Two Alberta teams with many, many bodies remaining in their respective camps clash tonight in a double-dip with split squad games taking place simultaneously in Calgary and Edmonton between the Flames and Oilers. It’s the first taste of pre-season action for both clubs, and an opportunity for a few souls to make an impression on their clubs before the axe inevitably falls later in the week.
Calgary sends a skeleton crew to Edmonton to face most of the Oilers, while the Oilers send a rag-tag group down to Calgary to face most of the Flames. It’s a recipe for a home-team win, which is usually what happens. But it’d be fairly impressive if the Flames could steal a win in their Rogers Place debut, if they’re not dazzled by the shiny new building or terrified by their horrible new mascot.
The game in Calgary will be on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and streamed on the Flames site. The game in Edmonton is also streamed by the Flames site. Both games go at 7pm MT!
It’s meaningful hockey…of sorts! The Flames send a mostly NHL caliber roster to the Saddledome, while sending odds and sods to Edmonton. The rosters mostly don’t reflect what we’ve seen in on-ice sessions, as Glen Gulutzan tries different combinations to see what comes of it.
In Calgary: (via Pat Steinberg)
Tkachuk – Bennett – Brouwer
Shinkaruk – Stajan – Chiasson
Bollig – Dube – Klimchuk
Tuulola – Lomberg – Carroll
Giordano – Brodie
Jokipakka – Wideman
Kylington – Engelland
(Tyler Parsons is sick.)
In Edmonton: (via Pat Steinberg)
Bouma – F. Hamilton – Ferland
Higgins – Vey – Poirier
Pollock – Bailey – Hathaway
Korpikoski – Jankowski – Frattin
Wotherspoon – D. Hamilton
Kulak – Andersson
Grossmann – Morrison
Keep an eye out for Ryan Lomberg (#56) and Eetu Tuulola (#75) in Calgary and Mark Jankowski (#77) in Edmonton.
In terms of netminders, Steinberg has the scoops.
Gillies going the full way in net in Edmonton. Elliott and McDonald will split in Calgary. #Flames
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) September 26, 2016
Scrimmaged Sunday morning, with Team Blue (featuring Milan Lucic, Drake Caggiula and Jordan Eberle) beating Team White (featuring Benoit Pouliot, Sami Letestu and Jesse Puljujarvi) 3-2 in overtime. The groups in Calgary and Edmonton are a mixture of the two scrimmage groups, with the majority of the “big guns” staying in Shelbyville.
Lines in Calgary: (via Bob Stauffer)
Maroon – Lander – Yakupov
Hendricks – Letestu – Kassian
Chase – Currie – Russell
Christoffer – Sallinen – Slepyshev
Nurse – Davidson
Jones – Bear
Oesterle – Gryba
Lines in Edmonton: (via Bob Stauffer)
Lucic – Caggiula – Eberle
Pouliot – Vesce – Puljujarvi
Beck – Khaira – Versteeg
Moroz – Platzer – Pakarinen
Klefbom – Larsson
Betker – Fayne
Niemelainen – Benning
HEAD TO HEAD
This time last year, the Flames and Oilers met in the split squad pair of games. The Flames lost both of them (4-2 in Edmonton, 3-1 in Calgary), and also lost T.J. Brodie to a broken hand due to a shot block. Brodie’s injury contributed in a large way to the absolutely woeful start for the Flames, from which they never recovered.
I think it’s safe to say that the Flames hope this year’s pair of games with Edmonton turns out better.
Other results from recent split squad openers include:
- 2014: Edmonton wins 3-1 at home, Calgary wins 1-0 at home
- 2013: Edmonton wins 3-2 in Calgary, Calgary wins 6-5 (OT) in Edmonton
- 2011: Flames split pair of games with Vancouver.
- 2010: Flames win both parts of a split-squad pairing with Vancouver.
The opening night pre-season results have no impact on the team’s regular season results.
SUM IT UP
Somewhat meaningful ice hockey finally begins! Can the Flames get off to a winning start at home? Can they spoil the Oilers’ debut at Rogers Place? Can Calgary’s defensive zone play (and penalty killing) improve to the point where they’re not scary to behold?
We’ll find out at 7pm, folks.