FGD: Opening the Pre-Season with the Oilers & Weekend Open Thread

Ryan Pike
September 14 2013 02:10PM

Flames Vs Oilers

Well, hockey returns to our beloved Scotiabank Saddledome on a Saturday night, in the form of a pre-season battle between the Flames and Edmonton Oilers.

In this special kick-off to the pre-season calendar for both clubs, there's a 7pm game in Calgary (broadcast via Sportsnet 960 The Fan) and an 8pm game in Edmonton (brought to you by 630 CHED).

It's my understanding that the Oilers site is streaming the Edmonton game and the Flames site is streaming the Calgary game. Both teams are hoping to come away with a pair of wins and a lot of understanding about where their players fit into their NHL line-ups. Here's a look at what's happening in Calgary.

THE LINE-UP

As per Pat Steinberg, the lines for the Flames:

  • Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
  • Cammalleri – Backlund – D. Jones
  • Ferland – Monahan – Poirier
  • B. Jones – Knight – Nemisz
  • Giordano – Brodie
  • Culkin – O'Brien
  • Sieloff – Ramage
  • MacDonald
  • Ortio

It's a mostly NHL line-up (two NHL lines, an NHL D-pairing, the NHL back-up...), along with some interesting prospects. That third line could be killer, as well as the third blueline pairing. Here's the first big test for Ryan Culkin to see if he's pro-ready yet. In a fun bit of trivia, John Ramage's first exhibition game is in the Saddledome, where his dad played – and he'll probably pass the 1989 Stanley Cup photo outside the locker room on the way to the ice. And it's a great test for Monahan, who's been fantastic in camp thus far.

For the curious, the fellas not playing in either pre-season are goalie Laurent Brossoit, blueliners Chad Billins, Mark Cundari, James Martin, Brady Lamb, Eric Roy, Tyler Wotherspoon, Chris Breen and Zach McKelvie, and forwards Max Reinhart, Turner Elson, Coda Gordon, David Eddy, Brett Olson, Steve Begin, Morgan Klimchuk and Carter Bancks. Outside of Elson, Reinhart, Roy, Breen, Gordon and Klimchuk, who are all injured, it's a lot of try-out players and guys on the AHL fringes. And Wotherspoon and Billins, oddly, though they may be victims of the numbers game in terms of able blueliners.

THE OPPOSITION

Via the Oilers Twitter account, their lines in Calgary:

  • Hamilton – Gagner – Eberle
  • Jones – Gordon – Perron
  • Eager – Acton – Pitlick
  • Bilcke – Ewanyk – Chase
  • Smid – Petry
  • N. Schultz – Fedun
  • Larsen – Marincin
  • LaBarbera
  • Bachman

A bit more of a youngster-filled roster for the Oilers. There are a few stars here (Gagner, Eberle, Perron and Schultz), but generally a test for how their newer players can handle a trip into a hostile building against a more veteran-laden club. And Hitmen forward Greg Chase, chosen by the Oilers in the seventh round in the 2013 draft, makes his exhibition debut in the building he always plays in. Nice touch there, too.

SUM IT UP

Two games in two cities between the same two teams is a fun way to kick off the pre-season. The Flames would love to get some winning into their system early-on, particularly against the Oilers. The countdown to the regular season continues.

Check out OilersNation for the dumbed-down preview regarding the game in Shelbyville.

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#51 RexLibris
September 14 2013, 09:27PM
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Any thoughts on the G1 performance of the Flames?

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#52 schevvy
September 14 2013, 09:28PM
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@RexLibris

So what you are saying is Joni Ortio = the next Antero Niittymaki? That's not as fun. You're no fun Rex

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#53 RexLibris
September 14 2013, 09:54PM
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Watching that Joensuu wraparound goal again, if Berro doesn't overcommit on the shot wide he'd stop that. His coverage post to post is strong, he was just a fraction of a second too late.

