GDB 27.0: Battle of Alberta Means Something Again

(Wanye has instituted a new rule when it comes to BoA’s: winner of the last game gets to write the losers game day post. Naturally I readily agreed because it benefited my side of the conflict. So for those Oilers faithful wondering why a scummy Flames fan is penning your GDB, kindly refer all complaints to Mr. Wanye Gretz III esquire)

It’s probably not a surprise to most Edmonton fans that none of us down south have taken your club too seriously recently. And by recently, I of course mean for the better part of a decade. Darryl Sutter has become a figure of parody in Calgary since his descent into utter madness and subsequent firing, but his era as Flames coach/GM did feature at least one consistently positive aspect: beating up on the Oil. 

Alas, the jolly rancher’s epoch is past and likely so have the days of the Flames smacking the Oilers around. While myself and the rest of the Calgary faithful have enjoyed more than a few belly laughs at the expense of ol’ Shelbyville over the last few seasons, it seems Edmonton may finally be edging out of the dark years and into a new dawn. The Flames, on the other hand, are only now becoming aware of the dark times they will soon face. 

If asked, Im guessing most Flames fans would claim they’d prefer the Oilers remain mired in the league’s basement indefinitely; their unofficial logo the picture of a skate book stomping on a face, forever.

That is the official party line in the Battle of Alberta of course, but in their heart of hearts doubtless lurks the truth that a perpetually feckless opponent means a limp, punchless rivalry. And while we in Calgary will always gleefully wallow in schadenfreude whenever the Oilers are struggling, there’s no question the heat in what was once the most fierce rivalry in the NHL has been lacking for altogether too long. And we miss it. Beating the Oilers will always be fun. But it’s far more meaningful when there’s some pop behind their punches.

Perhaps this is the season the Battle of Alberta is finally renewed – where the two teams, on opposite trajectories, meet in the middle. With the Oilers stumbling exhausted from the edge of the woods and the Flames stumbling into them, perhaps now the two long-time enemies can meet each other on equal footing and engage in a hard fought, worthwhile battle. Even if it’s only for a brief period and even if it’s only for a playoff berth rather than a Western Conference crown, it may be enough to turn Alberta back into the NHL’s war zone.

Calgary Notes

Injuries to some vets and a new will to test the unknown means the Flames will feature a lot of unfamiliar faces this evening. Rookies TJ Brodie, Derek Smith and Joe Piskula will patrol the blueline in lieu of Mark Giordano (hurt), Anton Babchuk (hurt and not very good) and Cory Sarich (simply not very good). Brodie is the guy to watch out for – slick skating and smooth with the puck, he’s been excellent in the last week or so.

Up front, 20-year old center Roman Horak continues to make Calgary forget about the Tim Erixon fiasco and new-comer Blake Comeau will try to extend his season-high one game scoring streak to two. The re-configured first line features Curtis Glencross (thanks for him, by the way) and a slowing Jarome Iginla centered by the grotesquely carved, pumpkin-headed visage of Olli Jokinen. And while he will forever and always remain the butt of jokes, cruel nickname contests and photoshop threads, Jokinen is no longer a lightning rod for criticism in Calgary.

The former 90-point getter is certainly not the mythical "first line center" which the Flames have searched fruitlessly for over the years and his game remains flawed in a couple of non-trivial ways. However, he’s entirely less erratic in the defensive zone these days and his coupling with Glencross has been a fruitful one for the club. It’s not a first line that strikes fear into the hearts of men, but it’s functional enough as things go.

Edmonton Notes

There are some reasons to be skeptical of the Oilers start to the year, not least of which is Khabibulin’s uncanny renaissance (which I assume will end any day now). That said, it’s also obvious Edmonton is a legitimately better club this year. Unfortunately, I have found myself actually enjoying an Oilers game here and there; and not because they were getting their asses handed to them – no, some of the kids are fun to watch and not even the cognitive dissonance or will to ignore it on the part of this Flames fan is enough to overcome that dreadful realization. 

I have found myself endlessly impressed with Jordan Eberle since he broke into the league, but RNH is the guy who draws my eye most often this year. The kid doesn’t have to shave and is as soft-spoken as a wallflower at the junior high dance, but there’s no denying his ability to handle the puck and slip in-and-out of coverage. I don’t really think he’ll continue on his PPG pace for the rest of the year, but that’s not much of a criticism at this point. You’ve got some keepers Oilers fans. Damn you. 

