Well, it was an interesting game despite the loss. Mostly fun to watch, despite a few cringe-worthy moments. The 5-3 final was more lopsided than the actual game was, thanks to an Oilers empty net goal.
Jon Rheault is making a strong push to be at big boy camp for an extended period of time, although I still don't think he'll see action in Calgary unless there are a few injuries on the wing. He and Backlund played together for the whole game on the first line, and seemed to have really good chemistry. Their left winger was cycled over the course of the night, with Bouma starting the night there and staying fairly quiet early on. Cameron had some early success on the PP with Rheault and Backlund, and continued to see shifts with them through the night. At times Bancks worked with them, but Camerion was clearly the best LW on the first line.
Backlund showed strong offensive talent, and was able to move the puck quite well all night. He seemed to be the most offensively gifted forward on the ice the whole game. However, he tended to be quiet in his own zone. His worst fault on the night was a lazy hooking call in the offensive zone in the first period. That PK led to the Oilers first goal. When he was moving his feet and skating, he was dominant, so hopefully he continues to develop a good work ethic this year.
TJ Brodie had an up and down night. He skated quite well with the puck and seemed to hold his own in the defensive zone. I forgot to bring a pen so I don't have any +/- or other stats written down, but it seemed like he was doing OK. He did seem to have issues holding pucks in the offensive zone; most of it was positioning issues, which I'd imagine is something he can be taught.
Cameron, Bancks, and Wahl were very high-energy all game. They were flying all over the ice, and in the cases of Cameron and Bancks, throwing their weight into anything in a white sweater. Wahl showed a few flashes of brilliance, but was fairly quiet all night.
Negrin and Seabrook both played very well on D and added a goal apiece on great slapshots.
Nemisz played quite well with Patterson and Armstrong on a grind style line and scored the first Flames goal of the night on the PP thanks to a nifty pass from Bouma.
Chris Breen is a freaking monster. Unfortunately, his skating still needs a lot of work.
Giffen Nyren had what amounted to an awful night. He almost put a puck past Irving in the first, and ended up caught out of position on the Oilers' second and third goals.
Irving played well and made a few spectacular saves. He didn't have a chance on the three second period goals, and ended the night with 30 saves on 34 shots. He probably should have had the first period goal, but it looked like he was at least partially screened.
Back to back fights in the second was a great energy booster. Breen went toe to toe with Cameron Abney and ended up having to go for stitches. Mere seconds after the ensuing faceoff, Ryley Grantham dropped the gloves with Jordan Bandfeld.
I'll be at the Flames-Canucks game at noon on Thursday, and will have my camera with me too, so hopefully I'll be able to bring some pictures back to share as well.