For the second time this year, I’ve lucked into Flames tickets on the
generosity of a friend. This time, Greg came calling yesterday night.
And, like before, I took little time in answering in the affirmative.
I have a lot of good memories of the Flames’ extended playoff run of two years ago- not the least of which would be getting Alex
into the game, and cheering with him on the apartment balcony after a
win- a run which rekindled my flagging interest in the Flames, and
NHL hockey in general. I was always more of a summer sports guy-
basketball, baseball, and in recent years, football (of both leagues,
though more NFL than CFL).
I remember watching the end of Game 7 against the Canucks at work, my
heart sinking when Markus Naslund tied the game, and then celebrating
madly when Martin Gelinas put home the winner.
I remember the nights I had to work through games, we’d set up radios
on both sides of the floor so we could listen. Watching it on TV during
our breaks, and announcing lead changes over the intercom.
I remember Game 1 against Detroit- the sleepwalking pace, the doubt
creeping in, and then winning in OT, without ever having the lead.
I remember the immortal Brennan Evans- called up from the minors,
having never dressed in an NHL game, having to suit up for the
injury-ravaged Flames D. He played all of one shift against Detroit,
and we never saw him again.
I remember Darren Hatcher’s dirty hit on Matthew Lombardi in Game 5 of
that series, and my own frantic screaming at the TV for a call. I also
remember Mike Commodore, the mammoth, afro-ed defenseman, planting
Hatcher on his back with a crushing hit later in that game, and the
celebration that accompanied that.
I remember Ville Nimienen, he of the Joker-esque smile and penchant for
taking bad penalties, managing a no-look goal that had me in shock (It
should be noted that I also remember him running the goalie against
Detroit, in the late seconds of a loss. As I said, dumb penalties)
I remember Steve Montador’s OT winner against San Jose- banging his
stick frantically on the ice with Jarome Iginla tied up against the
boards, somehow getting the puck to him.
I remember “The Shift” in overtime, Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals-
Iginla, helmet off, determined that his team would NOT lose, as
Saprykin scored the winner.
I remember Game 6 (my mother attended that game- lucky her), with
Martin St. Louis scoring the winner in Double OT. Watching as the
Saddledome, still in a silent shock, managed a standing ovation for the
Flames as they walked off, knowing this would be the last time they saw
them play this year.
And I remember the dying moments of Game 7, the reality of the loss
setting in as a frantic Flames’ comeback fell short. I watched the
Tampa Bay players parade the Cup around the ice, still heartbroken, as
only a fan can be. We’d come so close. This was supposed to be
Calgary’s victory- our game, our story, our Cup. Not the warm-weather
denizens of Tampa Bay.
The arguments rages on (something about a contested goal- let it die, people), but as usually happens, the better team won.