GDB -08 and -07: Alberta Double Dip

NursePunch

The Oilers and Flames will do preseason battle in Calgary and Edmonton tonight. Fans in Edmonton will get to experience the NHL hockey in the new rink for the first time, while Flames fans are anxiously waiting for GM Brad Treliving to announce he’s signed Johnny Gaudreau to a lengthy contract extension.

Usually, in the first home preseason games, the home team dresses many of their best players to reward the fans, but that won’t be the case tonight in either city for different reasons.

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Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have had the past four days off after playing in the World Cup of Hockey. The Oilers other top centre, Leon Draisaitl, is still playing for Team Europe and won’t return to the Oilers lineup for at least another eight days.

In Calgary, Flames fans begin the preseason a little anxious. Gaudreau still doesn’t have a contract, while Sean Monahan is recovering from a back strain he suffered during off-season training, and Mikael Backlund’s return is unknown after he suffered a concussion playing for Sweden at the World Cup.

The Oilers and Flames will still have an NHL-heavy lineup in their respective rinks, and McDavid and RNH will return to practice tomorrow.

LINEUPS…

In Edmonton you will see:

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Lucic-Caggiula-Eberle
Pouliot-Vesce-Puljujarvi
Beck-Khaira-Versteeg
Moroz-Platzer-Pakarinen

Klefbom-Larsson
Betker-Fayne
Niemelainen-Benning

Talbot and Laurikainen

Flames:

Bouma-Hamilton-Ferland
Higgins-Vey-Poirier
Pollock-Bailey-Hathaway
Korpikoski-Jankowski-Frattin

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Hamilton-Wotherspoon
Kulak-Andersson
Grossman-Morrison

Gillies and Johnson

In Calgary fans will see:

Maroon-Lander-Yakupov
Hendricks-Letestu-Kassian
Christoffer-Sallinen-Slepyshev
Russell-Currie-Chase

Nurse-Davidson
Oesterle-Gryba
Jones-Bear

Gustavsson-Brossoit

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Flames:

Tkachuk-Bennett-Brouwer
Shinkaruk-Stajan-Chiasson
Bollig-Dube-Klimchuk
Tuulola-Lomberg-Carroll

Giordano-Brodie
Jokipakka-Wideman
Kylington-Engelland

Elliott and McDonald

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QUICK HITS

SpeedBag

  • Griffin Reinhart will not play in either game. McLellan said he has a small tweak, but they expect him to play on Wednesday. He will need a fantastic preseason to be in the top-six on opening night.
  • Jordan Eberle changed his stick this summer. It is longer and he’s lowered the flex. He worked a lot on his one-timer this summer, but while he made some changes to his stick he was adamant about it not impacting his ability to stickhandle. His stick handling is his best asset and he’s confident the new stick will help his shot without hindering his puck handling skills. I’ll be watching how he shoots the puck tonight.
  • Andrej Sekera has been playing the right side at the World Cup alongside Zdeno Chara. Brandon Davidson has played the right side often, and he will tonight, and McLellan isn’t sure which of those two will start the season on the right side.
  • A great analogy regarding Davidson: You can only be Cinderella once. Now it is about improving on last year. McLellan believes the key will be not asking Davidson to do too much. “You want him to improve of course, but now it is about building on his consistency.”

    I can tell you Davidson is not comfortable or satisfied. He believes he can add more and is main focus is proving people last season was not a career-best.

  • I spoke with Patrick Maroon and he wanted to clarify some things about his losing 25 pounds. He weighs 227. Last season he finished the season around 242. When he discussed losing the 25 pounds, he was referring to the start of his training. After the season he took a month off and relaxed, like most players do, and often they gain some weight. So he is down 15 pounds from last year’s playing weight, but is actually down 26 pounds from when he started training in early June. “I feel leaner. I might feel faster, I can’t really tell (laughs), I’ve never been a great skater. My success has never been about speed, but feeling leaner and lighter hopefully makes me look quicker,” he said.

    Maroon was honest about how in the past he wasn’t as consistent as he needs to be. His focus in preseason is simple. “I am challenging myself to finish like I did last year. I’m still fighting for a job. I want to play in the top three lines every night. I want the job and I deserve the job and I have to show that.”

