It is a situation burdened with longing and longing.
For most of the people who have occupied the county press boxes for the past 31 years, there has been a yearning to return to the Battle of Alberta series in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Some of the greatest NHL hockey games ever played have featured Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers up and down QE2 in the best of the seven series.
On Monday in Dallas, Pacific League No. 1 Calgary Flames rebounded from a losing streak with a 4-0 win in Game 4 to join the Edmonton Oilers as a 2-2 team.
They have a lot of companies. As I wrapped up the evening of Day 8 of the first four-game Stanley Cup hockey game, six of the eight first-round rounds turned into a top three, including the Toronto Maple Leafs-Tampa Bay Lightning series. That’s a dozen teams.
While the fan bases of all three Canadian franchises have spent equal amounts of time allowing highs to rise too high and lows too low, they all woke up Tuesday morning to the same reality. They have all participated in the top three of the series.
All three Canadian teams were going with the ice advantage at home, despite their stumbles in the always unpredictable opening round of the two weeks that make their blood boil.
And in Alberta, who hasn’t dreamed, drooled, and totally yearned, after all these years, for a Stanley Cup fight in Alberta to happen again?
Ah, ah, ah … well, a lot of people, apparently.
I wrote the other day about a scene seen a few minutes after the trumpet blew and the Dallas Stars scored a 4-2 victory over the Flames in Game 3 in Dallas to take a 2-1 lead in that series.
Eight cars were spotted in a pop-up parade down Jasper Avenue, while fans hung out the window with Otters flags flapping and their horns honking.
One reader suggested there were more fans in Edmonton cheering Calgary’s loss than Flames’ victory so they could experience the first Battle of Alberta since 1991.
I said, Impossible. This just can not be.
To be so close after waiting so long…
The reader suggested that if I didn’t believe him, I should take a Twitter poll and open my eyes.
That was the day I woke up at 5 a.m. to have laser surgery for cataracts in the operating room of a hospital in Lamont so I could see the disc better from the press box at Rogers Place (the Eagle would have a hard time doing it from there), and I decided to do that.
Q: If Edmonton could make it to Los Angeles, which team would you want to face the Oilers in the Pacific Conference final?
1. Calgary. Battle of Alberta.
2. Dallas. ABC – Anyone but Calgary.
I couldn’t believe it.
There were 1,056 responses.
A total of 49 percent answered that they wanted Calgary and the long-awaited return from the top seven in the Stanley Cup for Alberta, while 51 percent voted for Dallas.
There are few polls out there that are less scientific than the Twitter poll. But it does make you think of a few things.
Alberta’s Stanley Cup battle series, has been there for a long time featuring the two best teams in the entire NHL, for a long time. Wayne Gretzky and Marc Messier just turned 61 in January. Lani MacDonald is 69 and Jim Peplinsky is 61.
• 1983: Second round, Edmonton won 4-1.
• 1984- Second round, Edmonton won 4-3.
• 1986: Second round, Calgary won 4-3.
• 1988- First round, Edmonton won 4-0.
• 1991 Section semi-finals, Edmonton won 4-3.
If you were to pick another post-season series that includes the Oilers that have so many amazing games, it was the classic fights against Dallas.
Ryan Smith is 46, Alice Hemsky is 38, and Mike Modano is 51. Darian Hatcher is 49 years old.
• 1997- First round, Edmonton won the set 4-3.
• 1998- Second round, Dallas won the series 4-1.
• 1999- Second round, Dallas won the set 4-0.
• 2000- First round, Dallas won the series 4-1.
• 2001 – Second round, Dallas wins the series 4-2.
• 2002- First round, Dallas won the series 4-2.
On paper, when presented as such, it may not look great. But the game in and out of games, often going into overtime, was.
The Dallas-Edmonton series featured the next generation of fans. And it was during those series, not the Stanley Cup era, that Edmonton fans called her some degree for inspiration
Hockey night in Canada
Color commentator Harry Neal declares: “This is beyond what I’ve tried before.”
The point here should be clear. If the Edmonton Oilers win this best of three series, they’re about to create something special. Regardless, Calgary or Dallas will be there. They don’t want to blow this up.
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