UPDATE: Souray is still out...

Jason Gregor
October 15 2009 11:22AM

UPDATE: Don't expect Sheldon Souray to return anytime soon. Pat Quinn was not very confident that Souray would be back soon. Souray met with the training staff, and according to Quinn, he didn't look good and is still a ways away from returning.

Steve Staios won't dress tomorrow either. He is closer than Staios, but after speaking with Quinn it sounds like he won't play tomorrow, and will be re-evaluated over the weekend.

No changes on the blueline, but Quinn might make a switch up front.

I asked him if he was considering switching the lines to start the game, similar to the ones we saw at the end of last night's game.

He hinted that maybe Robert Nilsson gets a look, or even Steve MacIntyre. If one of them comes in the question is who comes out? It won't be Stortini or Moreau, so would he take out a Comrie, Gagner, Stone or Jacques? Doubtful.

Many of the Nation have been wondering why Cogliano is stuck on the 4th line. Quinn pointed out that Gagner got off to a good start playing with Moreau and Stortini, and now Cogliano gets put with them and suddenly he has two goals.

Quinn went on to explain that Moreau and Stortini force their linemates to go into the tough areas, and because Gagner and Cogliano have skill, they finish when they are in those tough areas.

While Stortini and Moreau aren't blessed with natural skill like Comrie, Gagner, Cogliano, O'Sulllivan or Hemsky they go to the tough areas more often and when teamed up with some skilled guys they get results. Don't expect Quinn to split that trio up right away.

I wouldn't be surprised to see him move offensive guys in between them, with the hope that will force them to go into the tougher areas more often.

Before yesterday’s tilt Tom Renney stated, “It will be a good test to see where we are, or how far we have to go”.

Well, after last night it’s obvious they have a ways to go before they can compete with upper-echelon teams in the west. The Hawks are an elite team, and they dominated the Oilers without Marian Hossa last night.

Sheldon Souray and Steve Staios will close the gap a bit. But either the Oilers were a bit sluggish last night, or the Hawks are just a step faster.

The Hawks won the races to loose pucks, they made better passes, and they pressured the Oilers all over the ice. If Nikolai Khabibulin doesn’t stand on his head, this would have been a blow out.

The good news for the Oilers was at least they continued to hit. JF Jacques, Ryan Stone and a few others were still physical. Jacques did chase Dustin Byfuglien around the ice a shift after he hit Ales Hemsky, but in a case like that, he’d be better served getting a clean lick on Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp or Jonathon Toews, and then Byfuglien would have to respond.

Pierre McGuire was ripping the Oilers defensive zone coverage last night, but if he had watched previous games, it's clear that the coaching staff wants them to funnel down closer to the net. Yes, they got to low at times, but they don’t want to give up the high slot. They will play the percentages that it is harder to score farther away.

No one should be surprised the Hawks were the better team, because right now they ARE the better team, and they’ve been playing their system for a full season, and they are damn good at it.

The Oilers will need to improve their passing.

It wasn’t just last night, but in many games this year, they’ve missed the simple six to eight foot passes, and those types of turnovers killed them last night. How many times were the Oilers rushing out of their zone and missed a head-man, or cross-ice pass that went to the Hawks D-man? It was too many.

Good passing starts in practice, and I’ll be curious to watch the next few practices to see how the coaches react to bad passes. Last year Nick Lidstrom explained why the Wings were so good at passing, “As players we don’t accept bad passes in practice. We demand it from each other, and you see the results in games. At this level, bad passes are unacceptable.”

Not everything falls on the coaches; sometimes the players need to police themselves. Errant passes are one of the biggest momentum killers in the game, and the Oilers need to stop giving the puck away through missed passes.

Other observations

The Andrew Cogliano, Zack Stortini and Ethan Moreau line was the most effective all night. For those who think Moreau can’t skate, wake up. Skating is not an issue with the captain; never has been.

I said it last year, and I’ll continue to say it, Cogliano has better finish than he’s given credit for. I think it is only a matter of time before he forces the coach’s hand to give him top-six minutes. His speed allows him to create chances, and at some point I’d like to see him on the PP.

Pat Quinn switched the lines trying to find a spark, and it almost worked. I’m still stunned at how this team can score one goal, and then all of a sudden they have confidence. Ales Hemsky had a glorious chance ten seconds after the Dustin Penner goal, and the Oilers were much better in the final eight minutes of the game, but they still deserved to lose.

Speaking of Penner, the big man is showing no signs of slowing down. He is consistently using his size advantage to fend off defenders, and it might be time to put him with Shawn Horcoff and Hemsky.

I like Jacques’ game to this point, but it is clear Penner will create more offence, and so far Hemsky and Horcoff haven’t done much.