  • Draisaitl has been playing hockey since August, due to Olympic qualifying, and the games are more emotionally taxing than anything. Look for McLellan to give Draisaitl some rest when the WCOH is over, but also a few more days during the season. McLellan mentioned he felt mentally exhausted after the World Cup games, similar to playoff games, and it isn’t normal to feel that way in September. He will monitor Draisaitl’s rest closely this year.
  • If you are going to the Oilers game in Edmonton tonight, stop in at Maverick Autographs. I’ll be doing my show there (below Mercer Tavern, beside Transcend coffee) from Vacancy Hall. You can win a signed Grant Fuhn replica Stanley Cup and more.
  • Football fans: go to draftkings.com/gregor1260 for your chance to win part of $1.25 million. Free with first deposit. Also, would you be more interested in playing if it was for the NHL? Let me know. We likely will get an NHL pool going.

TONIGHT

FortuneTeller

GAME DAY PREDICTIONS: The home teams win each game with Edmonton winning 4-2 and Calgary picking up a 3-2 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Eberle and Lucic combine for two goals.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Versteeg scores the first goal. He grew up in Lethbridge and was a diehard Oilers fan. “My mom gave me no option to be an Oilers fan (laughs). I’m happy she did,” he told me last Thursday. His mom will be beaming when she sees her son score a goal in an Oilers jersey.

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Recently by Jason Gregor:    


    • not so daily doug

      well, so far 3 Oilers goals in between 2 teams in the 3rd. Man, it is the first game with 3 of our best not even playing. Take your time getting worked up, you will live longer.

      I mean wait till the end of October at least.

    • madjam

      Eberle , Lucic , Jesse , Talbot , Cagguila , Larsson , even Klefbom , and Yakupov in Calgary all had basically pathetic games . At least Nurse had a decent effort . First exhibition game did not provide much optimism from most of our so called projected lineup . Cut the roster down pronto , and get them headed in a better direction . Man , i’d hate to go thru a season with that type of effort and execution from our club .

      • that’s ridiculous. Klefbom and Larsson were so solid, great positioning and no dangerous scoring chances when they were on the ice. Was at the game and made it a focus to watch their shifts.

        Fayne was a noticeable suprise too! foot speed looked a bit better!

      • dougtheslug

        Wow, tempers are short in this part of the world. Getting wound up by poor execution in the first exhibition game? Split squad, for crying out loud? With fully half the players not likely to ever grace NHL ice in their careers?

        Heck, I was entertained. I love when the Oilers beat the Flames. I love it twice as much when they beat them twice on the same night. Even if it is exhibition. In September.

        Chill, man.

      • CMG30

        Wait, you went to the very first pre-season game, (split squad no less) and expected to see playoff-like effort from the guys who already know they’re locks? Bwwahahahaha!

  • A-Mc

    The home feed was crap quality and it was up only sporadically. Meanwhile the calgary feed was actually higher quality and was solid the entire time.

    Why do we have such a crap stream in a building with a telco name plastered on the front of it? There should be 0 chance that anyone can beat home quality streams of ROGERS place content.. Blows my mind.

    It would be like the Shaw Conference Centre running on telus adsl lines and telus optic Tv feeds. It just doesn’t make sense.

  • madjam

    Watched Oiler game here , when available , and both teams doing very little . Went to other feed and at least it was better reception and actually a better game from Calgary . Needless to say , some if not most of our boys are not up to season starting form as yet . Bloody awful in comparison to World cup matches . Only conclusion I can draw from both matches is they have a long road to go before season opening matches . Was disappointed in all the empty seats in Calgary .

  • Chris.

    I just got home from the game and I hate to say it but I’m pretty disappointed with the new building.

    I know the honeymoon is in full swing and this won’t be a popular take; but I believe the design team spent too much thought, and too much of their budget making Rogers Place look like a space ship instead of making sure the building actually functions well for the fan.

