CALGARY, Alberta – With the "Battle Of Alberta" considered among the League's most physical rivalries, Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger has opted to install one of the team’s tougher forwards into the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames.
Darcy Hordichuk will see his first action of the season when the Oilers visit the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome, and the 6-foot, 1-inch forward is expecting to spice up what should be a spirited affair between the provincial rivals.
"I think that’s why they’re putting me in there, to bring that physicality," Hordichuk said. "It’s going to be a fun game to play and every time we play these guys they’ve been a tough team to play against."
Hordichuk will also be tasked with keeping an eye on some of the Oilers’ young stars. With Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov all in the lineup, it’s Hordichuk’s responsibility to make sure the opposition doesn’t take liberties with Edmonton’s core.
"I know I’m a big brother," he said. "You get so many guys to look after. This team, you’ve got guys like Yak and Hallsy and Ebs and Nuge and Schutlzie (Justin Schultz) – it’s fun. I think it’s a role that is needed on the team and I look forward to doing what I do best.”
Here are the possible line combinations for the Oilers:
Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Nail Yakupov – Sam Gagner – Ales Hemsky
Ryan Smyth – Shawn Horcoff – Magnus Paajarvi
Darcy Hordichuk – Eric Belanger – Lennart Petrell
Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
Nick Schultz – Justin Schultz
Ryan Whitney – Mark Fistric
Injured: Ben Eager, Ryan Jones, Nikolai Khabibulan, Theo Peckham, Andy Sutton
Scratched: Teemu Hartikainen, Corey Potter