GDB 38: Guaranteed win night

Robin Brownlee
January 05 2009 01:25PM

In the New York Islanders, the Edmonton Oilers will not only be facing a team at Rexall Place tonight that's dead-last in the NHL, but an outfit that's lost 12 straight games on the road. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, as fans have come to, ahem, understand after watching the Oilers toss out the welcome mat for road-shy homebodies like the Florida Panthers and the Ottawa Senators, the answer is "plenty."

While the Islanders are so lousy on the road with those 12 straight losses and a record of 5-15-2 they need a note from their moms before leaving Long Island, the same was true of the Panthers, who beat the Oilers 2-0 here back on Dec. 11.

Likewise the feeble Senators, who straggled into town Dec. 30 with 12 straight losses on the road and promptly put an end to the Oilers three-game winning streak in a 3-2 decision.

Is it any wonder, then, reporters were quick to cut to the chase with coach Craig MacTavish after the morning skate today? The Oilers wouldn't be, well, stupid enough to underestimate the 12-24-4 Islanders, would they?

Well, would they?

Talk is cheap

"Predictable question," smiled MacTavish when Mark Connolly of the CBC asked the obvious question this morning. "We all know we've been down this path before.

"The margin of error, the line between winning and losing is so fine that you just have to be prepared every night. You've got to give your best effort every night. You look at their record. They've lost some games, but they're all close games."

As deep as the Oilers have been in Western Conference standings for most of their 37 games, it's not like they've faced a lot of teams below them in the NHL pecking order.

But the Panthers and Senators were two of them -- and not just teams lower in the standings, but teams there's absolutely no reason NOT to beat for fun. The injury riddled Islanders, even with former Oilers Doug Weight, Bill Guerin and Mike Comrie looking to shove it high and tight to their old team, are one of those clubs.

So, after pissing away four points they might well need on the way to winning the Northwest Division title, you'd think MacTavish's men would be blowing snot bubbles and ready to rumble tonight, no?

"We've got another big challenge here tonight and another team we can't take lightly just because they're not up there in the standings," said Sheldon Souray.

"We're not going to overlook this game, for sure. It's going to be another challenge for us."

History lesson

If the Oilers have a fatal flaw -- one that's bitten them more than once in the last decade during their annual quest for sixth, seventh or eighth place in the conference -- it's that they've failed to bank points that have to be automatic. These are two of them.

Last season, the Oilers went 14-5-1 in their final 20 games and still missed the post-season by three points. I can think of at least six points they had no business not getting. Do the math.

Every team, even the good ones, phone it in once in awhile and give away points. The Detroit Red Wings can get away with it once in awhile. The Oilers? Not so much. They don't have that margin for error -- especially with Ales Hemsky out with a concussion and Shawn Horcoff questionable with back spasms.

"We need to come out with a lot of focus and a lot of energy," said Sam Gagner. "Hopefully, if we can do that, we can come out with the two points."

What could possibly go wrong?

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 07:50PM
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freeze wrote:

wow, the Oil look sloppy. purple onion sloppy.

So you're saying if I keep drinking they will "look" hot and will wake up next to a fatty?

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#52 Milli
January 05 2009, 07:50PM
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If canada scores it's over!!!!!!

The Oil game sounds like it's off to a shitty start?

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#53 David S
January 05 2009, 07:52PM
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Sorry man. The fatties don't like white guys.

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#54 freeze
January 05 2009, 07:53PM
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@ Hockey Gods: yeah, but you forgot about the Herpes.

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#55 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 07:53PM
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Whatever happened to the $37 gagillion over 15 year man Rick Dipeitro?

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#56 freeze
January 05 2009, 07:54PM
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@ Hockey Gods: suddenly made of glass... good signing.

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#57 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 07:55PM
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freeze wrote:

@ Hockey Gods: yeah, but you forgot about the Herpes.

I don't mind herpes, I name them and introduce them to my friends. Besides the next fat chick could use the protien when she's down there.

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#58 David S
January 05 2009, 07:55PM
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I think the boys had another "post game practice" last night. No strings attached of course.

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#59 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 07:55PM
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Sweden with the empty net.

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#60 freeze
January 05 2009, 07:56PM
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Eberle with the empty net!

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#61 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 07:56PM
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EBERLE!!!!!!!!!!!

Puts it away with the empty netter.

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#62 Milli
January 05 2009, 07:56PM
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eberle!!!!!

