UPDATED GDB XXXIX: A bumfight in the Battle of Alberta

Robin Brownlee
December 28 2009 03:12PM

Who really cares if the once-proud Battle of Alberta has degenerated into a shoving match between a couple of stumblebums who smell like ass and are laying face down, side-by-side in a puddle of puke in the gutter? An even fight is an even fight, right?

So goes the BOA, at least based on the recent fortunes of the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, who'll take another jolt from the jug and then go at each other like there's a meaty cigar butt up for grabs tonight at Rexall Place.

Simply put, the fourth meeting of the season between the teams is a hockey version of Bumfights, low-brow entertainment that was wildly popular among sadists, sportswriters and other white trash on the inter-web a few years ago -- the last time either of these teams was decent.

OILERS: "Aaargh. That's my jar, Bub. Hand it over or I'm going to stomp your ass." *wipes nose on sleeve, clenches fists, does a Friday Night Pizza Maker on shoes and kicks Calgary in the nuts.*

FLAMES: "Finders keepers, f*ckwad. Hands off, or I'm gonna shove my thumb in your eye and wipe my ass with your brain..." *craps pants, loses balance and sticks thumb in own eye.*

I say let 'em go.

Ring the bell

  • The Oilers have soiled themselves to the tune of six straight losses, including four straight defeats on home ice, in settling into 15th place in the Western Conference with a record of 15-19-4 for 34 points. They are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games.
  • Edmonton's power play can't get out of its own way, going a feeble 2-for-19 during this six-game slide. The penalty killing has resumed the abysmal rate of failure it managed last season, allowing eight goals in the last six games. It's rated 27th in the league.
  • The Oilers are 8-9-2 at home. Only Florida, 6-7-5, and St. Louis, 6-12-2, have thrown out the welcome mat and the keys to daddy's liquor cabinet to visitors more often.
  • The Oilers are 5-for-43 on the power play in the 13 games they've played since Ales Hemsky was knocked out of the line-up with a bad shoulder.
  • At 20-12-5, the Flamers are members of the top-hat crowd compared to the Oilers overall, but they come slumming during a stretch in which they've won just once in their last seven games. They've lost three straight and are 3-5-2 in their last 10.
  • Fresh from getting rolled 5-1 at home by the Vancouver Canucks, Sunday, the Flames are on a 0-for-6 stumble with a man advantage, which means the Oilers PK should be able to hold them to a couple goals tonight.
  • Captain Jarome Iginla leads the Flames with 20 goals, including Calgary's lone marker against the Canucks, but he's managed just four goals in the last 15 games.
  • The Flames have won the first three meetings of the teams this season. They edged the Oilers by identical 4-3 scores at Rexall Place Oct. 3 and Oct. 8, then drubbed the Oil 5-2 in Cowtown Oct. 24.

Tonight...

Based on the morning skate, the lines and defensive pairings will be as follows:

OILERS

Penner — Gagner — Nilsson
Jacques — Horcoff — Brule
Stone — Potulny — O'Sullivan
Moreau — Cogliano — Stortini

Souray — Gilbert
Visnovsky — Smid
Grebeshkov — Staios

FLAMES

Iginla — Jokinen — Conroy
Dawes — Langkow — Bourque
Glencross — Nystrom — Moss
Prust — Boyd — McGratton

Regehr — Phaneuf
Giordano — Bouwmeester
Johnson — Pardy or Kronwall

Dion rocks... or not

Calgary defenceman Dion Phaneuf obviously likes to sing. He just doesn't want to talk about it.

When a clip of Phaneuf belting out a version of "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey while on stage with an unidentified band surfaced recently, reporters wanted to ask him about it.

Word around the rink today was Phaneuf clammed up and told scribes that anybody writing or asking about it would be in his bad books. Oh well, Dion and I, we never got along anyway.

And...

  • Jeff Deslauriers, 8-9-2 with a 2.89 GAA and .906 saves percentage will get the start for the Oilers. Calgary will start Rejean Lemelin, er, make that Miikka Kiprusoff, 18-10-5 with a 2.26 GAA and .925 saves percentage.
  • Former Oilers goaltending coach Pete Peeters was in the rink this morning. Peeters, now a goaltending coach with Anaheim, had a long chat with Devan Dubnyk. Don't know if DD's .800 saves percentage came up.
  • Mike Comrie checked in after the morning skate, but there's no firm word as to when he'll come back from a bout of mononucleosis to resume skating with the team.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 MattL
December 28 2009, 07:29PM
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hxxp://channelsurfing.net/watch-nhl-6.html

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#52 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 28 2009, 07:30PM
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I guess I could broadcast it via Skype when I get home. SNWest doesn't black it out here.

