I started working in Edmonton in July of 2009 and it didn’t take long for me to get a taste of what the Battle of Alberta was all about. Let’s flash back to the beginning of the ’09 season: the Oilers faced the Flames on October 3rd and again six days later on the 9th, and both head-to-head meetings provided plenty of fireworks.
CALGARY 4 at EDMONTON 3, October 3rd
The first game featured a much talked about scrap between Sam Gagner and Craig Conroy. Gagner hadn’t been playing much and as he said after the game, he was just trying to make an impact. “Mutual agreement, I don’t have any thing against him personally but I was just trying to get involved any way I could,” said Gagner after the club’s season opener.
“I wasn’t expecting him to say anything but he leaned over to me and said ‘you want to get this thing going,” explained Conroy. “I’m not known for it, but he wanted to go. He was probably frustrated. He wasn’t getting a lot of playing time. Maybe I shouldn’t have fought him because he came back to get the tying goal.”
Gagner did score the game’s tying goal with less than seven minutes to play in the third, but David Moss would score the game winner for the Flames in the final minute of regulation.
Fans were already big supporters of Gagner but this scrap certainly helped cement his reputation as a scrappy kid willing to do anything for his team.
Earlier in the third period Zack Stortini had a pretty long tilt with Brandon Prust.
The physical play in the third period certainly set the tone for a rematch just six days later.
CALGARY 4 at EDMONTON 3, October 9th
The strangest thing about these two games is that they both took place in Edmonton. The Oilers opened up with a four game home stand in 2009 and two of the four matchups were against Calgary.
The Oil had a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes but early in the second period things started to get nasty. Just 18 seconds in the frame Jarome Iginla took Sheldon Souray heavily into the boards.
The play would lead to Oilers captain Ethan Moreau dropping the gloves with Iginla later in the game, trying to make him pay the price for his hit on Souray.
It would also lead to a legendary post game rant from Pat Quinn.
Quinn, may he rest in peace, was one of the last old school coaches in the game and it’s safe to say he was not happy with Iginla. Moreau fighting Iggy wasn’t enough to satisfy his coach, in fact it fired him up even more: “That’s not addressing it. In the era I come from, you’re supposed to do dirt with dirt. You don’t give him honour. Why would you give a man honour for that kind of a play? He honoured him with a fistfight.”. DIRT WITH DIRT.
Quinn would end up being fined $10,000 by the league and got a pretty good response out of Iggy as well, “I’m glad nobody hit me over the head with a stick, I don’t think that’s the way it goes.”
DIRT WITH DIRT
The game has changed drastically over the past decade but the question remains, will either the Oilers or Flames fight dirt with dirt on Wednesday? Will gloves be dropped? Will Kassian go hunting for a “clean” check on Tkachuk or another skilled Flames forward? George Parros will be in attendance but I have a feeling that’s not going to change a thing.