The “Battle Of Alberta,” the rivalry between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, has lacked a little something for a long while now. Which is a little weird to say about one of the league’s most bitter rivalries, as the two were the league’s best teams in the 80s and contesting playoff series that doubled as Shakespearen epics/monkey reenactments of the Civil War. rarely have the two teams been good at the same time to keep it at that level. They haven’t played each other in the postseason in 30 years.
With the all-Canadian division and playoffs this year, there was some hope that could change. And last night’s renewal had a truly remarkable occurrence, something that made the hockey world pause. That was the unveiling of Calgary’s new Blasty jerseys! Just look at this masterpiece in action! Longfellow couldn’t have described anything within the orbit of this kind of beauty!
Oh, right, and Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl had a six-minute shift to end the game.
Six minutes. SIX MINUTES. It’s patently ridiculous. Most forward shifts don’t even get to a minute long. In a desperate situation, late in the game and down, you might see a team run its best forwards out for two to two and a half minutes.
But six?! This is asking a quarter horse to run a mile and a half. It’s a triathlon...after you’ve spent an hour trying to get the kids to bed. It is the height of ridiculousness. It’s simply unheard of. Which makes it the height of “Edmonton Oilers,.” who specialize in the unheard of when it comes to desperation.
Both McDavid and Draisaitl ended up playing over 27 minutes for the game, which would be a lot for a defenseman. The Oilers and coach Dave Tippett would tell you they were down two goals, had a power play, and a timeout, so might as well ride them as long as you can until they fall over. Which doesn’t come close to justifying it.
This is the kind of thing you’d do trying to stave off elimination in the playoffs. In the first quarter of a regular season that isn’t even a normal regular season? With a game in Ottawa just two days later? SIX MINUTES?!
It’s the lever you pull when you look down the bench and see only Stryper tribute band members and Jim Rose Circus rejects. Nothing illustrates the Oilers better. That and that they didn’t score and lost anyway.