The Oilers have an optional practice at noon today, so we won’t see any lines at practice today, but I’ll update you on the status of Staios and Souray later.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 BarryS
October 15 2009, 08:10PM
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@BarryS

Corrected Edition When will you all realize the downside of the cap world is once you sign up 45 - 50 players your lineup is fixed until: 1. Contracts run out. 2. Someone on your team retires with a career ending injury. (To be hoped not.) 3. Your owner looses his mind and allows the sending of a multi-million dollar player to the minors. 4. Some fool like Birkie trades 2 first round draft picks for one of your injured players. 5. The reason some teams have cap room is their owner can not spend money because he(they) are broke or going there. 6. Teams with cap room don't have very good players that's why they have room. 7. Players used to be meat, now they're notations in a ledger and skill no longer matters only their number in the ledger. 8. Teams willing to make trades want less cap hit back rather than more. (i.e. Forget trying to trade anyone making more than 2 Mill. cap hit) 9. Mike Milberry is no longer a g.m. and Garth Snow spent all his money on three starting goaltenders. 10. Any player worth trading for probably has either a no trade clause or a wife who won't let him move there.

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#102 Hamburgler
October 15 2009, 08:29PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Here you go....www.nationdrafts.com/team1260

Good luck lambs..let's see what you know...

Your challenge is accepted kind sir.

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#103 Smokin' Ray
October 15 2009, 08:47PM
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The best team name do far.... (and it's not me, I'm Oilers Jambalaya)

"theo fleury's lost innocence"

Is it bad that I find this funny?

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#104 Eddie Shore
October 15 2009, 08:51PM
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Smokin' Ray wrote:

The best team name do far.... (and it's not me, I'm Oilers Jambalaya)

"theo fleury's lost innocence"

Is it bad that I find this funny?

Wow.

Go Johnny Drama... 34th place and climbing.

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#105 Ogden Brother
October 15 2009, 08:53PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Your having a good day today OB, I'm in agreement with most, if not all of what you've said. You know what they say - "there's nothing like the original".

Good, hopefully you are realizing I'm always right ;)

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#106 Librarian Mike
October 15 2009, 08:57PM
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Smokin' Ray wrote:

The best team name do far.... (and it's not me, I'm Oilers Jambalaya)

"theo fleury's lost innocence"

Is it bad that I find this funny?

If you're going to Hell, I'll be right there with you. I laughed too.

I especially like how 'Edmonton Oilers' is 3rd from the bottom.

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#107 RossCreekNation
October 15 2009, 09:03PM
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So Edmonton has a new radio station eh (CJNW-FM 107.1)

Edmonton's NEW Hit Music Channel...

HOT 107 FM

Started October 6th with 10,000 songs in a row without commercials. Interesting.

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#108 esa tikkanen
October 15 2009, 09:42PM
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IF Souray is out 10 games , do the Oilers get to reduce that amount of his salary for 12% of the season, even if he was not on LTIR for that time? Can they put him on retroactively?

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#109 Dennis
October 15 2009, 10:12PM
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This was one of the worries when 44 was signed: he had some stretches with the Habs where he was oft-injured and he already missed ~75 % of his first season as an Oiler.

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#110 David S
October 15 2009, 11:31PM
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C'mon Dennis. There's injuries where you get checked and blow out your shoulder. Then there's the kind where you step on a stick going hard into the boards with a 210 pound player on your back smashing your head just that much harder. While there was a justified worry Souray was made of glass, this wasn't one of those times. Gumby boy Zorg wouldn't have done any better this time around.

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#111 Colin
October 16 2009, 12:14AM
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David S wrote:

C'mon Dennis. There's injuries where you get checked and blow out your shoulder. Then there's the kind where you step on a stick going hard into the boards with a 210 pound player on your back smashing your head just that much harder. While there was a justified worry Souray was made of glass, this wasn't one of those times. Gumby boy Zorg wouldn't have done any better this time around.

It's too bad it wasn't Hemsky riding Regehr or Ape-face(Phaneuf) like a pony instead of Iginla on Souray.

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#112 Word
October 16 2009, 12:33AM
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Gregor:

According to NHL.com's preseason stats, Matthew Martin scored 2 goals in 4 games while registering 0 shots, which is possibly the most epic shooting percentage of all time (infinity?)

Any idea what he circumstances were behind that? Im guessing its an input error or Martin was benefactor of 2 unfortunate own goals.

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#114 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 16 2009, 07:19AM
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Gregor

I missed the first part of where you guys were talking about Souray/Nilsson for Stoll/Greene or Stoll/Doughty. Was that just a callers opinion?