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#63 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 07:57PM
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@ freeze: So you're saying Garth Snow isn't genius GM Wang thinks he is?

Eberle just potted an empty netter to ice the win. Sweet can't wait a few years to see him in an Oiler Jersey

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#64 David S
January 05 2009, 07:57PM
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4-1. The most dangerous lead in hockey.

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#65 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 07:57PM
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You guys think Eberel has a shot at Tournement MVP?

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#66 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 07:59PM
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@ Hockey Gods:

He just jumped into 3rd place in the tournament for points with 12.

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#67 freeze
January 05 2009, 07:59PM
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nah, Tavares for sure.

Tavs, Hodgson, Eberle lead the tourney in scoring.

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#68 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 07:59PM
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5-1 WOOOOOOO

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#69 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:00PM
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Actually make that 13 points now for Eberle.

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#70 freeze
January 05 2009, 08:00PM
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one more for salt in the wound. too bad the game wasn't closer.

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#71 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:00PM
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@ baggedmilk: And on Saturday he got us to this game... now the Apple on another empty netter.

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#72 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:02PM
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Ah that's sexy. Everyone grab someone with blonde hair, and blue eyes and make your first punch a drop kick.

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#73 freeze
January 05 2009, 08:02PM
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yee haw!

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#74 freeze
January 05 2009, 08:02PM
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Subban is hilarious.

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#75 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:03PM
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@ freeze:

He's got to keep his mouth shut or he'll trip over that bottom lip.

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#76 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:04PM
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Of course Subban is wearing his hat sideways. Where's his grill and rims?

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#77 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:04PM
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@ baggedmilk: He is going to rap Oh Canada in the room.

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#78 freeze
January 05 2009, 08:06PM
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damn, still 1-0

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#79 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:08PM
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What are the Oil's lines for tonight?

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#80 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:10PM
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@ Hockey Gods:

They didn't have any drive for five due rags.

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#81 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:11PM
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@ baggedmilk: HE rip the break off of his hat.

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#82 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:11PM
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Jordan Eberle makes the top 3 Canadians.

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#83 freeze
January 05 2009, 08:11PM
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eberle named top 3.

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#84 David S
January 05 2009, 08:12PM
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In the Oilers locker room:

"Hey guys. Brownlee at the Nation says we're guaranteed."

MacT:

"Mother of god, no. Brownlee's banned!"

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#85 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:13PM
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John Tavares looks like a young Ryan Smyth.

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#86 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:18PM
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@ baggedmilk: I thought they were all blonde, I guess someone has to load the hockey bags on the bus.

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#87 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:25PM
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So our PK isn't working again?

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#88 freeze
January 05 2009, 08:27PM
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2-0?! what the eff!

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#89 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:27PM
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I have to say this is the lamest JL meeting I've been to in a long time. I haven't been around for a while and everything goes to sh|t... <---- take that censors.

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#90 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:28PM
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The man inside the TV told me NY scored a PP goal with 2 seconds left.

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#91 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:29PM
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Where's Brownlee? I am going to put him over my knee and spank his bum.

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#92 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:29PM
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Hey Lowe and Tambo, Pat Quinn now officially has f*ck all to do? MOVE HIM WEST!!!

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#93 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:30PM
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@ Hockey Gods:

JSBM nod of approval. I like that idea a lot.

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#94 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:31PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Where’s Brownlee? I am going to put him over my knee and spank his bum.

Wow bagged you just filled my spank bank.

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#95 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:31PM
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Remember watching that awesome Canada over Sweden win. Ahh that was awesome.

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#96 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:32PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

@ Hockey Gods: JSBM nod of approval. I like that idea a lot.

I was at the game saturday, with the Oil up 4-1 I tried to get the Fire MacT chant going.

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#97 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:33PM
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@ Hockey Gods:

If they lose to the Islanders I'm going to have to pick some people up outside RX1. Thankfully I have the Fire MacT Bandwagon plugged in.

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#98 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:35PM
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@ baggedmilk: Durin the intermission I stole Subban's rims off his lowrider and threw them on the Bandwagon... it's looking pretty sharp now.

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#99 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:37PM
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Oh that's what was different. I was wondering why the local hoods were poppin da cris on my front lawn.

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#100 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:38PM
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Hopefully Salo's wife was in town. That way Comrie won't be a threat, he'll have the old sex legs.

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