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At the Morning Skate: Oilers vs. Flames

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Start time:
8:30pm MT
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network

The Edmonton Oilers (2-0-0) conclude their portion of the 2011 Young Stars Tournament tonight vs. the Calgary Flames (0-1-1).

The Oilers grounded the Jets in a 2-0 shutout victory one night ago, but will be challenged to maintain the tournament’s only unbeaten record in a provincial clash this evening.


Certainly no stranger to the Battle of Alberta, Oilers winger Cameron Abney is pumped to get back in the lineup tonight vs. Calgary, in what promises to be a heated contest.

“I had the night off last night because I had a sore hand, but it feels better today and I'm excited for tonight,” he said. “It's always fun. It's kind of funny how the rivalry continues for the prospects. We just don't like each other very much.

“When you see that red coming at you, it gets you pretty excited. They have some big bodies on that team and I'm sure it'll be a pretty physical matchup tonight.”

Camp invite Colin Smith agreed, adding that as a local boy, this game bears more importance on a personal level.

“For me, any game putting on the Oilers jersey is pretty cool,” he smiled. “It will be that much sweeter tonight against Calgary. I’m really looking forward to playing in the Battle of Alberta. It’s like a dream come true.

“Having said that, we need to get the win.”

Smith will centre Abney and Drew Czerwonka on the fourth line tonight. While there’s certainly some skill available, the line’s primary duty will require a strong, physical presence across the sheet.

“I think we’ll have to get in there and work it down low,” Smith explained. “Once we do that, we can wear down their D; hopefully we'll get some chances and put one in.”

Hoping to show that he belongs in a more prominent role, Abney couldn’t agree more.

“I want to show them that I can not only play the physical game, but I can also chip in offensively, too. I like to play big down low, set up some plays, make some plays and maybe even score a goal.”

Smith’s outlook is similar, as both are working toward an extended look at main camp, which begins Friday morning at Rexall Place.

“I want to have a good third game,” he said. “It's been three games in four nights, but I want to show them that I can keep going and try to make plays where they'll say, 'Hey, maybe we should take a look at this kid.'

“We're trying to all do our best and push each other to be better this week. We've had a pretty good camp; two wins and we're trying to end it on a strong note here tonight.”

Abney added: “It's been nice to get a couple wins on the board. It's a lot more fun to play when you're winning.”


Adam Brown has patiently waited his turn behind Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz, but he’s raring to go, getting the start in the tournament’s most heated matchup.

“It's ideal to get a crack at it right away to get the nerves out,” he said. “But I don't think it's a huge disadvantage waiting this long. Obviously I've had a little more practice time and more work off the ice, so I feel like I'm ready to go.

“That's a tough one to follow up on,” he added, regarding Bunz’s 22-save shutout Tuesday night. “He had a great game and made some huge saves out there. I'm going to go out there, play my game and try and get this last win for the team.”


Cornet - Lander - Rieder
Hamilton - Pitlick - Tyrvainen
Ferguson - Schaber - Rajala
Czerwonka - Smith - Abney

Davidson - Musil
Vannieuwenhuizen - Blain
Marincin - Schmidt

Tonight's game can be seen LIVE right here on

Follow me on Twitter | @ryandittrick

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