by the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games. The run to the finals captured the imagination of the city, while the Red Mile celebrations gained international attention for the "Mardi Gras-like" atmosphere as up to 80,000 people celebrated in the streets after each playoff game.

Fans arriving at the Pengrowth Saddledome prior to a Stanley Cup Finals game against Tampa Bay.

Head coach Darryl Sutter succeeded Craig Button as the Flames' general manager. Sutter made numerous changes to the roster as he worked to remake the Flames into a fast, physical club. Chris Drury was dealt to Buffalo for Rhett Warrener and Steve Reinprecht before the season began. A knee injury to starting goaltender Roman Turek led Sutter to trade for Miikka Kiprusoff, a player he knew from his days with the San Jose Sharks. Kiprusoff responded to the deal by posting an NHL record low Goals Against Average of 1.69.

The Flames were led offensively by Jarome Iginla, who tied Ilya Kovalchuk and Rick Nash for the league lead with 41 goals as the trio shared the Rocket Richard Trophy. Iginla represented the Flames at the 54th National Hockey League All-Star Game in Minnesota, and was named a second team all-star for his performance during the season. Iginla's charity work and leadership both on and off the ice led to his also being awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and NHL Foundation Player Award.

Regular season[edit]

After struggling with an injury to starting goaltender Roman Turek in the first game of the season, an early November trade for San Jose Sharks third stringer Miikka Kiprusoff sparked the Flames, as Kiprusoff led Calgary into the playoffs for the first time in eight years.[1]

The Calgary Flames' green hard hat on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Defenceman Mike Commodore became a cult hero for his unruly red mop of hair during the playoffs, leading many fans to wear red afro wigs to playoff games.[2] Craig Conroy brought a team building idea from his days with the St. Louis Blues, having the team award a green hard hat to the hardest working player each time the Flames won. As the exercise gained popularity, fans also began wearing green hard hats to the arena themselves.[3]

The Flames allowed the fewest short-handed goals during the regular season, with just 2.[4]

Season standings[edit]

Typical celebration along the Red Mile.
Northwest Division[5]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA PTS
1 3 Vancouver Canucks 82 43 24 10 5 235 194 101
2 4 Colorado Avalanche 82 40 22 13 7 235 198 100
3 6 Calgary Flames 82 42 30 7 3 200 176 94
4 9 Edmonton Oilers 82 36 29 12 5 221 208 89
5 10 Minnesota Wild 82 30 29 20 3 188 183 83

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Western Conference[6]
R Div GP W L T OTL GF GA Pts
1 P- Detroit Red Wings CE 82 48 21 11 2 255 189 109
2 Y- San Jose Sharks PA 82 43 21 11 2 255 183 104
3 Y- Vancouver Canucks NW 82 43 24 10 5 235 194 101
4 X- Colorado Avalanche NW 82 40 22 13 7 236 198 100
5 X- Dallas Stars PA 82 41 26 13 2 194 175 97
6 X- Calgary Flames NW 82 42 30 7 3 200 176 94
7 X- St. Louis Blues CE 82 39 30 11 2 191 198 91
8 X- Nashville Predators CE 82 38 29 11 4 216 217 91
8.5
9 Edmonton Oilers NW 82 36 29 12 5 221 208 89
10 Minnesota Wild NW 82 30 29 20 3 188 183 83
11 Los Angeles Kings PA 82 28 29 16 9 205 217 81
12 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim PA 82 29 35 10 8 184 213 76
13 Phoenix Coyotes PA 82 22 36 18 6 188 245 68
14 Columbus Blue Jackets CE 82 25 45 8 4 177 238 62
15 Chicago Blackhawks CE 82 20 43 11 8 188 259 59

Divisions: CE – Central, PA – Pacific, NW – Northwest

P- Clinched Presidents Trophy; Y- Clinched Division; X- Clinched Playoff spot


Schedule and results[edit]

2003–04 Game Log

Playoffs[edit]

Opening faceoff during game three against Vancouver.

