The cold mornings are on us now, starting the car involves a few extra minutes for warm up and the search for mittens and toque is unnecessary (any self-respecting Albertan has all the winter wear in a feature place in the home by now). The Christmas turkey has been consumed (well, mostly) and the Boxing Day game made us suitably grumpy. Now, on to Calgary and the battle of Alberta. A win would be outstanding, but the Oilers are not healthy and they carry a noxious power play into the province’s second city.
The Oilers are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games—music!—but Calgary is 8-2-0 and have the look of a team coming together in a big way. Last night’s game saw some fine performances (Cam Talbot, Mark Letestu and his line, Andrej Sekera, the Leon line) and some wobbly ones. The coach put a positive turn on things:
Todd McLellan: “I
liked a number of our players coming out of the Christmas break. I
thought they had a little jump in their stride and made some plays. And
then there was about five or six that I thought was pulling us down
anchor-wise. And hopefully they give us better games tomorrow.” Source
That should light a fire under the ass of every man who had a poor night in Vancouver, but injuries and lack of depth are a big deal for Edmonton currently. We can get upset at turnovers, bad passes or shots going in from bad places, but there also needs to be the recognition that some very important pieces are injured. Sucks, but it is true.
— TSN 1050 Toronto (@TSN1050Radio) December 22, 2015
I miss watching Connor McDavid and I am tired of waiting. I understand patience, being less than independently wealthy my whole life means years and years of patience are a part of me. I can wait, but don’t expect me to be happy about it, and the timeline remains vague and distant. Remember the night the Oilers beat the crap out of the Flames? October 17th. More than two months ago. And tonight, we Oilers fans have to watch Calgary—healthy and successful despite icing a grown man named Dougie—with all the bells and whistles. Edmonton brings a posthumous power play, a second line that can’t get out of their own zone, and a third pairing the 1974-75 Washington Capitals may have passed on.
It might be time for the Oilers to roll out new video of McDavid skating on a lake.
THE GAME IS A FOOT! ?
Oilers prospect goalie Eetu Laurikainen is heading back to North America from Finland. Ben Scrivens seems like a goner after the freeze.
— Brennan Klak (@nhlupdate) December 27, 2015
Hmm. Ben Scrivens rumored to Canadiens. A Cornell goalie in Montreal… Why does that sound so familiar?
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) December 27, 2015
— SportsCentre (@SportsCentre) December 26, 2015
Peter Chiarelli may be about to make a mid-season deal, sending away Ben Scrivens for Zack Kassian. Are you all ready for this? In some ways, this is a confusing deal—Edmonton has too many forwards now, no idea what happens when Nail Yakupov, Connor McDavid and Rob Klinkhammer return. Then again, Kassian probably plays in Bakersfield for a time and he would replace Bogdan Yakimov (in minutes, not position) in the lineup. Interesting days, trades are allowed beginning midnight.
- Bakersfield also plays tonight, rookies Kyle Platzer and Joey Laleggia are beginning to spike offensively.
- I would not be at all surprised if the Habs-Oilers deal turns out to have additional pieces.
- The Habs were always linked to Nail Yakupov, wonder if that was discussed.
- Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson are missed more than my Lee jeans from the 1970s.
- The Oilers power play makes me sad. If this continues, I may start missing the MacT power plays! Speaking of, what ever happened to Mike York? Toby Petersen?
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Let’s face it, the Oilers are a scrappy bunch that are playing much better structural hockey under coach Todd McLellan, but their depth is stretched thin with them currently without Rob Klinkhammer, Connor McDavid, Nail Yakupov, Andrew Ference and Oscar Klefbom. And since they played and lost last night and are playing a rested Flames team, they’ll probably do their best to slow the game down and keep things low-event. It’ll be tough, though, considering that the Flames have last change and can likely minimize the amount the Oilers can victimize the Wideman/Engelland defensive pair.
GAME DAY PREDICTION
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers come out strong early, as the Flames try to find their legs. A meandering shot from Nikita Nikitin gives the good side a 1-0 lead after one.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Calgary applies pressure at every turn in the second, scoring three goals and chasing Anders Nilsson. Edmonton’s power play grabs a late goal to make it close entering the third period.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:
Talbot shines in his second straight night of work, stopping 20 third period shots and stoning the Calgary power play. Edmonton’s own chance late with the man advantage does not cash and it ends 3-2 for the Flames on another frustrating night.
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