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.
Based on the morning skate, the lines and defensive pairings will be as follows:
Penner — Gagner — Nilsson
Jacques — Horcoff — Brule
Stone — Potulny — O’Sullivan
Moreau — Cogliano — Stortini
Souray — Gilbert
Visnovsky — Smid
Grebeshkov — Staios
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.
- 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.