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!