Hockey Daze in Canada

Jean Lefebvre
January 30 2010 07:49AM

Surely there must be a way for both of the rag-tag Alberta clubs' losing streaks to continue beyond tonight's tilt at One of the The Many Houses Frankie Musil Built.

The Elias Sports Bureau tells us this is already the first National Hockey League contest in more than 22 years to feature a matchup of clubs on winless skids of at least nine games and, goshdarn it, why can't the fun carry on into February?

Picture this -- the game goes scoreless through regulation and overtime (shots after 65 minutes of "play" are 11-8 in favour of the Oil; the fights are 6-4 for Calgary). The shootout drags on and on and on with no one being able to score. Devan Dubnyk and Curtis McElhinney are called upon as the next shooters while, just in case, assistant coaches Kelly Buchberger and Dave Lowry remove their jackets and start perusing the stick rack for a weapon.

At this point, the referees are called over to the penalty time-keeper's area to take a phone call from Mission Control in Toronto. Mike Murphy, who accidentally turned on the Calgary-Edmonton game during a commercial break of the Minnesota-San Jose affair, tells the zebras that, in the name of decency, Jari Kurri, Joe Mullen and all that is good about the sport of hockey, the game has been called a double forfeit.

Heck, maybe the NHL should call this one off before it even begins, if only to save us all from the 4,824 mentions of "Something's got to give in tonight's Battle of Alberta" during the CBC's Hockey Day in Canada telethon.

It's been three weeks since the Flames last tasted victory -- a shootout triumph that launched Calgary into top spot of the Northwest Division. The Flames have since leaked down to third in the division and ninth in the conference, with a bunch of clubs lining up behind them.

For Edmonton, it's been exactly a month since a "W" has been claimed (at least scoring more goals than Toronto still counts as a victory in most North American jurisdictions). The Oilers were already 15th in the Western Conference at that point, but the subsequent cataclysm means the Copper 'n' Blue is now 13 points behind the 14th-place squad. In addition, the Carolina Hurricanes, who were nine points behind the Oil on Dec. 30, are now five points ahead with Monday's Edmonton-Carolina Basement Bowl (available on pay-per-view!) looming.

The Flames can theoretically console themselves with the knowledge that a win or two gets them back into the top eight, although a cynic will undoubtedly mention that sneaking into the post-season only earns Calgary the right to get paddled by either San Jose or (yikes!) Chicago.

In Edmonton, the silver lining comes in the form of the debate between which of the top-flights prospects -- Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin -- would look best in Oilers colours. This is where the Oil has it all over the Flames, who don't own a pick in the first two rounds of the 2010 teenage talent harvest and will be left to choose between guys like Brock Beukeboom, Devante Smith-Pelly, Kevin Gravel, Brandon Archibald and Jason Zucker at approximately the 70th slection.

It will be interesting to see what the ratings are like for tonight's game, which certainly has a rubbernecking, watching-NASCAR-for-the-crackups appeal to it. With this being the final Battle of Alberta of the season and Calgary having won the first five matchups, it probably shouldn't be too hard for the Oilers to work themselves into a lather, especially when there's a chance to stretch a Flames losing streak to double digits while ending the Oilers' own epic slide.

As Robin Brownlee has already suggested, this could be a good one despite the combined 21 losses in a row by the two teams heading into the contest. Besides, what the hell else are you going to do? Break down the matchups for tomorrow's Pro Bowl?

 

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Lefebvre is in that awkward stage of hockey following -- old enough to fondly remember the Cleveland Barons and too set in his ways to accept charity points and games where there's a winner but apparently no loser. As a long-time ink-stained wretch, he's also a firm believer in the old Bobby Knight quote about journalists: "All of us learn to write in second grade, but most of us go on to better things."
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#1 Bar Qu
January 30 2010, 08:55AM
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Awesome picture. We had a print in our house for years, since my brother was a Flames fan and I followed the Oilers.

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#2 VK63
January 30 2010, 09:35AM
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Sadly I was trying to entice some bets from the flames faithful at the local senior game last night. No one cared, they were as vehement in their hatred of the Kingsuttersquared mess as Oiler fans. In the words of one prophet... both organizations are in the same place, one just has a head start.

yuck.

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#3 Pajamah
January 30 2010, 10:29AM
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Its bad when fans of both organizations are arguing over who has it worse.

