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Strader Playoff Blog for May 24th

Wednesday, 05.24.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Strader Playoff Blog for May 24th

Hello Panther Fans from Edmonton Alberta!!

So much for my prediction of Anaheim winning the Cup over Carolina in the Finals. The never say die Edmonton Oilers continue to find ways to win hockey games even when they don't play their best and at times when they aren't the best team on the ice. The Ducks have outshot (and, more importantly, outchanced) the Oilers in every game of this series. But Edmonton netminder Dwayne Roloson, the clear frontrunner in the west for Conn Smythe consideration as playoff MVP, has made every important save. Roloson was huge in the opening round win over the top seed Red Wings and continued his stellar play against San Jose, a series the Oilers trailed 0-2 before winning four straight. As much as I thought going into game 3 that this series would end in four if Edmonton won last night, the Ducks showed a tremendous amount of character to come back from a 4-0 third period deficit to make it a close game. I wouldn't be surprised if the Ducks get this back to southern California for a game 5, but the Oilers will not blow this series with a three games to none lead.

The NHL Radio experience has been a blast. It has taken a little time to adjust to calling a game on radio versus TV, but I think our team with myself, analyst Darren Pang and sideline reporter Ralph Strangis have improved with each broadcast. The atmosphere in the arena for game 3 was crazy and the broadcast booth in Edmonton offers one of the very best vantage points in the NHL.

It had been a while since I called a game from Rexall Place, the home of the Edmonton Oilers, so I was looking forward to getting back to one of the oldest and loudest venues in the NHL. I was only in my second and third years of covering the Detroit Red Wings when the team made back to back trips to the Western Conference finals in 1987 and 1988. Even though those Red Wing teams were overmatched by the powerful Edmonton teams of Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey, and Fuhr, I have many fond memories of calling games here.

In fact, a quick story about my trip from Detroit to Edmonton in May of 1988. My wife Colleen was expecting our twins, so I was reluctant to fly on the team charter right after game 4 in Detroit. I asked if I could wait and fly commecial two days later. My boss at the time was Jim Lites, now the president of the Dallas Stars. He asked the owners, Mike and Marion Ilitch, if I could fly on their private jet on the day of game 5 and return with them after the game. The Ilitchs said no problem, so I flew in style to Edmonton for game 5. The only problem was that we left about an hour later than planned because Mr. Ilitch had to attend to some business. As I looked at the flight plan and estimated arrival time on the screen aboard the Gulfstream jet, Mr. Ilitch sensed I was getting nervous. When he confirmed that we were landing at Edmonton International around 7:00pm local time (the game started at 7:30pm), I said I probably would be late for the game. He went into the cockpit and spoke to the captain. When he returned, he said everything was OK and I would get to the arena on time, but he offered no further explanation. When we landed in Edmonton, there was a stretch limo for the Ilitch family....and a helicopter for me! Three of my friends in the organization who were also on the plane joined me for the ten minute helicopter flight from Edmonton International to Edmonton City airport. Upon landing at City Airport, a black sedan took us to the Northlands Coliseum (the former name of Rexall Place). A security person at the building met me at the door and I was in the broadcast booth at 7:28pm. I tapped my partner Mickey Redmond on the shoulder and we hustled down to the on-camera position and we executed the live open as if we had rehearsed it all afternoon!

The Wings were eliminated that night and I flew back to Detroit in the Gulfstream jet. A couple of days later, the Strader twins arrived in this world (7 lbs each)! The date was May 25, 1988...so this blog is dedicated to my boys, Casey and Trevor, both of whom I am so very proud, as they turn 18 tomorrow.

If there is a game 5 in this series, I'll rejoin you from Anaheim. Otherwise, I'll have a series recap from home as we all await the Stanley Cup Finals!!!

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 62 22 15 -8 37
J. Jokinen 61 6 28 -1 34
J. Huberdeau 59 9 24 2 33
A. Ekblad 62 9 23 8 32
B. Boyes 60 10 21 8 31
J. Jagr 58 11 18 -11 29
J. Hayes 53 17 10 -5 27
B. Campbell 62 3 19 3 22
A. Barkov 51 9 12 -6 21
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .920 2.40
A. Montoya 4 6 2 .893 2.98
 
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