RALEIGH -- The drive in from the airport, the hotel, the cab ride to the rink, the dressing room ... all of it still haunts the Edmonton Oilers.
Returning to Raleigh for the first time since their heartbreaking loss in Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final, the eight remaining players from that team all admit feeling a twinge or two of pain.
"It brings back some memories for sure," said Jarret Stoll. "We talked about it on the flight here. We were going to have to do it eventually, come back here and face it."
TWO YEARS AGO
It's been two years, but that 3-1 loss will probably never heal.
"If there was ever a time we wanted to change hotels it would probably be this one," said Shawn Horcoff. "It brings back a lot of memories, good and bad. The last game we played here didn't end the way we wanted it to, but there are a lot of good memories that went along with it, the whole ride and everything was really exciting for everyone."
Fernando Pisani, the playoff scoring leader, says you can't help but have all the emotions flooding back after returning to the place where it all ended.
"You look back and there's a lot of memories,"he said. "I remember before Game 7, I never slept all afternoon, my stomach was churning. It was one game, that's it. You're pretty nervous. You think about a lot of things when you're that close to doing something you always dreamed of."
But the memories aren't all bad.
"You remember all the things that we did prior," said Pisani. "And how good a feeling it was to get to where we were. We had a lot of good things happen."
The Oilers have turned over a lot of players since the summer of '06, but the veterans of that battle try to pass on what they can to the kids on the team.
"You try not to live in the past, but at the same time you want to let guys know the feeling in the room and what an exciting time of year it is," said Pisani. "How crazy the fans get, how excited they get. It's one of those things that you don't want to dwell on it but at the same time you want to let guys know that there's no better feeling."