GDB XIX: Where the Sabres roam

Jason Gregor
November 11 2009 12:20PM

The Oilers fresh off their most complete road game of the season, even though they lost, head in to Buffalo tonight with a new goalie and a chance that they might get one of their stars back.

Ales Hemsky is a game-time decision, and if he is ready to go it would seem obvious that Ryan O’Marra would take a seat. In his six minutes last night I thought O’Marra was okay. He had two hits, won his only faceoff, but he was -1. His foot speed still needs to improve for him to get a long look, but he looks like a much better player than the previous few years.

The Oilers are 2-0-1 in their last three visits to Buffalo. They lost in OT in 2007, and won 4-0 and 3-0 in 2001 and 2002. Their overall record is 13-10-7-1 in Buffalo, and you would think they might have a bit of revenge on their mind after the Sabres destroyed them 10 to 2 at Rexall Place on January 27th.

It’s too bad the Sabres still don’t play in the Auditorium. That small rink was great. I loved the pitch yellow creases, the smaller surface and the horn they played after goals was awesome.

But the best part about the old rink was Rick Jeanneret, their play-by-play guy. Jeanneret is one of the more entertaining PBP guys in the league. He is revered by Sabres fans, and with calls like this you can understand why. The MAY DAY, MAY DAY clip is one of my all-time favourites.

TSN did a top ten Jeanneret calls, and while the film work is grainy, these calls are great.

I’ve had Jeanneret on my show a couple of times and he is a character. He brings energy, creativity and excitement to the game. One of my other favourites is Mike Lange.

Some of his calls don’t make much sense, but they crack me up. “He doesn’t know whether to cry or wind his watch,” WTF? Or: "Get that dog off my lawn mower," ... “Get in the fast lane grandma, the bingo game is ready to roll.”

Absolute beauties.

The Sabres are 9-4-1, but have they’ve lost two straight, and haven’t played since Saturday so they should be hungry. The Oilers will have to come out with lots of energy or hope Khabibulin holds down the fort in the opening ten minutes.

The Sabres lead the league in shots on goal, 34.9 per game, so it is doubtful the Oilers will out shoot their opponents for a second straight game. The Oilers have been getting better and getting shots through, Penner goal last night was a good example, and the Sabres are middle of the pack allowing 30.1 shots per game.

Right now only Atlanta, Anaheim and Florida are giving up more shots than the Oilers’ 33.9, so you’d expect the Khabibulin to be busy again tonight.

The Oilers have played two pretty solid road games so far on this trip, and if they get Hemsky back tonight, that should only help their cause.

Like Brownlee pointed out yesterday, I don’t understand what Gilbert Brule needs to do to get more icetime, but Quinn needs to use him more. Let’s hope that late goal yesterday will get Brule more minutes.

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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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#201 jeanshorts
November 11 2009, 07:31PM
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Well, did anyone really have the Oilers pegged to win this game anyway?

Outside of the PP they didn't look too horrible which, again, is a nice sign.

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#202 Senator Theo
November 11 2009, 07:33PM
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@jeanshorts

Is that some sort of hollow victory? We still lost, but I guess we didn't look as bad as we could have. Haha - well, you're probably right. We shouldn't have been in this one anyway.

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#203 David S
November 11 2009, 07:34PM
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Shawn Cronin wrote:

The powerplay looks much less dangerous with the beloved Ales Hemsky on the ice. Back to Hemsky doing donuts on the side boards while looking for the Horcoff cross ice one timer or the Souray slapper while everyone else stands still. Looks like he is still locked in to last years power play plan.

True.

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#204 Travis Dakin
November 11 2009, 07:34PM
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Did Smid play at all tonight?

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#205 jeanshorts
November 11 2009, 07:36PM
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Shawn Cronin wrote:

The powerplay looks much less dangerous with the beloved Ales Hemsky on the ice. Back to Hemsky doing donuts on the side boards while looking for the Horcoff cross ice one timer or the Souray slapper while everyone else stands still. Looks like he is still locked in to last years power play plan.

