By HOWARD BERGER
CALGARY (Feb. 14) – We begin by wishing all those in love a happy Valentine’s Day; all those looking for love the perfect partner in 2012, and my adorable daughter, Lauren, a happy, wonderful 12th birthday.
It’s a spectacular late-winter afternoon here in the Stampede City – a timely Chinook enveloping the area and sweeping out the bone-chill that dipped to minus-25 Celsius on the weekend. Temperatures are above the freezing mark at the moment, as the Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames get set to clash at the Scotiabank Saddledome tonight (Sportsnet, 9 p.m. EST). Leafs coach Ron Wilson has settled on Jonas Gustavsson in goal, clearly and justifiably upset with James Reimer’s performance against Montreal on Saturday. It’s the proper call for tonight, but I maintain the Leafs will go only as far as Reimer can take them this season.
LEAF GOALIES JONAS GUSTAVSSON (ABOVE-LEFT) AND JAMES REIMER TAKE PART IN THE CLUB’S MORNING SKATE TODAY AT THE SADDLEDOME HERE IN CALGARY. GUSTAVSSON WILL START TONIGHT AGAINST THE FLAMES.
The weather was so beautiful this morning that I visited the observation deck of the Calgary Tower – this city’s most famous and identifiable land-mark. At 626 feet, it is the tallest structure in Canada outside of Toronto and was built as part of our country’s Centennial celebration in 1967, opening to the public on June 30, 1968. It was originally called the Husky Tower (construction was a joint venture between Husky Oil and Marathon Realty), and was re-named to reflect the city in 1971.
Please enjoy my photo-review of Valentine’s Day 2012 here in the West…
IT’S ALWAYS A PRETTY SIGHT HEADING INTO DOWNTOWN CALGARY (ABOVE) ALONG WEST-BOUND MEMORIAL DRIVE, ESPECIALLY ON A CLEAR, WINTER’S DAY.
APPROACHING THE CLAGRY TOWER (ABOVE AND BELOW).
AT 60 STORIES ABOVE STREET LEVEL, THE VIEW FROM THE OBSERVATION DECK OF THE TOWER (ABOVE) IS TERRIFIC – IN ALL DIRECTIONS.
THE SNOW-CAPPED CANADIAN ROCKIES (ABOVE) – 80km WEST OF CALGARY.
THE TOWER CAST ITS LONG SHADOW (ABOVE) ON DOWNTOWN BUILDINGS EARLIER TODAY.
STAMPEDE PARK (ABOVE) FROM THE CALGARY TOWER, INCLUDING THE SCOTIABANK SADDLEDOME (LEFT) AND THE CALGARY CORRAL (ACROSS STREET TO RIGHT), ORIGINAL HOME OF THE FLAMES.
LOOKING NORTH AND NORTHEAST FROM THE TOWER (ABOVE).
NOT A PARTICULARLY COMFORTING MOMENT (ABOVE), AS I STOOD ON THE GLASS-“FLOOR” PORTION OF THE TOWER, MORE THAN 600 FEET ABOVE TRAFFIC ON 9th AVE.
THE SKI-JUMP AT OLYMPIC PARK (ABOVE) – SEVERAL MILES NORTHWEST OF THE CITY – AND USED DURING COMPETITION AT THE 1988 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES, HELD HERE.
BACK AT STREET LEVEL (ABOVE), ON MY WAY TO THE SADDLEDOME.
THE HOME OF THE CALGARY FLAMES (ABOVE AND TWO BELOW) SINCE OCTOBER 1983.
THE LEAFS GO THROUGH THEIR MORNING PACES TODAY AT THE SADDLEDOME (ABOVE).
STRING OF BANNERS (ABOVE), CELEBRATING GREAT MOMENTS AND PLAYERS IN FLAMES HISTORY (BELOW).
JAMES REIMER DID THE HEAVY LIFTING THIS MORNING (ABOVE), BUT IT’LL BE JONAS GUSTAVSSON IN GOAL TONIGHT AGAINST THE FLAMES.
VIEWS OF SADDLEDOME SEATING PLAN (ABOVE AND BELOW).
IN HIS SEVENTH SEASON ON THE FLAMES TV CREW (OR SEVENTH “WINTER”, AS HIS LOS ANGELES-BORN WIFE SAYS), FORMER NHLer CHARLIE SIMMER (ABOVE) WATCHES TODAY’S LEAFS SKATE. SIMMER PLAYED LEFT-WING ON THE PROLIFIC “TRIPLE CROWN” LINE OF THE LOS ANGELES KINGS IN THE EARLY-’80s (BELOW), WITH DAVE TAYLOR (LEFT) AND MARCEL DIONNE (CENTER).
ACROSS FROM THE SADDLEDOME IS THE 6,475-SEAT CALGARY CORRAL (ABOVE), WHICH SERVED AS HOME OF THE FLAMES FOR THREE SEASONS AFTER THE CLUB RE-LOCATED HERE FROM ATLANTA IN 1980-81.
INTERIOR OF THE CORRAL EARLIER TODAY (ABOVE AND BELOW), DURING A PICK-UP HOCKEY GAME. MAIN PRESS BOX IS IN THE PHOTO BELOW, WHILE TELEVISION BOOTHS ARE ABOVE. I HAVE TERRIFIC MEMORIES OF LIVING HERE BRIEFLY IN THE WINTER OF 1981-82 AND COVERING THE WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE WRANGLERS FOR THE CALGARY SUN. I SPENT MANY A NIGHT IN THE CORRAL PRESS BOX.
LEAVING STAMPEDE PARK EARLY THIS AFTERNOON.
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