We are overwhelmed with troubles,
and our season is on life support.
We are counted as dead by the rest of the world,
a team with no purpose,
a team that counts wins as losses and losses as wins.
We are like those long dead,
like those whose graves are wiped away.
We are remembered no more,
and even our most ardent fans find it difficult to care.
Scotiabank Saddledome, 7:00 p.m. MST
Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Flames have more often than the Oilers so far this season, but neither of these teams is particularly close to competing for the playoffs. These two teams don't have the exact same problems, but their problems are similar enough that even combining the two teams might make success difficult. The forwards would be a clear strength, but even the combined lineups might struggle defensively at the top of the order (though maybe a Giordano-Petry pairing works well), and they'd definitely still have question marks in goal (Bryzgalov and Dubnyk remain the two best bets). All that to say... Merry Christmas! These teams are both awful!
Edmonton Oilers (12-24-3):
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Perron
Joensuu - Gagner - Eberle
Smyth - Gordon - Hemsky
Gazdic - Lander - Yakupov
Ference - J Schutlz
N Schultz - Petry
Belov - Potter
Calgary Flames (14-17-6):
Cammalleri - Backlund - Byron
Hudler - Colborne - Jones
Galiardi - Stajan - Stempniak
Bouma - Monahan - McGrattan
Smid - Giordano
Brodie - Butler
Breen - O'Brien
By The Numbers:
- Jesse Joensuu was signed to a two-year contract this past summer, and he's probably delivered at about the level the club should have expected: flashes of excellent play, but not enough offense to play on anything but the fourth line. Joensuu is currently one of just sixteen forwards to have played at least 200 minutes this season while scoring two or fewer points.
- Mark Giordano is a really excellent defenseman. He's put up nearly a point per game (17 points in 19 games) while eating twenty-five minutes of the most difficult ice time the Flames can get him every game. WOWY (with or without you) analysis at the game level can lead to a lot of false positives, but it may not be a coincidence that the Flames are 9-10 with Giordano so far this season and 5-13 without him.
- Ales Hemsky is now in his third consecutive season producing offense at about half a point per game. I don't know what that's going to be worth on the open market, but I don't think it's going to be five million dollars per season. As the trade deadline approaches, it'll be very interesting to see whether the Oilers pursue a new deal with Hemsky, and if they do, what the price point is. If he doesn't sign, I'm very much looking forward to seeing what the market pays him this summer.