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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#101 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:39PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Oh that’s what was different. I was wondering why the local hoods were poppin da cris on my front lawn.

I snorted gin when I read that.

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#102 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:42PM
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Panties are coming off tonight are they?

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#103 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:43PM
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I already told you that you filled my spank bank. Where the fack is everyone else?

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#104 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:44PM
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Great job Eathan, we didn't need that scoring chance anyways... we get those all the time.

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#105 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:44PM
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It's just a two man party going on in here that's for sure.

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#106 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:46PM
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Then why are we being censored, I damn sure know you don't give a sh*t if I use bad words.

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#107 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:46PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

It’s just a two man party going on in here that’s for sure.

I thought i tasted sausage.

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#108 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:47PM
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Actually it's my New Years resolution to be a kinder, gentler baggedmilk. Stop being so ignant, and hate filled.

GOALLLLLLLLLLLL

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#109 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:47PM
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STRUDS??? I think??

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#110 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:48PM
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I think that banked in off the Islander D.

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#111 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:50PM
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So go back to being crude and untasteful

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#112 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:50PM
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Umm... Mulligan?

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#113 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:52PM
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All in good fun.

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#114 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:54PM
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GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

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#115 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:54PM
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Repeat STRUDS!!! this time for real

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#116 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 08:56PM
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If he doesn't this one, he better fight the ref.

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#117 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:57PM
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You know what this means. MacT will be putting these as*holes on the powerplay at some point in this game.

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#118 Smokin' Ray
January 05 2009, 08:58PM
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They are the new #1 line.

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#119 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 08:58PM
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WOO 3 man party.

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#120 Travis Dakin
January 05 2009, 09:01PM
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You guys are slightly more entertaining than this game.

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#121 Travis Dakin
January 05 2009, 09:02PM
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Now it's a sausage fest.

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#122 Jeff
January 05 2009, 09:02PM
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I'm here too, but I have blonde hair and blue eyes. Are my kind welcome here?

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#123 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 09:03PM
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Haha, Penner as Santa... insert fat joke here.

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#124 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 09:03PM
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Jeff wrote:

I’m here too, but I have blonde hair and blue eyes. Are my kind welcome here?

More than welcome Jeff, come on in, have some of my gin.

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#125 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 09:07PM
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I am scared... If Evanka Osmak isn't doing the intermission show, I am going to have to pleasure myself to images of Rob faulds.

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#126 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 09:08PM
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DAMMIT!!

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#127 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 09:08PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

You guys are slightly more entertaining than this game.

TD, I showed up just for you buddy.

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#128 David S
January 05 2009, 09:09PM
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Strudwick and Stortini. Lock 'em down now for ten years each while you still have a chance. Bah - hahahaha!

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#129 Travis Dakin
January 05 2009, 09:09PM
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Now all I can think about is you pleasuring yourself to Rob Faulds! DAMMIT.

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#130 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 09:11PM
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I am done now, if you sneeze I hvae a kleenex ready for you...

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#131 Jeff
January 05 2009, 09:12PM
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@ Hockey Gods: Thanks for the offer, but gin and I are not on speaking terms right now. Went out for a couple bowls of loud mouth soup on the way home from the game Saturday night... things ended poorly.

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#132 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 09:14PM
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@ Jeff: Did end with Baggedmilk turning you over his knee and spanking you and calling you Brownlee?

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#133 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 09:15PM
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*baggedmilk is sorry*

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#134 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 09:17PM
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Hahah could you imagine Dan Tencer playing Batman in a high school play?

Fighting crime with that ever present sh|t eating grin on his face?

hahah

Anyway... Carry on.

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#135 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 09:21PM
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@ baggedmilk: Well you have to learn, when I say call me Amber McCormick, I mean call me Amber McCormick, not Robin Brownlee. Sure the Gin is to blame, and maybe I should be a little sorry too, I Shouldn't have introduced myself to your parents as "just another notch on his bedpost." I think you mom was uncomfortablee with that.

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#136 Jeff
January 05 2009, 09:22PM
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@ Hockey Gods: Okay, maybe not that poorly.

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#137 David S
January 05 2009, 09:22PM
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Greasy goals. Greasy game.

I'll laugh my ass off if we win and Stortini or Strudwick get a star.

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#138 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 09:22PM
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See Jeff things are already looking up for you. Stick with me kid, I will make you feel better about yourself.

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#139 RobinB
January 05 2009, 09:25PM
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Wow. This is certainly impressive. The Oilers are locked in a fight for their lives with a brutal Islanders team and if it wasn't for two fluke goals, Tambellini would have thrown himself onto the ice from the press box by now.

Division championship, my eye.

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#140 deep oil
January 05 2009, 09:25PM
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@ Travis Dakin: the bud light commercial with no sausage party here (nhl network) is the best

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#141 deep oil
January 05 2009, 09:26PM
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@ RobinB: a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while and some of oilers nation gets laid once a year

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#142 deep oil
January 05 2009, 09:28PM
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@ RobinB: sorry last post was in reference to master b and struds goals

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#143 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 09:29PM
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@ RobinB:

Robin, what is the word around the press box these days? I want to know what you think about bringing a guy like Pat Quinn in to shake up this team?

It seems pretty obvious that he has the ability to work with young players.

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#144 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 09:30PM
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deep oil wrote:

@ RobinB: a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while and some of oilers nation gets laid once a year

So deep throat you have me scared I got lucky on new years so you think I am done for the year?

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#145 deep oil
January 05 2009, 09:34PM
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@ Hockey Gods: depends did you make love before or after midnight lol - happy new year master b - truce

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#146 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 09:34PM
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@ Hockey Gods:

I guess I'm done too...

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#147 Jeff
January 05 2009, 09:35PM
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Dougie... still a class act. I remember the year after we got him, I went to a pre-season game and he and Nick Stajduhar sat down in the seats in front of me. I recognized Stajduhar right away, but Weight had only played a handful of games with us the year before... and I thought he was Jason Arnott (cut me some slack, I think I was 11). Anyways, I ask "Jason" for his autograph, then Stajduhar leans back, "Uhhh, that's Doug Weight". So I ask Doug Weight for his autograph. He smiles and signs, we BS for a couple minutes, then he shakes my hand and leaves.

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#148 Hockey Gods
January 05 2009, 09:36PM
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Thank god for Rob Faulds images then its a cold winter.

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#149 deep oil
January 05 2009, 09:36PM
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@ baggedmilk: doesnt count if you were by yourself

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#150 baggedmilk
January 05 2009, 09:37PM
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@ deep oil:

If masturbating was a paying job I'd be Darryl Katz.

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