Tomorrow night is one of those kinds of nights that could have a long-standing impact on the National Hockey League.
In one corner, you have the Edmonton Oilers and Zack Kassian. The other, the Calgary Flames and Matthew Tkachuk.
At the end of the day, there’s likely a score to settle. There’s bad blood and there’s no denying that.
Wednesday’s Battle of Alberta could go a few different ways.
You may see Kassian and Tkachuk drop the mitts early, get it out of the way, and move on from it. Nobody else would have to worry about any cheapshots and Kassian would likely be able to get his retribution. Or maybe Kassian starts to take runs at some Calgary Flames. He tries to do to someone on Calgary what Tkachuk did to him — catch him with a high, questionable hit while he’s in a vulnerable position. It’s not the route I hope he takes because it could come with it a significant injury to somebody and we don’t need that to happen.
Or maybe Tkachuk decides he doesn’t want to fight Kassian thus opening doors for a Kassian-Lucic/Rinaldo/Buddy Robinson(?) fight. This is the one nobody from Edmonton wants, but likely the one Calgary fans prefer. After all, what does Kassian owe to any of those three? Absolutely nothing.
Or maybe, just maybe, whatever happens on the ice — whichever way it goes — keeps the bad blood going between these two teams further resurrecting what has been a rather stale Battle of Alberta for decades. Nonetheless whatever happens Wednesday may carry over into the weekend. After all, Edmonton and Calgary are set to square up for a Saturday night showdown too.
If the playoffs started today, the Oilers and Flames would meet up in the first round of the playoffs. It would be the first time in nearly 30 years they faced off against each other in the postseason.
In hockey, rivalries are some of the fans most favourite things. They love having a team to hate and broadcasters love having good angles for stories.
One thing is for certain: no matter what goes down at Rogers Place Wednesday night, there will be plenty of stories to come for a long time.
On Twitter: @zjlaing