Game Day Blog 49/82: Beat Them, Flames @ Oilers

Our bye week was only like six days ago and yet I still can’t wait for the All-Star break. Anytime you leave a putrid performance like Tuesday on home ice it justifies cause for an emotional separation from the club you cheer for.

It’s a Battle of Alberta tonight. That’s usually a cause for some form of celebration, some drinks, maybe a party. I’ve always been a believer that every BoA should be preceded by a parade. We need a Battle of Alberta parade that the host city launches the morning of every game. However, I don’t feel like celebrating today. Not after whatever that was on Tuesday. Nothing cripples the emotions more than the team coming out and laying a massive dump of epic proportions, on home ice, against one of the worst teams in the league. My spirit might actually be permanently damaged after that one. A few people have asked me how I’m able to get up every morning and write about these guys knowing damn well that this season was/is a humungous waste, and my answer is I do it is because I know we’re all in pain. Regardless of what we believe, or who we blame, or what we think the team should do, the constant variable throughout all this is universal pain. And if my blogs and my writing can somehow be even the most temporary medicine for your pain, then that’s why I do it. I’m as (if not more) crushed as each and every one of you, but if ENS can be some emotional support line, then dammit that’s why I blog. People forget that this site was founded while the Oilers were terminally incapable of success. And as dog shit as this season may happen to be, at least I have experience covering a few very painful seasons. And that’s what I’m going to do. No matter what happens for the rest of the year, I will not give up on you. I will not take my foot off the gas. I will be here, blogging my butt off at ENS, so that maybe you can have a laugh or two while the season dwindles down whatever piss hole it’s currently headed towards. We’ll always have each other, I promise. Now let’s go beat the Flames.

Tonight’s Opponent: Calgary Flames. EARMUFFS:

Not very Lady Byng-like, if you ask me.

Their Record: 0-2 against the Oilers

Our Record: 2-0 against the Flames.

Last time we played them: Our current American League goaltender beat them.

What do the Flames have? Yes, they’ve somehow managed to climb 12 points ahead of the Oilers. And okay, they won seven straight after Glen Gulutzan tossed his stick into outer space. And also, maybe some would call getting points in 11 of their last 12 games “good.” And sure, Johnny Gaudreau is piling the points up to inflate the contract that Philly will inevitably give him when he’s a UFA. But really, let’s look at the facts:

  1. How many 1980s Cup winners do they have employed? That’s what I thought.
  2. They’re the first organization in NHL history to successfully ruin Jaromir Jagr. Even Florida — hockey’s Bernie Madoff — couldn’t deprive the NHL of Jagr’s unbelievableness.
  3. They have six Bettman points this year. How can a team be that good if they can’t even win during 3-on-3 over time?
  4. Sam Bennett was drafted fourth overall in 2014 and he’s starting to realize that being an even moderately successful NHLer is almost as difficult as the chin-up bar.
  5. Johnny Gaudreau has 10 penalty minutes this year, putting him on pace for about 14 more than he had during his award winning 2016-17 season. Now I’m not one to just toss the “G” word around lightly but I don’t think I’m too far out of line when I say that little Johnny is kind of a goon.

So really, between their lack of employed retired Cup winners and their complete and utter ruining of an 18 year hockey demigod and their buttload of loser points and Sam Bennett’s inability to do a chin-up and Johnny Goondreau paying rent in the penalty box, what’s really impressive about these guys? Travois Hamonic has six more points than Griffin Reinhart, their mascot had his tongue ripped out by the man who willing paid Nikita Nikitin $4.5 million per year, and their arena is the only thing uglier than the Oilers penalty kill. I mean, Christ. That building’s a DUMP. Daryl Katz couldn’t build a hockey team if you put the instructions in front of his face but even he could build an arena by stealing taxpayers dollars like some backwards Robin Hood.

Mike Smith started in their OT loss last night so Dave Rittich is their probable starter tonight. The 25-year-old from Jihlava, Czech Republic, is 4-1-1 this year with a 2.03 GAA (pardon?) and a .932 SV% (excuse me?). His last start came on January 12 against Florida, and he made 43 saves in the win, and our record against backups this year is not terrific.

What do we have? Whatever. We have Calgary’s kryptonite:

Connor McDavid absolutely douses the Flames. Think about this: Nine of his 61 career goals have come against Calgary. He’s scored 15 per cent of his career goals against one team. And it’s the perfect team to do that against. No way this feels the same if he goes out and pummels Colorado every time we play the Avs. It’s Calgary. It’s the one team we actually want him to murderously humiliate every night. Cam’s stats are also flat out ridiculous against our rivals. Not to mention that we own the PAC. Sure, we’re buried in the standings. And sure, we couldn’t beat the East if they gave us two goals at the start of every game. But the Pacific? That’s our song. That’s what gets us on the dance floor. This is not only a game we can’t lose, it’s a game we will not lose. We will beat the Flames tonight.

Remember that home opener where we beat them 3-0 and Connor scored all three goals REMEMBER?! Those were good times.

Connor’s actually only scored 12 goals in the last 47 games that’s honestly the first time I’ve thought of that, shit. Luckily he’s playing the Flames tonight, and he practically co-owns the club with Norm M. Edwards.

Hey, the team can’t score goals. Might as well dress 11 forwards. Logic.

Ready for this nightmare:

Why would you even practice with that? Why, Todd? Why?

I’d rather dress seven D than roll out those forward lines. Ideally, don’t do either. But we don’t live in an ideal world, now do we?

In order for the team to finish with as many points as they did last season, they’d have to go 29-4 in their final 33 games.

We’re two regulation losses away from having as many as we had in all of last year (26). It’s January 25.

Did you know? Sam Bennett, who sucks, was once praised so heavily by a certain Oilers media personality who shall remain nameless (it was Spector) that this certain someone said Calgary would rather have this third liner instead of last season’s MVP:

All it took was one shift and the President of the PHWA was ready to declare Bennett as a equally/superior alternative to the man who lead the league in scoring by 10 points last year.

Prediction: Fuck it. 5-3 Oilers. Suck it, David Rittich. Connor with four.