SUN Hockey Pool

Fresh soldiers joining Battle

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:11 PM ET

For three-plus seasons, Bryan Marchment saw the Battle of Alberta from the other side.

"I remember heading down from Edmonton and saying bad things about Calgary --and now that I'm here, I have to say bad things about Edmonton," he said.

That's the spirit.

Get out the cow tongues -- or is that Harvey the Hound's tongue? -- and City of Champions signs because the game's best rivalry will arise from its slumber tonight when the Edmonton Oilers head to Calgary for the first of eight meetings this season.

And if that's not enough to get the bad blood flowing, they'll meet again at the Saddledome Thursday.

Marchment, whose stint in Edmonton went from 1994-95 until halfway through the 1997-98 campaign, was looking forward to renewing acquaintances with one of hockey's best rivalries.

"It's one of those things I learned about very quickly," he said.

"My first exhibition game ever, I was with Winnipeg, I was in here and got some stitches. And then going to Edmonton, the battles got bigger and bigger. I'm definitely looking forward to these games."

While Marchment and Roman Hamrlik have at least experienced the Battle of Alberta from the northern post, there are plenty of Flames who'll see it for the first time.

Rookies Dion Phaneuf and Eric Nystrom as well as vets Daymond Langkow, Darren McCarty and Tony Amonte will be part of a whole different form of festivities.

Amonte, for one, can't wait.

"I've seen it from afar but I know the games are very emotional and there's always a lot on the line. It's going to be neat to be a part of," said Amonte, who's familiar with heated rivalries.

"Chicago and Detroit was a pretty good rivalry and the Rangers and Islanders were along the same lines. With Philadelphia, it was New Jersey. It seems every team has that one rival, that one team they really want to beat," he said.

"But this one is legendary. Everybody talks about it in Canada. It seems the fans really, really get hyped up for this game. It should be a great atmosphere. That can only help us."

Undoubtedly, the Flames (with their 1-3-1 record) could use all the help they can get.

Calgary's success against the Oilers was a big reason for making the playoffs in 2003-04.

Over the six games that season, the Flames captured 10 points (4-0-1-1).

Those numbers caught Amonte off guard.

"Wow," he said. "It'll be even more important -- eight times and 16 points up for grabs against this team and they're playing well. It'll be a great challenge.

"These are the games every guy has to contribute in some way."


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