Frankly, with all the talk of Souray having moderate trade value, my thinking is, that if Calgary were to blow up their roster (which won't happen, they'll keep Kiprusoff, Iginla, Bouwmeester) they'd atleast have valuable chips to move.

While Rene Bourque is proving to be a valuable commodity, its sad when he is your second leading scorer.A Dustin Penner should be the second leading scorer (an indictment of the Oilers sad state of affairs)

And one of Regehr/Phaneuf should get you a 5-6 million dollar scorer (I wonder how Cammalleri would do in Calgary?)

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#4 Clangger
January 30 2010, 11:31AM
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I say we "suck for Seguin" and call er a day

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#5 Ilya Byakin
January 30 2010, 11:33AM
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Despite the current losing streak, this has been a great week for hockey!

Gretzmas, The mighty Oilers Nation's 2nd birthday, AND Hockey Day in Canada!

I believe that all 3 of these occasions call for a national holiday... Petition anyone?

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#6 VK63
January 30 2010, 11:50AM
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@Pajamah

Regehr does not get you much at all, let alone a 5-6 million dollar scorer. He is arguably as bad as Souray and at a similar point in his injury prone/lost a step/the best of him was yesterday/payed a truckload/ point in his career.

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#7 Lofty
January 30 2010, 12:09PM
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Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary... easy Sports Select Saturday.

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#8 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 30 2010, 12:24PM
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Lofty wrote:

Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary... easy Sports Select Saturday.

Why would you pick Calgary to win over Edmonton when you could pick Chicago to win over Carolina for a better payout?

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#9 Emu
January 30 2010, 01:09PM
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VK63 wrote:

Regehr does not get you much at all, let alone a 5-6 million dollar scorer. He is arguably as bad as Souray and at a similar point in his injury prone/lost a step/the best of him was yesterday/payed a truckload/ point in his career.

I'm sure Washington wouldn't balk at parting with nylander for him.

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#10 McCreeper
January 30 2010, 02:11PM
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@Clangger

Psst, " gunnin' 4 Seguin". Pass it on.

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#11 Shawner
January 30 2010, 02:11PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Why would you pick Calgary to win over Edmonton when you could pick Chicago to win over Carolina for a better payout?

carolina is on a winning roll of their own

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#12 Shawner
January 30 2010, 02:12PM
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Emu wrote:

I'm sure Washington wouldn't balk at parting with nylander for him.

nylander is playing in finland for jokerit

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#13 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 30 2010, 02:18PM
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Shawner wrote:

carolina is on a winning roll of their own

Chicago, though? I guess we'll see.

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#14 Lofty
January 30 2010, 02:27PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Why would you pick Calgary to win over Edmonton when you could pick Chicago to win over Carolina for a better payout?

I got Chicago on a combo ticket with some college hooops. I wanted one ticket for the 3 CBC games. That one will be a solid game on a 5 game combo

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#15 Eddie Shore
January 30 2010, 02:38PM
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Lofty wrote:

Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary... easy Sports Select Saturday.

Ottawa and Montreal in OT...

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#16 Lofty
January 30 2010, 02:49PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Ottawa and Montreal in OT...

Thank-you Fisher!!! I guess thats why they pay him 4.2 million, wins the draw in his own zone, takes the pass a makes it count. Cant see Horcoff or Moreau pulling that off tonight.

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#17 Pajamah
January 30 2010, 03:27PM
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Emu wrote:

I'm sure Washington wouldn't balk at parting with nylander for him.

Im sure Washington wouldnt balk at anything for Nylander. George McPhee likely tried to trade him for something, but how difficult would that have been, if we're discussing the lack of value for Souray/Regehr.

To be honest, I'm amazed that Calgary fans don't see Regehr as a better commodity. I think of all the Flames talented defensemen, he has to be the most hated by the opposition, for the way hes been able to shut down/beat the crap out of Hemsky for the last few years.

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#18 Shawner
January 30 2010, 07:32PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Chicago, though? I guess we'll see.

told ya carolina is the team to pick

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#19 Lofty
January 30 2010, 07:45PM
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2 for 2 so far now I just need the oil to continue to be the most consistent team in the NHL.

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#20 Death Metal Nightmare
January 30 2010, 11:52PM
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that picture is extremely bizarre.

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