And if something like that did every happen who are you moving from the top 12 to fit Stoll in?

Also of note, I was checking in on Stoll yesterday or the day before just wondering what his stats were. Well he was only 44% or so on the dot and I was kinda shocked, looked today and he was 10-1 yesterday.

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#115 BUCK75
October 16 2009, 07:49AM
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Just signed up.

Sarah Jessica Parkers Face is going to hopefully start climbing the ranks of the Nation Draft.

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#116 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 16 2009, 08:05AM
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Brownlee is leading that thing?

Team Ogden Jr.

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#117 Deep Oil
October 16 2009, 08:28AM
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BarryS wrote:

Corrected Edition When will you all realize the downside of the cap world is once you sign up 45 - 50 players your lineup is fixed until: 1. Contracts run out. 2. Someone on your team retires with a career ending injury. (To be hoped not.) 3. Your owner looses his mind and allows the sending of a multi-million dollar player to the minors. 4. Some fool like Birkie trades 2 first round draft picks for one of your injured players. 5. The reason some teams have cap room is their owner can not spend money because he(they) are broke or going there. 6. Teams with cap room don't have very good players that's why they have room. 7. Players used to be meat, now they're notations in a ledger and skill no longer matters only their number in the ledger. 8. Teams willing to make trades want less cap hit back rather than more. (i.e. Forget trying to trade anyone making more than 2 Mill. cap hit) 9. Mike Milberry is no longer a g.m. and Garth Snow spent all his money on three starting goaltenders. 10. Any player worth trading for probably has either a no trade clause or a wife who won't let him move there.

Is your mispelling intentional ?

1) Contracts run out ? Best smell test, if you were to sign this player to this contract, would other gm's trade for him at this price

2) Actually, a career ending injury is not always the case..... ask Fernando, where an overpayment will come back to haunt you later.

3) If the team was spending $70mm before the cap, and now can only spend $55mm, what is the challenge of sending a player to the minors, players are cheaper today, and are on sale with an escrow reduction at the end of the year.

4) Based on the oilers draft history, Fraser working from Mexico and drafts afterwards.... can anyone say Parise or Doan.... a bird in the hand.... is better than 2 in the bush. Avoiding a lottery pick is key.

5) Very few nhl teams are making money, you can buy season tickets in PHX for $9 per game.

6) The owner selects a budget, regardless of cap.

7) Players will always be meat from hockey operations, how many gm's are former players with high school education managing millions of dollars.

8) How about taking on salary for draft picks.

9) Islanders are playing the three point game with overtime charity points. Biron signed for 1.4 mm where the Oil have Khabi for 4 years into his forties..... at a higher price point.

10) Who gave them these no trade ? What wives have balked at coming to the next nhl city besides Laura Pronger and possibly Nylander, who had cold feet....

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#118 rubbertrout
October 16 2009, 10:07AM
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BUCK75 wrote:

Just signed up.

Sarah Jessica Parkers Face is going to hopefully start climbing the ranks of the Nation Draft.

Me too. "Gregor's KIA" has some work to do though.

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#119 Gerald R. Ford
October 16 2009, 10:40AM
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Smokin' Ray wrote:

The best team name do far.... (and it's not me, I'm Oilers Jambalaya)

"theo fleury's lost innocence"

Is it bad that I find this funny?

Is IS bad. Don't you know it's Theo Fleury History Month? Respect! Honestly, good on the little guy for finally breaking his silence, but he's on my TV more than the Slap Chop guy.

As for the other names, Kathy Bates' Face, Team BOHICA (nice Jim Rome reference), and Lubricated Goats are all notable choices.

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#120 Senator Theo
October 16 2009, 02:13PM
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BarryS wrote:

Corrected Edition When will you all realize the downside of the cap world is once you sign up 45 - 50 players your lineup is fixed until: 1. Contracts run out. 2. Someone on your team retires with a career ending injury. (To be hoped not.) 3. Your owner looses his mind and allows the sending of a multi-million dollar player to the minors. 4. Some fool like Birkie trades 2 first round draft picks for one of your injured players. 5. The reason some teams have cap room is their owner can not spend money because he(they) are broke or going there. 6. Teams with cap room don't have very good players that's why they have room. 7. Players used to be meat, now they're notations in a ledger and skill no longer matters only their number in the ledger. 8. Teams willing to make trades want less cap hit back rather than more. (i.e. Forget trying to trade anyone making more than 2 Mill. cap hit) 9. Mike Milberry is no longer a g.m. and Garth Snow spent all his money on three starting goaltenders. 10. Any player worth trading for probably has either a no trade clause or a wife who won't let him move there.

I couldn't imagine a bolder statement.

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