Lots of tension in Alberta

ERIC FRANCIS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:22 PM ET

It wasnít that long ago there was a sports bar in the bosom of Red Deer that had a line painted right down the middle, marking the midsection of Central Alberta.

It had been drawn to playfully separate Calgary from Edmonton sports fans.

If the establishment was still in operation, it wouldíve been a sorry site Monday as the emotions being felt by diehards from either side of the provincial rivalry couldnít be further from one another.

Calgarians woke up Monday with rather sunny dispositions, beaming over the Stampedersí west semifinal win over Eskimos - a win that might have a fan or two contemplating a trip to Regina this weekend for the west final.

Of course, with the Grey Cup in Calgary the following week, fans might be tempted to save their energy for the nationís best week-long party. Well, best party this side of the Calgary Stampede, anyways.

Eskimos fans woke up embarrassed by yet another early garbage-bag day at which many were wondering exactly what the teamís litany of trash talkers would have to say.

Probably very little.

After losing four of five to Calgary, the only road trip Esks fans are contemplating is to their mall.

Hockey fans on either side of the barís dividing line probably wouldnít have a whole lot to discuss either these days, as the Flames appear to have finally found a coach who can properly focus the teamís considerable talents.

Tied for third in the conference with games in hand on every team ahead of them, the 12-4-2 Flames are on a 5-0-1 run that hasnít seen them lose in regulation this month.

Their goaltender is in vintage form, the captain is dominating once again and Rene Bourque is the surprise leading scorer on a club getting goals from everyone.

Theyíre 3-0 against Edmonton so far this year.

If they beat Colorado on Tuesday, the Flames take over top spot in the Northwest.

Not sure anyone wouldíve shown up at the bar to see the Oilers last night as they entered the game 12th in the conference at 8-10-2. Losers of nine of their last 11, the Oilersí best player has been a strapping young lad they tried like hell to get rid of all summer long.

How awkward.

This Saturday wouldíve been an uncomfortable day at the bar too as the University of Calgary Dinos will be on national TV, playing in their second-straight national semifinal game.

This just two weeks after spanking the University of Alberta 45-13 to sweep their three-game season series.

Bartenders and servers at the now defunct bar would likely have been wise to avoid all football talk as the gap in prosperity between squads in the two major cities seems wider than the 300 km separating them.

Of course, no one would want to bring up junior hockey, either, as the Hitmen continue to roll as the nationís seventh-ranked squad.

The 18-6 Hitmen have almost twice as many points as the 8-11-2 Edmonton Oil Kings with a game in hand to boot. The Hitmen hold a slight 4-0 edge in the season series so far.

Pro lacrosse would also be a no-no to discuss, as the Calgary Roughnecks are still parading around with the NLL championship trophy they won last year. Edmonton is still rebuilding after finishing last in the 11-team loop.

Well aware that with any number of bounces the shoe could easily be on the other foot, Calgary sports fans certainly wouldnít have spent this week celebrating at the Red Deer watering hole for fear of having their Edmonton counterparts feel like they were having their noses rubbed in it.

Instead, the party would likely have migrated south to Calgary proper where things havenít been quite this good in decades ó made better by the fact things havenít been this bad in the city of Champions for even longer.


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