GDB: BATTLE OF ALBERTA

800px-Bench_Pigeon_Lake_Alberta_Canada_02A

It’s an ill will she blows this morning, ladies and men. We are stone cold frozen, indoors, outdoors and in the western conference. The blues aren’t blue enough, the country tear-jerkers can’t find the lines, the poets can’t stop the clocks in rhyme. 

The Battle of Alberta is desolation row. 

BUT WE’LL GET THERE BEFORE THEM!

bubbling under

Really? REALLY? The tortoise and the hare had a point to their story, I’m not sure ‘one frozen bubble against another one’ will galvanize our collective spirits in Alberta province. 

Is there ANY good news? And don’t tell me the draft! 

CALGARY FLAMES PROJECTED LINEUP

  • TJ Galiardi-Mikael Backlund-Jiri Hudler
  • Mike Cammalleri-Sean Monahan-Joe Colborne
  • Lance Bouma-Matt Stajan-David Jones
  • Paul Byron-Markus Granlund-Kevin Westgarth
  • TJ Brodie-Mark Giordano
  • Kris Russell-Derek Smith
  • Ladislav Smid-Dennis Wideman
  • Reto Berra

The Flames have some good hockey players heading out tonight, and some of them will be playing their last game with the fiery C. Mike Cammalleri should get significant interest, young Backlund has once again overcome major obstacles and the all-Canadian Monahan looks sharp in every photo. The Flames Corsi for % 5×5 is 45.2%, fourth worst in the league but there are some champions in the group:

  • Galiardi 50.8%
  • Giordano 50.5%
  • Backlund 49.4%
  • Brodie 49.3%
  • Cammalleri 49.2%
The complete list is here   and it is worth noting Calgary has only three position players who have been on the ice for more than 300 minutes while posting a sub 43% Corsi for 5×5 %. 

lake wabamun

EDMONTON OILERS PROJECTED LINEUP

  • Hall-Nuge-Hemsky
  • Perron-Gagner-Eberle
  • Hendricks-Gordon-Joensuu
  • Jones-Smyth-Gazdic
  • Marincin-Petry
  • N Schultz-J Schultz
  • Ference-Belov
  • Bryzgalov

Nail Yakupov’s injury isn’t considered serious, but it’s also likely they hold him back for tonight’s game. Do the Oilers have some good news, something similar to the Flames’ men who are close to 50% or better Corsi for 5×5?

The Oilers Corsi for 5×5% is 43.3%, they are one below Calgary in the race (don’t you laugh, Toronto  only Buffalo saves you!)

  • Martin Marincin 50.2%
The numbers are here.  Edmonton has five players who have been on the ice for more than 300 minutes while also posting a sub 43% Corsi for 5×5 %.

SOME SWEET DAY

lake louise

History tells us this will not last. Calgary will have a fine trade deadline, add some picks and prospects and live to fight another day. Edmonton appears to have invested heavily in hiring a new coach each season, so the only impressive thing is the number of first overall selections on their roster. 

Calgary and Edmonton are driving toward that goal this summer, first overall. In that race, Edmonton is judge, jury and executioner. For Oiler fans, the promise of a first overall pick is like a kick in the junk, a stomach turner, a false spring. 

The Flames should learn the lesson presented to them by Edmonton—it’s pretty damn hard to come back quickly from scorched earth, even when good soil lies all about you. 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Flames and Oilers play to a 1-1 tie and no one can score in the shootout. Finally, Ladislav Smid drives in over the blueline and goes shelf on a very surprised Ilya Bryzgalov.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Flames win 5-1, on 5 shorthanded goals. All by Smid. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: CBC’s After Hours becomes trade central as both Mike Cammalleri and Ales Hemsky are sent to Pittsburgh right after the game. 

  • Rob F

    When it’s -40 outside, your team sucks about as bad as a team can suck and the rink is still sold out, explain to me why this organization would give two craps about what anyone on the outside is thinking. Katz makes his money and everyone thinks they are untouchable. Hey, as long as the money is flowing!!

    People in this city need to take a genuine stand against this abomination. The only clear demonstration that will get managements attention is not attending these games. Plain and simple!!

  • Newj

    It’s probably just me & it’s only a fraction of what goes on prior to the game, but HNIC showed Hall & Eberle looking and feeling very loose before the game. Kind of like most young kids before any hockey game.

    Stories of Bobby Orr while in the midst of a losing streak – a miserable son of a bitch who detested losing and remained that way until the losing ended.

    Yeah it’s just a game but the Oilers pregame face seems like they are steps away from either winning the cup or thinking about the bar scene after the game.