Hit me up if you're interested - my feed comes complete with bad puns and little-known facts you've heard 40 times since the beginning of the year such as:

Did you know that Khabibulin has to drill holes in the bottom of his skates to allow the pooling sweat to drain?

and

Team Discovery Channel is on the rise, getting ready to pass their arch rivals in the standings. Soon enough they'll be leaving the poor Flames fan up the RossCreek... without a paddle.

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#53 Shaun Doe
December 28 2009, 07:44PM
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Well early on we looked good enough to make me a believer again. Now we look sub-par enough to get a top 5 pick. And here I am wanting us to beat the flames but lose so we can be closer to that pick. I just don't know what to do at all.

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#54 Smokin' Ray
December 28 2009, 07:47PM
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Sandra wrote:

It looks like Desjarlais will play well, he is not wearing the orange pads which give off lots of rebounds.

What game are you watching?

And it's Deslauriers.

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#55 Jodes
December 28 2009, 08:29PM
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Wow.. they are just running around with their heads cut off.. brutal!!

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#56 MattL
December 28 2009, 08:45PM
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Not very optimistic after 2. Nilsson still flying, if someone's going to tie it up, it will be him.

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#57 Shaun Doe
December 28 2009, 09:05PM
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Penner just looks tired now. i wonder if he has used up all of his early season magic trying to carry the offensive burden on his shoulders. His giant, oxen shoulders.

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#58 Sandra
December 28 2009, 09:06PM
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Why is O'sullivan in the NHL? Maybe Daum can help him out.

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#59 Sandra
December 28 2009, 09:10PM
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Vishnoski is scared to get hit, sit him out next.

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#60 Shaun Doe
December 28 2009, 09:10PM
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Really now, what can we do. We suck on the PK, we suck on the PP and we get scored on both. The game of Hockey simply just eludes us...

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#61 Shaun Doe
December 28 2009, 09:13PM
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Its over...

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#62 The Real Scuba Steve
December 28 2009, 09:15PM
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Another sad night for the Oil.

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#63 Sandra
December 28 2009, 09:16PM
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KLowe sure had an eye for talent, we tank this season and maybe we can draft Bonsinior's brother first overall. Great Eye Lowe G E L.

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#64 Gunner - DFF
December 28 2009, 09:18PM
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How is it a sad night? Oilers loss, Canes win, gaining ground for the sweepstakes.

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#65 Travis Dakin
December 28 2009, 09:22PM
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Hi, myself, jeanshorts, librarian mike and hoodlum are sitting here watching the game at the pint. Alcohol is being consumed and the oilers are losing. But it's ok because we are drinking.

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#66 Shaun Doe
December 28 2009, 09:24PM
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Gunner - DFF wrote:

How is it a sad night? Oilers loss, Canes win, gaining ground for the sweepstakes.

Yeah I guess there is that silvery linning on this cloud o' Sh*t. However, I would at least like to keep these losses respectable. I mean being out scored 4-1 including a SH goal all the while out shooting them handily? Yeesh.

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#67 Shaun Doe
December 28 2009, 09:29PM
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Not all the greatest fight from Smid but hey I'll take it. Good to see some fire in his belly other than the usual after whistle shinanigans.

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#68 Gunner - DFF
December 28 2009, 09:31PM
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Does that put the "Smid will eventually get his" to rest?

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#69 Robin Brownlee
December 28 2009, 09:48PM
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Gunner - DFF wrote:

Does that put the "Smid will eventually get his" to rest?

No. No it doesn't.

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#70 Dan the Man
December 28 2009, 09:53PM
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Sandra wrote:

KLowe sure had an eye for talent, we tank this season and maybe we can draft Bonsinior's brother first overall. Great Eye Lowe G E L.

Klowe wasn't even GM when Bonsignore was drafted, he was actually still playing so I'm pretty sure he had nothing to do with that selection.

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#71 esa tikkanen
December 28 2009, 09:53PM
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what does this "smid will eventually get his" come from? his what? for what?

