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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.

  • MorningOwl

    well, this one is so important for both teams for different reasons, and also for both fan bases.

    let’s be honest, for fans of both teams, winning the BOA is more important than anything else.

    good luck, hoping for an epic battle tonight that entertains, makes us scream at the tv and jump out of our seats, and is hard fought to the bitter end.

    be there or be square!

      • 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)

  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    yikes, i hope you got permission to use the phrase “battle of alberta”, in case you didn’t know, that phrase is copyrighted.

    maybe try: “big fight on ice between the hockey teams from the 2 largest cities in alberta”

    i think that has a nice ring to it…

  • passenger

    Gonna nude the hell out of this town if they finally pull out an HNIC win over the Trashtown Tirefires. Gonna nude all over the place. Let there be blood (and flapping junk)

  • notarealdoctor

    Girls are going out. Whiskey’s at the ready. TV’s on mute so the refs can hear me scream at them. Pray to Gord won’t have to switch to Netflix before 10.

  • Oilfaninvan

    Listen – I know that you shouldn’t care what others think/ say about you (or your hockey team) BUT I’m getting really tired of all the jabs and slights made regarding the Oilers. Why does it bother me now? Because in every little dig there contains a large element of truth, and the truth is that the wheels are spinning again for this team. It’s getting really hard to defend the results. Still mired in the very bottom of the standings. Losing to every back up goaltender, no respect from other teams (haven’t earned it), poor trades or no trades, and the butt of every joke. Carolina, Arizona, Florida are all seemingly trending up much faster, with “less”. Sure, patience is preached, but HOW EMBARASSING WOULD IT BE TO GET ANOTHER TOP THREE PICK IN THE DRAFT?!

  • Mooseroni

    As an Oiler fan, I don’t look forward to these games anymore. The flames own the Oil. It is so incredibly frustrating. Tonight won’the be any different. More tool time.

  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    I’d like to see Johnny Hockey hit at every opportunity. If the oilers play like they did against the Panthers it should be entertaining. Must win game

    • MorningOwl

      do you think yours would be the first team that would go after Gaudreau? i can guarantee that every team does – every team plays the other teams good guys hard.

      but I do hope your guys go after JG, because that is what he wants… and the moment they take a step in his direction, he is around them and off to the races. he has already undressed Nurse several times, as well as Chara and Byfuglien and anyone else silly enough to try to attack him directly. Teams have learned to give him space and try to keep him to the outside, because when they attack head on… the undressing is awesome!

  • Klam

    I said it at the beginning of the season….

    Oilers need to beat the fLames and the cNuckleheads, if they do that with the improvement this year than I can look forward to next year and what Chia will bring.

    I hope Hall/Drai/Kass gets a look against their top line and we see a heroic bout between Kass and Ferland. After that I hope Yak starts a goal streak, and all the people who want to go streakin have the fuel both in spirits and wins to show what they want!

  • Mooseroni

    I hate losing to the Flames, because its been a regular occurrence for way to long. Calgary is bigger, shinier, richer – but we always could kick their ass at sports – but those days are just a fond memory. Its gots to turn around soon.

    A loss to the Flames hurts double, its like back to back losses rolled into one.

    Last game against them when Shultz pulled a Jultz I threw the remote at the TV and yelled – scared the sh*t out of my little kid who started crying.

    Now my little kid doesn’t like Shultz either.

  • 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.

      • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

        What the hell has Ferlund done to deserve all his adoration. Remember what Nurse did to the Giant Hunters Smith? I don’t think we need to worry about ferlunds response.

        8 whole!

          • For Pete's Sake!

            Remember what Anaheim did to that boogeyman with a few well placed hits?

            Ferland almost cried with frustration when he ran into someone who actually hit back. And disappeared like little baby sheep hiding behind Mommy.

          • KACaribou

            Not what happened at all. Ferkland was a wrecking ball in the Vancouver series, then played hurt off and on vs. Anaheim.

            If you notice he has 0 fights this year. But watch him. He has skill. He’s just now starting to get some minutes.

            All I am saying is he won’t stand by while Kassian is trying to hurt Johnny Hockey.

            Calgary isn’t the team that tried to intentionally hurt Connor BTW. This isn’t the 1980s. That was some other team.

  • Oil City Roller

    Usually playing the Shames on HNIC is a recipe for complete disaster but I think the Oilers are going to light it up tonight. I’m talking total domination by the Oil. I feel crazy even saying this but I can feel it in my bones. The Oil will not let me down tonight!