As regular readers may or may not remember, Flamesnation and OilersNation have a running bet whereby the site of which ever team won the previous game of the Battle of Alberta gets to write the next gamethread for both sites – an opportunity that has resulted in a lot of name calling and mudslinging for both sides.
The scummy Oil won the last meeting, so this afternoon Wanye will share with us his no doubt gracious and eloquent views on the city of Calgary and the Flames (see below). Make sure to stop by and argue with the howling ON mobs in the comment section.
However, since the topic of lines and combinations is of primary interest around here heading into the game I figured it would be a good idea to do a Flames-centric preview first.
Ryan Pike attended the skate this mornng and reported these line rushes:
- Glencross – Tanguay – Iginla
- Cammalleri – Backlund – Stempniak
- Hudler – Stajan – Cervenka
- Baertschi – Jones – Comeau
- Giordano – Bouwmeester
- Brodie – Wideman
- Smith – Sarich
Surprise! Baertschi is in while both Begin and Jackman are out. That’s not a 4th line most traditionalists will like (where’s the size? The grit? WHO WILL FIGHT?).
Depending on how earnestly you cleave to the notion that the 4th line has to have goons and checkers, that configuration may or may not makes sense for you. Frankly, if Baertschi is going to play onthe 4th line I think should be in a situation like this: with non-goonish linemates and against another team with fairly lousy bottom-end players. He should be able to get his feet wet, outplay the bad guys and not worry about having to drag around a Steve Begin type all night.
Another item of interest if the new line of Cervenka, Stajan and Hudler. It’s a trio that makes me fairly nervous to tell you the truth. Either they’ll spend all night playing tic-tac-toe with the puck or they’ll get run right out of the rink. It will be interesting to see how Hartley uses them. My initial guess is third line comp and all the o-zone draws they can handle, but who knows.
Stempniak slides up with Backlund. Hopefully he can help get Cammalleri going. For my money Stemps has been one of the better Flames through the first three games while Cammalleri has looked more than a step behind the proceedings.
For all the consternation surrounding Baertschi’s demotion, few have noticed TJ Brodie’s promotion to the top-4 with Dennis Wideman. On merit I would argue as well – Brodie came in and was instantly noticeable (in a good way) after sitting out game 1. What’s most impressive is that through two games Brodie has just a 33.3% zone start ratio (offensive zone to defensive zone faceofffs at even strength) which is a tough deployment, but a +16.5 relative corsi rating nevertheless. Two games is games, of course, but that’s a tough row to hoe regardless and the kid has excelled.
It’s the Oilers. They suck. Sure they beat the Kings the other night, but who hasn’t this year? Anyways, here are their typical lines:
- Hall – Nuuge – Eberle
- Yakupov – Gagner – Hemsky
- Paajarvi – Horcoff – Smyth
- scrub – scrub – scrub
- Petry – Smid
- Whitney – Fistric
Challenge is obviously not to let that first line run away with things. hemsky can be a handful now that he’s healthy as well, particularly off the rush. Edmonton still has nig question marks in their own zone though, so if the Flames can get the puck in deep and work it around they should have some success.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Sponsor Promo
As you all no doubt realize now, The Tilted Kilt is FN’s primary sponsor this season. So from time-to-time we’ll be sharing some of their awesome gameday promos in this space. In fact, we’ll be getting FN-centric promos for gameday viewing events very soon (Stay tuned!).
Tonight, however, TK is running their weekly weekend gameday offers including a new Calgary flames jersey give-away. In addition, they will be having a "puck party" where everyone who attends tonight gets a different numbered puck. If the corresponding player scores or fights during the game, you win more prizes. Score!
So if you’re looking for a pub to view the game in Calgary tonight swing by the Tilted Kilt and give them a try.