You know, I didn't want to sound like one of "those guys", but things looked a lot more simple on the PP without him. I'm all for ripping one timers off a cross ice pass, but it clearly doesn't work as well as Hemsky thinks it does. If they start playing simple, passing the puck around the perimeter and peppering shots on net I think they'd be way more successful.

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#206 Matt Henderson
November 11 2009, 07:37PM
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You know, I was thinking the whole time this game was going on, "I wish I had paid 16 dollars for this"

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#207 jeanshorts
November 11 2009, 07:37PM
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@Senator Theo

With the way things have gone so far this year I'm looking for any sliver of light I can. It was basically a one goal game against one of the top teams in the East. I'll take it.

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#208 dragon
November 11 2009, 07:39PM
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David S wrote:

True.

add O'Sully to that and there's no wonder they are 0 for 5 for 5-on-3 and were absolutely sterile in the 5min pp tonight.

problem is nobody in the organization will ever call out Mr.Star...

frustrating. unless of course they still have the flu.

was nice seeing the 'other' oilers team against the Avalanche and Senators, though.

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#209 jeanshorts
November 11 2009, 07:40PM
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And as I mentioned before, I don't want to alarm anyone, but....

#128 jeanshorts November 08 2009, 08:20PM I am a little worried though. The powerplay is firing on all cylinders tonight, so the Oiler fan in me is starting to wonder if that means they've used up all their powerplay goals for the next 4 or 5 games.

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#210 Travis Dakin
November 11 2009, 07:41PM
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@ EVERYONE WHO DARES QUESTION MR. DANGLES.....

Shut your damn mouth! If it looked bad it is because everyone else screwed up. I will fight you.

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#211 Shaun Doe
November 11 2009, 07:43PM
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Buffalo had busy sticks all game long and were clogging up the lanes pretty effectively so I don't know why the play book read cross ice seam pass. I say drive hard to the slot with the puck drawing a dman down then drop a pass to the point for the shot. Then you have two bodies down low for the screen and rebound. They have Penner as the only man down low and continue to cycle the puck around the perimeter while he gets his kidneys worked over.

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#212 dragon
November 11 2009, 07:45PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

And as I mentioned before, I don't want to alarm anyone, but....

#128 jeanshorts November 08 2009, 08:20PM I am a little worried though. The powerplay is firing on all cylinders tonight, so the Oiler fan in me is starting to wonder if that means they've used up all their powerplay goals for the next 4 or 5 games.

that was the Colorado game, right.

no, they didn't used it all up. difference was they actually had the puck moving.

as opposed to today when only Mr Dangles had the puck moving:l in small circles close to the left board.

what happened to Comrie? he used to get the pp fired up.

oh, we'll be fine. this is just frustration talking.

reminds me about that terrible 5-on-3 in game 7. you know what I'm talking about...

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#213 jeanshorts
November 11 2009, 07:46PM
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Did someone spill coffee on the board over at TSN or what?

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#214 TonyT
November 11 2009, 07:47PM
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I'm starting rethink this strategy of outshooting teams...

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#215 dragon
November 11 2009, 07:48PM
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Shaun Doe wrote:

Buffalo had busy sticks all game long and were clogging up the lanes pretty effectively so I don't know why the play book read cross ice seam pass. I say drive hard to the slot with the puck drawing a dman down then drop a pass to the point for the shot. Then you have two bodies down low for the screen and rebound. They have Penner as the only man down low and continue to cycle the puck around the perimeter while he gets his kidneys worked over.

that Penner guy should get quite frustrated. however, he seems to handle it pretty good. do i sense some leadership being built up?

anybody knows how that locker room is doing? better then late last year?

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#216 Rigger
November 11 2009, 07:49PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Rigger too...

Aww, thanks for thinking of me Travis.

*breaks out waxer*

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#217 Rigger
November 11 2009, 07:50PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Don't forget about Rigger, too.

P.S. Hey, I just watched that 'douchebag' video. Hilarious. *Wonders what happened to that douchebag who thought Amber shouldn't be writing articles here*

Yeah! What the hell Jeanshorts? *raises brow*

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#218 Travis Dakin
November 11 2009, 07:51PM
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Rigger wrote:

Aww, thanks for thinking of me Travis.

*breaks out waxer*

You never forget your first....

