I’m in love with Game 7

I was at the Wade Flaherty game in 1995 that George Johnson wrote about in today’s Calgary Herald. Joel Otto remembered it like this:

Remember that Game 7 here against San Jose (in 1995)? Double overtime. We had over 60 shots on, (Wade) Flaherty, wasn’t it?

I mean, we threw everything at him. We hit posts, crossbars, missed open nets. And their winning goal pinballs off three guys and bounces in.

“That’s a Game 7.

“You can’t explain them or predict them.”

I remember it as simultaneously being absolute agony and absolute joy. Of course, Ray Whitney scores on Trevor Kidd eventually, and the Flames go out in the first round for the fifth straight year. In 1996 they lose to Chicago a lot less dramatically, and then we wait all the way till 2004 to even get back to the playoffs.

That time between ’96 and ’04 reduced all our expectations, and made 2004 the greatest surprise. And as the Flames face First Round Exit No. 3 in the aftermath of that, I sense we — we being the faithful, the knowledgeable, the obsessives — have all become a little pessimistic, expectors of the worst. And why shouldn’t we be that? We’re protecting our sorry asses from disappointment.

Collectively, we blogging types (outside of Matt) were pretty dismissive of the Flames coming into this series with the Sharks. It was a crappy end to the season, top players weren’t playing well, coaches were making questionable personnel decisions and the San Jose Sharks couldn’t have been on a better run to end the season, becoming a big-time popular pick to win the Stanley Cup.

We all know what’s happened since then: A series that has been as good as any in the first round, especially in the view of wide-eyed Eastern Conference watchers who are AMAZED that teams can play as fast and aggressive as this. And along the way, the Flames have played their best hockey of the season, right when they’re supposed to: the opposite of the 2007 Nervous Jimmy Flames, who played the most embarrassing six games of the post-Young Guns era all in a row.

Now, I think the Sharks are still crazy young and coming into their own, and they’re suffering from it. As maddening as the Flames’ inability to put together minutes and periods and games of quality effort in a row, the Sharks’ inability to do the same must be doubly so. With that record, that talent and that goaltender, I’d be expecting more if I was a Sharks fan.

But I’m not. I’m a Flames fan, who sucked it up and picked the Sharks to win this series before it started. Before tonight: I don’t know what to expect, it’s been so god damn close. I do know that I’ll be feeling the same emotions tonight that I did back in that 1995 game, that I’m happier with having Evgeni Nabokov and MIikka Kiprusoff at opposite ends of the ice tonight instead of Wade Flaherty and Trevor Kidd, and that there’s nothing better in the world of sports than your favourite team playing in Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Good freaking times.

Go Flames!

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~ by duncan on April 22, 2008.

3 Responses to “I’m in love with Game 7”

  1. Well, the Flames couldn’t have ended the series more appropriately: with a royal pooch screw, the likes of which we saw over and over again all year.

    It’s going to be quite the corpse to dissect.

    That said, it was nice to see them get to game 7 with an actual chance of winning this time.

  2. Hey yo,
    I think I was at that game too. You, me Markowsky, and three lost voices, n’est pas? Big disappointment.

    Nice post.

  3. Nervous Jimmy Flames I’ll Say. It’s hard for me to imagine today’s Flames throwing off sixty shots in aa game. At work my Foreman tells me that Iginla is going to be traded. I know Arthur says a few laughable ones like the Flames are going back to Atlanta. But I watched the March 13 in the Phillips centre and half of the seats were empty and more people were cheering when we got a goal. It was surreal

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