SUN Hockey Pool

New recruits take their Battle stations

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

The Battle of Alberta has its history and notoriety, and Adrian Aucoin is looking forward to being a part of it for the first time tonight.

However, the Calgary Flames defenceman isn't sure it'll compare to what he experienced over three seasons with the New York Islanders.

The rivalry between the Islanders and New York Rangers has a a nastiness he'd never imagined.

"New York was crazy. The fans, the atmosphere," Aucoin said. "There's fights in the stands, fights outside the building before. It's a whole different world.

"I know I haven't experienced anything like that elsewhere. I know this is a good battle on the ice, but people come to watch hockey, not to fight.

"In New York, people go to those games just to get in fights.

"There are kids that when they go to Islander games, it's the only (time) they're allowed to say a bad word, 'Rangers suck,' " he said. "Their parents will say, 'You can say it at that game, and that's it.' "

Tonight is also the first Battle of Alberta for Owen Nolan, Cory Sarich or Anders Eriksson.

They've all experienced great rivalries. Nolan -- other than his brief stint in Toronto -- hasn't been part of any of the renowned rivalries since his first few seasons, when he was with the Quebec Nordiques.

"Quebec and Montreal was pretty intense," Nolan said. "It was a long time ago, but that was pretty heated."

Not that any particular moment stands out.

"There was too many battles, too many fights. High scoring games, low scoring games. It was a mix of everything," he recalled. "You never knew what was going to happen, but you always knew it was gonna be competitive.

"It was always fun doing it because it was a full-out war."

Aucoin didn't need to don the Flaming C to hate the Oilers. Remember, he spent a half-dozen seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, so it was ingrained in him a long time ago.

"Oh, I've never like them," he said with a smile. "I spent six years in Vancouver, and Vancouver against Calgary was always a battle and Vancouver against Edmonton was always a battle."


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