When it’s the Battle of Alberta, even if your team is not particularly good, and even if the Oilers are the hockey equivalent to the guys from Entourage leaving a Nickelback concert to go watch Grudge Match in theaters, and even if the game doesn’t feature the same vicious criminal thuggery of the Battles of the 80’s, when you lose to Edmonton, it just stings. Especially when this current version of the Oilers are about as good as your Christmas leftovers on April 13th.
Were the refs bad? Yes. Were the linesmen bad? Also yes. Is that the reason why the Flames lost 2-0 to the Oilers tonight? READ THE POST GAME REPORT TO FIND OUT!
Spoiler alert: the answer is no.
The anticipation leading up to this one was downright sweaty. The first game for both teams after the mini Christmas break, the atmosphere that surrounds a game between two long time bitter rivals, the heroin beer in the air, for Flames fans, this game was not a difficult one to get up for. The Flames would have been smart to open the game with a strong start.
Which they did, when "potential Olympian" (note: Uh, nope) Mark Giordano sniped one past Oilers starting goalie Devan Dubnyk (LOL). But the refs, shocked to see Joe Colborne standing in front of the net for the first time in his entire career, decided to disallow the goal because they assumed if Colborne was in that deep, he must have been interfering with the goalie.
He wasn’t, but that’s not important, I guess. No goal.
And that mattered, because shortly after, Ryan Smyth did what Ryan Smyth does:
suck at hockey score a goal with every part of his person except his stick.
Ryan Smyth now was 381 goals in his career. I’d wager only 64 of those weren’t scored by banking the puck off his face/ass
— The Season of Loob (@bookofloob) December 28, 2013
The Smyth goal itself was reviewed for a while, for some unknown reason because it was obviously a goal, and just a real heads up play by Smyth, who incidentally always has his head up because of the force of his mullet weighing down the back of his weird skull.
Shots were 12-10 in favour of the Flames in the first, and you got the sense that the Flames were not going to be held off the board for too much longer the way they were going, and given that the Oilers are as disjointed as Geddy Lee’s face and music.
The second and third periods reminded us that we sensed wrong.
The pace in this game slowed to about Brian McGrattan top speed and just got hard to watch. Both teams seemed to be going through the motions, though a few lapses here and there did force both Reto Berra and Dubnyk to make great saves at times, which considering it’s Reto Berra and Devan Dubnyk is not necessarily an easy task. The Flames, for their part, had their chances, but aside from Giordano ringing one off the iron, there was nothing really noteworthy about their game.
Old Balls Ryan Smyth would tickle the mesh late in the third again after a blown icing call by the linesman. Bloo Bloo, good call guys.
2-0 final for the Oil. Somehow. Like really, this made no sense. While neither team was exceptional, the Flames were a better team on this night, just you know, no bounces. Seemed so unlikely the way things were going that Calgary was coming away with nothing in this one.
Why The Flames Lost
Pedestrian pace to the game.
In that order. I guess Dubnyk had a decent game and the Oilers were pretty good defensively, but that’s a distant 4th.
The Red Warrior
Mark Joordano, friends. On a night where not a lot of Flames had much of a noteworthy presentation, the captain looked like he wanted to carry the world on his back en route to a victory. He wasn’t perfect in his own end, but he was overall pretty defensively sound, and had the best chances for either team on the other side of the blue line. He scored a goal, sort of, and hit the post, and had 3 shots on goal in almost 26 moments.
Paul Byron leveled David Perron with a perfect check in the first period, and I was ready to give him the red Warrior right there, as it was a nice little F*ck you to Brian Burke’s philosophy on hockey, but he kinda disappeared after that, and Gio, well, Gio’s awesome. I don’t know where all the Olympic talk is coming from, nor do I think he should be a candidate, but he’s pretty great, he’s ours, and he’s the Red Warrior.
Onward. Look onward. This one was a snoozer, but the Flames need to forget this ever happened and get their focus pants on, because the godless Canucks are in town on Sunday, and while they’re relatively whatever this season, they’re still an actual hockey team, unlike the Oilers, so there’s a challenge ahead.
We leave you tonight with a thought courtesy of Friend of the Blog Jeanshorts:
.@bookofloob You guys ever thought about calling him Care Berra?
— Jeanshorts (@JSBMrevolution) December 28, 2013
Think about it, Citizens.