Flu hits the Oil

Jason Gregor
October 21 2009 12:52PM

Yesterday the entire Oilers team got the day off, but today at practice many of them still were still MIA. Ken Lowe, Barry Stafford and crew are on high alert as they try to get some bodies healthy enough to play. They don't think this is H1N1, but they are being cautious.

Sheldon Souray and Steve Staios are still out with concussions.

Ryan Stone had an MRI yesterday, and today he was getting a scope on his knee. They think he has a meniscus tear, but won’t know until they see it on the scope today. It looks like he is gone for at least two to four weeks. They will know more following the scope.

Ladislav Smid and Gilbert Brule didn’t skate due to the flu, and this same strain had Ales Hemsky bed-ridden for three days — both are questionable for tomorrow.

We also saw three new lines at practice this morning.

Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff have been split up!

Horcoff was centering Mike Comrie and Patrick O’Sullivan, while Hemsky skated with Dustin Penner and Sam Gagner.

Kelly Buchberger was in the middle of JF Jacques and Robert Nilsson, while the only line that remained intact was Andrew Cogliano, Ethan Moreau and Zack Stortini.

Right now, Steve MacIntyre is the only healthy extra body around, and he was practicing again on defence. If one of Smid or Brule can’t go then he is in.

The injuries are an issue, but I’m sure one of Brule or Smid will be ready so they can ice 18 skaters, but the bigger story is that Hemsky and Horcoff have been separated.

A new first line?

Without stating the obvious, both have struggled. Neither has looked comfortable, and a change of linemates might get both of them going. I’m not going out on a limb when I say that Horcoff won’t continue to be on pace for only 20 points this season, and that Hemsky will eventually look like a game breaker again, but it is clear that Pat Quinn doesn’t want to wait much longer.

This team is 5-2-1 without a sniff from their two top offensive players. That’s a sign they that have some depth, but eventually they need these two to start contributing.

Quinn doesn’t want to keep Penner, Horcoff and Hemsky as a line right now. He said if he has to go back to them he will, but he wants to have balance so those three won’t be together just yet.

Many have wanted to see Gagner and Hemsky together, and now we will see how they do. The way Penner is playing they might stay a unit for awhile.

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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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#51 wiggs22
October 21 2009, 05:43PM
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ok ok : ) "punches self in head for tenth time"

Do you think big mac as a defenceman will limit his mistakes, speed or "skill" than as a forward. I know were short forwards or smid won't be healthy enough. But will his skill set be more better used?

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#52 Harlie
October 21 2009, 05:55PM
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@wiggs22

you paid for eklund info? BAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

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#53 Chris.
October 21 2009, 06:00PM
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It's pretty funny that the oilogosphere is interpreting the recent line juggling as a demotion for Horcoff when it can just as easily be argued that it is Hemsky who has been dropped down to the second line with Sam and DP... (Not that Quinn cares to number his lines)

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#54 E-Mac
October 21 2009, 06:00PM
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Gags with Hemmer is going to be absolutely disgusting! Not to mention Penner, in play off form, on that line. Wowzers.

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#55 wiggs22
October 21 2009, 06:03PM
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@Harlie

HECK NO! But a friend did : ) I've heard of him and so i checked his site out to see it for myself. I check it every now and then for a laugh

"hangs head in shame"

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#56 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 21 2009, 06:12PM
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wiggs22 wrote:

I"m hearing rumors that edmonton is talking trade with nashville invloving cogs and or penner. By rumors i mean "eklund" ~ that guy is the bees knees ~ what a tool. Are any one of his sources real people? And you have to pay for that useless drizzle. Off topic but i had to vent.

there is an easy way to cure yourself of any eklund related time wasting.

Step 1) get a steel toed boot Step 2) find the biggest SOB in the crowd at any MMA event Step3) give big SOB the steel toed boot Step4) spread your legs Step 5) take one in the pills.

Now, every time you even think of mentioning that fart catcher on this, or any other website, your balls will automatically jump back into wherever they finally dropped from, and you will fall to the ground in pain.

honestly, dont waste your own time, or anyone elses with anything to do with that "site"

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#57 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 21 2009, 06:13PM
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well that didnt look the way i wanted it to at all...