    Don’t get me wrong… having the home of the Oilers downtown is cool. The ice crew didn’t break their backs shovelling snow every break. The Score Clock and sound system are amazing…

    Unfortunately, the 200 level concourse was narrow and congested; there was inadequate wahroom access; and I’d be willing to wager there is even less legroom than at Rexall. I’m not a tall guy and my knees were killing me by the end of the game. (A problem I never had at the old barn). Very sad. I really really wanted to like the new building.

    • Was at the game, the 200 level concourse is bottleneck city! and did you catch the only elevator taking people up to the 200 level concourse??? There must have been a 300 person lineup. looks like fans gonna get some exercise taking the stairs!

      Also: much quieter in the 3rd with those 12 dollar beers….didn’t see very many people partaking

      Boycott the Beer!! Bring the prices down!

      • Chris.

        It use to be about 20-30 stairs to move between the 200 level and the main concourse… Now it must be 4 storeys. I also thought there was going to be more concession variety… Like Starbucks, Booster Juice, etc. I see shots on TV from other new NHL buildings and it seems ours only looks awesome from the outside. 🙁

    • BlueHairedApe

      I’ve heard the same thing from a few people about how there’s no legroom in the second level. One guy I talked to is only about 5’9″ and he said his legs were killing him and that he always had to sit with both his legs cocked off to one side. I’m over six feet and found Rexall a tight squeeze but at least it was bearable. Im not so sure now that I want to go spend $200 to sit in a torture device for three hours. I’ve always read in the media that the design of the arena was supposed to address this issue. Oh wait…aren’t I supposed to believe everything the papers tell me? Doh

      • O.C.

        The lower bowl seats are much better than the lower bowl seats of Rexall. The concourse was surprisingly somewhat crowded but not as bad as Rexall. The lines for a beer are shorter. The views from any seat (assuming the beer rail seats are fixed) are better. You don’t get blocked out as you did by heads.

        You need go yourself. Some people come on here to whine; they forget what used to be.

        The concourse walls need art. Not big Brick adverts and a couple of large pics of past players. Some real art. Sport art of course.

        • Chris.

          I really did not want to be the complainer. I’m glad to hear the lower bowl is more comfortable. The 200 level is a downgrade from what we had before. (It’s actually quite uncomfortable). If I cannot upgrade my seats and make that work with my family budget I probably won’t renew my seats.

        • Seldom_Rest

          I was there on Saturday for the Oil Kings, and the original comment is exactly right. The Lower Bowl may be an improvement on Rexall – the Upper Bowl is not. It’s steeper, the concourses are narrower, and the much vaunted concessions and food choices are far less. There are very few concessions in the entire 200 level. I waited 35 minutes in line for popcorn for my kids, and the popcorn / pop was dixie cup sized. The seats were certainly not bigger than Rexall in the upper bowl. The mens line for the bathroom was longer than the womens.

          I am a huge supporter of the downtown arena, and am aware first hand in how it’s spurring development, but I’m also very disappointed. The outside may be world class but the upper bowl inside is a downgrade so far. They need to put a lot of heat on the food vendor and add significant amounts of new food stalls. I don’t think they can do anything about tiny seats and insufficient bathrooms. All the money appears to have been spent on the Loge level customers. I guess now there’s more than two tiers of fans… upper bowl fans don’t count anymore either.

    • Drew R. Fan

      Wow. 1st game in the new barn and already a ton of complaints. Entitled much? Heres a solution…. don’t go! And let someone else have the seat that will appreciate it. The seats hurt your knees. Wow. Sorry for the rant but talk about 1st world problems…..

      • Serious Gord

        I assume you are a taxpayer.

        That’s your asset he’s critiquing. An asset that probably will be in use for the next forty to fifty years.

        And the issues he raises – if true – are all very difficult if not impossible to correct.

        And he right that the exterior was pricy. From what I can tell virtually ever single panel is custom made.

      • I guess I’m entitled too but if you pay a lot for something, much more than the old rink, you do have expectations. The safety rail in the middle of the narrow aisles makes it so only 1 person on either side can go up or down and so it causes huge lineups each intermission, hopefully no emergencies ever. The seats we had are very comfortable with decent leg room, but we can’t see a chunk of the ice/play due to either bad glass, the glare on the glass or something like that; it may as well be an opaque wall. I’ll definitely be trying to change my seats if possible. It was extremely annoying, we couldn’t see any play coming up the right wing. I’m hoping that is only an issue for a select few seats and we just happened to be one of the unlucky ones.

