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Smid faces former teammates in Battle of Alberta

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Ladislav Smid doesn't need a reminder that the Edmonton Oilers are coming into Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

The date was already circled on his calendar.

Traded from Edmonton to the Calgary Flames eight days ago, Smid said he is thrilled to be facing his former Oilers teammates so soon.

"I'm really excited for this game," the defenseman said. "You obviously have to get it going here at home. It's always fun to get out there in the Battle of Alberta and especially for me. It's going to be a little bit different since I'm part of the Flames now."

Calgary acquired Smid and Olivier Roy in exchange for prospects Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit on Nov. 8, the second time a trade has been completed between the two franchises.

Smid played all 474 of his NHL games over parts of eight seasons with the Oilers before swapping allegiances in the Battle of Alberta and joining the Flames.

Understandably, the game will hold an extra significance for Smid, but Calgary coach Bob Hartley suspects his player can handle the jitters.

"You know who you're dealing with and we'll find out about Ladislav even more," he said. "He's a pretty even-keeled guy. He's on his toes, you can tell. He's always talking and bringing good energy. I just reminded him to look at the schedule and he said, 'Don't worry, I know.'"

Smid (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) already has some Oilers' targets in mind.

"I can't tell. You'll see," he said, giving a wry smile. "Nobody really, I'm just going to play my game. That's it."

As for former teammates trying to get the better of him?

"I don't know, probably," he said with a laugh. "They're going to be dumping a lot of pucks in my corner, maybe. We'll see."

Smid has seen each side struggle this season.

The Oilers had won once in the seven games prior to Smid's trade, and the Flames are winless in two with the 27-year-old in the lineup.

The slumps don't stop there, however.

The Oilers have dropped five straight and have one win in their past 11 games en route to an NHL-low 10 points this season. Calgary hasn't fared much better, also losing five in a row, and have two wins in 11 tries.

With the teams struggling, Smid knows the heightened importance of coming out of the Battle of Alberta on a winning note.

"I don't think at this stage, it doesn't matter who you play against," he said. "We each have to focus on ourselves, play a really structured, disciplined game and especially at home we've got to get it going here and get some points."

Here are the projected lineups for the Flames and Oilers:


Mike Cammalleri - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Sven Baertschi - Matt Stajan - Lee Stempniak

TJ Galiardi - Mikael Backlund - David Jones

Lance Bouma - Joe Colborne - Brian McGrattan

TJ Brodie - Chris Butler

Dennis Wideman - Kris Russell

Ladislav Smid - Derek Smith

Reto Berra

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Shane O'Brien, Tim Jackman

Injured: Mark Giordano (broken ankle), Curtis Glencross (MCL sprain)


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Nail Yakupov - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky

Ryan Smyth - Boyd Gordon - David Perron

Luke Gazdic - Will Acton - Jesse Joensuu

Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry

Anton Belov - Philip Larsen

Nick Schultz - Corey Potter

Devan Dubnyk

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Ryan Jones, Oscar Klefbom

Injured: Justin Schultz (groin), Luke Gazdic (shoulder)

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