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There was a time in this fair land when the ‘Battle of Canada’s second from the left province’ started many hours before the event. The hatred ran deep and straight-arrow true, and the on-ice battles were vicious, diabolical and on most occasions bloody. Since the turn of the century, things have fallen into a predictable routine: Oilers fans get crushed, Robyn Regehr runs over Ales Hemsky, late goal-scoring makes the final a laugher, hang your head and cry. Life in a northern town never tasted so bitter than in the days since Darryl Sutter taught the Calgarys how to win. I will never forgive him.


For me, the Flames were background noise for the Weight-Smyth Oilers until their first meeting in 2001 fall, October 3.


In that game, the Flames played well, really well. Tight defense, Marc Savard scored and the Oilers didn’t have Billy Guerin anymore, so the game’s physical players were basically designated guys and the Smith boys (Jason and Ryan, although Georges Laraque could play in those years—used to cycle like hell). After that, the Flames hired Sutter in 2002 and they have been a goddam mittful every day since. Every game seems to feature a smaller Oilers forward disappearing in a heap, leaving only a small grease spot and another cap hit on the IR. 

These days are coming to an end, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

I am not a blood thirsty man, but dammit all anyway it has been too long since Edmonton won something—ANYTHING—against those blasted Flames. I know this season hasn’t turned out as planned, but for this Oilers fan winning on the coldest night of the year on HNIC would be sweet enough to sustain me for a long time. Along with that sublime feeding of the Habs earlier this season, and the McDavid hammer on a drum game in Calgary, it would be a PVR keeper until deep into next season.


In order to compete physically against a tough team, you need good hockey players who can also deliver gritty play. For so long, Edmonton has filed their players in slots that never overlap: Skill in aisle one, Physical play in the enforcer aisle, and on it goes. With the addition of Darnell Nurse and (now) Zack Kassian, maybe the kids in red with the C logo (is it just me, or does that logo look crappier every season?) will hesitate enough to go offside or loose possession once in awhile.

I am not after blood tonight, but would thoroughly enjoy a tough, physical game with excitement in every period. Please baby Jesus, let the postgame be about quality from both sides and not a line change in the second damned period. Please. An old fashioned game with hitting, scoring and compete, a throwback from the time men drank their whiskey from a jar. Let it be tonight. Saturday. HNIC.


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Oilers lineup courtesy of

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Flames lineup courtesy of


  • Johnny Gaudreau is fire. If he doesn’t get a point tonight, THAT is an upset.
  • Taylor Hall has been stone cold lately, but if there is one Oiler who can flip a switch, it is No. 4
  • Zack Kassian should impact this game, possibly on several levels.
  • Cam Talbot needs to be magic tonight.
  • Darnell Nurse needs to play a simpler game tonight, no walkabout, stay in the lane, punish those wingers and make them pay.
  • The special teams have to be good, both sides. Seriously.
  • Matt Hendricks is missed.
  • Plenty of trades around the NHL, but with the recall of Brad Hunt last night it looks like Edmonton is ready for their road trip. Will they return intact? Eastern road trips are famous for trades by the Oilers.
  • Laurent Brossoit was brilliant for the Barons last night, wonder about another cup of coffee.



The Oilers have not been great lately. They have a single win in 2016, and just two wins in their last 10 games. They’re getting plenty of pucks on net, but they’re just not generating the kinds of chances that result in goals often enough to win. Their special teams play has also been iffy – for instance, they gave up three power-play goals to Arizona a couple games back.

For the Oilers to have a shot tonight, they’ll need to tighten their game up, and quick.



GAME DAY PREDICTION: Things start as usual, the Flames get a call, score on the power play and then score again immediately afterward and it is 2-0 before your first set of ice cubes have begun to melt. The Flames pepper Talbot for the rest of the period, but only get the deuce. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton recovers a little in the second stanza, with Lauri Korpikoski scoring late in the frame to make it 2-1. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: In the third period of tonight’s game, we get a glimpse of the future. Physical, fast, furious and if I may say, a little filthy, but the Oilers pound the Flames and their goalie appears to be blindfolded. Edmonton scores three and wins in regulation. Public nudity follows, although not for long because holy hell boys it is minus 30.


Celebrate the volunteer, parent, coach or organizer who keeps the game going and asks for nothing in return. 

Nominate your Home Ice Hero and they could win a prize worth $5,000. Nominate your hero.


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This is going to be the event of the year and we’re inviting you and all of your scandalous buddies to join us. If I was to make a recommendation I would suggest that you don’t wait to buy your tickets. This event will sell quickly, and procrastination will do nothing but leave you missing out on a hell of a party.

Tickets are available here.

  • Zamboni Driver

    It is an absolute condemnation of Chiarelli that any reasonable expectation for tonight’s game is a Flame blowout.
    He is an utterly inept gm.
    The garbage and over-rated bums on this team were obvious last summer, he did nothing to fundamentally change that.
    Still does nothing.
    Night after wretched night.

    The odious “Hall cluster” should be flushed. Mostly soft, brain dead players, who wear entitlement and resentmental on the sleeves.

    Moving them last summer could have fixed this defence but Chiarelli wallows in inaction.

    He should be fired, losing Jones should been the last straw.

    A last stark reality is that the Flames would not trade Gaudreau for any Oiler, savor how horrific that is.
    What a humiliation! After 4 1st overall picks.
    Any GM who lives with this status quo must be fired.

    Gut this asap!

    Stop your endless rationalization of incompetence!

