BOA Round 214: Flames at Oilers

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight is the fifth meeting of the season (and 214th meeting overall) between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers. It’s their last meeting until next season, too. I’d say the season series is up for grabs, as each team has won twice – the road team always won – but the Flames needed overtime in both wins at Rexall. The Flames need a win to tie the season series in terms of points earned.

That’s about as far as this game goes in terms of “significance.”

Calgary has 63 points and 12 games left. Edmonton has 59 points and 11 games left. The gap can close considerably with an Edmonton win, while a Calgary win probably cements their draft placement.

THE HOME TEAM

It goes without saying that it’s been a disappointing year in Edmonton. I don’t think they spent time and money bringing in Dallas Eakins to lead the club to 29th place. The Oilers lost two nights ago to Buffalo, but have been playing solid lately, winning five of their last 10.

Lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Hall – Gagner – Perron
Lander – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
Hendricks – Gordon – Pitlick
Gazdic – Smyth – Jones

Ference – Schultz
Marincin – Petry
Klefbom – Fraser

Fasth

Viktor Fasth gets his first Battle of Alberta start. He was 2-0-0 with a shutout in two games against the Flames while with Anaheim.

The Oilers obviously have some skilled players (that top line, that second line) and are starting to figure out the “depth role player” riddle. That third line is actually pretty solid. But the defense is a bit dodgy, so you can figure out why they are in the general area that they are, standings-wise.

Oddly, Edmonton has the edge on Calgary on the power-play, the penalty kill and in five-on-five goal differential. How come Calgary’s higher in the standings? Probably because Calgary’s gotten some big contributions from their back-end (Giordano & Brodie, primarily) and some from their depth guys, while Edmonton remains top-heavy.

But if they can ever build something around that top group, wowzers. Granted, we’ve been saying this for years, but the Oilers could be scary-good if the guys building the team had a plan besides “draft high.”

THE ROAD TEAM

The Flames are smarting a bit after last night. On one hand, they scored five goals! On the other, they gave up six. To Nashville, who rarely scores. Yikes.

Lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Cammalleri – Backlund – Byron
Glencross – Stajan – Hudler
Agostino – Monahan – Bouma
Westgarth – Colborne – McGrattan

Giordano – Brodie
Butler – Russell
Smid – Wotherspoon

Ramo

Karri Ramo returns after being out since before the Olympics with an MCL sprain. Joni Ortio returns to the AHL and Joey MacDonald is the back-up for the rest of the year.

Now that they’re getting healthy, the Flames are rapidly beginning to resemble an NHL team. Kenny Agostino makes his Battle of Alberta debut after making his NHL debut last night, playing 12:40 in the loss to the Preds. Returning to the line-up is Kevin Westgarth – slotting in for T.J. Galiardi on the bottom line – and God, I hope Westgarth doesn’t try to fight Gazdic again.

The Flames have also won five of their last ten games, so they’re about as “hot” as the Edmonton Oilers right now.

SUM IT UP

It’s a late-season game between two teams that are well out of the playoff picture! The best each club can hope for some emotion in this tilt, as each group tries to gain some momentum to close out the year.

Let’s hope that this time next season, these games have a little bit more significance in the standings, because hockey’s better when the Flames and Oilers are both doing well and Alberta is a place visiting teams fear to tread.



  • BitGeek

    Just wondering, last game with Hall playing ridiculous minutes: did anyone else notice our sudden lack of offensive depth thanks to injuries to Ebs & Yak? Hemsky’s value, as I said before, was that he could move up and down the line-up from a #3RW to #1RW. Just saying it’s far worth having that on your team than letting it go for pucks.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      You are right, but does that really matter in this season. If the Oilers had a hope of making the playoffs at the deadline you would be right. But they weren’t even close so you are wrong.

      Look at every team and imagine how they would fair if both their top right wingers went down. They wouldn’t have the depth to cover.

