Eager for his return

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:54 PM ET


 TAMPA -- From the other corner of the continent, Cory Stillman has seen the pictures.

 The celebrations on 17th Ave.

 The wild asylum that's become the Saddledome.

 Tailgate parties.

 The Sea of Red.

 A Calgary whipped into a frenzy over a hockey team that's surprised everybody.

 "What a city," said the Tampa Bay Lightning forward who spent parts of seven seasons in the Stampede City. "It would have been nice to enjoy that when I was there, that's for sure. It's Cup crazy.

 "We've watched it on TV from here, fans banging cars with sledge hammers and stuff like that. It'll be exciting to go back."

 In due time. Between then and now, though, Stillman has a couple of orders of business. Namely, the first two games of the Stanley Cup final, which begins tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum.

 "It'll be an exciting (style of) game, a fast game. They're two equal hockey teams," Stillman said. "It's been a long time for them to wait, winning in '89 and missing the playoffs all those years but now in the final."

 A position Stillman figured he'd see years ago. He was with the Flames in the spring of 1996, the team's last trip to the playoffs prior to this season's run.

 Before being dealt to St. Louis for Craig Conroy at the 2001 trade deadline, he collected 109 goals and 235 points in 393 games.

 Last year's draft meant packing again, this time to Tampa Bay in exchange for a second-round pick -- a move that ignited Stillman to 25 goals and a career-best 80 points.

 And better yet, a chance to win the Cup.

 "I was hoping for it," said the left-winger who's netted two goals and four assists this post-season. "They played New Jersey last year and it was a learning process. Coming into this year, we were ready to play and our goal was to get here.

 "Now it's to win."


Videos

Photos