CALGARY - Monday night is a big one for Al MacInnis.
The former Calgary Flames defenceman will be honoured during a pre-game ceremony at the Saddledome, where he played 13 seasons and introduced his legendary slapshot to the NHL.
Becoming the first member of the franchise’s new ‘Forever a Flame’ program, he’ll be surrounded by family and former teammates as his banner is raised to the rafters.
The Hockey Hall of Fame inductee played another decade with the St. Louis Blues (appropriately, they’re the Flames’ opponent Monday night) following his departure but won his only Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989.
We caught up with him at Flames Central before a special party in his honour Sunday night to ask him a dozen questions about his NHL career.
Q: What was your most memorable moment with the Flames?
A: Stanley Cup Champions.
Q: What was the most forgettable?
A: Probably losing in the playoffs the next two years.
Q: What was the hardest shot you’ve ever taken?
A: Against the Philadelphia Flyers. I’m not sure what year, but it was against Pelle Lindbergh, and, I think, in my second year.
Q: What’s your thoughts on Zdeno Chara’s slapshot?
A: It’s funny. I ended up getting an autographed jersey from Chara about three days ago, and he asked for a signed stick in return. I put on it, ‘108.8. Holy s--t. Al MacInnis.’
Q: If you were using today’s technology, do you think you could beat Chara?
A: I don’t think so. When you’re dealing with a guy that’s 6-foot-9, 255 lb., that’s a big advantage. I couldn’t compete with that.
Q: Who was your closest friend with the Flames?
A: Too many. When you win with guys, I don’t want to eliminate anybody. Mike Vernon, Jamie Macoun, Gary Suter, Jim Peplinski, Lanny McDonald … the list goes on. We’re in different parts of the world, but every time we get together ... even last year at the Heritage Classic, it was one of the best things I’ve ever come back to. We just reminisced about the ’89 team. It was a time warp. We felt we were all back to 1989, with the chirps to one another — the same guys were chirping against one another 20 years ago. There’s too many to pick out just one guy.
Q: Who was the best prankster?
A: You weren’t sure who was doing it all. But I’d have to say Jim Peplinski was probably the guy who was behind most of them.
Q: Who was the toughest guy you’ve ever defended?
A: Probably Wayne Gretzky. I don’t have to say what Wayne Gretzky has done and how good a player he was. He was just so good that he could beat you so many different ways.
Q: Did you have a favourite place to eat in Calgary?
A: Too many to mention. As long as they had hot food and cold beer, it was a good place.
Q: What’s your favourite piece of memorabilia?
A: Right here (holds to the ring on his right hand). Stanley Cup ring. Right here.
Q: Any superstitions?
Q: What will you feel when you see your jersey raised Monday?
A: You have a flashback of 13 years. There’s not one thing that goes through your mind. When a banner like that goes up and you’re watching it, you’ve got your family beside you, and you have your teammates that played a big part in it, so many things go through your mind.But if there was one thing — and I’ve probably said it 30 times already tonight — it’s the Stanley Cup. It’s the pinnacle.
On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane