FGD: One Tin Soldier – The Legend of City Yak

 

After Shelbyville showed us all that even a broken clock is right twice a day, the Battle of Alberta gamethread is back where it belongs. Oh and if you don’t get the reference in the title? Google is your friend.

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Tonight, two teams on completely different roads will cross paths once again, where scoreboard watching will be put aside in favour of compulsory disdain and a sheer desire to lay the boots to one of your oldest rivals. Since 2009, it has been the Flames doing the majority of kicking, leading the head-to-head series 19-4.

Much has changed since the Flames and the Oilers last met on January 27th (when the good guys won 4-3), as Calgary seems to have taken a page out of the Oilers operational book and are on a slide towards the bottom of the league. The Oilers, meanwhile, are on the cusp of making a push towards unfamiliar territory of their own… the playoffs.

Somehow it seems fitting that these two squads would meet up today, April 1st. What has in recent history been dubbed the “Battle of Albrutal”, where either team is in the standings has been irrelevant because neither ever wants to lose this match-up, neither want to be the fool.

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The Line-Up

We all know who the obvious loss to the lineup is, but we shouldn’t forget who still is. Curtis Glencross loves himself a piece of the Oilers whenever the chance presents itself.

The Flames lineup is probably written in pencil, due to wide speculation around who might be staying and who might be leaving. Fronting the list is Jay Bouwmeester, with destinations including both Detroit and St. Louis. Others that are also coming up to be on the move are the likes of Tanguay, Sarich, Cammallerri and of course Glencross.

Very few are safe these days and there is going to be a lot of speculation leading right up to April 3rd. For now, here’s how SNET’s Pat Steinberg has the lines shaping up.

  • Glencross-Stajan-Stempniak
  • Tanguay-Cammallerri-Comeau
  • Hudler-Backlund-Cervenka
  • McGrattan-Begin-Jackman
  • Brodie-Bouwmeester
  • Giordano-Wideman
  • Butler-Sarich
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  • Kiprusoff

The Oilers have to be licking their chops at the thought of facing Miikka Kiprusoff tonight with his less than stellar performance between the pipes this year. However he is also 15-2 in his last 17 starts against Edmonton with a 2.43 GAA. He will have to be “that guy” tonight in order to give his team a legit chance at putting a dent in the Oilers’ playoff hopes.

It will also be very interesting to see how long Hartley leaves the Czech’s with Backlund. Cervenka has been playing with a lot more confidence and certainty in the month of March, and Backlund’s creative and bold play is an interesting match that has the potential to pay dividends.

The Village Idiots

The Oil have won three straight for the first time this season. That is part of a 6-2-2 record in their last ten that has them sitting 11th in the conference, just two points out of the top eight.

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It’s no secret that the Oilers’ Achilles heel (other than playing in the NHL) has been from the blueline. This morning they penned Ladislav Smid to a four year extension with an AAV of $3.5 Million. That’s sure to be enough to put them over the hump right? Relax Shelbyville dwellers, we know, we know… “Laddy” is a great shot-blocker and he has all the intangibles right? RIGHT?

It’s a good thing the defence is all sorted out, now Ralph Kreuger can figure what the hell is wrong with his highly touted offensive talent. “Yak City” is more of a ghost town these days, registering just one assist in his last five games and hasn’t been part of the Oilers late push. In fact he hasn’t found the back of the net since February 25th, and only has 5 assists during the entire month of March.

Things aren’t that rosy for RNH this season either. The young center has a meagre three goals on sixty-six shots, giving him a whopping personal shooting percentage of 3.0%. That’s a far cry from last season’s 13.4% pace. Then again, I suppose it’s okay to fall off a cliff when you know you will safely land on the coat-tails of Taylor Hall. Well done Nuuuuuuge.