    Yes tension makes you grip the stick tighter but maybe some signs of frustration will lead to acts of desperation and try to win at all cost?

    Sign me off as skeptical of this team’s motive and heart.

    • M22

      No, it’s not just you. Hall, Eberle, and to a lesser degree (because of age/experience) Nugent-Hopkins, J Schultz, and Yakupov: these guys are the face of this franchise. Katz, Lowe, MacTavish, Howson (lol), Eakins, Smith, Buchberger: they are the brainrust (yes, I omitted the ‘t’). They all belong with one another. They all deserve one another.

      Among them, I feel most sorry for Nuge. I think he doesn’t belong with these characters. As for the rest of them? Fits them good.

      Poor Perron. Poor Ference. Poor Hendricks. Poor Gordon. Poor…..whoever gets traded to, or drafted by, this organization. Remember when we used to look down at the Leafs and Islanders, with pity and contempt, during their years of incompetence? Daryl, Kevin: the hockey world is looking at you.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The CBC commentators noted how structured and fast paced the Flames practices were. The Oilers meanwhile had an optional skate. Kind of telling how far we are from having NHL caliber coaching and management. Sad when the highlight of any game is watching Mr. No- Donuts stare vacantly into space after every goal.

    • Batfink

      I had the opportunity to watch the “optional skate” before yesterday’s game and to my surprise Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yak (ankle. Understandable), Hemsky, Jones and Gordon never stepped on the ice. There wasn’t a lot of structure with what was going on and most of all… No head coach!? It was a twenty five minute fluff skate looking like they were leading the conference and playing a last place team. I’ve heard of the gap between the “young guns” and some of the vets, a segregated dressing room per-say but that’s what it sure felt like. True vets like Smitty, Ference, Hendricks and N. Shultz were present and skating hard. I don’t get it? When your team sucks this bad how is anything optional anymore? This is not a TEAM it’s a bunch of guys lost and playing for nothing.

  • T&A4Flames

    May not have to fire Eakins. He might quit or tell MacT to get him some real hockey players. Some with some balls and don’t mind working up a sweat. You can try and teach all the systems you want but unless the players want to change and put in an effort you’re done before you even open the gate. RNH, Perron, Gordon, Hendricks, Gazdic, Marancin Schultz Ferenence and Schrivens are the only keepers of these bunch of pussies. The rest are all AVAILABLE and Hall would lead the parade out of town.

  • T&A4Flames

    Eakins has to be fired. This year has been WAY below expectations. Player changes from last year was mixed. Some hits (Perron), some misses. But Eakins was a clear mistake. If the Oil were anywhere near last year’s results I would say yes keep Eakins, not too bad. But how can you argue with the results of this year? Terrible, given the starting point. The coach has to be held accountable. If they can’t finish ahead of Calgary, again given the starting point, this whole season is on the coach.

    • M22

      I can see Eakins getting the rest of the season then 20 games next year. If he sh’ts the bed after Macs supposed bold roster makeover during that 20 game stretch hes FIIIIIIIIRRRED!!

      • M22

        MacT has dialed down the bold moves talk. I suspect he is learning on the job. The cap will go up, and there isn’t much out there. Let the other teams massively overpay for garbage. We will likely be in the running for McDavid next year That’s both good and bad I suppose.

        • Randaman

          This mess is not going to be fixed through free agency or the draft. MacT has to pull his balls out from his wifes purse and make a big trade this offseason.

          • Randaman

            Trade whom? This team need D. They do not have a any redundancy at forward except for Hemsky, and I am not sure they will get a lot for him. If you think they need to change the makeup of the forwards it might help, but the holes are in the D imho.

          • Randaman

            ha ha, I know what you mean,
            Most teams that trade players do so because they have replacements is the system or too much of this and not enough of that. The Oilers are not in either position imho.

          • RedMan

            Absolutely the D is just as much of a problem. I dont think selling the farm for a #1 right now.is the answer. I truly believe we have a future #1 in either Nurse Klef or Marincin. So I belive Mac shoild aquire sone solid 3,4,5 Dmen and groom the prospects weve suffered for as 1,2,3 Dmen.

      • Randaman

        I agree. MacT will make some moves this off-season – maybe bold, maybe not.
        Then Eakins will be on a VERY short leash to start the year. If they struggle the first 20-25 games, he’ll be the next George Burnett.

      • RedMan

        I guess that would be okay. But why not pick a veteran coach in June? For consistency? Not a strong enough argument. If they were .500 and 24th or 25th I would say, yeah okay, keep him for consistency. Not now. Not a strong argument. A new coach will have July, August and September to prepare the players. There is enough talent on this team to have better results than 29th an FOURTEEN games below .500. That alone should be enough to be fired, with this team.

