Hello everyone and welcome to the first Battle of Alberta for the 2009-10 season on Oct. 3, 2009.
It’s good that the architects of the NHL schedule have seen fit to have the first Battle as the Flames’ second game of the season and the Oilers’ first. It makes it much less interesting that way.
Case in point: did you SEE the Flames game against the Canucks? They gave up 78 shots or something crazy like that. This after Darryl Sutter said they wanted to cut way down on shots allowed. Oops. But I get it, y’know? Still learning a new coach’s system and getting used to the new guys and etc. etc. etc. At least they won, right?
The Oilers, meanwhile, have been doing nothing but practicing since last April. They’re almost a complete unknown. New coach, some new faces, maybe even new expectations that perhaps they won’t be eye-bleedingly awful this season (don’t hold out hope). But at least they’re playing in the same crummy rink.
Being that it’s so early in the season, this is going to be a little sloppy. And I know you kids like your hockey games extra sloppy!!!
Anyway, this is something I started doing especially for the Battle of Alberta games last season:
10 things that might happen tonight
(Of which only five will probably take place)
- After a disappointing opening game, Jarome Iginla gets a Gordie Howe hat trick.
- Robyn Regehr has at least three borderline-illegal hits on Ales Hemsky, much to my glee.
- Dion Phaneuf puts at least one Oiler in the hospital.
- Jay Bouwmeester scores his first as a Flame, an overtime game-winner.
- Miikka Kiprusoff’s save percentage is below .900
- Olli Jokinen has a multiple-point night.
- Brandon Prust rampages out of the corner and storms the net for another goal.
- More impressive play with the man advantage, but they won’t score.
- The Flames hang a four-spot on Khabibulin, then add a fifth on Deslauriers.
- Wanye Gretz weeps bitterly into his beer.
I really hope that last one comes true.
Enjoy the game.