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Get lost Coiler Fans, you think because Kassian is playing tonight all is well against the Flames? Losers!!!

    4-1 Flames and Bennett continues to hit and run over your girls.

  • .

    Yes he is.
    MacLelland is stupid and incompetent.
    He is Chiarelli as coach.
    Demote the only energized player front SJ.
    They wallow in defeat!
    Yak should be on the first line, but that is at odds with prime directive of lose and evaluate.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Fire Chiarelli and MacLelland before the night us over.
    For a team to play this pathetically is beyond belief.
    This is a disgrace,
    Chiarelli wallows in defeat.

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        I forgot how relevant the Flames have been in that time frame. If the Oilers are the coil sitting in the toilet, the Flames are the stains left on the bowl

        Calgary Stains has a nice ring to it.

      • passenger

        Gonna take a lot more than one series win in the last 10 years to convince anyone the Trashfires aren’t The Other Team In Alberta. The rest of the league doesn’t even bother making fun of the Flurbs, they’re so inconsequential. Rooting for ya though (to learn to open the screen door before you walk outside)

  • Spydyr

    Oilers are tanking on purpose.
    Yakupov got them the only point last game, and today he is getting punished for it. Hall hasn’t done anything for 10+ and is still on the 1st line.

    I’m excited for around 1st over all and another rebuild.

  • rosterjosh

    TMac > Hartkey. I fully believe that the oilers have the right man in charge at this point. The flames may have the edge right now, but when McDavid comes back next season and Chiarellinhas added a D-man or two in the offseason, I think we’ll start to things shift in the oilers direction. Russell and Giordano are UFA’s next season. Monahan and Gaudreau are RFA’s. At least three of those guys are going to require hefty pay increases. I don’t think they’ll be able to keep their current D intact. At least they have Smid signed for another year though….

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      No. Gio is signed for the next 7 years at …….wait for it!!! 7 million a year . Hahahaha did he evertake the flames management to the cleaners. $7 million for a declining asset. If it wasn’t for Brodie he would be dead in the water.

      • Tomas Oppolzer

        How many GMs would take Nuge at 6mil over Gio at 7mil?

        How many GMs would take Eberle at 6mil over Gio at 7mil?

        How many GMs would take Hall at 6mil over Gio at 7mil?

        • chickenStew

          Paying Gio 7M seven years from now vs. paying Hall 6M seven years from now?

          Their terms are different lengths.
          Their ages are a huge factor.

          Foolish comparison.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            I was not talking years from now, I’m talking today. Years from now you can sucker other GMs to a trade.

            Hall is not even signed to a contract seven years from now. Foolish statement.

            If the Oilers didn’t win the lottery, Hall skill and 6mill a year would be at the forefront of this team, probably competing for another 1st over all.

            Hate to sh!t on your idol again, but, Hall, as a 1st overall pick, has had the worst turn around. Oilers were better before they drafted him, drafting him has done nothing.

          • chickenStew

            You make my point for me.

            Talking today, they are signed for completely different terms at different ages. The comparison is moot, therefore foolish.

            If McDavid wasn’t here then yes, Hall would be at the forefront of this team in all likelihood. Contrary to your blind hatred for him, he is an elite forward in the NHL. Although not an idol of mine, I, along with most people am very glad he is part of this team. I guess you don’t realize that it’s a team game not an individual sport. He is one piece, a good one. There is room for a ton of improvement. Luckily we have McDavid too.

            It’s pure comedy gold that you complain about a good player. Seems like the only person disappointed that he can’t carry the team on his back is you.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      I think you need to chill out a bit, dude. Spector reports that Chia offered Nuge for Jones. That implies he’s working the phones. Teams know that the Oil need D like a fish needs water, so they’re gonna try to hose Chiarelli for everything they can.

      Here’s a hypothetical, Nation – if Chia can talk Lucic down to a number that’s agreeable this summer, should he do it? Riding shotgun for McDavid would have to be enticing, no?

        • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

          I ‘spose so. A lot depends on how big of a raise he’s getting this summer, too. He makes $6.5 mil per right now, but he’s also not really the same player he was in Boston. Damn he’d look good in orange and blue, though.

          • For Pete's Sake!

            Yes Lucic would look great as an Oiler. But if he makes 6.5 mil now, what’s he going to want to play here. And is the cap hit worth it in the longer run?

            With a 60 cent dollar on the horizon, Katz may be looking over Chia’s shoulder on a deal like that too.

      • KACaribou

        No thanks.

        They’re in line to add a Laine, Puljujarvi, or Tkachuk in the draft. They will cost a lot less and probably give the same production.

        Save the cap space for the blueline.

        • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

          Puljujarvi is interesting, but I don’t think another rookie forward is the answer. I mean, we need D more than anything, but if it were down to another wonderkid or Lucic, I’d take the experience/winning history over the kid. We’ve got McDavid, Drai, et al. We need more mean SOBs who can contribute not only points, but make them harder to play against.

          Really though, this is all pie in the sky. I don’t see Lu signing here.

    • chickenStew

      How is it that Vitale is the only NHL player on IR because of a fractured orbital bone? How can this be?

      How is it that Kelly is the only NHL player on IR because of a fractured femur? How can this be?

      How is it that McCormick is the only NHL player on IR because of blood clots ? How can this be?

  • Chainsawz

    Hiller starting for the Flames. I’m typically bearish in January on the Oilers chances to win games but tonight is about as much as a lock as you can get. Hiller lets in 5 before being yanked in a 6-2 win for the good guys.

    Watch your jaw, Gaudreau.