"The puck goes in, the home team wins, in the good old hockey game". So sings Stompin' Tom Connors in "The Hockey Song", which has been played to death in just about every arena. And once in a while, just like in the song, the hometown team gets a happy ending! Down 2-1 in the third, Jarome Iginla rockets a slapshot that pinballs off two defensemen past the surprised Minnesota goalie. Then with under a minute to play, Kristian Huselius slips one past Backstrom and the Flames win 3-2 in front of a sellout crowd in the Pengrowth Saddledome.
The building had been quiet up to that point, as the Minnesota Wild seems to lull both the crowd and their opposition to sleep, but the Saddledome erupted with excitement as the horn sounded. I love seeing the hometown crowd walk out happy. I wasn't sure how the fans would react to seeing an interloper wearing a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey. For the non-hockey readers, Calgary and Tampa met in the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, which Tampa won. However, Flames fans are still howling about a disallowed goal in game six that might have given them the victory. As I walked around the narrow concourse, half-expecting to have beer dumped on me by unforgiving fans, I was amazed by the reaction I received. No one yelled insults and lots of people stopped me to chat about the series. By the way Flames fans, I may have conveniently forgotten to tell you this last night, but it was NO GOAL!
Everyone in the Saddledome wore Flames red except me. I felt like John Kerry on the campaign trail in Texas - an island of blue in a sea of red! I wonder what would happen if the NHL switches back to having the home team wear white. Would everyone have to buy a new wardrobe? Before the game, Richard, my host in Calgary (and a great guy) took me to Flames Central. Its an old movie theater in downtown Calgary that the Flames bought and converted into a bar/restaurant. Great concept, and I wish I could show you the pictures I took, but I can't. Why, you may ask?
After the Sharks game on Monday, I drove to a hotel by the San Francisco airport, updated the site, set my alarm and fell fast asleep. By alarm goes off at 6 am and I hit the snooze button (or so I thought). Next thing I know, the clock says 7.09 and have to be at the airport at 7.55! I have no idea what button I hit, but it wasn't the snooze. I jumped out of bed, hurridly threw my stuff into my bag, stopping only to brush my teeth, and dashed to the rental car, still wearing the t-shirt I slept in. Luckily, I made it just in time, but in the rush, I left my computer power cord on the desk. So I'm typing this on the iPhone. So no cut and paste, no pictures, and no spellcheck for the next couple of days. I'll be reconnecting with my power cord in St. Louis on Friday, thanks to the desk clerk who is mailing it there.
Off to Vancouver next for Game 20 of 30.