On Saturday night, Calgary Flames alternate captain Mikael Backlund will dress for his 56th Battle of Alberta. That’s the most of anybody currently with the team – second-place is Rasmus Andersson, playing in his 25th on Saturday – and it puts him into a tie with Gary Sutter for a spot in the top 10.
We asked Backlund about his Battle of Alberta memories after morning skate, and he was able to recount – quite accurately – his first-ever game against Edmonton.
Here’s Backlund:
“The first one was special, though, because it was a high-scoring game. Some fights. Bit crazy game. Iggy and Souray fought. And Gio fought Horcoff, I think, so that was special.”
In an earlier answer, he mentioned that both teams were on losing streaks.
Friends, Backlund has a great memory. His first Battle of Alberta was also his fourth NHL game, period, coming on Jan. 30, 2010, three games into a mid-season call-up.
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The Flames were coming in on a nine game losing streak. The Oilers had lost 12 in a row. The buzz, pre-game, was pondering what ugly streak would come to a conclusion.
The Flames won 6-1. Jarome Iginla had two goals and two assists, and a fight with Sheldon Souray. (He was one fight away from a double Gordie Howe hat trick.) Mark Giordano fought Shawn Horcoff. And Backlund had an assist on the game-opening goal by Dustin Boyd.
Backlund ended up playing well enough early in his recall to make an impression on the Flames coaching staff, then led by Brent Sutter, and he stayed up for the remainder of the season. (Since that call-up in 2010, he only played one more AHL game and was otherwise cemented as a full-time NHLer.)
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