HNIC loving Flames

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:45 PM ET


 The Flames are now Canada's team. And for that, the CBC is thankful.

 Hockey Night In Canada executive producer Joel Darling says the national broadcaster would have loved to have a Canadian team in each of the conference finals.

 But with the Toronto Maple Leafs' elimination Monday night, the Flames will be left to carry the flag.

 "If Toronto had advanced, there would have been another chance of a Canadian team playing for the Stanley Cup," Darling said. "But what softened the blow is knowing that Calgary was already there."

 Darling said he expects strong viewership numbers, adding people across the country are falling in love with the Flames.

 "As Canadians, we all cheer for Canadian teams once our team is gone. And this is such a good story.

 "Beyond the hockey team itself, this is a city that hasn't been in the playoffs for a number of years, never mind the third round.

 "The city seems to be so electric and now it's one step away from the Stanley Cup. It's a great story for the entire country."

 Play-by-play man Chris Cuthbert and sidekick Greg Millen will handle the first three games of the series. Bob Cole and Harry Neale will take over for Game 4 and beyond.

 Ron MacLean and Don Cherry will also be featured during the Flames telecasts.


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