Calgary's defeat of the Vancouver Canucks in the first round was the first playoff series victory for the Flames since they won the Cup in 1989. Jarome Iginla scored two goals and assisted on Martin Gelinas' overtime winner in game seven, sending fans in Calgary into the streets to celebrate the victory. The Flames pulled off an even bigger upset in round two, knocking off the President's Trophy winning Red Wings in six, including back-to-back 1–0 shutouts in the final two games. Once again, Gelinas scored the overtime winner on a rebound on a play set up by Iginla. In doing so, Gelinas became the first player in NHL history to record three career OT winners to end a series.[7]

The third round series pitted the Flames against head coach Darryl Sutter and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff's old team – the San Jose Sharks. After jumping out to a 2–0 series lead on the road, the Sharks returned the favour, defeating Calgary twice at home. After blanking the Sharks in San Jose in game five, the Flames returned home with a chance to go to the Stanley Cup Finals. Led once again by Iginla and Gelinas, the Flames cruised to a 3–1 victory. Gelinas once again scored the series clinching goal, this time in the second period, to return the Flames to the Stanley Cup final for the first time since winning it in 1989; this was the first Finals appearance by a Canadian team since the 1994 Vancouver Canucks lost to the New York Rangers.

the "C of Red" became a defining characteristic of Flames playoff games.

The Finals versus Tampa Bay became known for controversy. First, referee Kerry Fraser was pulled from his game six assignment in Calgary after drawing the ire of Flames fans following several calls in game four that upset the local fans. Fraser would instead officiate game seven in Tampa.[8] The officiating in game four prompted a rant by Sutter, in which he alleged that the NHL did not want Calgary to win.[9]

Late in game six, with the score tied, a shot that deflected off of Gelinas' skate was stopped by Tampa Bay goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin on the goal line. Later replays indicated that the puck may have crossed the line,[10] however the play was not reviewed at the time, and the NHL would later rule the video was inconclusive, since the puck was in the air not on the ice.[11] Instead, the Lightning would win in double overtime, and go on to win game seven by a 2–1 score.[12]

Despite the game seven loss, the playoff run lifted the city to a new high.[13] Over 30,000 fans celebrated the Flames run at a rally at Olympic Plaza shortly after the finals ended.[14]


2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Player statistics[edit]

Jarome Iginla's 41 goals placed him in a tie for the league lead, earning him his second Rocket Richard Trophy. Iginla shared the award with Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Columbus' Rick Nash, both of whom also scored 41 goals.[15] Iginla also led the league in playoff goals, as his total of 13 was one better than Tampa's Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko.[16] Iginla led the team in scoring for the fourth consecutive season,

Miikka Kiprusoff, acquired from the San Jose Sharks early in the season, set a modern NHL record low Goals Against Average of 1.69 in 39 games played. He recorded five shutouts in the playoffs, a franchise record. Kiprusoff's performance with the Flames led to his being named the starting goaltender for team Finland at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, where he led the Finns to the championship final.[17]

Skaters[edit]

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes

    Regular season   Playoffs
Player # GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
Jarome Iginla 12 81 41 32 73 84 26 13 9 22 45
Craig Conroy 22 63 8 39 47 44 26 6 11 17 12
Shean Donovan 16 82 18 24 42 72 24 5 5 10 23
Martin Gelinas 23 76 17 18 35 70 26 8 7 15 35
Jordan Leopold 4 82 9 24 33 24 26 0 10 10 6
Dean McAmmond 37 64 17 13 30 18
Matthew Lombardi 18/49 79 16 13 29 32 13 1 5 6 4
Oleg Saprykin 19 69 12 17 29 41 26 3 3 6 14
Steve Reinprecht 27 44 7 22 29 4
Chris Clark 17 82 10 15 25 106 26 3 3 6 30
Toni Lydman 32 67 4 16 20 30 6 0 1 1 2
Robyn Regehr 28 82 4 14 18 74 26 2 7 9 20
Chuck Kobasew 7 70 6 11 17 51 26 0 1 1 24
Stephane Yelle 11 53 4 13 17 24 23 3 3 6 16
Rhett Warrener 44 77 3 14 17 97 24 0 1 1 6
Andrew Ference 21 72 4 12 16 53 26 0 3 3 25
Denis Gauthier 3 80 1 15 16 113 6 0 1 1 4
Ville Nieminen 24 19 3 5 8 18 24 4 4 8 55
Krzysztof Oliwa 33 65 3 2 5 247 20 2 0 2 6
Chris Simon 15 13 3 2 5 250 16 5 2 7 74
Marcus Nilson 26 14 0 5 5 14 26 4 7 11 12
Steve Montador 5 26 1 2 3 50 20 1 2 3 6
Dave Lowry 10 18 1 1 2 11 10 0 0 0 6
Lynn Loyns 20 12 0 2 2 2
Mike Commodore 2 12 0 0 0 25 20 0 2 2 19
Martin Sonnenberg 25 5 0 0 0 2
Brennan Evans 2 0 0 0 0
All traded players 3 9 12 40

