Hard to believe, but this is starting to feel like a real, old-fashioned NHL playoff. The Stanley Cup will not be awarded for months.
Yet, here we are, two weeks away from the official lid-lifters in the opening round of what will become a five-series marathon for two teams and the internet universe is full of hopes and doubts, fears and prayers — almost as if this was April, not mid-July.
The shocking news that a $600-million edifice like Rogers Place is as susceptible to flooding as a mere million-dollar structure did nothing to delay this outbreak of opinions. No further proof is needed that hockey, for large groups of us, stands at least equal to COVID-19 in daily interest.
In Edmonton, for example, there is growing hope that the Oilers will cruise through their first series with Chicago, largely because proven goaltender Corey Crawford has been declared “unfit to play” and any available backup for the Blackhawks is far less competent.
Having Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid available will also help, and there were signs late last season that the depth pieces at forward and on the blue line are more than just place-holders until the superstars take control.
In Calgary, optimism is quieter, maybe because the Flames have won only a single playoff round in six years. And maybe because talented Johnny Gaudreau was separated from familiar linemates in early workouts while other holdovers have been — like Crawford — handed the unique “unfit to play” designation.
General manager Brad Treliving went online quickly to defend Gaudreau against suggestions that he is not in game shape and has struggled in the early going. Gaudreau himself labeled the criticism “just one of those things.”
Other potential issues have not been widely discussed. Coronavirus infection for Derek Ryan and others who have stayed off the ice? Chances are fans will never know.
At least one presumed expert on Friday went so far as to say in print that the Oilers “have a real chance to win the Stanley Cup.” Pre-playoff season is the time to dream big in any sport.
In a normal NHL season — if there is ever such a thing as normalcy in sports — the focus for most fans goes to player signings, free-agent talk and the like, including inevitable calls by so-called supporters for one or several coaches and general managers to be dismissed.
A big difference now is fan interest in winners of individual honours: Ted Lindsay Award for best player, Lady Byng for most gentlemanly, Masterton Trophy for dedication to the sport and others for top rookie, top defenceman and the like.
Automatically, Calgary fans insist, for example, that Mike Giordano is the league’s top defender. Oilers fans and several media types, always convinced their opinions lack bias, have gone on record with demands that Daisaitl must win the Lindsay award and that McDavid, who used the entire 2020 pre-season to battle a career-threatening knee injury, should have no challengers for the Masterton Trophy, which this old reporter believes should go to Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators.
So far, it seems, the biggest difference between Edmonton’s observers and the similar group in Calgary is positive versus negative. Some Oilers-watchers honestly hint that their two superstars might portend the beginning of a magical run like Edmonton’s domination in the 1980s.
In Calgary, there are fresh complaints about Treliving’s performance and the sad recent finishes by a team that figures to be seriously challenged by the Winnipeg Jets in their first-round match.
Is it too soon to be talking about a Flames rebuild. Several voices in Calgary insist it is not.
Calgary Ring Road opens 10 months early
Christmas comes early for Calgary drivers
The Calgary Ring Road is now ready to be opened to public traffic, several months ahead of schedule.
Calgary’s ring road is one of the largest infrastructure undertakings in Calgary’s history and includes 197 new bridges and 48 interchanges. The 101-kilometre free-flowing Calgary Ring Road will open to traffic Dec. 19, completing a project decades in the making.
“Calgary’s ring road is a project that has been decades in the making and its completion is a real cause for celebration. This has been an important project and our government got it done. With this final section completed, travelling just got a little easier for families and for workers. This will not only benefit Calgarians and residents in the metro region, it will provide a boost to our economy, as goods can be transported more easily across our province.”
Although construction of the entire ring road project began in 1999 under former premier Ralph Klein, discussions on a ring road around the City of Calgary began as early as the 1950s. In the late 1970s, under former premier Peter Lougheed, high-level planning and land acquisition started and a transportation utility corridor was established to make the Calgary Ring Road a reality.
“The final section of the Calgary Ring Road is now complete, and I’d like to acknowledge the work done by former premiers and transportation ministers and their vision to build Alberta. I’m proud to announce that the final section was completed on budget and months ahead of schedule.”
“I’m thrilled to see the Calgary Ring Road project completed. It was something I have helped shepherd through the process since 2014. Finally, all the hard work put in by everyone has become a reality. The Calgary Ring Road will provide travellers with over 100 kilometres of free-flow travel, create new travel options for the City of Calgary and surrounding area and provide improved market access across the region.”
Opening the ring road means new travel options for Calgarians, which will draw traffic away from heavily travelled and congested roads such as the Deerfoot Trail, 16th Avenue, Glenmore Trail and Sarcee Trail. For commercial carriers, the ring road provides an efficient bypass route, saving time and money for the delivery and shipment of goods and services.
“The ring road investment generated thousands of local jobs and will now play an integral role in keeping Calgarians and the economy moving. This important transportation link will ease congestion on city routes and greatly improve connectivity and access for businesses transporting goods.”
The ring road is a critical component to growing economic corridors in Alberta and Western Canada, as it connects the Trans-Canada Highway to the east and west, and the Queen Elizabeth II Highway and Highway 2 to the north and south. It is also part of the CANAMEX corridor, which connects Alberta to the highway network in the United States and Mexico.
The completion of the ring road is a major boost for Calgary, opening new business opportunities and supporting key components of the Calgary economy. It sends a signal to businesses and investors that Calgary has a strong highway infrastructure, providing economic corridor connections through the entire region.
“With one of the smoothest commutes in Canada and the capacity to reach 16 million customers by road within a single day, Calgary offers unmatched quality of life and economic opportunities. The triumphant completion of the Calgary Ring Road further improves our capacity to attract even more companies, capital and talent to our city.”
“This is an exciting step forward for the Calgary Metropolitan Region. This key artery will not only improve the quality of life for the residents of the region, it is also a key economic enabler and we are thrilled to see its completion.”
- Stretched into a single lane, the highway is 1,304 kilometres long, the distance from Calgary to Winnipeg.
- Other sections opened in 2009, 2013, 2020 and 2023.
- The West Calgary Ring Road is the final piece of the ring road project.
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