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Game 1--Flames@Oilers: Fresh Start

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EDMONTON CANADA - OCTOBER 1:  James Vandermeer #2 of the Edmonton Oilers fights Tim Jackman #15 of the Calgary Flames in second-period action at Rexall Place October 1 2010 in Edmonton Alberta Canada. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON CANADA - OCTOBER 1: James Vandermeer #2 of the Edmonton Oilers fights Tim Jackman #15 of the Calgary Flames in second-period action at Rexall Place October 1 2010 in Edmonton Alberta Canada. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
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The 2010-11 season finally gets underway for the Flames tonight after a lengthy off-season, and tonight's tilt with the Oilers (8PM MT, CBC) is as good a time as any to get back into the swing of things with a 'W.'

After barely squeezing under the cap by placing Daymond Langkow then Ales Kotalik on LTIR, the Flames made some puzzling roster decisions prior to this evening's contest. Adam Pardy will return to the lineup tonight and rookie T.J. Brodie will see his first regular season NHL action, as Steve Staios and Cory Sarich will sit this one out. Up front, Craig Conroy is also listed as a heathy scratch for tonight's contest, as Brett Sutter, re-called earlier today, will take his place in the lineup alongside Meyer and Ivanans. That's a fair chunk of salary sitting in the press box. Pardy and Brodie are certainly the younger, cheaper option who could prove just as capable of patrolling the blueline against lesser opposition, particularly in the case of tonight's competition, but sitting two healthy defencemen, especially at that coin, in favour of an experiment of sorts makes little sense. There is no way that Brett Sutter ranks above Craig Conroy on the depth chart, in fact Conroy probably ranks ahead of Backlund and likely even Morrison, who will start tonight's game on the second line, in the team's options for a tough-minutes centre. With Meyer still up with the big club, I fail to see the need for an extra body in Sutter.

Here are the lines and pairings for tonight's contest, as per the Flames website:

Tanguay - Jokinen - Iginla

Hagman - Morrison - Bourque

Glencross - Backlund - Jackman

Ivanans - Sutter - Meyers

Regehr - White

Giordano - Bouwmeester

Pardy - Brodie

Kiprusoff

Edmonton will counter with the kids, as Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle will all be in the lineup tonight, with the latter two skating alongside newly appointed captain Shawn Horcoff on the team's second line

Lines and pairings as per The Copper & Blue:

Penner - Gagner - Hemsky

Hall - Horcoff - Eberle

Paajarvi - Cogliano - Brule

Jones - Fraser - Stortini

Smid - Gilbert

Whitney - Foster

Vandermeer - Peckham

Khabibulin

Enjoy the game everyone--and while I still have reason to cheer--Go Flames Go.