Denotes player spent time with another team before joining Calgary. Stats reflect time with the Flames only.
Bold denotes league leader

Goaltenders[edit]

Note: GP = Games played; Min = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; OT = Overtime/shootout losses; GA = Goals against; SO = Shutouts; SV% = Save percentage; GAA = Goals against average

    Regular season   Playoffs
Player # GP Min W L T GA SO Sv% GAA GP Min W L GA SO Sv% GAA
Miikka Kiprusoff 34 38 2301 24 10 4 65 4 .933 1.69 26 1655 15 11 51 5 .928 1.85
Jamie McLennan 29 26 1446 12 9 3 53 4 .910 2.20
Roman Turek 1 18 1031 6 11 0 40 3 .914 2.33 1 19 0 0 0 0 1.000 0.00
Dany Sabourin 50 4 169 0 3 0 10 0 .848 3.55

Denotes player spent time with another team before joining Calgary. Stats reflect time with the Flames only.
Traded mid-season
Bold text denotes league record
Italics denotes franchise record

Transactions[edit]

Prior to the season, the Flames sent restricted free agent Chris Drury to the Buffalo Sabres for defenceman Rhett Warrener and forward Steve Reinprecht, whom the Sabres had acquired from the Colorado Avalanche, then included in the Drury trade.[18] Warrener especially was seen as being a key player for the Flames as they attempted to qualify for the playoffs.[19]

The acquisition of Miikka Kiprusoff proved to be a significant turning point for the Flames' season. Darryl Sutter dealt for Kiprusoff after starting goaltender Roman Turek suffered a knee injury that left him unable to play for several months.[20] Kiprusoff stabilized the Flames' goaltending situation, producing a league record low goals against average.[21]

Trades[edit]

July 3, 2003 To Calgary Flames
Rhett Warrener
Steve Reinprecht
To Buffalo Sabres
Chris Drury
July 16, 1999 To Calgary Flames
4th round pick in 2004
Future Considerations
To Carolina Hurricanes
Bob Boughner
November 16, 2003 To Calgary Flames
Miikka Kiprusoff
To San Jose Sharks
2nd round pick in 2005
January 9, 2004 To Calgary Flames
Lynn Loyns
To San Jose Sharks
Future Considerations
February 24, 2004 To Calgary Flames
Ville Nieminen
To Chicago Blackhawks
Jason Morgan
Conditional draft pick in 2005
March 6, 2004 To Calgary Flames
Chris Simon
7th round pick in 2004
To New York Rangers
Jamie McLennan
Blair Betts
Greg Moore
March 8, 2004 To Calgary Flames
Marcus Nilson
To Florida Panthers
2nd round pick in 2004

Free Agents[edit]

Player signed Former team
Krzysztof Oliwa Boston Bruins
Josh Green Washington Capitals
Jesse Wallin Detroit Red Wings
Matt Davidson Columbus Blue Jackets
Player lost New team
Scott Nichol Chicago Blackhawks
Mike Mottau Mighty Ducks of Anaheim

Draft picks[edit]

Dion Phaneuf was the Flames' first round selection, ninth overall.

The 2003 NHL Entry Draft was held in Nashville, Tennessee on June 21–22, 2003. The Flames selected nine players in the draft.[22] Calgary selected offensive minded defenceman Dion Phaneuf with their first pick, ninth overall. Phaneuf's coach with the Red Deer Rebels described him as being a physical player on draft day. "This kid doesn't hit to hit. He hits to hurt. It's a mind-set that's rare in the game. At any level. You can't teach it, you can't fake it. You're either born with it, or you're not."[23] Phaneuf quickly made an impact in the NHL, scoring 20 goals as a rookie in 2005–06, earning a nomination for the Calder Memorial Trophy as top rookie.[24] Phaneuf was nominated for the Norris Trophy as top defenceman in 2007–08, just his third year in the NHL.[25]