***hangs head in shame and cuddles with his cabbage patch doll***

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#58 Librarian Mike
October 21 2009, 06:41PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

well that didnt look the way i wanted it to at all...

***hangs head in shame and cuddles with his cabbage patch doll***

Don't feel bad. Not ever

yone can be good at

html.
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#59 Ender
October 21 2009, 07:37PM
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@Librarian Mike

Classic!

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#60 SirFozz
October 21 2009, 07:43PM
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Yous guys are:

f

u

n

n

y

!

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#61 Dennis
October 21 2009, 07:44PM
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I don't see anything wrong with Quinn trying new lines but if he's trying to structure a tough min line around 10 but without the help of 83, I really don't think it's gonna work.

I don't remember the last time we had a match line that didn't feature the 10-83 pairing - I dare say it was pre-lockout though - but it's worth a shot to see if we can keep the balance while also fashioning a line that can be called upon to face the opposing toughs.

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#62 Hemmertime
October 21 2009, 07:59PM
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@Dennis

Moreau - Cogs - Storts was going against top line last game, and the one before that I think. They were doing a damn fine job for the most part too

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#63 David S
October 21 2009, 08:42PM
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Hemmer - If its Dennis from MC79, I'm sure he has an Excel spreadsheet stashed somewhere that could tell you how much gum Quin was chewing, itemized by period, Corsi, EV, 4x4, PP and PK. Guy knows the line match ups like nobody's business.

He's got a point about the tough minutes line without Hemsky. The hope is that Sam picks up his game enough to make it work, and the jury is still out on that one.

Maybe the bigger issue is that while Quinn's two-skill-guys-one-plugger strategy works with the rest of the team, it might be a detriment to Horcoff and Hemsky. Those two worked best (that we've seen) with Penner, who's a decent player when he puts his mind to it.

While JFJ is dishing out the Rexall Reminders, alot of the time (by my eye mind you) it looks like he's a boat anchor for the first line.

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#64 #EM
October 21 2009, 08:53PM
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Lovin' the top two lines. Hopefully we won't need to rely on our bottom 2 lines no mo'.

And seriously, Buchberger is playing? Or it this just a line in practice thing.

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#65 Archaeologuy
October 21 2009, 10:30PM
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Chris. wrote:

It's pretty funny that the oilogosphere is interpreting the recent line juggling as a demotion for Horcoff when it can just as easily be argued that it is Hemsky who has been dropped down to the second line with Sam and DP... (Not that Quinn cares to number his lines)

Right, Horc accomplishes nothing outside of the faceoff circle for the first 8 games but he's not being demoted, its the other guy who has managed 5 points in 7 games.

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#66 Andrew W
October 22 2009, 12:09AM
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I wonder if Brule can't play if O'Sullivan might step into the middle for a game. It wouldn't be a big shift to run the lines as: Comrie-Horc-Nillson, Penner-Gagner-Hemsky, Moreau-Cogliano-Stortini, Jacques-O'Sullivan-MacIntire.

O'Sullivan and Cogliano would be interchangeable, and MacIntire could be swapped in and out for a rotation of wingers as needed. It's not ideal, but with so many players down it seems like a reasonable option - besides, I've been curious to see how O'Sullivan would look down the pipe for a while.

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#67 Jeremy
October 22 2009, 07:12AM
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Has anyone coined the nickname for the new top line yet? How about the 'SAD' line?

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#68 BingBong
October 22 2009, 07:37AM
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A little off-topic, and irrelevant I suppose, but I read that Schremp was a healthy scratch last night. Is it the end?

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#69 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 22 2009, 07:47AM
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Gregor I never laughed so hard as I did yesterday around 4:30. Girl guide cookies and some sort of dr.pepper candies make for good radio.

By the way those cookies are amazing and I think those mint ones have been around for quite a few years.

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#70 OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM
October 22 2009, 07:47AM
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David S wrote:

Hemmer - If its Dennis from MC79, I'm sure he has an Excel spreadsheet stashed somewhere that could tell you how much gum Quin was chewing, itemized by period, Corsi, EV, 4x4, PP and PK. Guy knows the line match ups like nobody's business.

He's got a point about the tough minutes line without Hemsky. The hope is that Sam picks up his game enough to make it work, and the jury is still out on that one.