Don’t let this unprecedented flattery of your club go to your heads though. Let’s just remember that Edmonton has been the worst team in the league for two years running, your former GM tried to sign Vanek to a forever contract worth eleventy-billion dollars and Chris Pronger hoofed it out of town on the heels of a Stanley Cup finals appearance because, well…it’s Edmonton.

Happy Live Chat Fun Times!

The window above means it’s live chat time. Drop by and be prepared to hurl insults at the other fanbase all night. Also, I’m going to need a few moderators of the Edmonton persuasion to handle the OilersNation unruly mob, so if you’re down for that completely thankless, voluntary task, let me know in the comments or during the chat itself.

Ciao and happy trolling.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I don’t know how good i’d do or if I could figure it out but I can give you guys a hand as a moderator I guess… gonna be there anyways 😛

  • John Chambers

    You know what I don’t like about you Kent Wilson? Besides your IT helpdesk goatee’d photo and love of a bunch of queens named Olli and Mikka in red dresses?

    I hate that you can’t own your hatred. Enough with your flattery. Nobody at OilersNation paused even for a moment to be in awe of the Sedin Sisters last year … Our player-hating confidence willed them to fall on their faces in last year’s SCF.

    And too, I don’t have any juice for the red princesses down Hwy 2. Here’s to a season of miserable low-scoring hockey, a failed second half run at the playoffs, and an 11th overall pick in the draft followed by another July of stocking to roster with unmotivated has beens.

    Go weep in the bosom of Harvey the Hound at the bar of pale virgins known as Flames Central.

    Tonight your pathetic hockey team. Tomorrow your under-serviced women.

    • Don’t stop at the goatee. Hell, what’s with those glasses? I’m guessing Wilson bought into the bit the got-no-money-wanna-look-like-a-college-student-until-I’m-37 types are into: if you look remarkably nerdy — nice Buddy Holly glasses, Poindexter — it’s actually hip. Uh, no. It’s just nerdy.

      What’s next, the brooding, no-smile, contrasty black and white mugshot (with mandatory pulled-down tuque) that is supposed to say “I’m a bad-ass gangsta, an inked up MMA guy under this sh*tty Aeropostle T-shirt (when it actually says I still borrow money from my mom and dad)?

      While I’m at it: “Kent is a published author and the Nations Network Managing Editor . . .” There’s a big-deal resume. Can I run and get you coffee, boss? Right. Touch my copy, ever, and you’ll be out the door on your ass faster than you can say “One Stanley Cup.”

      And what’s with photo-shopping Cornelius from Planet of the Apes into that pic? Lame.

    • The point that apparently zoomed over your head is that I can’t hate your team because it’s been so pitiful for so long. It’s like trying to hate a defenseless three legged orphaned puppy. I’d hate the Oilers if they were worth a damn.

      And I’m sorry I’m apparently not your type. It’s odd I’d have to hear it about my appearance on a hockey site; I was unaware paragons of fashion like yourself would be stopping by for a snide giggle. I will, of course, continue to sport the same pic because I honestly don’t care what a bunch of dudes think about it.

      • John Chambers

        Kent Wilson – what an adaptive animal you are. So used to hearing criticism your head retreats back into it’s shell with an “I don’t care what anybody thinks” apathy which so rightly describes your beloved, shnitty hockey team.

        “oh well guys, we almost made the playoffs” … But the oil and cattle gentry will herd themselves through the gates to suck back more rye and’s to numb themselves in front of the home team’s pathetic product. “they sure competed hard tonight” … They sure did, those talentless whelps.

        Here’s one final tip, good blogger Kent: Head and Shoulders – you cant always use the winter precipitation as an excuse.

  • RKD

    Those are some funny pics! Should be fun having to stop guys like Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Smyth, etc., tonight.

    Why not start Karlsson today? Maybe the Flames think they have a better chance of winning today than tomorrow.

    Hope Karlsson doesn’t get destroyed tomorrow night.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    That picture of Smyth and Nuge is awesome.
    Now prepare to see your future flamers..its bleak.

    Thanks cheeseburger Feaster…. Welcome to Rexall.
    We will repeat what the Oil Kings did to your Hitmen.