Rnd Pick Player Nationality Position Team (league) NHL statistics
GP G A Pts PIM
1 9 Dion Phaneuf  Canada D Red Deer Rebels (WHL) 680 114 257 371 945
2 39 Tim Ramholt   Switzerland D Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL) 1 0 0 0 0
3 97 Ryan Donally  Canada LW Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
4 112 Jamie Tardif  Canada RW Peterborough Petes (OHL) 2 0 0 0 0
5 143 Greg Moore USA RW University of Maine (Hockey East) 10 0 0 0 0
6 173 Tyler Johnson  Canada C Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
7 206 Thomas Bellemare  Canada D Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)
8 240 Cam Cunning  Canada LW Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
9 270 Kevin Harvey  Canada LW Georgetown Raiders (OPJHL)
Statistics are updated to the end of the 2013–14 NHL season. denotes player was on an NHL roster in 2013–14.

Farm teams[edit]

Lowell Lockmonsters[edit]

After shutting down the Saint John Flames, the Flames entered into an agreement to share an affiliation with the Lowell Lockmonsters with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Lockmonsters posted a 32–36–6–6 record, out of the playoffs with a 6th place finish in the Atlantic Division.

Las Vegas Wranglers[edit]

The Las Vegas Wranglers entered the ECHL as an expansion team, immediately entering an affiliation agreement with the Flames. The team was immediately competitive, finishing second in the Pacific Division with a 43–22–7 record. This did not translate into the playoffs however, as the Wranglers lost in the divisional semi-finals.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Iginla, Flames hungry for cup run, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, April 6, 2004, retrieved November 29, 2006 [dead link]
  2. ^ Roarke, Shawn P. (May 18, 2006), When things get hairy, Canes call for Commodore, National Hockey League, retrieved November 29, 2006 [dead link]
  3. ^ Where's the Calgary Flames golden hard hat?, Calgary Flames Hockey Club, archived from the original on October 4, 2006, retrieved November 29, 2006 
  4. ^ http://www.hockey-reference.com/leagues/NHL_2004.html
  5. ^ "2003-2004 Division Standings". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 26, 2012. 
  6. ^ "2003–2004 Standings by Conference". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 26, 2012. 
  7. ^ Associated Press (May 4, 2004). "Flames 1, Red Wings 0". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved November 30, 2006. 
  8. ^ Veteran ref drew ire of Calgary fans, espn.com, June 5, 2004. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
  9. ^ Flames' Sutter sticks by his claims, tsn.ca, June 3, 2004. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
  10. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBBgCRIxrtg&feature=related
  11. ^ Christodero, Damian, One last shot, St. Petersburg Times, June 6, 2004. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
  12. ^ No cup, but Flames' season still a success, cbc.ca, June 8, 2004. Retrieved November 29, 2006.
  13. ^ Flames' fall from glory | Hockey | Sports | London Free Press
  14. ^ Calgary salutes Flames, slam.canoe.ca. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
  15. ^ 2003–04 Rocket Richard Trophy winners, Hockey Hall of Fame, retrieved November 29, 2006 
  16. ^ NHL Scoring – Goals – 2004 playoffs, ESPN, retrieved September 25, 2008 
  17. ^ Burnside, Scott (September 12, 2004), Goalie forces foes to take Finns seriously, ESPN, retrieved September 25, 2008 
  18. ^ Flames acquire Reinprecht, Warrener, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, July 5, 2003, retrieved September 25, 2008 
  19. ^ Kelley, Jim (December 20, 2003), Flames undergoing red-hot reversal, ESPN, retrieved September 25, 2008 
  20. ^ Game Story: Montreal 1, Calgary 2, ESPN, November 20, 2003, retrieved September 25, 2008 
  21. ^ Johnson, George (November 5, 2005), Let's remember where these Flames came from, ESPN, retrieved September 25, 2008 
  22. ^ 2003 NHL Entry Draft results, National Hockey League, archived from the original on May 2, 2006, retrieved November 27, 2006 
  23. ^ Johnson, George (June 22, 2003), "Sutters sense Dion has right stuff", Calgary Herald: B1 
  24. ^ NHL Announces 2005–06 Trophy finalists, National Hockey League, May 4, 2006, retrieved September 17, 2008 [dead link]
  25. ^ Traikos, Michael (April 22, 2008), "Lidstrom, Chara, Phaneuf named Norris Trophy finalists", National Post (Canada), retrieved September 17, 2008