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Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames weigh in on NHL playoff Battle of Alberta

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Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) and Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau (13) battle for the puck during first period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

CALGARY — The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers meet in the playoffs for the first time since 1991 in a best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal starting Wednesday. Here are some key quotes from both teams:

"We became a province in 1905 I believe, so that's 116 years ago. How many people are in Alberta? Four and a half million maybe? What brings our province together, always? No. 1 sports, No. 2 church, No. 3 music.

"What's this doing to Alberta right now? It's bringing people together. They might cheer for the Oilers, they might cheer for the Flames. Big deal. It's sport. That's what it's about.

"Is it important? Damn right it's important. It's great for the league. It's great for Alberta, especially with what's gone on. COVID, oil and gas, livestock, agriculture, we've all got smoked here the last two years, right? It's good to see that energy, all that's positive and it's awesome." — Flames head coach Darryl Sutter

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“It’s huge. The Battle of Alberta is another level in the regular season, and now for us — as players, fans and the cities — to have that rivalry exist in the playoffs is something special. I think we are all going to try and take it in, do our best and live in the moment.” — Oilers forward Derek Ryan.

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“Honestly, I think (the media) hypes it up more than the players do. Being close distance-wise makes it a little more interesting, but to us, we are not getting caught up in the hype. It is just another series for us.” — Oilers goaltender Mike Smith.

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"I haven't been to the second round since my first year in the league, so this is real exciting for me, especially being the Battle of Alberta. I've been in the city long enough to know what that means." — Flames defenceman Michael Stone.

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"It's not so often you get traded from a rival team to another that's in the same province, and then you end up playing them in a playoff series. And not just the playoff series, it's the second round of the playoffs. Add it to the list of things I've been very fortunate enough to experience in my hockey career." — Flames forward Milan Lucic.

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"I know everyone is looking forward to it. Two really good teams that just got out of two hard-fought series. It's not only big for the teams. It's big for the province. This is, personally, probably the biggest series I've ever played in." — Oilers forward Zack Kassian.

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"Being part of a series that has history is special. It's moments that fans will relish and look back on. To have the chance to go to the conference final and have the chance to be Canada's team, that's an opportunity that both sides are eager to be (have)." — Oilers forward Zach Hyman.

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"It's big for the province and all that, but I think our focus is Game 1. It's a really important game. Get ready and all the noise and media and that stuff, you've got to block it out. It's going to be fun, it's going to be wild in the crowd, but on the ice, we've got to be composed and play our game. — Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2022.

The Canadian Press