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.

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.

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
  • 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.

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…

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Watching this game is alot like seeing a rat get run over by a car and watching him twitch until he dies…. You kinda feel sorry for the poor little guy until you remember that you hate rats!

    • RexLibris

      Just make sure in your world that the rat is wearing a red jersey and a wee little Plough-boy hat and you wont feel so bad watching that playaction,ha ha ha.

      I love it, we need to cut our teeth on teams like Calgary, this is history repeating itself, next year Cowpietown will be arming up with beasts to survive in our division.

      We need to keep a hate on for any team with the cojones to think they can take our two points, no one has a right to touch those points, if we lose them its because we didnt protect them. Calgary needs to be pounded to dirt until we adjust the overall Franchise win/loss numbers to reflect the reality of today,we need to pound them for at least 5 years hard to even things up. It has begun.

      • 365

        Don’t worry, in my world all rats wear flaming C’s. it’s nice to make fun, but the boys do need to handle there business . I’m not sure what you mean by the flamers arming up with beasts next year…. I assume you mean instead of embracing a full rebuild, they’ll be stubborn and overpay free agents to remain quasi competitive. That my friend would be my dream come true. And in regards to the 5 years of dominance to even things up…. Come on, we gave them a bone, they got some work to do to catch our 5 cups. So they won a couple games against us in our rebuild…. It gives em somthing to hang their hat on and no harm no foul

  • Clyde Frog

    Jonesy looked like MPS there , now its magnuses turn to show us his stuff, lets see Maggie use the same move on a different line,ha ha ha. That was the Abbdilcator or whatever his name is move, beautiful. That is the definition of trucluence with the puck.

    We need to keep the pedal down and not lose a step, we need more goals at least three more to seal the deal.

    I dont want to say anything at this point as Ralph seems to have turned the corner and has synergy and momentum. All I can say so far is great job and it is times like this that put me in Awe of what the Pros can accomplish consistancy wise when they are dialed in.

    We do need to step it up a notch we are looking complacent with our body language on line changes and some possesions. We better get hungrier and soon this game is far from over.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    well, the flames are benefiting from well below nhl average tending right now. that and some amazing d breakdowns… like Whitney level breakdowns.

    shots Cal 10-6. this game should be closer.

    that czech line looks good on CAL, the rest are barely above water.

    outside of that goal, jones continues to look lost in his own end.

  • Milli

    WOW, Taylor’s taking OVER! Remember this is the kid who led his junior team to back to back memorial cups, back to back MVP’s, and man I hope he’s leading us back to the PLAYOFFS!!!!!!

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Maybe we can see Jones and Yak switch spots now and have Nail given the freedom to freelance straight to the net. Mix it up.

    It is awsome to see our ability to penetrate the zone and attack in different ways tonight, it is a multi-faceted attack and looks very good. Calgary cant seem to dial in because they are getting hit from different levels by different lines, it looks awsome.

    Tambi is a clown, he made inferences that it was the Players not buying into Ralphs system that has been the catalyst of our screwy season, you coward Tambi, you coward. Our coaching staff was not dialed in and you blame the players you leechy rotten coward. Get rid of that BSing oxygen thief, I cant stomach a man who passes the buck like that , that is so classless. It ruined my dam nachos just listening to his crap, someone get rid of that bum. We dont want that teflon attitude here, nice try at making a statement you bufoon. We all watched the coaching staffs evolution and your Round table sucks, keep beating your own drum Tambi maybe if you do it ling enough you will dance yourself out of town sooner than later. Dont pass accountability to anyone you coward, the coaches and players are showing it now at least we can see what a weak link you are inside your beanbag, you weasel.

    Dont pass the buck or we will never become champions here. Crap rolls uphill on Championship team Tambi so you better start ducking pal.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Ralph, it is to early to try closing this game out and we have slowed down tremendously, we need to refocus and go back to 1st period execution immediatly, we are not looking hungry, we are looking to relaxed, this is not good just a few penaltys and we screw this up, put the dam pedal back down adjust and attack, and speed it up, they are happy at this speed get them out of their comfort zones, and get to the dam net already. We need three more goals who the hell is kidding themselves here.

    Ralph, get motivating, its what you do, so do it now. Give everyone small tasks so they can tighten up a little, nothing major just get them involved, and tell the third line to shoot for the tenders elbows every possesion , always his elbow area, and dig for greasy rebounds, but hard shots at the elbow exactly.

  • 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.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Seriously. Petrell is leading all Oilers forwards in ice time after 2 periods. Tough to teach your young players to have a killer instinct when your coach lacks one.

  • 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?

  • 3 or 4 picks would help the rebuild, but other than the Flames inevitable 3rd overall, 16th (St.L) 18-20 (Tor for Kipper) and 30th (Pitts) doesn’t mean it will be any faster

    Other than Eberle who was a 22, and Schultz who was an Ana middling pick, our future are all #1’s.

    Anthony Mantha, Curtis Lazar, and Johnathon Drouin will not make the Flames 2.0 anything like today’s Oilers, especially in their first 3-4 seasons.

    Although I hear Tyler Benson is the consensus #1 in the 2016 NHL draft