It was a minor mental error that could be corrected, and if he can make that adjustment its one less flaw in what looks like an okay game so far.

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#54 schevvy
September 14 2013, 10:19PM
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Does anyone know when the Flames release their new alternates? I'm a little terrified to see them

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#55 beloch
September 14 2013, 10:27PM
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If Berra gets any NHL ice-time this year I bet he gets labelled "barely" Berra for good.

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#56 Avalain
September 14 2013, 10:28PM
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beloch wrote:

For anyone who thinks hockey is over tonight, the Flames squad just scored 3 unanswered third period goals to tie up the game in Edmonton at 5-5. Time to tune in!

Yeah! Wow, that Josh is really dane-jooris!

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#57 beloch
September 15 2013, 01:15AM
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I'm actually a bit surprised at how well Josh Jooris has played so far this preseason. He was good in the young prospects tournament but, tonight, he was embarrassing NHL'ers. There was one play in overtime where he stripped Taylor Hall of the puck, deked around him and forced Hall to take a penalty to keep him from getting a break. Yes, Hall isn't the greatest defensive player, but he's a legitimate NHL'er used to facing top competition. Making him look that foolish, even in a preseason game, isn't easy! On top of that Jooris potted two goals. Not bad!

I'm not going to go overboard and say Feaster just found another undrafted gem like Giordano, but Jooris definitely looks ready for pro. Over three seasons in the NCAA Jooris has scored at a 0.752 ppg, which translates to 0.248 ppg in the NHL or roughly 20 points over an 82 game season. I'm a little concerned that he hasn't taken any big steps forward during his NCAA career (his first season was his best one, at least according to counting stats). Still, the worst case I can see here is that he plays good minutes for the Heat. However, if he keeps this up he might make the big team out of camp!

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#58 coachedpotatoe
September 15 2013, 08:15AM
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I find it interesting that the game I expected for the flames to win was the home one and they lost, and somehow they won in Edmonton. I only listened to the first period of the home game so I don't have a real feel for who played well. Reading the news on the Flames it sounds like Poirier grew as the game progressed; good for him. I wonder what the line up will look like for the next one, Hope Ramo gets better.

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#59 Kmp
September 15 2013, 09:56AM
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@coachedpotatoe

Can't really blame Ramo, Hall's goal never went in, Russell and Kulak were horrible on 2 and 3rd goals and Kanzig got caught up ice on the 4th. Smith looks good playing offside, Jooris, Sven, Bouma, Galiardi and Horak all played well.

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#60 beloch
September 15 2013, 06:24PM
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Jooris is signed to a two-way ELC. At this point I bet he'll make the big team out of camp and have the chance to prove he's good enough to stay. Having a little more depth at center means it makes more sense to send Monahan back to Junior unless he looks good enough to play more than 5 minutes a night on the fourth line.

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#61 exsanguinator
September 15 2013, 07:25PM
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beloch wrote:

How doable is it to improve a player like Kanzig's skating? Could the Kinesiology people at the U give him exercises that might help him improve his stride?

Lots and lots and lots of power skating lessons would be my guess.

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#62 Avalain
September 16 2013, 10:49AM
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RexLibris wrote:

Unlikely. I think the Eskimos may continue that 1st overall draft pick tradition this year.

Now, if Burke wants to swap 1st round picks with Ed Hervey I'd be alright with that.

Well, my comment is more than a little tongue-in-cheek. I'm just following up the "plan the parade" line of thinking...

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#63 piscera.infada
September 15 2013, 06:32PM
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beloch wrote:

How doable is it to improve a player like Kanzig's skating? Could the Kinesiology people at the U give him exercises that might help him improve his stride?

I'm sure skating will be the number one priority for him as far as training goes. He's said in interviews it's something he knows he needs to improve if he wants to make it in the NHL.