  • T&A4Flames

    Did anyone else notice how often the Flames passed it back to the late man on the rush? I counted at least a half dozen grade-A chances as a result of this tactic.

    Eakins, quite simply got out coached again, not only because Hartley exposed this weakness in the Oilers defensive “coverage”, but because the Flames outworked the Oilers top 6 for much of the game.

    Eakins has lost his top 6. The top 6 is not going anywhere. Eakins must go.

    • Batfink

      I predict that DE’s Monday presser runs something along the lines of “I thought the guys were ready, obviously we have further to go, they need to learn how to play D, they are slowly getting it, some good things to take out…..” Blah, blah, blah. Never his fault. Always “well, I never told them to lose!” Said it before, accountability starts at the top. When the players see and hear their coach throwing them under the bus after being out-coached, why should they take any responsibility for poor plays during the game?

  • BobbyCanuck

    I’m beginning to think this franchise is done for. It doesn’t matter what players they bring i; after @ 3-4 months they seem to assimilate into the prevailing “Oiler culture” & play like a bunch of overpayed, entitled, pansies. Take your pick; Doughty, Subban, Weber, Delzotto, Kesler, etc, etc,… they would ALL be on cruise control cashing paycheques by year 2 here & we’d be screaming to have them run out of town.

    2-1 loss to the Motley Flamers; really!??? All time low. Or should I say all time Lowe?

  • 15w40

    Another post game breakfast, doing the post mortem. Certain words come to me – pathetic, apathetic, disinterested, lackadaisical, bored, and this was the team. Then we hear the coach putting his slant on everything. Is he bipolar? defend, defend, defend – now offense & score score score. Add confused to the team attributed words. I think the biggest mistake ever was the not try the Renney/Krueger tandem for another couple of years – we would be a lot closer to the playoffs with them. Sometimes humble pie has to be eaten, head coach needs to go, NOW, another sorry page from the Oilers’ Doomsday Book.

    My own 3 words? Totally p***ed off.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Well, there were my two games of the year. On the positive side it was marginally more exciting than the Wild. Slightly more give-a-sh&t. Slightly.

    By the by if you sat at home with your abacus and worked out the ‘Corsi percentage’ for that game last night, you are, in fact, a loser.

  • Batfink

    You can always tell when the Oilers have shown another indefensibly terrible game, it takes ages for a new article to be posted. Must be looking for more lipstick to put on this particular pig.

    • Randaman

      Why write anything negative and risk losing your press pass? Lowetide is the exception but he probably requires a day to absorb the unreal level of PATHETIC that we are witnessing.
      Eberle needs to be moved ASAP! The disappearing act he pulls in most games is absolutely incredible. He is driving his value down so fast he looks like a Blackberry. They need to split up the coach killing clique that is very obvious.
      By no means am I giving Eakins a pass either. Show him the door along with the entire staff. That should be done the minute this Dabocle of a season is over!!
      No wonder Hemsky is so excited to be getting out! I hope for his sake it happens.
      If you were Scrivens would you resign here the way things are. MacT is at a disadvantage here because Scrivens is smart enough to see through his bull$h!t propaganda.
      Enough for today, I feel a headache coming on

  • M22

    Like I have said before, our BEST chance of landing Ekblad is Eakins.

    There are many writers that state Coaching is not our problem, they keep shoving their collective heads in the sand deeper and deeper hoping that something will change to prove their point.

    Just how many first round draft choices/player changes are required before everyone agrees that Coaching is currently our biggest problem.

    • M22

      Problem is our so called “core players” are all the exact same player type. Until that changes we wont be making the playoffs.

      Gagner and one of either ebs or yak need to be moved for other player types this offseason

  • M22

    Seriously how long are oiler fans gonna support this worthless wreckage of a team?? Have these empty & blank dreams of one day becoming relevant in the hockey world again blinded everyone from the reality that this rebuild simply isn’t working?? Burn it down

  • Newj

    This is our Team!!! Watching this is like watching my dog burn in a fire and not being able to do anything about it!! This joke has gotten old, lets get a new group of management completely and give fresh minds an opportunity to trade the assets we have into an actual real life team that plays the game

  • Randaman

    Everybody talking about trades and draft. Oilers are not an NHL team. They have not been for years. Go ahead defend MacT , Klowe , Eakins and other coaches. This is a horrible organization if it was a business it would have gone bankrupt years ago. Fans continue to support this team so it survives.

    Their MO has always been fire someone and the rebuild starts again after they are fired. All I know Edmonton has been the worst team in the NHL for the last 8 years.

