Game Day Blog 1/82: Hockey’s Back

*cracks knuckles* *dusts off keyboard* *gets that dirt off my shoulders*

Oh my god am I ever ready to write the hell out of this. Hockey’s officially back. No more of that preseason teasin’ tomfoolery nonsense. The beautiful game returns to the marvellous Rog Mahal, and tonight, the puck will drop on our 2017-18 quest to prove that 8/1 Cup odds is not unreachable for a team that has made the playoffs literally once in the last 11 years. Tonight, Connor embarks on his first of many reigning MVP seasons. Tonight, the Iceman returns to the crease to prove that last year was no fluke. Tonight… is game day, Oil Country. And this is my first story:

Tonight’s Opponent: Calgary Flames

Their 2016-17 Season Record: 45-33-4, 94 points. That record was good enough to land them 4th place in PAC, which lead to a clean, boring, nonchalant first round sweep. The only reason I haven’t completely forgotten the Flames stint in the 2017 playoffs is because I get way too much joy out of their suckness than I’d like to admit. Nothing they did was even remotely was memorable.

What do they have? Well, they still technically have an arena? You could say it’s been an eventful summer in Flamesland.  In June, raging idiot Brian Burke threatened to relocate the team himself if council failed to dump a Garda truck of money on their billionaire owner’s asshole of a lap. Then, that said billionaire, Norm Murray Edwards – a man so cheap he makes Eugene Melnyk look like fucking Floyd Mayweather – joined the conversation through the words of Flames president Sean Spicer Ken King. Gary Bettman spewed his usual template of rhetoric. Nenshi got in the mix. Last time I cared to check the latest war of words ended with Calgary’s mayor asking Bettman et. al to show him their damn cards. And I love all of it, on so many different levels. Anyone who shoves Gary Bettman head up his own buttocks gets a world of appraisal from me. But you see, it’s more than just telling rich people to take a lap. Up here, not only do we get to watch the greatest hockey player in the world, but we get to sit in our big comfy taxpayer-funded chairs while we do it. Meanwhile, the Flames, who wouldn’t change towns if Nenshi paid the moving expenses himself, will be permanently stationed in that godforsaken industrial-sized shitbox for at least the foreseeable future, or at least until Gary fixes the Calgary municipal election à la Vladimir Putin and puts the man in charge who will lifelessly siphon the tax dollars out of citizens in order to build a gigantic, multi-billion dollar rec centre on a goddamn flood plain. At least they never changed a single stripe on what are easily the worst jerseys in all of hockey.

On the ice, Johnny Gaudreau admitted he wants to play for the Flyers. They gave Tanner Glass a contract for some inexplicably idiotic reason. They passed on resigning their greatest player in franchise history because he fucking blows, opting instead to sign the only player alive for Paul Henderson’s goal against the Soviets. Recently demoted five year prospect and current Raiders injured kicker Mark Jankowski has been so irrelevant that the Calgary beat writers are struggling to find any more synonyms to use for the word “project.” Travis Hamonic was brought in to be Connor McDavid’s personal toll booth attendant for the next three years. And they added a goalie with more holes than the Titanic’s waterline. Calgary’s nets have seen more last names than a Cleveland Browns running back. Tune in tonight when Travis Hamonic blows a tire that sends Leon Draisaitl in all alone and watch as a very bad goaltender magically transforms into Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski.

Sean Monahan is the human manifestation of white rice and mayonnaise.

What do we have?

So there it is. Leon begins the season right where he left off, as a 70+ point winger on Connor McDavid’s line. Benning takes Sekera’s spot on the middle pair, big win for St. Albert. The Yamatrain has made it’s way to the second line’s station. Khaira won the preseason battle for the final roster spot. And Adam Larsson was given Jordan Eberle’s ‘A’:

That’s new. I completely forgot we had a letter to campaign. I would have petitioned hard for Pool Party or Tony Time had I been more aware. That’s my bad.

Anyways. Check this out:

Welp, bad news, Oilers fans: Calgary has a SOLID game plan for shutting down Connor McDavid:

How on earth do you even attempt to slap the cuffs on a 20-year-old Hart Trophy-claiming, Art Ross Trophy-winning, 100-point prodigy?

“Well, you have to game plan against him, for sure,” is Giordano’s immediate answer.

“Hey Mark, Connor has mutant speed, generational puck handling abilities, x-ray vision, and dangles every defensemen like he;’s playing on Chel’s easy mode, how do you stop that?” “Well, you have to game plan against him.”

Bingo.

Mark just solved why his team has held Connor to just 10 points in seven career meetings. Gotta game plan that shit. Fantasy owners everywhere are literally begging Backlund and Gio to attempt to game plan their way around Connor tonight. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton.

The real matchup for the fellas will the Iceman against Calgary’s scorers. As much as I never admit it, that little pipsqueak Johnny is actually a fantastic hockey player. Matt Tkachuk can play too, and Sam Bennett had a better preseason than any of us ever expected. Their blue line is loaded with guys that can shoot the puck. The Talbot v. Calgary battle will be the biggest threat to our two point layup tonight, and I don’t say that too often. Cam struggled in the early portion of last season before the twins came into being and he got all that previously nonexistent dad skill. Two of those games included wins against the Flames in which they stuffed quite a few by him. Am I worried? Not even a little bit. But it’s worth analyzing. I have nothing better to do, I am legit downtown seven hours early eagerly awaiting puck drop. Still haven’t found Magoo.

Did you know? Calgary has the same amount of playoff series wins in the last 11 years as we have.

Prediction: 6-2 Oilers. My buddy thinks that’s a stretch because Tony Time was sent to the minors, and while I agree that’s a great point, it still doesn’t change the fact that Mike Smith is a piss water goaltender who couldn’t save a word document. Also Connor, so.

Tonight is the beginning of his quest for back-to-backs, so I fully expect McDaddy to dump in like maybe two, and an assist by Smith. Kailer gets his first NHL point as he continues his path towards making our decision impossible. Other than that, I have a gut feeling that Kassian gets on the board tonight, Marky Mark buries his first of what will be many power play goals this year, and Dougie Hamilton’s ankles get spread like tapenade. Most importantly, however, the Edmonton Oilers begin their first of many winning streaks this season. Connor forever, baby. Let’s go Oilers.

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