GDB III: Line shake-ups against the Flames

Jason Gregor
October 08 2009 11:15AM

Even though the Oilers are averaging four goals a game, Pat Quinn has decided to shake up all four of his lines.

Dustin Penner will skate with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky. Sam Gagner will centre JF Jacques and Patrick O’Sullivan, while Mike Comrie moves to the LW beside Gilbert Brule and Ryan Stone. Andrew Cogliano is back in the middle between Ethan Moreau and Zack Stortini.

And it looks like Jason Strudwick will see his first action alongside Lubomir Visnovsky. Steve Staios is out because of his head and Robert Nilsson will take a seat upstairs.

It's obvious why Penner is up on the first line, but it's a bit surprising that he was moved there to jump-start Horcoff and Hemsky. Those two haven’t been good at all, and hands up how many of you thought Penner would be used as a spark-plug for others.

It's a credit to Penner, because he is in good shape. He isn’t labouring skating up and down the ice, and in fact, he looks just as fresh late in the game as he does early.

Moving Comrie to the wing is a bit of a surprise, considering he is 80% in the draws so far. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes a few of the draws playing with Brule. Gagner’s play has earned him a promotion and maybe he can somehow help O’Sullivan finish off the great scoring chances he has missed so far this season.

With all the shuffling, Quinn has remained true to his belief that he needs at least one banger on all of his lines.

The Oilers are expecting a more physical game from the Flames tonight. Last Saturday the Oilers were clearly the aggressor, and the Flames will try to match that.

And look for Quinn to match up Horcoff’s line versus Phaneuf and Regehr tonight. Those two have struggled in their own zone so far this year, and while Quinn doesn’t go out of his way to match lines look for him to try and get Hemsky away from Bouwmeester tonight.

Stone leads the Oilers with nine hits, and while he isn’t the best skater, he has been very consistent at finishing all of his checks. He has had two big hits, and landing a big hit is as tough as scoring a goal. If Stone continues to get at least one every two games, he’ll stick on the roster.

Smid has struggled, but I think Grebeshkov has been worse. However, his two points earned him a pass for another game. Quinn wants Nikolai Khabibulin to find his game and expect him to play tonight and Saturday against the Habs. It seems Tom Renney is doing the same with Grebeshkov. His play hasn’t been that much better, but the coaching staff believes his overall game is better than Smid's and they are hoping Grebeshkov finds some consistency soon.

Steve MacIntyre continues to practice as a D-man, and unless the coaches feel they need a super heavyweight in a game, I don’t expect him to get in the line-up soon.

Wayne Fleming worked a lot with Horcoff, Cogliano, Brule and Gagner on draws this morning. Gagner is a woeful 29% so far this year and he needs to improve drastically. Cogliano went against Brule for two different sets of five, and then he went against Stortini. Stortini was strictly trying power moves, and it looked they there were trying to get Cogliano more comfortable against a big centreman in the draw. Considering the Oilers don't have a big middle man, it makes sense to put Stortini in there strictly for the strength factor.

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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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#451 Dan the Man
October 08 2009, 10:16PM
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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.......!!! Someone please kick me in the junk...NOW!

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#452 jeanshorts
October 08 2009, 10:16PM
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So when does JDD become to new starter? Too soon? What the hell happened out there. The boys came out absolutely flying in the first and then crapped the bed the last 40 minutes. Ugh. Please right this ship Quinn, otherwise it's going to be a long season.

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#453 Librarian Mike
October 08 2009, 10:16PM
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freeze wrote:

it's been a slice justice league. freeze - out.

Have a good one, and to everyone else too!

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#454 Oilchange64
October 08 2009, 10:17PM
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Painful, just painful....

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#455 esa tikkanen
October 08 2009, 10:18PM
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the flames are winning so many games by flukes and deflections. the oilers started lasst year 4-0 being outplayed every game too. It will come back to haunt the flames too.

if roloson were still here i think the oil would be 3-0

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#456 Poo Czar
October 08 2009, 10:21PM
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BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

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#457 jeanshorts
October 08 2009, 10:23PM
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esa tikkanen wrote:

the flames are winning so many games by flukes and deflections. the oilers started lasst year 4-0 being outplayed every game too. It will come back to haunt the flames too.

if roloson were still here i think the oil would be 3-0

Hey, this is no time to be levelheaded! It's time to hit the panic button and call for everyone's head!

If this team would play a full 60 minutes these last second loses would probably be a lot easier to swallow. Or, maybe they'd be harder to swallow since they'd be playing better? Who's to say.

At the very least I hope they can work the kinks out within the next 10 games or so or this team could be in some real trouble.

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#458 Dan the Man
October 08 2009, 10:24PM
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Bulin played his best game so far but sometimes you have to make the big save to help your team.

