Date with fate

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:32 PM ET


  It could be a good omen.

Or it could mean nothing at all.

Either way, the significance of tomorrow's date isn't just the beginning of the 2004 Stanley Cup final.

It's also the 15th anniversary of Calgary's championship-clinching win over the Montreal Canadiens.

"Hopefully it's the start of another winning thing. It's the first step of getting another one done," said special assistant to the GM Al MacNeil, one of the few people from 1989 left in the organization. "It's a nice memory. We can't win it all Tuesday but hopefully it's a start, the first of the four games we need."

When told of that, most of the players thought it was an interesting bit of trivia but none were about to look at it as a sign of things to come.

"It's pretty neat but it's too early to talk about that," said Chris Clark. "There's seven long games to be played."

General manager-head coach Darryl Sutter flat out dismissed any talk of it.

"It'd mean a shorter season. I'd like that one," he said.

- - -

ICE DREAMS: If the Flames thought the ice on which they skated in San Jose was bad -- and they did -- wait until they get a chance to skate on the surface at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Considered to be among the worst in hockey, if not the worst, Tampa's rink staff will be hard-pressed to keep the ice in any great shape.

Forecasters are calling for temperatures above 30C with humidity above 80% all week.

One of the few who has an idea of what it'll be like is Marcus Nilson, who played nearly four seasons with the Florida Panthers.

"And I played on the worst ice in the league for so long. I used to like going to Tampa," Nilson said with a smile. "It's going to be worse than here, especially now when it's hot but it's the same for both teams."


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