2003–04 Calgary Flames season
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.
|2003–04 Calgary Flames|
Western Conference champions
|Goals for||200 (19th)|
|Goals against||176 (3rd)|
|General Manager||Darryl Sutter|
|Alternate captains||Craig Conroy|
|Goals||Jarome Iginla (41)|
|Assists||Craig Conroy (39)|
|Points||Jarome Iginla (73)|
|Penalty minutes||Krzysztof Oliwa (247)|
|Wins||Miikka Kiprusoff (24)|
|Goals against average||Miikka Kiprusoff (1.69)|
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.
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.
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. 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.
The Flames allowed the fewest short-handed goals during the regular season, with just 2.
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.
|1||P- Detroit Red Wings||CE||82||48||21||11||2||255||189||109|
|2||Y- San Jose Sharks||PA||82||43||21||12||6||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|
|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|
|14||Columbus Blue Jackets||CE||82||25||45||8||4||177||238||62|
Divisions: CE – Central, PA – Pacific, NW – Northwest
P – Clinched Presidents Trophy; Y – Clinched Division; X – Clinched Playoff spot
Schedule and resultsEdit
|2003–04 Game Log|
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.
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. In addition, the flames became the first team to defeat the 1st, 2nd and 3rd seeded teams in their conference en route to the Stanley Cup finals (which was only repeated in 2012)
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. The officiating in game four prompted a rant by Sutter, in which he alleged that the NHL did not want Calgary to win.
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, 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. Instead, the Lightning would win in double overtime, and go on to win game seven by a 2–1 score.
|2004 Stanley Cup playoffs|
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. Iginla also led the league in playoff goals, as his total of 13 was one better than Tampa's Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko. 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.
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes
|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
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
†Denotes player spent time with another team before joining Calgary. Stats reflect time with the Flames only.
Bold text denotes league record
Italics denotes franchise record
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. Warrener especially was seen as being a key player for the Flames as they attempted to qualify for the playoffs.
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. Kiprusoff stabilized the Flames' goaltending situation, producing a league record low goals against average.
|July 3, 2003||To Calgary Flames
|To Buffalo Sabres |
|July 16, 1999||To Calgary Flames
4th round pick in 2004
|To Carolina Hurricanes |
|November 16, 2003||To Calgary Flames
|To San Jose Sharks |
2nd round pick in 2005
|January 9, 2004||To Calgary Flames
|To San Jose Sharks |
|February 24, 2004||To Calgary Flames
|To Chicago Blackhawks |
Conditional draft pick in 2005
|March 6, 2004||To Calgary Flames
7th round pick in 2004
|To New York Rangers |
|March 8, 2004||To Calgary Flames
|To Florida Panthers |
2nd round pick in 2004
The 2003 NHL Entry Draft was held in Nashville, Tennessee on June 21–22, 2003. The Flames selected nine players in the draft. 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." 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. Phaneuf was nominated for the Norris Trophy as top defenceman in 2007–08, just his third year in the NHL.
|Rnd||Pick||Player||Nationality||Position||Team (league)||NHL statistics|
|1||9||Dion Phaneuf†||Canada||D||Red Deer Rebels (WHL)||750||117||283||400||1053|
|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 2014–15 NHL season. † denotes player was on an NHL roster in 2014–15.
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 WranglersEdit
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.
- Iginla, Flames hungry for cup run, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, April 6, 2004, archived from the original on April 28, 2004, retrieved November 29, 2006
- Roarke, Shawn P. (May 18, 2006), When things get hairy, Canes call for Commodore, National Hockey League, retrieved November 29, 2006[dead link]
- Where's the Calgary Flames golden hard hat?, Calgary Flames Hockey Club, archived from the original on October 4, 2006, retrieved November 29, 2006
- "2003-2004 Division Standings". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "2003–2004 Standings by Conference". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "Flames 1, Red Wings 0". Yahoo! Sports. Associated Press. May 4, 2004. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
- Veteran ref drew ire of Calgary fans, espn.com, June 5, 2004. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
- Flames' Sutter sticks by his claims, tsn.ca, June 3, 2004. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
- Christodero, Damian, One last shot Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, St. Petersburg Times, June 6, 2004. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
- No cup, but Flames' season still a success, cbc.ca, June 8, 2004. Retrieved November 29, 2006.
- Flames' fall from glory | Hockey | Sports | London Free Press
- Calgary salutes Flames Archived August 25, 2004, at Archive.today, slam.canoe.ca. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
- 2003–04 Rocket Richard Trophy winners, Hockey Hall of Fame, retrieved November 29, 2006
- NHL Scoring – Goals – 2004 playoffs, ESPN, retrieved September 25, 2008
- Burnside, Scott (September 12, 2004), Goalie forces foes to take Finns seriously, ESPN, retrieved September 25, 2008
- Flames acquire Reinprecht, Warrener, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, July 5, 2003, retrieved September 25, 2008
- Kelley, Jim (December 20, 2003), Flames undergoing red-hot reversal, ESPN, retrieved September 25, 2008
- Game Story: Montreal 1, Calgary 2, ESPN, November 20, 2003, retrieved September 25, 2008
- Johnson, George (November 5, 2005), Let's remember where these Flames came from, ESPN, retrieved September 25, 2008
- 2003 NHL Entry Draft results, National Hockey League, archived from the original on May 2, 2006, retrieved November 27, 2006
- Johnson, George (June 22, 2003), "Sutters sense Dion has right stuff", Calgary Herald, p. B1
- NHL Announces 2005–06 Trophy finalists, National Hockey League, May 4, 2006, retrieved September 17, 2008[dead link]
- Traikos, Michael (April 22, 2008), "Lidstrom, Chara, Phaneuf named Norris Trophy finalists", National Post, Canada, retrieved September 17, 2008[permanent dead link]