  • BurningSensation

    Been paying attention to some other sites that have comments about the Oil and Flames game tonight. Man, am I ever getting sick of being pissed on! Edmonton will win tonight even though when it comes to work ethic, the flames beat us hands down. Time for the boys to pony up and even though the rest of the league looks at both teams as losers….and the game means nothing in the overall picture, I still want the OIL to win regardless.

    OIL 3, Flames 2.

      • vetinari

        Really? The BOA used to settle playoff positions at this time of year but now they just settle draft positions… sad… I now don’t even bother using my best insults for Flames fans… These teams ARE the insults… Cheers!

        • BurningSensation

          I hate flames fans as much as the next guy, but as long as the oilers are setting records for historically pathetic teams in all sports, we cant smack talk anyone. I blame kevin lowe

          its sad because fans like us don’t deserve sh!t teams like this

  • Rockmorton65

    I get a real kick out of listening to the Oilers talk like the Flames did before the rebuild.

    “We’re only one player away from contending.” Only for the Oilers it’s “We just need a top line defenseman, we just need an elite goaltender.”

    You could put Weber and Lundqvist on this team and they will still miss the playoffs.

    The system is flawed. The players and fans have been duped. Time to get the white flag out of the dryer.

  • T&A4Flames

    Oiler #goaliekillers its hard enough for the oil win when they haven’t bin coached right all year but when the ref don’t give the oil a few brakes its close to imposable. #newoilstaff

  • 24% body fat

    All I want is an Oilers win and a Ryan Smyth PP goal. Eberle’s return is big because Pitlick can get bumped down to a more familiar role for him on an energy line. I’m hoping he gets more ice time tonight and shows well.

    I’ll say 3-2 Oilers. Boyd Gordon gets the winner after some tremendous forechecking by Hendricks and Pitlick.

    • Reidja

      A Ryan Smyth power play goal? Jesus…

      As a Flames fan, I’m hoping the Oilers play like they get effing paid to play professional hockey. That is our only hope of an interesting and competitive game.

    • Rick Stroppel

      DO NOT PICK ON THE CHEERLEADERS

      The Oilers Octane Girls are attractive young women. Unlike the Oilers players, they try hard every night.

      Mr. Huge, on the other hand, does not resemble the picture attached to his post. In fact, he looks like the south end of a horse going north. Mr. Huge lives in his mother’s basement. His girlfriend is inflatable, and he calls her “Palmella”.

  • Lober

    the worst part about being an oiler fan is watching this highly skilled team have to play in such a run down building! thank god Edmonton tax payers are spending 500million for a new rink. This team deserves it!

  • Randaman

    I have seen players other than Hall throw water bottles before so lay off on the grow up comments! Eakins on the other hand is more worried about his suit jacket than the absolute ass kicking they are receiving? I mean benching your best player over an accidental incident. Now that goes beyond childish! Kick this guys ass to the curb now because if you thought he lost the room before, he has definitely lost it now!!

    • The Soup Fascist

      Why would you think a new coach would resolve the Oiler issues? Have you not fired your coach almost annually over the last 6 years?? And where are the Oilers today??

      • Randaman

        I just can’t stand his egotistical demeanour and that hair? My wife always comments “someone should tell him to choose a new style”. I was an advocate for hiring Sutter in the first place

      • MattyFranchise

        Just because we have gone through a number of coaches in past years should not mean that Eakins gets a free pass. Why shouldn’t he be scrutinized for his performance. There is always the argument that the players on the ice determine your success but the Oilers had some good things going under Krueger (ie. special teams) that absolutely fell off the map this year. There were portions of this year where we looked absolutely lost. Something has to change and the trade market would not be friendly to what we have to offer.

        • BurningSensation

          When do you hold the players accountable? Specifically the 1st overalls. They simply are not performing. HNIC showed 4 instances where Taylor Hall was dogging it on goals AGAINST.

          Yes, I can see where another change of coaches will help!