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#72 Dan the Man
December 28 2009, 09:54PM
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My theory is that Iggy went after Smid to avoid having to face a beating at the hands of Souray.

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#73 Robin Brownlee
December 28 2009, 09:58PM
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esa tikkanen wrote:

what does this "smid will eventually get his" come from? his what? for what?

Laddy has a habit of face-washing and hacking guys after the whistle. What he needs to do is lean on people and play tough while the play is actually going on.

The after-the-whistle stuff, some argue (and I agree) is going to get him pulled out of the pile and pounded by somebody at some point. It won't always be somebody like Iginla, who is shorter and 20 pounds lighter, who takes exception to that stuff.

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#74 The Real Scuba Steve
December 28 2009, 09:58PM
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Gunner - DFF wrote:

How is it a sad night? Oilers loss, Canes win, gaining ground for the sweepstakes.

Only If you think losing our rivals and finishing in last place over all is a good thing, seems you have no pride.

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#75 dragon
December 28 2009, 10:24PM
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sad loss. ha-ha-ha sad loss.

is it possible this coaching team is not really a team?

PK sucks, PP is laughable, passing game is nonexistent periods at time, wtf are they practicing on; where's THE NEW SYSTEM?

does anyone know if the practice sessions are open for public? I would really be interested what are these guys wasting time with, 'cause they certainly don't show any teamwork on the ice.

I'm so sad for the season holders: this is sad even for a tank job...

...a team unable to get out of one's zone on PP?...unbelievable.

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#76 highexplosive
December 28 2009, 10:30PM
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CRAP CRAP CRAP.

Horcoff - -2 again. Boot his ass. Moreau - WHY ARE U ARE CAPTAIN? STAIOS - see above except replace a C with A Tambellini-Lowe - FIRE FIRE FIRE. Too much time watching your kids and not doing your jobs in Edmonton.

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#77 dragon
December 28 2009, 10:31PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Laddy has a habit of face-washing and hacking guys after the whistle. What he needs to do is lean on people and play tough while the play is actually going on.

The after-the-whistle stuff, some argue (and I agree) is going to get him pulled out of the pile and pounded by somebody at some point. It won't always be somebody like Iginla, who is shorter and 20 pounds lighter, who takes exception to that stuff.

well, that episode was the only remote resembles of the Oilers-the-tough-to-play-against team Tambo/Quinn bragged about at the beginning of the season.

at least Ladi isn't afraid to 'get his', no matter where is coming from. and I thought he plays quite a solid D...

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#78 Robin Brownlee
December 28 2009, 10:39PM
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dragon wrote:

well, that episode was the only remote resembles of the Oilers-the-tough-to-play-against team Tambo/Quinn bragged about at the beginning of the season.

at least Ladi isn't afraid to 'get his', no matter where is coming from. and I thought he plays quite a solid D...

I agree, and that's the problem. Where is the grit and determination fans were sold by Tambellini? Did I miss something?

I like the edge Laddy brings to his game. For me, though, he's more effective when he's playing it tough between the whistles instead of after them.

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#79 dragon
December 28 2009, 10:49PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I agree, and that's the problem. Where is the grit and determination fans were sold by Tambellini? Did I miss something?

I like the edge Laddy brings to his game. For me, though, he's more effective when he's playing it tough between the whistles instead of after them.

yeah, I agree.

It almost looks like he's taking out his frustration with his team mates on the opposition between whistles.

This whole group of guys look like a frustrated bunch: Penner, Souray, Cogs, even Stone. Can't say the same about Horc, Gibby, Patio...

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#80 RossCreekNation
December 28 2009, 11:19PM
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Gunner - DFF wrote:

Does that put the "Smid will eventually get his" to rest?

As Robin said, no it does not. However, I will give him props on a solid tilt. They could fight another half dozen times and I'm not sure he fares as well again, however in the fight game, anything is possible.

I was just telling a buddy the other day how Smid must be getting better because I'm hating him more and more. If the opposition hates you, then your doing something right. He will get his one day. He'll bite off more than he can chew. I would've figured Iggy would've been just that. Having said all that, props to Smid for being willing & fearless enough to do it.

Really at this point, he's the only d-man they have currently that I'd keep around. Souray's too old and too valuble (asset-wise) to keep around. The same could be said about Visnovsky (although he's better than Big Sex). Gilbert's too soft. Grebeshkov's soft and a turnover machine.