  • Hall-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle
  • Paajarvi-Gagner-Hemsky
  • Jones-Horcoff-Yakupov
  • Petrell-Smyth-Brown
  • Smid-Petry
  • N. Schultz-J. Schultz
  • Whitney-Potter
  • Dubnyk

Sum it Up

Game Day Prediction: The Flames scrape the barrel for what remaining ounce of dignity they have left and continue the Alberta trend by winning this one 5-3; snapping their road loss streak at nine.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Curtis Glencross sticks it once again to the team that let him go, showing two versions of his infamous “Scoreface”

Not-so-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Hot on the heels of scoring his fastest hat-trick in Oilers history, Taylor Hall is about due for some mis-hap that has always seem to keep him out of games against Calgary. Tonight will be no different as he and his buck-toothed face will be mistaken for the Easter Bunny, so all the other barely pubescent children on the team will bug him about not getting enough candy this weekend.

What makes this whole situation really funny is that the average Oil fan is like some giddy, pimpled-faced nerd who finally landed that date with his lab partner’s sister. They say they have been waiting for this day, this day of retribution. When all the stars are aligned and the Oil can take back the pride that the Flames have, for the last decade or so, used to clean their skate blades after the game.

Newsflash… We know, we’ve seen this coming for a long time too guys. What makes it funny though is that despite everything, the losses, the bad trades, the injuries… whatever you want to jeer Calgary about this time, they just keep beating the Oilers.

These days, for Flames fans.. that’s not quitte enough for now. However, for added entertainment, Flames fans appreciate the fans up North, the ones that are convinced that this is finally it. The time for the Oilers to take that step forward out of the mire and take their rightful place at the fornt of the class. That’s just awesome and I sincerely hope the Oilers do make the playoffs this year. It will make it that much better when they are bounced decisively and the Oilers management is left shaking their heads as to what went wrong.

One last thing…


  • Scary Gary

    It seems they are sending all three forecheckers in and directly at the puck they are overcomitting sending three men in one at the puck and the other two are triangulating and cutting off the two outlet passes, so we need to remember that if we can forgo the first fast pass and just make ONE move one-on-one we will be clear for a much better look , they dont have two man coverage now they are triangulating so if you can make one move around initial coverage you are in good shape, and when we do get the puck now we REALLY need to take it greenlit all the way in to the net full speed because they are cheating to the forcheck and have no immediate support coming when we are attacking there is a huge gap they are getting caught with because they are cheating deep on the forcheck but we arent targeting it yet, we need ti hit them down the direct middle full speed right to the net.

    MPS should take it up the middle I dont think they can handle him if he can cut both ways with his overall speed and size, he should fake outside very early and then go right to the middle EXACTLY two strides into the o-zone, abrupt cut to the middle anf then a straight on bee-line with head up because at that point there is only one man defending the middle and threatening you to watch for, two more strides and that area is deadly and congested. They are nice and weak down the middle.

  • Clyde Frog

    Wow….the Flames Front Office is even more bonkers than I even imagined.

    How far has this team fallen?

    They were +1.5 dogs ATS and +143 on the Money Line tonight…..Yikes!

  • vetinari

    Gather ’round kids and let me tell you about the Flames who went to the Cup final in 2000 and something… There was Wiggily Joe and he played for years on the donut line– NO CENTER! I think he’s gone now but they still have Phaneuf and the Gipper, right? Right? And is Cameltoe still on their roster?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Sit the 1st line now to rest them and run Yakupovs line hard, let him lead every rush for the rest of the game, he needs the experience in a safer environment.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        Will happen you pessimistic troll. Shut up and go cheer for a team u like and quit commenting on an Oilers website. Where’s clydefrog with a new DSF segment when u need him.

      • Pharmboy

        The Oilers have the Blues system dialed in now, every team they have played in the last four are dialed in to the system now in a new way. We now have a properly catalysed tactical database on the Blues, so its all over for them when they play us till they make changes.

        This is not just a streak this is a new Oilers perspective we have not seen before.