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#219 Rigger
November 11 2009, 07:51PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Is it sad that we can name all the posters here that have made themselves known as having vaginas?

Yes, yes it is...and I prefer bearded clam. LMFAO!

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#220 jeanshorts
November 11 2009, 07:52PM
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Rigger wrote:

Yeah! What the hell Jeanshorts? *raises brow*

What? I wasn't the one that said Amber should get back in the kitchen! I love that girl almost as much as I love Megan Fox!

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#221 dragon
November 11 2009, 07:52PM
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hey, Robbie got a point in WAS... 8 shots each in SO: go Rollie!

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#222 Rigger
November 11 2009, 07:54PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

You know, I didn't want to sound like one of "those guys", but things looked a lot more simple on the PP without him. I'm all for ripping one timers off a cross ice pass, but it clearly doesn't work as well as Hemsky thinks it does. If they start playing simple, passing the puck around the perimeter and peppering shots on net I think they'd be way more successful.

I kept shouting at my tv to get him off the PP. Sounds bizarre, but it was better without ole Hemmer and his unwillingness to shoot the damn puck.

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#223 Rigger
November 11 2009, 07:56PM
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@Travis Dakin

HA! Awesome. Makes me feel a lot better than the craptacular 5 min PP where we sharted the bed.

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#224 Rigger
November 11 2009, 07:57PM
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@jeanshorts

Oh no, I wasn't meaning that. I meant how could you forget about me? You're supposed to be rocking my world in your pedophile van!

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#225 David S
November 11 2009, 08:27PM
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dragon wrote:

hey, Robbie got a point in WAS... 8 shots each in SO: go Rollie!

Yay.

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#226 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 11 2009, 08:49PM
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dragon wrote:

hey, Robbie got a point in WAS... 8 shots each in SO: go Rollie!

i blame mact

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#227 VK63
November 11 2009, 09:22PM
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A proposal.

we should form a when will smid score pool. Every time we hit a post or miss a breakaway, a predetermined amount goes in the pot from all participating. When his dubious streak ends, i get the pot cause i suggested it.

OK?

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#228 Librarian Mike
November 11 2009, 09:25PM
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VK63 wrote:

A proposal.

we should form a when will smid score pool. Every time we hit a post or miss a breakaway, a predetermined amount goes in the pot from all participating. When his dubious streak ends, i get the pot cause i suggested it.

OK?

You had me right up until the last sentence. Nice try though. haha.

This sounds suspiciously like one of my wife's 'deals'. i.e. "If you go to the store and get some candy, I'll go ahead and finish watching Jon and Kate."

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#229 BUCK75
November 11 2009, 09:30PM
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I guess Grebeshkov got hurt in the last minute according to @NHL_Oilers. Hurt his knee & will be flying back to Edmonton, missing the rest of the road trip.

Walking wounded this team is. Peckham, welcome back to the big leagues - or will Souray step in as Brownlee suggested?

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#230 Brandon
November 11 2009, 09:47PM
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so this is beyond ridiculous, I don't think I have ever seen an Oilers team this badly hit by injuries, you know it's bad once the call ups start getting hurt, we are already halfway to the amount of man games lost last year, and we are only 19 games into the year

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#231 Robin Brownlee
November 11 2009, 10:20PM
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BUCK75 wrote:

I guess Grebeshkov got hurt in the last minute according to @NHL_Oilers. Hurt his knee & will be flying back to Edmonton, missing the rest of the road trip.

Walking wounded this team is. Peckham, welcome back to the big leagues - or will Souray step in as Brownlee suggested?

Souray will return when he's ready and, as I wrote yesterday, my feeling is he'll be back for Atlanta, regardless of Grebeshkov's status.

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#232 Shaun Doe
November 11 2009, 10:38PM
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Hey Brownlee, was there any pressure for Hemsky to return early or has he simply recovered from his most recent injury. It still seemed like he was coasting at times and not exactly a threat at there. He did mix it up with Kaleta which would seem to indicate he is feeling better but still... Also, in your personal oppinion how do you feel about the Oilers powerplay with and without Hemsky. I only ask as others and myself have noted that Hemsky has seemed to take away more than he has given to the PP recently.