  • O.C.

    At the game today. Not going to rate the entire team, and I left after period 2 (and it’s odd that the observations I had actually look like I watched all 3 periods.)

    First period. No one could receive a pass. Rusty players.

    Second period. This was starting to look like a hockey game.

    Thoughts.

    Pitlick. Yes, I thought he did great work the first 2 periods. The results of the 3rd were due.

    KBomb. Yep, the team missed THAT last year.

    Versteeg. How did no one sign this guy other than this PTO? He’s the real deal.

    Eberle. A fish out of water with that centre.

    Lucic. Taking it in. Learning. Changed positioning as he saw the tendencies for overlaps. I think he’s used to going up and down his lane. I wonder if he’s better suited for a guy like Leon?

    Larsson. Impressive. Incredibly cool, made the right play and not one to unload the puck quick at risk of making the bad pass. Screens off players nicely. More than just a shutdown player, but a great shutdown player.

    Benning. A player there. Needs some AHL work first.

    Cagguila. AHL work needed. Not ready for this.

    Niemelainen. “I have the puck. Who is closest? Here, you take it!” Poor choices on outlets. Needs to work on many areas of his game.

    Beck. There is something there. Good puck sense. Goes to the hard areas. He’ll be in the minors but he could make the NHL.

    JP. Looked uncomfortable. Nerves? AHL development needed first? Definitely a good skater and stickhandler.

  • don’t get me wrong, the new barn is really amazing. some small kinks, but overall it’s really great! Still hoping the beers come down in $$. The big problem was giving into Aramark’s $$, they shoulda had franchises in there, that would have been great!

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    @JasonGregor is absolutely ridiculous with his GDPs . It seemed every 2nd or 3rd game last season, not only would he get the correct score, but would often call out the goal scorers. He does this at an almost uncanny rate.

    I’m taking it upon myself to keep a Gregor GDP/NSOGDP tally. 1 point for GDP & 2 points for NSOGDP. with 7 PS games and 82 Regular season, that’s a potential of 267pts for the whole season. I’m bullish on his abilities, so I’ll call for a score of 100. if he nets 100, ill donate double that to a charity of his choosing and throw in a case of beer, because i’m that kinda guy.

    He gets 2/3 pts Tonight. 1 for calling the correct score (yeah he got 1 wrong. bite me, its preseason), and 1 for calling a Versteeg goal, but it wasn’t scored first, so he gets docked a point.

    I WILL MAKE THIS A THING THE INTERNET CANT STOP ME

    • In Lucic’s first game, albeit an initial preseason game, he appeared a step behind the play so it would appear there is no way he would be up with McDavid so if he is on that line, I’d think he’d be coming in later for a rebound or puck retrieval. It could work and I’m sure they will be trying it.

      I also think that Puljujarvi could use some seasoning in the AHL this year based on his play in last nights game as well. I’m guessing it will take him some time to get back into the swing of things after a knee injury like he had.

      Larrson better pick it up, he was beat a few times although he did make some decent plays here and there. I’m hoping it is preseason rust. In the New Jersey highlights, I just kept on hearing Hall’s name.

  • PhiDelt

    The seat complaints sound like Winnipeg’s MTS Centre(just moved to Winnipeg this past year from Edmonton to be closer to family). I am 6’2″, and my dad is 6’4″, and the MTS seats are brutal, our knees are at our ears(would rather watch at home on the 60″ TV), so it seams this is the new way for NHL rinks.
    At least in old Rexall I had decent leg room even in the 200-300 area.

  • Pretty good vibe in the new barn, kind of pumped for the opener as it stands to be a pretty loud venue from what we saw last night.
    It was typical pre season hockey… good players doing dumb things and kids you never heard of standing out a bit.

    I was happy for Pitlick, the kid flat out needs a break and getting inserted into the line up late may be just what he needs to jumpstart his camp.