    Iggy- UR done. Bye now. Thanks for coming out.
    Just kidding Iggy- i love ya- You just played for the wrong team.
    You are a true warrior destined for the hall. Cheers.

    Kipperknob – Eat yellow snow.

  • RKD

    Hows Ivanans doing?? hehhehe

    But seriously, flames are on a one-way ticket to the basement and everyone on that team knows it. What a miserable, sad group of losers you got down there in Calgary.

    Feaster’s gonna eat his words, maybe he can sprinkle them on all those hot dogs he’s been eating. Boom.

  • Lowetide

    Don’t worry, Flames fans. Rexall has been upgraded so there’s a ramp for your octogenarian starting lineup. We’ll even pick up the teeth that fall out (naturally).

  • Neither hating upon the Flames

    Nor cursing my beloved Oilers.

    However, I do have a word of caution to fuel the situation.

    No Giordano on the penalty kill

    +Jordan Eberle

    +RNH

    +Father Smythmas

    __________________________

    Grins all around.

    • In the future…. perhaps save the beaking until after the results have played out… like the mainstream media guys do…. just in case you are wrong.

      ~After all….. one would hate to lose credibility in these all important matters. ~

      On the CBC broadcasts more pro calgary bias….. it was an effort to dispel rumours that they are sleeping in RNH jammies. AND… calgarys overpaid executive crowd are consumers with feelings.
      The CBC is in survival mode…… and money talks.. calgary people have some…. furthermore…… Mark Lee is an idiot.*

      *feigned reference to Domebeers*

      As an aside… can anyone remember how bad Garry Dornhoffer was when the Oilers were some sort of miracle that played out for all to see.
      For the younger crowd…. as bad as loubardious was last year for the flames…. old GD was flat out bent over in the bus….. like Roger.. but instead of a 30 second spot here and there….. 60 minutes of gush.
      It was gross.

  • A-Mc

    OH jeez. Writers are throwing down!

    IMO, the oil should have won the last Battle of Alberta. Tonight we finish the full 60 on top.

    GDP: Oil come out flying and Take this one 4-2.

    OGDP: Eberle goes home with 2+ Points on the night.

    NSOGDP: Olli and Iginla collide, knocking each other out. Calgary goes home with +2 Injured Reserve.

  • Lowetide

    Hey Kent, how strange is it going to be at the next dinner at T-Hop’s when you are wearing an official Kiprusoft paper bag and I with my Eberle full body suit, am throwing peas and turducken at your bag – weird or not??

  • Lowetide

    It sucks that the flames are now dropping into the rebuild and the oilers are coming out but hey, i’ll get by. Could be worse, I could be living in Edmonton. For that reason alone, I feel the oilers should be good. God couldn’t be that cruel.

    • Rob...

      Oh Calgary, you’re like the nerd in school who thought he was popular, but really the only reason people talked to him was that he lived next to the hot chick. Take away the mountains that are your neighbour and you’ve got nothin.

  • John Chambers

    Wow, to hear it from he CBC crew the Oilers are not only lucky to be in this game, but they’re lucky just to be on the same ice as the Flamers. WTF? 3-2 thank you Nuge!!

  • OilFan

    Flames played pretty good last night ( May be not as good as the pathetic cbc broadcasters last night ) and there pk won this game for them. Why was Smyth given a roughing penalty ? Was the flames third goal offside ?

  • Whenever the Oilers play a back to back game, the second game always shows a tired, listless bunch.

    I remember back in the day when I played hockey, the second game ( in a back to back) was always so difficult to generate speed. I suspect that this holds true for the professional ranks as well. I know that they are professionals, but don’t tell me this does not impact their ability to consistently generate speed……..last night game showed thIs perfectly.

    I’m not sure what the fascination of having Belenger on the PP is for Renny……the play always dies with him.

    Hemsky has the puck in the last minute of play in the slot and he is looking to make a play?? He reluctantly shoots the puck………but the play has already passed. Exactly what kind of instinct tells you to hold the puck in the slot and not shoot when the shot is there for the taking. I suspect this instinct is called ” you need to go find a league where shots are illegal”………..I would simply limit his ice time every time he does this and in no time he will play himself off the team………….yea!

    Rama speaks the truth.