Tim has invited me, his Canadian, beer swilling, hockey-loving, Calgary Flame fan buddy to contribute to his blog. I'm sure there will be more of an introduction and a little more about myself in future posts, but let's get right to the meat.
The Flames play their biggest rival this Thursday, and no it is not the Edmonton Oilers, that would be Saturday. No, their biggest rival these days is the Vancouver Canucks. They have had epic playoffs series' (Flames have a 4-2 advantage in all-time playoff series) in the past and their regular season games these days are about as intense as they get in the NHL. This intensity carries over to the fans as you will see when another new blogger joins this site.
The reason for this carry over to the fans, in my opinion, is that Vancouver fans have an inferiority complex when it comes to the Calgary Flames. A brief history: Vancouver was the first of the two to make the Stanley Cup finals in 1982 but they were easily dispatched by the mighty New York Islanders. The Flames made it in 1986 and similarly were taken out my the Montreal Canadiens. The Flames, however, didn't fade away afterwards, they were 3rd overall the following season, behind the Stanley Cup finalists Edmontona and Philly and then 1st overall the following season. They did lose in the first and second round respectively but 1988-1989 brought another first overall, a first round thrilling win over the Canucks (likely still a sore spot for many Lotusland fans) and then the only Stanley Cup championship in either teams' history. (They won in 6 games over Montreal and are the only visiting team to ever win the Stanley Cup on Montreal Forum ice). Vancouver made it again in 1994 but lost to the Messier-led Rangers.
Fast forward through some down years for both teams and in 2004, the Flames had a solid defensive team that nobody wanted to play in the playoffs. All we heard from Canucks fans was how boring Calgary was and that they would be no match for the offensive minded Canucks. Once again, they met in the first round, and once again, the Flames prevailed in 7 thrilling games, going all the way to the Stanley Cup finals and winning.... had there been a video review in Game 6 against the Lightning. Alas, there wasn't and the Flames lost Game 7.
Anyway, Vancouver must have liked what they saw as they moved to the exact same style that Calgary employed, getting Roberto Luongo and adding defensive defenseman (credit where credit is due, they did a good job) at the expense of offense.
All this adds up to a constant back and forth between Flames and Canucks fans that is heated and at times downright nasty, but it makes for a great rivalry. As you will no doubt see in the next day or two when another blogger joins here, it is a friendly rivalry as well, however neither of us will pull punches or pass up a chance to rub the other guys' face in a loss, a bad play or anything else that we think will raise the blood pressure of each other.