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'EVERYONE'S GOT EACH OTHER'S BACK'

Talbot's fight is the talk of the town, as the goalie stands up and "sends a great message" to his teammates

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

More than 19,000 dressed in red, black, blue and orange were on their feet having the time of their lives.

But not everyone shared the same enthusiasm.

"(My wife) was not happy with me after the game," laughed Cam Talbot, 48 hours after giving the fans a moment they'll never forget. "She drove to the game and after that happened, I had to drive her car home. She ended up having a couple of drinks to try and settle herself down, she was so mad. Had a glass of wine and I had to drive her car home."

Ah, the passion.

Having experienced both sides of the Battle of Alberta, neither Cam, nor Kelly, have any time for the Oilers now.

The fact is, Cam deserves all kinds of praise for doing what he did on Saturday.

The bravery was unparalleled.

To shed the glove, mask and blocker, square up and throw hands with a man well out of your weight class takes courage.

He gave up an inch, nearly 25 lbs., and had the shorter wingspan compared to his brawny brawl-partner, Mike Smith.

But he did it anyway.

"It was awesome," captain Mark Giordano said with a smile. "Everyone loves a good goalie fight. There was a lot of emotion in the game. I know the end result was a little bit lop-sided, but throughout the game, there's a lot of emotion. ... It was great to see Talbs answer the bell.

"He stood up for himself and our team. It sent a great message to our group, and there were a lot of guys in here really pumped up after that."

The bench went nuts.

Players were leaning over the dasher, shouting instructions and words of encouragement that were surely drowned out by the masses.

It was the perfect backdrop, too - a total yard sale, with sticks, gloves and helmets littering the ice and resembling something out of the '80s.

"Talbs did a great thing for the team, that's for sure" said David Rittich, who started the game, was pulled, then had to re-enter after Talbot and Smith were ejected following the tussle.

"We showed to everyone that we will stand (up) for each other."

Rittich, who tag-teamed with Smith for nearly two years, admits he wanted a piece of the WWE-themed action.

"I don't really care. I'll fight anyone," he said. "Doesn't matter if it's Smitty or someone else."

He hasn't fought at any level yet, but said it's on his "bucket list."

 

 

Talbot, who entered the night a rookie in that department, also, knew he was swimming upstream when he skated out and sized up his opponent. But he has no regrets.

"I've seen (Smith). He's a big boy, so I knew it wasn't really going to work out well for me," Talbot said. "But at the same time, it was one of those things that felt like the right thing to do in that moment.

"I got a couple messages from guys on their team and they said he respected me for meeting him out there. I respected him for doing the same."

In that moment, Talbot's razor-thin patience had officially run dry with his old 'mates.

The temp of the trickling venom finally rose to an all-out boil.

He'd just made his 19th save of the period, sprawled out and covered the loose puck with a snow-angel to prevent a 6-3 score from scarring any further. Sam Gagner - convinced it was loose (it wasn't) - then dove into the blue paint and speared the helpless netminder under the arm in a painful effort to score.

Enough was enough.

Talbot leapt to his knees and began feeding his former teammate with the business end of his blocker hand, over and over.

Within seconds, Alex Chiasson got involved, but the netminder broke free from a headlock, turned to face the perpetrator, and delivered a bevy of blows with his clenched right fist.

Talbot was irate; incensed. Nothing was going right on the scoreboard, and he wasn't about to be taken advantage of.

The situation appeared over, but Talbot - still seething - caught wind of his padded counterpart standing at centre and soon, without pause, the offer was accepted.

"I actually didn't see him standing there until Darnell (Nurse) was like, 'Go. He's right there - go!' I was like, 'Thanks for that, buddy.' I think they knew how it was going to work out for me, too," he joked.

Irrelevant.

He showed heart. To stand up, skate over and accept the challenge in the first place tells you everything you need to know about Talbot's character.

Oh, did the crowd roar.

And backstage, his phone was blowing up

"They didn't tell me I wasn't going back in until the refs settled it with about five minutes left in the intermission," Talbot said. "By the time I got my gear off, I had about 45 messages already. People back home, people from here - it was pretty crazy the reaction it got."

As fun as it was for those on the stands and even the press box, Talbot doesn't expect a repeat performance anytime soon.

But he also knows what a moment like that can do to galvanize a team.

"Everyone's got each other's back," Talbot said.

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