Edmonton 7 – Calgary 4

After a half-hour delay before puck drop due to a Rogers commercial on their new building, the game finally got underway to open the new season much to the delight of the hometown fans who took in the spectacle in the new arena. Calgarians will continue to revel in their old building as their cool neighbours to the North bask in their shiny new arena and millions of the dollars of tax payer subsidies.

On the ice, it was the Connor McDavid show. The 19 year-old rookie was ‘handed the keys’ by the old guard (seriously, Edmonton just can’t move on from the “dynasty years” 30 years ago can they?) lead by Gretzky and Messier.

For their part, the Flames essentially crapped the bed in every possible way looking like a beleaguered ECHL team for most of the game, or perhaps more like a team cobbled together at the last minute like how management managed to arrange things to start this season.

Here’s the post-game reflected through the performance of select members of the team.

  • Let’s start at management by talking about the coach. I don’t know what world Glen Gulutzan lives in, but his system was a disaster, but what was even worse, the D-line pairings. In what WORLD does Dennis Wideman Play top line minutes with Mark Giordano??!?!?!?!? In what WORLD does Nick Grossman earn a contract AND start opening night? He touched the puck twice in the first period and was quickly -2.
  • Nick Grossman. Let’s give him a rating of ‘G’ because that’s lower than ‘F’. You can’t play any worse and make management look any worse than what Grossman did. Every time he was on the ice he was outplayed and clearly two levels behind everyone else. This is a coaching problem that was probably the number one reason why the team lost their opening game. I hope you never place another game (wishful thinking I know.)
  • Brian Elliot. Did somebody call Jonah Hiller to start Internet tonight? Because the goaltending tonight was actually worse than it was in the opening night last season. Yes we all know that it can only go up from here, but that doesn’t take away from the fact this was a terrible show from Elliot.
  • The top line. The first line was absolutely nonexistent which it’s probably expected given the fact it was cobbled together literally yesterday. Gaudreau had a couple of chances but didn’t generate much. There was no top-line scoring. Monahan was hurt for most of the pre-season. Versteeg was plucked from the Oilers on a PTO.
  • The second line. Look better and the Flames might have something special here. Same can’t be said anywhere else in the lineup.
  • Can we go back and talk about how terrible the Dline pairings were? Apart from goaltending there wasn’t a more glaring error in the lineup then the pairings. Engelland with Brodie. Wideman with Gio. Grossman just horrific.
  • the PK was a highlight, but only because Cam Talbot was garbage in net.

Honorable mention for the Oilers go to the referees. I hate to bring it up on the opening night because ultimately the players decide, but when you notice the refs for entire periods, those are BAD referees. Everyone has to gear up for the regular season, but this was some bogus garbage tonight with higher than normal calls. Touch McDavid and the pager goes off from the NHL to the on-ice official for a penalty shot? Suuuurrreeeee.

The Flames played three games in and four nights I will face the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. Following that game will be the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday.

P.S. Daryl Katz, buying the Oilers was such a “challenge”, you’re a real hero. Man, it must be SOOOOO HARD to be a billionaire NHL team owner who had taxpayers buy your arena. So hard.