Well, hockey returns to our beloved Scotiabank Saddledome on a Saturday night, in the form of a pre-season battle between the Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
In this special kick-off to the pre-season calendar for both clubs, there’s a 7pm game in Calgary (broadcast via Sportsnet 960 The Fan) and an 8pm game in Edmonton (brought to you by 630 CHED).
It’s my understanding that the Oilers site is streaming the Edmonton game and the Flames site is streaming the Calgary game. Both teams are hoping to come away with a pair of wins and a lot of understanding about where their players fit into their NHL line-ups. Here’s a look at what’s happening in Calgary.
As per Pat Steinberg, the lines for the Flames:
- Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
- Cammalleri – Backlund – D. Jones
- Ferland – Monahan – Poirier
- B. Jones – Knight – Nemisz
- Giordano – Brodie
- Culkin – O’Brien
- Sieloff – Ramage
It’s a mostly NHL line-up (two NHL lines, an NHL D-pairing, the NHL back-up…), along with some interesting prospects. That third line could be killer, as well as the third blueline pairing. Here’s the first big test for Ryan Culkin to see if he’s pro-ready yet. In a fun bit of trivia, John Ramage’s first exhibition game is in the Saddledome, where his dad played – and he’ll probably pass the 1989 Stanley Cup photo outside the locker room on the way to the ice. And it’s a great test for Monahan, who’s been fantastic in camp thus far.
For the curious, the fellas not playing in either pre-season are goalie Laurent Brossoit, blueliners Chad Billins, Mark Cundari, James Martin, Brady Lamb, Eric Roy, Tyler Wotherspoon, Chris Breen and Zach McKelvie, and forwards Max Reinhart, Turner Elson, Coda Gordon, David Eddy, Brett Olson, Steve Begin, Morgan Klimchuk and Carter Bancks. Outside of Elson, Reinhart, Roy, Breen, Gordon and Klimchuk, who are all injured, it’s a lot of try-out players and guys on the AHL fringes. And Wotherspoon and Billins, oddly, though they may be victims of the numbers game in terms of able blueliners.
Via the Oilers Twitter account, their lines in Calgary:
- Hamilton – Gagner – Eberle
- Jones – Gordon – Perron
- Eager – Acton – Pitlick
- Bilcke – Ewanyk – Chase
- Smid – Petry
- N. Schultz – Fedun
- Larsen – Marincin
A bit more of a youngster-filled roster for the Oilers. There are a few stars here (Gagner, Eberle, Perron and Schultz), but generally a test for how their newer players can handle a trip into a hostile building against a more veteran-laden club. And Hitmen forward Greg Chase, chosen by the Oilers in the seventh round in the 2013 draft, makes his exhibition debut in the building he always plays in. Nice touch there, too.
SUM IT UP
Two games in two cities between the same two teams is a fun way to kick off the pre-season. The Flames would love to get some winning into their system early-on, particularly against the Oilers. The countdown to the regular season continues.
Check out OilersNation for the dumbed-down preview regarding the game in Shelbyville.