GDB 04: THE BATTLE OF ALBERTA

We have a little tradition here at the Nation Network. They who win the Battle of Alberta writes the next GDB on both sites. So buckle up Flames Fans because you are going to get it and we are going to give it to you.

For far too long Edmontonians and Calgarians have battled back and forth with the same old witty jabs and name calling.  Calgary has one Cup – a bra has two. Edmonton has no running water or intelligence of any sort. You have the Stampede, we have a free hot dog lunch in the parking lot of Bonnie Doon shopping mall. Yeah, yeah yeah. We get it.

This time around we are dispensing with the usual insults and getting to the heart of the matter of what is really wrong with you Calgary.

THIS IS US – THIS IS YOU

Oooooh. We get it Calgary. You are the rich neighbours to the South with all of your money and power and fancy high rise buildings. Everyone understands that at some point in the mid 90s all of our businesses picked up and moved down Highway 2. Well guess what? We were like 8 years old when that happened. Didn’t care then – didn’t care now.

Frankly you did us a favour Calgary. We will never figure out how jedi mind tricked the bulk of our corporate douchebags to pack up their drycleaned belongings and move three hours away but we thank you.

And while we watch the game tonight and see a bunch of non-plussed suit types sitting on their hands in the Saddledome in jerseys that still have their tags on we will thank the Gods that none of them are up here pretending to be Oilers fans anymore.

Good riddance.

US v YOU

Speaking of Flames fans where have they gone? We seem to remember a whole mess of people filing into your Red Mile during your ill fated Cup run. People all over the were quick to cheer for "KIPPPPPERRRRRRRR" and "IGGGGGYYY" and Company. And yet nowdays there don’t seem to be nearly as many people up repping the flaming C.

That’s probably because the bulk of people following aren’t really Flames fans. They are sports consumers. When the milk is fresh you are all happy to have a glass. When the milk goes sour – no one will come within a hundred miles.

Contrast that with Edmonton. We have been drinking sour milk for so long we have developed a taste for it. In fact many of us now prefer it. Doesn’t matter if the Oilers finish in last place every year until the end of time. Oilers fans are in the business of living and dying with the team. Anyone with any hockey sense at all would have abandoned this team years ago and yet here we are millions strong all around the world.

And luckily the Oil are on the verge of being awesome. While Calgary is going to gently float down to the bottom of the league until your 33 NTCs expire in 2035.

STILL US STILL YOU

Looking at your roster – who is there even to get excited about?! Iginla in the prime of the twilight of his fine career? Pfft. Steve Begin? Jiri Hudler? Who the hell are any of these old bastards anyway? There is literally not a single player on your entire roster that we could possibly get excited about. Anyone skilled is old. Anyone young is marginal. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

We remember when we were trying to convince ourselves that players like Roman Cervenka were going to be the answer. Our Cervenka had names like Cole and O’Sullivan. We hoped and prayed late into the night that they could find something deep down within themselves and become awesome. And guess what – it didn’t work.

It never works. Your roster was built around a core and that core expired about 4 years ago. Now you are like the guy who went all in on a 5-3 offsuit with a hunch "things were going to look better after the flop." Well the flop came up all Kings and now you have nothing left to do but play out your hand.

And lose.

Losers.

AND SO IN CLOSING

There is literally nothing you can do to win this battle Flames fans. Even if the Oilers lose (and they may) they are still the far superior team and we both know it. Even if the Flames win by 10 goals it will be no more satisfying than being given a free shrimp cocktail at a banquet on the Titanic. You are headed to the bottom and everyone on board is starting to sense disaster.

And there isn’t an insult in the book you can lob our way that will have any impact. Yes we are  your hillbilly cousins up Highway 2. We are eternal optimists who have had a crap team and lacked the brain stem or the reality check to realize it. Now after being rewarded for coming in last for so long we have an embarassment of riches for a lineup and 18 year old Russian superstars sliding all over while we lose our drunken minds in celebration.

Its all happening up here and nothing is happening down there and you would be madder except that most of your bandwagon jumping fans have left long ago. Perhaps we should lend you the terms "ELPH" and "Shitanusly bad hockey." They got us through some dark days.

Oh and it’s Wayne Gretzky’s birthday today. Remember him?

GAME DAY PREDICTION: This is as easy to predict as getting some drunk Calgary tramp girl to flash her boobs during the only Cup run Calgarians will witness in the next two decades…Oilers win 5-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: One thing Flames and Oiler fans can agree on is it is great not having Mark Lee call the game on HNIC. Also buckle up it could be a long game with Tom Kowal and Greg Kimmerly reffing the game. They are as blind as the guys who thought every Calgary tramp girl who flashed on the red mile was hot.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: During the second period one of the mics at ice level picks up the audio from a conversation between Jarome Iginla and Jordan Eberle.

"Hey Ebs, tell Tambo I’d gladly waive my non-trade clause and come play with you guys." Eberle smiles and replies, "You betcha, but I hope you are okay playing on the 2nd line." Iginla smiles, "No problem, at least I’d have a chance to make the playoffs again." Within moment the Nations blow up with talk of a possible trade. Flames fans start calling him "Judas", while Oiler fans calmly sit back knowing that Iginla speaks the truth.

Thanks to Gregor for giving me his Game Day Predictions