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#459 kory Farden
October 08 2009, 10:25PM
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Moreau Sucks!!!!! he just keeps it in the corner for 2 more seconds instead of forcing it out front for a give away the game is over.

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#460 Gerald R. Ford
October 08 2009, 10:31PM
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This team HAS to lead the world in last-minute ball-busting, gut-wrenching, rage-inducing, remote-destroying goals over the last 4-5 seasons.

!@!#!@$@#$!#$~!**^##@$$#!*&%

And that Mr. Sub commercial with the old guy making out with his son's bride was just creepy. I had to add that.

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#461 z
October 08 2009, 10:31PM
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another great game by Khabibulin. nope no problems with that brutal contract.

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#462 esa tikkanen
October 08 2009, 10:32PM
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this is like the eskimos losing in the last 20 seconds to the stamps a few weeks ago.

i can't believe the lucky bounces the flames are getting. Dawes' goal was going wide by 3feet and it hits him by accident. Bourque tipped one while he was trying to get up from a Strudwick check and it accidentally hits his stick and goes in. Jokinen missed the net on his wrap around and it goes in off Bulin's pads.

I think Bulin was out of position on the tyeing goal. fluke of a fluke of a fluke if the flames tried that in practice 50 times they would not be able to repeat it.

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#463 jeanshorts
October 08 2009, 10:32PM
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z wrote:

another great game by Khabibulin. nope no problems with that brutal contract.

If it's any consolation Biron lost tonight too. So......

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#464 RossCreekNation
October 08 2009, 10:32PM
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z wrote:

another great game by Khabibulin. nope no problems with that brutal contract.

Ummm, I think he made some pretty big saves tonight. Can you really blame that on him?

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#465 BarryS
October 08 2009, 10:35PM
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Hate to say it, but Calgary seems to be winning by the grace of the Gods of Hockey. Course whatGods of Hockey give the Gods of Hockey also take away. I don't think I've ever seen so many own goals against a team in so few games in my life. I make it 6 of the 11 goals against us so far. Must be hard to play goal when you have to watch 10 plays for scoring chances instead of just 5. Most of the other 5 were tips about which nothing can be done but hope it hits you, which they are not.

At least Khabby had an otherwise good game. Made no mistakes which cost us and never let in a direct shot. One of these days the tips and off leg/neck shots are going to start hitting him instead of going into the net.

Still, much more entertainment this year than last.

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#466 Gerald R. Ford
October 08 2009, 10:38PM
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Moreau: "We haven't given games away."

Wow...

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#467 Shifty203
October 08 2009, 10:39PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Ummm, I think he made some pretty big saves tonight. Can you really blame that on him?

Yes, Yes we can. Because the roli haters would have done the exact same thing last year. And the contract is a joke.

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#468 jeanshorts
October 08 2009, 10:39PM
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Gerald R. Ford wrote:

Moreau: "We haven't given games away."

Wow...

They just tipped in off Oilers d-men.

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#469 BarryS
October 08 2009, 10:39PM
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z wrote:

another great game by Khabibulin. nope no problems with that brutal contract.

You ever played goal? Do you actually watch hockey or just comment off the final score? It is quite clear you know nothing at all about hockey. Nobody stop a tip except by accident. Khabby played a very good game tonight. Contracts have nothing to do with anything since the owner is the only one on the hook for them.

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#470 jeanshorts
October 08 2009, 10:42PM
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@BarryS

I have more of a problem with the poor effort that was going on in front of him than his play. That shootout goal probably should have been stopped, but I agree he played well for the most part. UGH. Seriously, 60 full minutes from everybody. Is that too much too ask?

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#471 BarryS
October 08 2009, 10:47PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

I have more of a problem with the poor effort that was going on in front of him than his play. That shootout goal probably should have been stopped, but I agree he played well for the most part. UGH. Seriously, 60 full minutes from everybody. Is that too much too ask?

then again, if the other two shooters had scored it wouldn't have mattered. re getting the bounces.

the simple matter is calgary is riding a lucky streak. they are not playing particularly good hockey at the moment but a

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#472 z
October 08 2009, 10:49PM
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all im saying is hes was sold as a game changer. so far the games happened to him, he hasnt happened to the game.

and ya, contract does have something to do with it asshat.

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#473 BarryS
October 08 2009, 10:54PM
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z wrote:

all im saying is hes was sold as a game changer. so far the games happened to him, he hasnt happened to the game.

and ya, contract does have something to do with it asshat.

Your last sentence says all I need to know about you. Personal Insults are the first sign of lack of intellect.

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#474 Gerald R. Ford
October 08 2009, 10:54PM
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Quinn on Iginla:

"They don't seem to care about stopping crap like that, and they won't let you get away with the vigilante stuff. In the old days, you'd take care of dirt WITH dirt."

I love that old man.

*sniff*

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#475 Dan the Man
October 08 2009, 10:56PM
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Gerald R. Ford wrote:

Moreau: "We haven't given games away."