Maybe the bigger issue is that while Quinn's two-skill-guys-one-plugger strategy works with the rest of the team, it might be a detriment to Horcoff and Hemsky. Those two worked best (that we've seen) with Penner, who's a decent player when he puts his mind to it.

While JFJ is dishing out the Rexall Reminders, alot of the time (by my eye mind you) it looks like he's a boat anchor for the first line.

I can't see how JFJ is the boat anchor, he is out producing Horcoff...

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#71 Petr's Jofa
October 22 2009, 08:09AM
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@petr klima's helmet

Really?

Your username is 'Peter Klima's Helmet'? You've got to me kidding me.

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#72 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
October 22 2009, 08:22AM
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GD, B!

Garon's expected to lace up tonight.

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#73 David S
October 22 2009, 09:57AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Gregor I never laughed so hard as I did yesterday around 4:30. Girl guide cookies and some sort of dr.pepper candies make for good radio.

By the way those cookies are amazing and I think those mint ones have been around for quite a few years.

Agreed! I was laughing my guts out on the way home. That and Brownlee's "sixer" discussion.

BTW - Whatever happened to the Girl Guide vanilla cookies? They were frickin' addictive.

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#74 Chris.
October 22 2009, 11:29AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Right, Horc accomplishes nothing outside of the faceoff circle for the first 8 games but he's not being demoted, its the other guy who has managed 5 points in 7 games.

Your comment and the sentiment behind it is exactly what is soooo funny to me. Who cares what arbitrary number the fans and media assign a line combination? Horc and Hemmer are both playing poorly right now... and I don't see how the success or failure of either individual needs to be a zero sum argument as to their overall importance to this team... This notion that somehow Horcoff is ruining Hemsky's career is lame and tired... What's really important is that both players find their game sooner rather than later.

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#75 Dennis
October 22 2009, 11:38AM
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Right now, I can't really get a handle on how Quinn intends to run the lines long term.

I think - though I'm not sure - that Quinn isn't as stringent on hard-matching as was MacT because there have been a few times where I've seen the 13 line out against the toughs and before MacT sorta lost his mind during the last 20 games last year, you could literally count on two hands the times that he wasn't getting his preferred matchup at home and it was always ?-10-83 against the Jones.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I don't believe for a minute that 89 will get more EVTOI than will 10 and I really don't think that 91 goes from playing less EVTOI than 22 in certain games to getting dragged along to top min duty with 10-19.

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#76 Boris
October 22 2009, 11:47AM
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David S wrote:

Agreed! I was laughing my guts out on the way home. That and Brownlee's "sixer" discussion.

BTW - Whatever happened to the Girl Guide vanilla cookies? They were frickin' addictive.

I'm with you guys on this too, LOL. I never made it to a "sixer" only a "second". I quit before I got too geeky...and I never heard of a Queen Scout either... I'll be interested to see how the lines look out there tonight and also I hope Garon has a good game, but not as good as good as the wall.

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#77 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 22 2009, 11:52AM
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Boris wrote:

I'm with you guys on this too, LOL. I never made it to a "sixer" only a "second". I quit before I got too geeky...and I never heard of a Queen Scout either... I'll be interested to see how the lines look out there tonight and also I hope Garon has a good game, but not as good as good as the wall.

You know what I would be interested in? That picture of Brownlee as a scout.

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#78 Archaeologuy
October 22 2009, 12:43PM
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Chris. wrote:

Your comment and the sentiment behind it is exactly what is soooo funny to me. Who cares what arbitrary number the fans and media assign a line combination? Horc and Hemmer are both playing poorly right now... and I don't see how the success or failure of either individual needs to be a zero sum argument as to their overall importance to this team... This notion that somehow Horcoff is ruining Hemsky's career is lame and tired... What's really important is that both players find their game sooner rather than later.

First, I agree, get both guys playing up to potential, then you wont have to hear me rag all over Horcoff

Second, even playing not up to snuff Hemsky is not having a terrible season so far. Horcoff is.

I will continue to crap on Horc for not playing well enough until he isnt wasting his teammates time while in the offensive zone. Keep in mind that from Centre Ice backwards I think he does just fine.

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