CALGARY – My name is Mark and I am a dinosaur. And we bet you are too.
If you enjoyed Saturday's late game at Hockey Night in Canada, are you a remnant of the bad past of hockey? When it came to the way Mark Messier once described it, "They said I could come back as soon as I stopped putting the milk in the stove."
What we saw at Hockey Night on February 1, 2020 was what we saw here at the Saddledome or upstairs in the Northlands Coliseum when the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames represented the Western Conference eight times in a row Stanley Cup final from 1983-90.
Can we still say it was fun? Because the players loved it – especially the Oilers players after an 8-3 win in Calgary – and they are the ones who do the punches.
"It felt good after this game. I'll just put it that way." It was a good feeling. "Said Mike Smith, fresh from the first NHL goalkeeper fight since 2013." The energy was probably different than we saw from our group this year. "
We're fighting in 2020, and that's fine. We should.
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However, if it happens organically, as happened in a 102 minute penalty on Saturday, the Internet will explode. You say no one leaves the building when the fighting begins? Nobody turns the channel either.
Not just because of the violence, but because it's like a weird hockey portal from when the Battle of Alberta – and Quebec and Pennsylvania – were real battles. With real hate.
Ice hockey players still get it. And even though they're on board with a game that pretty much leaves their fists behind, they're all-in if they get the chance to play the game the way their fathers did.
"These are the types of games that really bring your group together," said Sam Gagner, the son of former NHL player Dave Gagner, who made it with Mark Giordano in an unpunished Fracas.
“Everyone stayed in the fight. Everyone stood for each other. We played a great game. I think that's the main thing. These are the types of games that really bring a group together, and we just have to keep working from here. "
When was the last time you saw a game in which both teams were sent to their dressing rooms within 24 seconds because the referees had to go through 50 minutes of penalties?
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When you saw a goalkeeper standing in the center of the ice, drawing his opponent's attention to give us the unicorn of the new NHL: a goalkeeper fight.
"When I saw that, I was definitely disappointed," said Ethan Bear, who paused his fight with Matt Tkachuk when the goalkeepers started to get started.
These Oilers fought together and on Sunday they watch the Super Bowl and drink a few beers together. For a weekend, a journey back in time was like ice hockey.
"We are a close group," said Gagner.
“But these are the types of games that really build it up again and again. You want to know who's fighting with you and everyone stepped on the plate tonight. It is a big win for us. We have to keep pushing. "
Edmonton has been 8-1-2 in his last eleven games and has been a completely different team aggressively since the day Kailer Yamamoto arrived. Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid were able to produce on separate lines.
On Saturday, Draisaitl extended his tour of the NHL race with four helpers, while McDavid scored twice. The Flames' top two offensive players, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, had a point between them, with Gaudreau aiming for the size of a game that tells you a lot about the players within the game.
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Edmonton chased David Rittich off the net, and it turned out that the Oilers noticed it when the Flames goalkeeper turned his stick at the end of the shootout in Edmonton on Wednesday. When Rittich passed the Oilers Bank after pulling on Saturday, he heard a lot of it from the Oilers.
"It is simply disrespectful," said Draisaitl about the stick blow. "We got two posts (in the shootout) and he celebrates like … they just won the Stanley Cup. I understand. They are excited. Good for them. They won the game in the shootout. But show some respect I think. That is my opinion. "
Some people will hate that this game gets the attention it will get. But I can tell you this: The Oilers became a better, closer group of athletes on Saturday night.
It sounds like a cliché, but it is real.
"This can only make our group stronger here and better as a team," said Gagner. “There are things you can get out of games. We stuck together. We achieved a great victory against a good ice hockey team and continued to advance in the overall ranking.
"There is a lot we can get out of this night."