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Take a risk. It's the most Edmonton thing you can do

Cam Tait writes about the risks involved in Edmonton's 4-3 overtime victory on Thursday

by Cam Tait / EdmontonOilers.com

The sign on the north side of a building just west of 100 St spoke volumes Thursday during lunchtime in Edmonton.

"Take a risk. It's the most Edmonton thing you can do," reads the sign.

That philosophy certainly plays into Game 5 of the opening playoff round on Thursday. With the best-of-seven-series tied 2-2, risk was an obvious operative.

And Oilers fans started encouraging their team early - eight hours, in fact - as the City of Edmonton helped the Orange Crush Community Rally in Churchill Square. Fans decked out in orange jerseys, shirts, caps, beards and very large hats congregated to start the "Let's Go Oilers" chant as vehicles slowly passed with Oilers flags and honking horns.

Edmonton: home of the Oilers.

Jack Michaels, play-by-play voice on the Oilers Radio Network, shared a wonderful story with the crowd about Oilers defenceman, Adam Larsson.

On Wednesday morning, following the Oilers 7-0 loss in Game 4 to the Sharks in San Jose, Jack chatted with Adam in the team hotel.

"Adam said, 'I can't wait to get home to Edmonton'," Jack repeated.

The statement is truly remarkable. Adam is from Skelleftea, Sweden. This is only his first season with the Oilers after being traded from the New Jersey Devils.

Yet, he considers Edmonton home.

Because the best fans in the National Hockey League are here.

Mayor Don Iveson addressed the crowd with his playoff beard coming out very nicely. Looks great, Mr. Mayor.

He warmed the crowd up nicely leading them in "Let's Go Oilers" as he concluded his remarks. His city council colleagues stood behind him as well as students from Highlands School. Perfect practice for the big game ahead.

The 2006 Stanley Cup playoff run was magical, to say the least. Two key members of that squad - Fernando Pisani and Raffi Torres - were introduced and spoke briefly.

And there were members from the 1980's Oilers Stanley Cup teams. Say hello to former forward Dave Semenko and Oilers Entertainment Group Vice-Chair Kevin Lowe.

Looking ahead to the game, Lowe reminded the crowd of the 1984 Stanley Cup final series, the first championship for Edmonton. The Oilers were beaten 6-1 in Game 2 on Long Island by the New York Islanders, which tied the series 1-1.

The Oilers flew home. Three days later, they beat the Islanders 7-2 and won the next two games to win the Stanley Cup.

Could history repeat itself?

The hundreds of Oilers fans at Sir Winston Churchill Square sure thought so.

Thursday's rally demonstrated, with profound pride, the dedication and passion Oilers fans have for their team. It was also a wonderful reminder of the shining civic pride which comes together when there's Oilers playoff hockey in late April.

As the crowd dispersed for their afternoon commitments in anticipation of the game, they realized it might take an end-to-end rush, or a blocked shot in the shin, or a short-handed goal to win.

Or, as it turns out, a shot from the slot by newly-acquired David Desharnais into the top left-hand corner behind Sharks' netminder Martin Jones - left-top shelf, right by the peanut butter - for a 4-3 overtime win to give the men in orange in Edmonton a 3-2 series lead.

Risks.

That's what turns into success stories here in Edmonton.

Tait's Timely Tunes… While you see a chance take it.  

(ctait@edmontonoilers.com)

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