        This new personality will not change now, it will continue to evolve. Opposition teams are already starting to talk about our teams system and what we are doing lately, we are Goaltender Poison, we are forcefeeding them BadMedicine consistantly, teams think we have the books on their goaltenders when its really consistant system execution at the heart of our recent adjustments in the right direction. They pull them because there is no other explanation and when we continue to score we prove that it is system catalysed offense on our part not specific goaltender scouting and tactics.

        This is the NewAge Edmonton Oilers coming of age and showing their committment as a group.

        I have seen enough, Ralph has finally “got it” and I cant wait till we have 82 games to execute the system the way we are now and should continue to do for a very long time.

        Tambi is full of crap, the Players have bought in to Ralphs system all year long, Ralph has finally gotten his house in order with more suitable lines from a dynamic perspective and his pre-game preparation and that has been the difference. So far the Players are displaying honesty and Integrity, Ralph is now showing more of the same and here we have red faced Tambi BSing us face to face, jesus that sucks to have to listen to that “pass the buck” mentality trying to hang the players out to dry, sticking his nose where it doesnt belong. Either muzzle Tambi or tell him to keep his nose where it belongs businesswise. I hate it when he plays headgames and tries to manipulate the fan base from his position of responisbility, he outstrips his boundaries when he does this.

        Now that the team from the bottom up is becoming more integrity based and honest and STRONGER we are seeing where the weak links are and that red faced Blustering BS I heard from Tambi was not fitting. I hope the organisation can stop that type of fan and media manipulation and keep their managers focused on their specific jobs and out of team dynamics, kevin Lowe has set a fine example and evoved into a much more capable manager for the adjustments, we need to shut this idiot up, DONT blame the players to protect the Round Table or we will bust it to pieces before your eyes Tambi.

  • Sometimes I wonder, just what DSF is, Big, Small, Cross-eyed, Old, Young, so many kind of trolls! It’s hilarious seeing everyone get fired up….every…time! If it wasn’t for DSF we’d all be getting 2013 Stanley cup tattoo’s on our balls already. And for that, I say Thank You Sir!

  • DSF

    It’s pretty apparently (( to me at least )) just how important iggy really was to the flames. Boumeester and kipper too. Too bad for you guys kipper just looked terrible tonight lol. Gl with the upcoming rebuild. The plunging spiral downward isn’t gonna fun at all 🙁

  • Admiral Ackbar

    The Oilers puck possession game has been steadily improving. They’re still coughing it up on the boards in their own zone, unfortunately due to the lack of talent on the back end, but it’s a breath of fresh air from a team that’s been a one dimensional chip-up-the-boards-team the past 5 years.

    I hate to admit it but I’m beginning to appreciate Kreug’s system.

    Still, I wish there was more physical retaliation out of this team. Cowgary just hammered at them for the last 10 minutes and the Oil just kept taking it. Feed them a pack of starving, ravenous wolves: I want the taste of blood on their tongues when they play rematch games Wed and Thurs.

    • PlayDirty

      Physical retribution is nice, but not at the cost of losing the game

      Why give Calgary even a chance of getting back into the game, not the first time I’ve seen the Oil lose a lead

      I’m glad they focus on winning and not at the cost of a dumb penalty for retribution

  • Oilfred

    DSF:

    If you really believe that you get first for Kipper, well you must be high.

    There is no market for goalies this year, ask Ottawa.

    Cammy is not going anywheres with that contract. Expiring deals only are desirable at this point.

    So that top three pick is going to get them a hell of a player. The St. Louis pick and the Pitt pick are likely to be in the 25-30 range and they gave Montreal their pick in round 2.

    This is huge for Calgary. But only the their pick likely helps next year. For free agents they are about to receive the same treatment as the Oilers have with free agents and will continue to for the next 3-5 years.

    But you are right they will have the cap to draw this out in span of mediocracy that will make us all very happy.

    Good day sir.

    Enjoy the next ten years of Oiler playoff hockey.