Flames’ Weegar fumes after latest loss to Oilers: ‘It should sting a bit’

Article content

Blake Coleman’s voice was full of frustration.

“It’s two (losses) in a row, and it’s a team that we just need to start beating,” he bristled. “It’s getting old.” 

Article content

MacKenzie Weegar’s voice, meanwhile, was oozing intensity, exactly what he thought the Calgary Flames were missing in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at the Saddledome. 

“I just thought we got out-competed,” Weegar seethed. “You know, Battle of Alberta, there wasn’t much of a battle tonight from us.” 

Advertisement 2

Article content

Strong words, and Weegar was just getting warmed up.  

He mentioned a lack of urgency in the opening period, when Dan Vladar was standing on his head in the home crease.  

In his next answer, Weegar wondered aloud why they didn’t show more pride. 

The heart-and-soul defenceman groaned that the on-ice animosity was lacking, too, certainly a bit of a surprise with the raucous atmosphere at the rink, with a well-hydrated crowd trading chants of ‘Let’s Go Oilers!’ and ‘Oilers Suck!’  

In the end, the fans in blue had bragging rights as they headed for the exits. While the Flames managed to keep Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl off the score-sheet, the Oilers stretched their franchise-record winning streak to 13 in a row. The deciding goal was a fluke by Sam Gagner early in the third. 

“I thought we were going to come out a little harder than that, maybe throw some hits, mix it up a bit,” fumed Weegar, the Flames’ lone marksman in Saturday’s loss. “And that’s including myself. I’m speaking for the whole team. I thought there would have been a little bit more pride there from us. That’s a big game. They’re coming into our territory, our city. I thought we would have had a little more juice there. 

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

“There were some good things, of course. I thought we had a bit of a pushback. But for the most part, it just felt like they were winning the battles. 

“I just wanted a little bit more from everybody tonight.” 

Recommended from Editorial

More from everybody except Vladar, who finished with 30 saves and was the main reason the outcome wasn’t settled until Zach Hyman notched an empty-netter with 35 seconds to go. 

Vladar faced four all-alone opportunities before there was an intermission, stopping all but one. 

“The first period, I thought we did a little too much watching,” assessed Flames bench boss Ryan Huska. “After the first period, I thought we played hard.” 

“Vladdy played a hell of a game,” Coleman added. “And we didn’t do enough in front of him to reward him for his performance.” 

Advertisement 4

Article content

And so, it’s another Battle of Alberta that goes to the boys in blue. 

Dating back to Game 2 of a Stanley Cup playoff series in 2022, the Oilers have won eight of the past nine instalments. That includes four in a row, two of those this season.

The Flames are now six points back of their provincial foes, and McDavid & Co. have four games in hand. Their next meeting is Feb. 24 in Edmonton.  

“I’ve never doubted this group,” Weegar stressed. “We’ve gotta learn from this. We play them again next month. I expect a better response next month. But right now, it should sting a bit. You need that sense of pride. For the guys that have been here a long time, like Backs (Mikael Backlund), I’m sure he has a little bit more hatred for those battles.  

“We need to find that same thing, that little fire in the belly there.”  

AROUND THE BOARDS 

Oliver Kylington has completed his conditioning stint with the Wranglers. The next step for the 26-year-old defenceman — building toward a return to the NHL after missing all of last season and the first half of this current campaign for mental health reasons — is to rejoin the Flames for practice, something that could happen as soon as Monday. Kylington, who remains on long-term injured reserve, made a pair of appearances for the Wranglers before reaching the time-limit on his conditioning assignment. He hasn’t skated in an NHL game since May 2022 … In his big-league debut, Flames forward call-up Adam Klapka was credited with a game-high four hits on eight shifts. The 23-year-old earned a loud roar when he crunched Draisaitl into the side-boards. “He looked good for his first game,” Huska praised … Weegar’s second-period snipe boosted his season total to 10. He is one of just six NHL defencemen in double-digits in goals so far this season, and it’s quite a list — Rasmus Dahlin, Quinn Hughes, Evan Bouchard, Cale Makar and Drew Doughty are the others … Thanks to his sweet setup on Weegar’s goal, Coleman is up 39 points, a new career-high for the shoulda-been all-star.  

[email protected] 

Article content