Wow...

Ummmm...hate to break it to you Ethan but I'm pretty sure the 2 Calgary games are the very definition of giving games away.

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#476 BarryS
October 08 2009, 11:08PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Ummmm...hate to break it to you Ethan but I'm pretty sure the 2 Calgary games are the very definition of giving games away.

x2

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#477 David S
October 08 2009, 11:11PM
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the simple matter is calgary is riding a lucky streak. they are not playing particularly good hockey at the moment
I think the simpler matter is that Calgary has more actual NHL'ers. We're going to a gun fight with a knife against teams like them. Sure, we can keep up with outstanding efforts, but the better teams will usually make their breaks. In other words, while Calgary is practicing tips and deflections, we're practicing face offs and positioning. *And Calgary doesn't have Ethan "dumb-ass" Moreau throwing it out to nobody in the offensive zone with 30 seconds left in a 1 goal lead.
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#478 David S
October 08 2009, 11:12PM
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^Man I miss the simple formatting of the last site.

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#479 dragon
October 08 2009, 11:19PM
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:-( if there's ever a parallel universe, I wish it's 2 seconds earlier...and all Oilers fans would celebrate now... Calgary sucks! that's not a 4-0-0 team...what's wrong with this league??

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#480 Victoria
October 08 2009, 11:19PM
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What happened to 'Bulin being a Flame killer?

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#481 Word
October 08 2009, 11:21PM
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Quinn's postgame comments about Iginla were intense. "In the old days he woulda got whacked over the head with a stick."

He wasn't even happy about the fight saying that Moreau shouldn't have honoured Iginla with a fistfight.

Wow.

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#482 Senator Theo
October 08 2009, 11:25PM
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z wrote:

all im saying is hes was sold as a game changer. so far the games happened to him, he hasnt happened to the game.

and ya, contract does have something to do with it asshat.

Let's relax here. it's three games in, he's playing in front of a new team, and we've played reasonably well (compared to last year).

Yes, there's been a few screw ups, but the same thing happened when Roli came over here from MIN. it took him 15 games or so to figure out how the Oiler players played in from of him too.

i think we're jumping the gun asking for his head already.

By the way, I also think the contract is ridiculous, but that's no reason to call anyone else an asshat.

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#483 Racki
October 08 2009, 11:26PM
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Victoria wrote:

What happened to 'Bulin being a Flame killer?

In no way was Khabi's play an issue tonight. He played pretty damn good, and the score could have been more in favor of Calgary earlier on. All 3 goals were tip ins... the Jokinen goal in the shootout was absolute fluke (perfectly played by Khabi, but it came back off the side of the net.. ungh). The only goal I didn't like was Dawes' shootout goal. Didn't look that hard of a shot, but a similar shot also beat Kipper right after.

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#484 Senator Theo
October 08 2009, 11:29PM
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Racki wrote:

In no way was Khabi's play an issue tonight. He played pretty damn good, and the score could have been more in favor of Calgary earlier on. All 3 goals were tip ins... the Jokinen goal in the shootout was absolute fluke (perfectly played by Khabi, but it came back off the side of the net.. ungh). The only goal I didn't like was Dawes' shootout goal. Didn't look that hard of a shot, but a similar shot also beat Kipper right after.

I didn't like the goal that tied it either, but from a legitimacy standpoint. If he'd 6'2", and he hits the puck at or above his shoulders, wouldn't you think that was contacted above the net?

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#485 Nick Dynasty
October 08 2009, 11:31PM
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don't forget that we started 4-0 last year too, so i'm pretty sure that means the flamers won't make the playoffs.

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#486 Senator Theo
October 08 2009, 11:33PM
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Nick Dynasty wrote:

don't forget that we started 4-0 last year too, so i'm pretty sure that means the flamers won't make the playoffs.

and Chicago is 1-1-1 right now too, so we should finish this year the same as them.

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#487 Senator Theo
October 08 2009, 11:35PM
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Are David S (Citizen #44) and Barry S (Citizen #91) related?

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#488 David S
October 08 2009, 11:43PM
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^ Nope

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#489 MattyFinch
October 09 2009, 12:51AM
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i have a fresh new fit sized hole in my wall thanks to that outing.

Its UNBELIEVABLE how predictable the last 2 minutes for this franchise have become. Its to the point where im no longer watching the games live till further notice to avoid the last minute garbage displays or from the man above induced bullshit bounce that ultimately costs this team and my wallet in the long run.

ps. that was a high stick and thats two games ive seen (ottawa vs to) were the idiots in toronto dont have the balls or education to see the stick is high.

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#490 BarryS
October 09 2009, 03:31PM
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Senator Theo wrote:

Are David S (Citizen #44) and Barry S (Citizen #91) related?

Somewhere about 500,000 years ago we shared a common ancestor, but other than that nope.

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