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#81 esa tikkanen
December 28 2009, 11:26PM
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Robin,

if you are around still, would you mind answering something that has been bugging me for 14 years or so? totally off topic, but the current oil are so depressing i wanted to go back to 1995 or so. What happened to Nick Stadjuhar? He was one of the draft picks the Oilers got from the Gretzky trade. He was drafted before Jason Allison in an excellent 1993 draft (10 picks or so after Jason Arnott), was OHL first all star team dman in his 19 year old season, then had a concussion in a bar fight and never played again? Not even in the AHL?

would like to know 14 years later if there is more to that story...

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#82 Ogden Brother
December 28 2009, 11:46PM
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"Really at this point, he's the only d-man they have currently that I'd keep around. Souray's too old and too valuble (asset-wise) to keep around. The same could be said about Visnovsky (although he's better than Big Sex). Gilbert's too soft. Grebeshkov's soft and a turnover machine."

I'd like to hang onto Vish (though if the right deal was there, I'd take it) and Gilbert (or at least one of Gilbert/Grebs). Gilbert is a solid 2nd pairing PMD, we've seen what happens when you don't have at least one PMD. I'd like to have two. Not sure why (I guess mostly because of his lack of physicality) but I see Vish being able to maintain this level for most of, if not all of his current contract. while I'll be suprised if Souray plays 150 more games in the NHL.

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#83 Gunner - DFF
December 29 2009, 12:05AM
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@ RB

I didn't think so.

@ RossCreek

I was actually worried Smid was gonna have his lunch handed to him but he did pretty well.

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#84 Jodes
December 29 2009, 12:07AM
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Man its nights like these I miss talking to my dad about this team and all their positives and negatives.

Sigh.. another stinker of a game. On one hand I'm glad my dad's no longer around to see such brutal hockey from a once proud team, but on the other I miss talking hockey with him. I miss his optimism, his judgement and his outlook on the game. I think it truely broke his heart when they lost in 06 and lost Smytty in 07, but he stood fast.

I wish I had some of his strength right about now. But I guess he's in a better place and can watching all the superstars of his youth in the original six days. What I'd give for just one more conversation with him.

Sigh.. when things stink, they stink.

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#85 nijames
December 29 2009, 07:16AM
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Mr.Brownlee, you are way off base on the Smid thing, my god if he has a reputation of face washing and hacking after the whistle what do the goofs like Phaneuf, Regher others have. Smid doesn't do that a ton and if he does then good on him as when Canadian players do it they are just tough competitors and don't say they back it up because most of them don't. Smid will learn that Canadian way of playing in the next few years so I say stop with the he will get his comments.

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#86 Robin Brownlee
December 29 2009, 07:33AM
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esa tikkanen wrote:

Robin,

if you are around still, would you mind answering something that has been bugging me for 14 years or so? totally off topic, but the current oil are so depressing i wanted to go back to 1995 or so. What happened to Nick Stadjuhar? He was one of the draft picks the Oilers got from the Gretzky trade. He was drafted before Jason Allison in an excellent 1993 draft (10 picks or so after Jason Arnott), was OHL first all star team dman in his 19 year old season, then had a concussion in a bar fight and never played again? Not even in the AHL?

would like to know 14 years later if there is more to that story...

Nick never really got started here. First, he tore up his knee in the rookie game between the Alberta Golden Bears and Oilers. Then, he got sucker-punched outside a nightclub called Barry T's in Edmonton, which is the incident you referred to.

He rattled around the minors for seven or eight years with several teams in the IHL, AHL and ECHL, but retired after the 2000-01 season.

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#87 Jodes
December 29 2009, 09:42AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Robin, didn't he sue the pants off of Barry T's as well? What ever happened with that lawsuit or is it still in the courts?

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#88 quicksilver ballet
December 29 2009, 11:40AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

What's your solution when the Oilers play the Caps, then? Do you just chalk up a W for the Caps and save both teams from a few hours' skating?

Oilers would struggle to beat alot of AHL teams right now. Capitals played 20 minutes of hockey that night and easily took the game when they wanted it.

......maybe there's something to your "mailing it in" when a B level team goes against an A level team. The fact is the Oiler ticket buying public have been sold a lemon here...and the people entrusted to provide hockey entertainment in this market have failed.

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