          • RedMan

            I understand the idea of holding the players accountable, but isn’t that the coaches job? If the players feel that they can gingerly skate back because they don’t get their knuckles rapped for it, is that not a failing of the coach? The only real way to improve this team is for them to establish a culture within the team that makes it impossible for guys to take a shift off because they will hear about it or have their butt stapled to the bench for a while as a result. Adding guys like Hendricks and Gordon to the roster will go a long way towards this but if the coach does not hold the players feet to the fire it only goes so far. How many times through the year has Eberle, Hall, Gagner, etc looked invisible out there? I can’t remember one time where one of those three sat for a period of time due to lack of performance, or there was any real implication for their perceived indifference, or at least it wasn’t public. Is your solution to trade them all? Do you think you will get anything close to their actual value at this point? Do you think that course of action makes us better in the long run?

          • piscera.infada

            Structural issue. When you lock up that “core” (Ebs, Hall, RNH) at 6 million each for the next 7 years, you’re kind of stuck with them. Regardless of what you do, they are the de facto leadership on that team. You can bring in as many Smyth’s or Ference’s as you want, you can stitch or remove any letter you choose from their jersey, and they’re still going to be the guys everyone will defer to. It’s going to be tough sledding until those three buy in to something – you can’t honestly tell me that the failed buy-in of that core is on the multitude of coaches they’ve let go season after season (there’s one constant).

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    You guys can’t let it go, huh? I was arguing with the guy because he kept saying Gazdic should take his visor off. He meant Gazdic should take his helmet off prior to fighting, I thought he meant Gazdic should remove the visor from his helmet and play without one, which he can’t do. Shenanigans ensued.

    Got it?

    • RedMan

      look who can’t let it go! hahahaha

      it’s nobody else’s fault that you made yourself look so stupid by insisting that he can’t take his visor off, when everyone in the world new what he meant. Of course Gizdik can take it off. yes, the rules don’t allow it, but the rules don’t allow fighting either. are you really thiat bright, or just arguing cause your team is… well, you know…

      For Gazdick, a giant of a man who is in his own right very tough, to start fights and then keep his helmet/visor on is pathetic. How are the other guys supposed to fight him??? As Cherry pointed out – guys CAN and DO take them off.

      Any real hockey fan, regardless of the team they root for, would agree with Don Cherry on this one – very dishonorable… and we aren’t talking one accidental event where the heat of the moment took over, we are talking of a huge man who is actively starting in or engaging in fights, who wears a shield every time.

      You are going to defend that? if so, then you sir are the true example of blind homerism. of course, anyone who has had the painful opportunity of sharing a game day blog with you realizes this.

      Even Wesgarth showed himself to be a real man, while Gazdick continued to show himself a tool. Just like his one supporter. (hint hint).

  • McRib

    I’m a diehard Flames fan and have to say Oilers fans deserve a lot better than this!!! I have been to numerous games at Rexall and can only say one thing I have the upmost respect for Oilers fans!!! I love the rivalry that is the battle of Alberta as much as the next person, but always respect the other side regardless. As heated as it ever gets between the two sides class is alway shown. As a comparison don’t even get me started on my hate for the Canucks (I wore a Canada Iginla Jersey during the Olympics in Vancouver and got spit on by TWO Canucks fans cheering for CANADA!)

    Growing up in Calgary I hated playing minor hockey tournaments in Edmonton because honestly the local talent of your city is next to none and were always very tough to play against. Edmonton has always produced more NHLers than Calgary and I am okay with that what I am not okay is a goof like Dallas Eakins thinking he has a clue about real hockey. He called out Taylor Hall for getting water on him… are you kidding me?!?!?! He is more worried about feeding the media that follows the team healthy food than he is about coaching the players, he has lost the team completely. Instead of saying why are Oilers fans throwing sweaters on the ice and start to show some accountability he criticizes the fans that pay his paycheck….