CALGARY, AB -- Before they hit the ice at the Stampede Corral on Tuesday morning, the Calgary Flames were paid a visit from Hall of Famer and franchise legend Lanny McDonald.
"I was invited by Bob (Hartley) to help unveil the new mural that is up on the locker room wall," McDonald told CalgaryFlames.com. "When I accepted that invitation, he asked if I would say a few words.
"I was honoured to do so."
The mural - which features the iconic photo of McDonald hoisting the Stanley Cup in 1989 - runs above the locker stalls. It is clearly visible with the notion that it could be any member of the current Flames roster one day.
While the general rule is, 'What is said in the locker room, stays in the locker room,' McDonald did divulge the general theme of his message; savour the moment.
In his 16 seasons in the NHL, the Hanna, AB product learned never to take anything fore granted. He went through his first 15 seasons searching for the Stanley Cup and, as his playing career winded down, it appeared he may never capture the elusive championship.
However, in his 16th and final year in the League, he helped lead the Flames all the way to the Stanley Cup Final where, in Game 6 with the Flames up 3-2 in the series, he scored what could be considered the biggest goal of his career. On the intimidating Montreal Forum ice, McDonald sent a shot that flew over Patrick Roy's glove to give the Flames a 2-1 lead over the Habs. Doug Gilmour added two more goals as Calgary went on to beat the Canadiens 4-2 and lay claim to the Cup.
After going through such a journey, he understands how important it is for players to take every minute in.
"As an old player to a bunch of young players, I told them to enjoy the game. They have so much to look forward to. Go out and enjoy what you do. Love every second of it."
While the Flames have struggled with consistency in their first two games of the 2013 campaign, McDonald sees a lot of positive attributes in this squad. He pointed to the energy the Flames brought in the first period against the Sharks and the resiliency in their clash with the Ducks on Monday as points to build off of going forward.
Their ability to bounce back after going down 3-0 to Anaheim is a particularly positive sign for the team according to McDonald.
"Historically, they've had tougher second periods," he explained. "They fall behind early in game two and, in the past, this team basically would have folded the tent. That game could have ended up 5-0 or 6-1.
"They chose not to. They did something about it and tied it up. And yes, they made a couple of mistakes and fell behind 5-3. But they didn't quit. They pulled themselves back into the game, 5-4, and it was a race to the finish as they tried to get the equalizer to get at least get a point. That is a great sign."
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