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Lowe hopes Burke can help rekindle Battle of Alberta

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The Battle of Alberta isn’t what it used to be, and it hasn’t been for a while. But Kevin Lowe, the Edmonton Oilers’ president of hockey operations, is hoping that Brian Burke, the Calgary Flames’ new president of hockey ops, will help change that.

“All of us, the Flames and ourselves, we can only wish that we could get back to those days again in terms of the interest, the hype and the great hockey that it was,” said Lowe, per the Canadian Press.

“If Brian can add to that, it would be awesome.”

Now provincial counterparts, Lowe and Burke have already clashed in the past, with the latter famously suggesting the two men should fight in a rented barn.

Of course, Alberta hockey fans would rather watch their teams compete for the Stanley Cup than listen to the clubs’ executives talk tough. Neither side has made the playoffs the past four seasons, and the last time one of them won a postseason series was 2006.

The Oilers and Flames haven’t met in the playoffs since their classic seven-game series in 1991.


In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron

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Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.