LONG TIME COMING

"You suck worse than we do!" That loser’s rallying cry is what the Battle of Alberta has, essentially, degenerated to for fans of the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames for way too many seasons now.

Mired in mediocrity, or worse, the Oilers and Flames have thrashed away at each other in a scrap for provincial bragging rights that’s too often resembled a purse fight between two teams going nowhere fast as images of the BOA, when it really was one, have faded. Feeble. Sad.

Oilers fans have been on the wrong side of that dispute so long they’ve been reduced to leaning on the memories of those five Stanley Cups — or maybe that unlikely run to the Stanley Cup final after the lost lockout season — when exchanging "your mommas" with their sneering Cowtown cousins. Most of the Five Cups brag, of course, happened before those exchanging one-liners via Twitter today were even born. Dusty stuff. Ancient history.

More recently, the Flames have had it all their way. In every one of the seven seasons since the lockout previous to this last one, including the year the Oilers turned an eight-place finish into a Cup final appearance, the Flames have finished higher in Western Conference standings. And, mostly, they’ve dominated the head-to-head season series between the teams.

They’ve certainly been better than the Oilers, out of the playoffs for six straight seasons, in terms of overall standings, even if better hasn’t translated into anything but also-ran status as they’ve hung on to provincial bragging rights despite a slow but obvious decline. They, at least, have been able to feel better about themselves while looking down at the Oilers in the pecking order.

Yes, the Flames have sucked less.

TIME HAS COME

Calgary fans might want to tear out and post the final 2011-12 NHL standings on their refrigerators now and take a good, long look because Jay Feaster’s team isn’t going to get any solace from sucking less for some time to come, starting with this abbreviated 48-game campaign.

While the Flames have resisted the urge to tear it down to bare metal and start again, hanging doggedly in the middle of the also-ran pack these past three seasons rather than risking a frustrating and fruitless stroll through the desert, the underdog Oilers from up the highway have been taking it in the teeth and reloading. Short-term pain? How much would you like? Long-term gain? We are just now getting a glimpse of it.

That glimpse continues tonight in Cowtown when the Oilers face the Flames at the Saddledome on Hockey Night In Canada in the first meeting of the teams this season in the latest edition of the BOA – a head-to-head howdy-do that’ll have to satisfy fans until a rematch April 1, of all days.

There’ll be the usual trash talk and bravado from both cities, of course. There always has been, even when it’s been a coin toss as to which team has sucked less. "We do!" "No, we do!" The way I see it, though, tonight will prove to be something of a benchmark for fans of both teams.

What we have here is a meeting between one team on the rise, the Oilers, and one team on the decline, the Flames. If that isn’t already obvious now, it most certainly will be by the time April 1 rolls around – moving forward, it might be a long, long time until there’s any dispute about that.

What will Calgary fans do without "You suck worse than we do" as a consolation prize?

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Oilers4ever

    Yep…. they sure showed those Flamers tonight boy… They showed them alright… How to mail it in. Performance was worse in some ways that the San Jose one. At least the test Niemi in that one. Did they even get 20 shots tonight… ridiculous

  • Now to create a little animosity between the 2 teams. It time to get the Battle of Alberta going once again. With Fistric in the lineup we might see some fireworks early. HNIC. On Saturday. Life is where it should be at.Hockey. Nice weather.A day out with the family.A nice meal. A bowl of popcorn and HNIC double header. I am content.

  • Mark-LW

    I am still waiting and watching this board in anticipation of a post from any of the pseudo coach/ managers and Eric Belanger haters who post here regularly to acknowledge if not praise Belangers ‘ prowess in the face off circle that enabled the Oilers to tie the Kings and engender the Yakupov celebration.
    Credit due and acknowledgement pending also for Ralph in making the decision to have Belanger take the draw.
    No Belanger, no goal,no o.t. And certainly no jubilant celebration.
    Still waiting ,still waiting…………

    • Mark-LW

      Yea he had a good face-off …….so what! There are a lot of hockey players that can take a face off and still do other things, like hitting, scoring, fighting….etc.

      if all the Belanger can do is take face offs then let’s dump his skinny ass!

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I will be at the game……..I’m already nervous! Not sure which Oilers team will come out tonight but I hope its the one with the skating legs.

    I think the Flames will try and nuteralize us by playing physical and I fear for our young stars. I pray that Krueger dresses Hordichuck or Peckham because thats all we got for tough guys.

    GO OIL!

  • Pharmboy

    Can we somehow get that Moranic picture put up on the scoreboard at both oilers and flames games? I hope it’s real and not just photoshop, that would be really mean.

    Is that flames t-shirt new? Can I get it on the website?

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    how can two teams with such knowledgable fans and coaches, suck so bad,for so long? if the flames do rebuild,at least they have a few players they can get a return for.

  • Milli

    What I believe you will see is a lot of Calgary fans convert to oilers fans, I’ve always found flames fans to be very fair weather, obviously there are die hards but I think oilers fans hate the flames more than flames fans hate the oilers. I could be wrong. It would be easy to jump wagons and chear for this up tempo exciting oilers team, while the flames are old and a lot slower and defensive minded. Although the flames have had the oilers number lately, I see change this year.

  • Milli

    Praise Brownlee….It’s about bloody time!!!!! I hope Hall dominates tonight, Ebs shows his skill, Yak goes wild, Nuge scores and Shultz, well, he just skates and skates!!!!

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Reserved.

    I can’t wait to read this.

    Edit: Me and a few awesome buddies of mine drove to Calgary for the Battle of Albrutal in Hallsy’s draft year. At the time, the winless streak between the two teams was over 20 games. We wore paper bags and Oilers jerseys with Hall and #4 taped on the backs. The Oilers lost, and Souray, that dumb@$$, broke his hand in a retribution fight with Iggy. Brutal, indeed!

    BUT BRUTAL NO MORE!!! YMCMB WILL PUT A FISTFUL BEHIND KIPRUSOFT TONIGHT AND OILERS DOMINATION WILL FOLLOW!