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#64 TRAV
September 15 2013, 09:23PM
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While it's easy to get excited about who might make the team out of camp I expect that there will be lots of movement between ABBY and the Flames. I anticipate Horak, Knight, Granlund, Street, Jooris and Reinhart will all see time on the farm and in the show.

for what its worth I was at Winsport today and thought that Knight is starting to find his form. He has a very quick and accurate start and may be able to chip in with points when given the opportunity.

Poirier looked good again but he tends to get knocked off the puck in the corners. There is no question that this guy seems to be a magnet for the biscuit though as he always is in the right place at the right time.

I was impressed with Hartley's practice. He keeps the intensity up, calls players over to teach them about positioning and puck movement and switches drills when pace is lagging. Like a good teacher he also recognizes positives and points them out to guys. Finished with some fun in the form of a shootout with the losing team skating laps. All in all I thought that he created a good atmosphere for the team. Solid balance between hard work, teaching and fun. I wasn't really a big fan of his prior to today.

PS.. If at some point in the future Kanzig doesn't see some NHL action I'll eat my hat... :)

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#65 Baalzamon
September 15 2013, 11:49PM
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clyde wrote:

Hasn't he said he will bolt back to Russia if he is not on the NHL roster? Doesn't sound much like a committed to the team guy to me. And, I think the drafting of Monahan, Poirier ( both looking great at camp), Klimchuck, etc proves that the Flames were looking for a lot more than just grit.

Yeah... why are people complaining about Monahan? He's a lot more than just grit. I'd take him over Nichushkin any day.

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#66 exsanguinator
September 16 2013, 12:13AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Yeah... why are people complaining about Monahan? He's a lot more than just grit. I'd take him over Nichushkin any day.

I'd rather have a good two way center in the line up than a pure goal scorer. Build a team up the middle from the goalies and everything else will come.

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#67 piscera.infada
September 16 2013, 07:56AM
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@the forgotten man

"Funny, but I recall the Flames brain trust and their lackeys telling us Nischuskin was flaky, unpredictable and not a "team-guy"...but the Flames don't need any goal scorers anyways...just GRIT.

Funny, that seemed to be the general consensus - not just the Flames "lackeys". There were red flags around Nichushkin whether you like it or not, otherwise he probably would have been selected before number 10. The same can be said about Shinkaruk. But some people wont look at that kind of evidence - they'll simply say "the Flames brain trust thinks it's smarter than everyone".

Perhaps the reg flags surrounding Nichuskin weren't warranted, and maybe he turns out to be the greatest "team guy" in the league. You know what? That would be great for the league. Does it make it the right pick for the Flames way back on June 30, 2013? Probably not. If they would have taken that unnecessary risk in the fledgling stages of a rebuild, at 6th overall (with Monahan still on the board, to boot), I'm afraid this website would implode with Feaster-hate.

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#68 McRib
September 17 2013, 09:18AM
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@the forgotten man

Valeri Nichushkin has one good exhibition game and everyone looses their minds.... You are aware of why he fell on draft day?!?!?!

He refused to lift a weight at the combine and would only interview with select teams, doesn't sound like a team player to me!! Also how do you know what went on in the Flames interview room, maybe we were one of the teams he refused to even sit down with.... I know a big reason the Stars signed Sergei Gonchar was to convince his agent they were serious by bringing in other Russians. I don't know about you but I wouldn't want the Flames drafting a Russian that doesn't want to play for us. We can just ask Columbus/Nashville how that goes.

Not to mention Sean Monahan is a much more complete player (Better Hockey IQ, defensive play, character, etc) with similar offensive upside. Lets see how Nichushkin does against full rosters before freaking out over a couple goals.

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#69 al russell
September 18 2013, 02:29PM
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just moved from edmonton to claresholm.as long as kevin lowe is running the show the flames should finish around the same spot.not sure how the oil think that the same crew that drove the bus off the cliff in 07 can be magically reassembled with different titles and expect any change.still as soft as Charmin but at least we dont have to worry Robin Regher anymore.

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