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#233 Victoria
November 11 2009, 11:01PM
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5 minutes PP when they're only down one goal and nothing. Yup.

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#234 VK63
November 11 2009, 11:25PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

You had me right up until the last sentence. Nice try though. haha.

This sounds suspiciously like one of my wife's 'deals'. i.e. "If you go to the store and get some candy, I'll go ahead and finish watching Jon and Kate."

yah I actually have no idea how to decide who wins so I bailed

I forgot the ~ ~ things

my wife has a capacity for "heads i win tails you lose" scenarios as well.

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#235 David S
November 11 2009, 11:35PM
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Shaun Doe wrote:

Hey Brownlee, was there any pressure for Hemsky to return early or has he simply recovered from his most recent injury. It still seemed like he was coasting at times and not exactly a threat at there. He did mix it up with Kaleta which would seem to indicate he is feeling better but still... Also, in your personal oppinion how do you feel about the Oilers powerplay with and without Hemsky. I only ask as others and myself have noted that Hemsky has seemed to take away more than he has given to the PP recently.

I don't know about Brownlee, but I bet more than a few of us were screaming at our TV's tonight those last 5 minutes. I know I was (in my head anyways). Since then I've been thinking that this was Ales' first game back from another one of those "undisclosed upper body injuries". Who knows if he's 100%. Even if he is, it'll take a few games for him to get up to full game speed. Still, its not often you see a player rag the puck in the OFFENSIVE zone during a PP (I'm still at a loss as to what those 360's do).

Problem with this team is there's no margin for error as far as a guy coming back from injury. Even if Souray comes back the next game he'll still take a few to get back in the groove. And we'll probably be whining that he's playing like crap until he cranks that first one in.

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#236 Shaun Doe
November 11 2009, 11:44PM
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Yeah Dave thats what i was thinking too, that he just isn't at his game form just yet (lingering injury/cold from sitting). However, with the Souray analogy even if he misses the net for the first 5-10 powerplays he is manning the point, to me at least that is a shot taken, a chance risked. An errant shot can bounce in off a stick or create a fortuitous bounce off the back boards or glass. At the very least its a shot taken which is something our PP seems to be hesitant to do when Hemsky is quarterbacking it. I just feel that Ales is more inclined to wait for that perfect pass either by nature or schooling. This makes him deadly on the PP when his game is working, when it isn't it just makes the rest of us prematurely bald. Again just my oppinion.

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#237 BarryS
November 11 2009, 11:45PM
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Not much wonder we lost, played last night and today played a team who had a couple days to rest and stew over a stinker their last game. Their goalie helped the stinker along by playing like one of us had played goal after ten whiskeys. Still, in spite of that, we outshot them, the second team in a row we outshot and lost to.

Hmmm. I think I prefer the Oilers being outshot and winning myself. Think I won't complain about being outshot anymore as long as we win.

So now we're getting over the flu and getting actual injuries. Glad I'm not a fan of the farm teams, since they are not likely to get any players back for a while.

Then again, somewhere there is a hockey player bagging groceries going to get to play in the East Coast League now their players are called up to the American League. Could be a while before he has to go back to bagging groceries again.

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#238 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 12 2009, 07:28AM
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David S wrote:

I don't know about Brownlee, but I bet more than a few of us were screaming at our TV's tonight those last 5 minutes. I know I was (in my head anyways). Since then I've been thinking that this was Ales' first game back from another one of those "undisclosed upper body injuries". Who knows if he's 100%. Even if he is, it'll take a few games for him to get up to full game speed. Still, its not often you see a player rag the puck in the OFFENSIVE zone during a PP (I'm still at a loss as to what those 360's do).

Problem with this team is there's no margin for error as far as a guy coming back from injury. Even if Souray comes back the next game he'll still take a few to get back in the groove. And we'll probably be whining that he's playing like crap until he cranks that first one in.

it was reported during the game that hemsky is still not anywhere near 100%

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#239 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 12 2009, 09:53AM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

it was reported during the game that hemsky is still not anywhere near 100%

Those goofs at TSN didn't know they just speculated like they always do. And by goofs I mean McGuire

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