    You could have #1 draft picks for 10 years, with this management Oilers are going nowhere. They ruin players. This would be the last place I would want to come if I was a draft pick.

  • Randaman

    I do not think that all of a sudden Hall, Eberle, Yak, RNH, do not know how to play hockey. They all adapted as they moved from Pee Wee to bantam to junior. Why are they not adapting to pro? It has a lot to do with coaching.

    Mac and 6 rings would not hire a coach that they could not control such as Hitchcock or Carlyle. These coaches would help Hall, Eberle RNH adapt to pro hockey.

    I hope Katz changes the upper management before they ruin the careers of these guys.

  • dougtheslug

    We can all talk of trades, coaching changes, drafts, etc. till we are blue in the face.

    Facts are. Worst team in NHL since Lowe involved with the team. Since Lowe and Mac T involved, worst team and the professional sports industry magazine ranks Oilers management as the worst of all professional teams in North America. Record clearly shows this to be true.

    All the things we want listed above will not happen until new leadership takes place. Otherwise as long as katz still has Lowe in charge, we have no leadership and zero hockey smarts. Statistically speaking, any citizen of the country whether the know anything about hockey could do a least as good of a job. It is impossible to get worse.

    Sorry folks. Time to quite dreaming and hoping for anything good. It is not going to happen. It is time to walk and boycott all remaining games to send a message. Write letters to Oilers. Post signs. Picket etc. It is time.

  • Randaman

    I can’t believe Eakins is still here. He can’t bring out the good in the players, and now the young players are developing poorly. I’m also sick of hearing about his systems, and next season, and how easy it will be to adapt.

    That tells me his AHL systems suck, didn’t work, don’t work, and there’s now it’s out of control.

    I speculate there is a backdoor deal when they brought Eakins in, that the management HAVE to keep him here, or promised LOTS over and above just a salary.

    More poor management decisions. The only decisions they’ve made is the type of polish to use on their rings.

  • Randaman

    How about a class action law suit? All the pain misery night tremors sweat alcoholism nightmares ridicule being a complete laughing stock of the nhl. The fans deserve compensation even tier 2 and 3 fans. Oh they’re starting construction on the new palace yippee to house a 29th place team. There isn’t even a flicker of light at the end of this tunnel any lawyers out there?

  • Zarny

    Enjoyed the gold medal game in the Bahamas and come back to the same drivel about coaching.

    Yes, the US and Sweden were muted by Canada’s “systems” not one of the sexiest bluelines in history. Babcock is truly a virtuoso on a magic marker board.

    Hitchcock’s ‘x’ at 3:43 of the 3rd period was surely the key to shutting down Kessel; not the ability of the players to win virtually every 1 on 1 battle, or their dedication and commitment to not cheat the system and play as a unit.

    If only the Russians knew the secret was an excitable coach who makes lots of facial expressions after every goal.

    Surely a better coach and a marker set with more colors would have convinced all of Russia’s highly skilled and very similar forwards to play less like individuals and not cheat for offense. Belov and Markov could have been a shutdown tandem for the ages if only they had better systems.

    Curious after Crosby and Poulin’s goals how Babcock and Dineen casually walked down the bench without a twitch of expression. Imagine their potential if they learned to lose their composure and imitate someone with tourettes.

    And what was with Toews and Crosby praising the commitment and work ethic of the players to be disciplined and responsible instead paying full homage to the coaching staff’s “systems”? Without Hitchcock there is no way Crosby could have been that defensively responsible. Jon and Sid made it sound like players make decisions on the ice or something. Crazy talk.

    • Batfink

      Really? You’re attempting to compare Eakins to Babcock. Really. So the only way Babcock is successful is that he has great players and they’re carrying him? Not because he’s a very good coach? Dineen, not so much, he did have his NHL shot, and may again but he still was able to impart what he wanted the players to do with minimal fuss. Apples to apples please. Unless of course you weren’t being sarcastic.

  • RedMan

    all in all that was an average game for the Flames who are still struggling with injuries.

    Ferrence is looking really frustrated playing in ed. poor guy. what did he do in his previous life to deserve this? i guess this way he got a couple more years in a career that was all but over.

  • RedMan

    all in all that was an average game for the Flames who are still struggling with injuries.

    Ferrence is looking really frustrated playing in ed. poor guy. what did he do in his previous life to deserve this? i guess this way he got a couple more years in a career that was all but over.

    • RedMan

      Ya add Westgarth to your injury list he suffered a monumental beat down. Unfortunately he might suffer the same fate Ivanas did.What was he thinking fighting the great gazoo.