Pilgrim in an Unholy Land

I’m seeing the Leafs in Calgary tonight (and in Edmonton on Thursday, but let’s focus on the present). Thanks to the NHL’s ridiculous “unbalanced” schedule the two teams haven’t actually played each other in over two years…but the last time they did, history happened at the Air Canada Centre. I’ve seen a lot of sporting events, but I’d rank that game near the top of the pile; Mats Sundin’s 500th goal was, quite simply, the single-most extraordinary sporting moment I’ve ever witnessed live (how’s that for superlatives?). I’ll be thrilled if tonight’s game’s even half as good.

I’m looking forward to Thursday, as well–partly because I’ve never been to Northlands Coliseum Rexall Centre, partly because I grew up watching the Edmonton Oilers’ dynasty, partly becaue Emma Bailey would be proud. Seeing the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre is old hat (which isn’t to suggest I don’t love seeing the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre, but I’ve done it so often a bit of the excitement’s worn off). Seeing them on the road is not–especially when it’s in brand new arenas. And speaking of which, seven years ago today I hit a low point in my life as a sports fan: seeing the Minnesota Vikings lose 48-17 to the Philadelphia Eagles at Veterans Stadium. The game was so bad it prompted Randy Moss’ infamous “I play when I want to play” comment and hastened his eventual departure from Minnesota. Good times all around!

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4 thoughts on “Pilgrim in an Unholy Land

  1. really? I can think of at least 2 games you’ve been to that had to be better than that – AD breaking the rushing record, and Sundin’s goal to force overtime in game 6 of the Conference Finals (result not withstanding). – CPW

  2. As for as overall games are concerned, the AP (aside: AD?) game’s pretty much untoppable. But I’d still put Sundin’s 500th tops for single moments…yup, even ahead of the Game 6 goal, although that’s mostly because of what ended up happening shortly thereafter. If the Leafs had actually won the game you and I still wouldn’t have recovered.

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