GDB XXI: Garon swathed in a blue jacket

Jason Gregor
November 16 2009 02:30PM

The Oilers will try and salvage their five game road trip with a win tonight against their former goalie, Mathieu Garon and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Oilers enjoy playing at Nationwide Arena racking up an impressive 9-3-3-1 record since the Jackets came into the league in 2000. The Oilers have scored 56 goals in 16 games while giving up 38.

Special teams are pretty much a saw off between these two. The Oilers are 79.2% on the PK and the Jackets are 79.3%, while the Oilers’ PP is clicking at 21% and Columbus is 21.7%.

The Oilers PP percentage wise has been okay, but yesterday they couldn’t get the timely goal from the man advantage. In fact, their PP looked awful yesterday, never setting up and rarely getting a shot. It was Souray’s first game back and he looked understandable rusty. I’d guess he will look better tonight.

The second quarter of the season starts tonight, and as I stated in my report card, the Oilers need to have a better second quarter to stay in the hunt. Columbus will be one of the teams the Oilers have to beat out if they want to make the playoffs, and heading into tonight the Jackets are four points up with two games in hand. A regulation loss would put the Oilers six back and the potential for the gap to be bigger if the Jackets win one or both of the games in hand.

Sure it's only game 21, but don’t fool yourself Oiler fan, the Oilers can’t be in ten-point hole come January and expect to make up that much ground in the three-point-game era. They need to keep treading water, stick close to the pack and hope that they can get on a run and get production from some forwards not named Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner.

Tonight Pat Quinn will go with Nikolai Khabibulin, which is a bit of a surprise considering Quinn wanted to avoid playing him in back-to-back games. I think it shows that Quinn understands the importance of this game and really wants a win. Or he doesn’t have any confidence in Deslauriers, which is a topic for another day.

The Oilers don’t want to go to a shootout, because Mathieu Garon is the best in the league in the SO, with a career record of 17-4. Garon has been playing well at 3-1 with a 2.60 GAA and a solid .923SV%.

More injuries

The Oilers might be without Sam Gagner tonight. Gagner blocked a shot in Atlanta and according to Quinn he is doubtful for tonight. If Gagner can’t go, then Quinn has to a choice to make. Would he move Gilbert Brule up and slot him in between Mike Comrie and Patrick O’Sullivan. Or will he put O’Sullivan in the middle and insert Robert Nilsson on the wing with Comrie.

Andrew Cogliano will play with Ethan Moreau and Zack Stortini on the other line it looks like.

Nilsson hasn’t been good so maybe Strudwick might move up to the wing and Dean Arsene could slot in for his first NHL game after seven and a half seasons in the AHL. The reason Quinn might go with Strudwick and Arsene and keep Nilsson out is because the Blue Jackets have lots of size dressed tonight.

Columbus’ fourth line will consist of Jared Boll, 6’3” 210 pounds, Tom Sestito, 6’5” 220 pounds and Michael Blunden, 6’4” 211 pounds. Quinn might be concerned his team could get taken advantage of tonight, so he might go with Strudwick on the wing and Arsene on the blueline.

Look for Hemsky to be productive tonight. Hemsky loves playing the Jackets. He had eight points in four game last year and has 25 points in 21 games over his career.

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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 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 05:46PM
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Looks like both teams brought some jump tonight!

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#52 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 16 2009, 05:46PM
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Is that Stortini with another 2 minutes? Hooray for penalties!

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#53 Lofty
November 16 2009, 05:47PM
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Cant blaim Storts for that one... that was all Gilbert

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#54 SirFozz
November 16 2009, 05:47PM
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Well that was a mighty entertaining 1st period. Now we just need to turn this thing into a win.

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#55 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 05:51PM
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Wow that looked like a sick scrap from Stortini!

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#56 Librarian Mike
November 16 2009, 05:52PM
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It's nice to see these guys play angry.

Anybody else notice how Gene looks like Chris from the Sopranos?

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#57 Lofty
November 16 2009, 06:09PM
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Hemsky has the turnovers going tonight!

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#58 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 06:12PM
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Lofty wrote:

Hemsky has the turnovers going tonight!

Yeah, but just you wait and see. If he keeps trying to do it enough he'll eventually be able to stick handle through the entire Blue Jackets team! (scoring not guaranteed)

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#59 freeze
November 16 2009, 06:12PM
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nice penalty, goat.

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#60 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 06:13PM
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Definitely earning that "C" still.

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#61 Crust
November 16 2009, 06:14PM
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Leave the Captain alone...he has goat flu.

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#62 Librarian Mike
November 16 2009, 06:15PM
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Nooooo.

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#63 Librarian Mike
November 16 2009, 06:15PM
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Crust wrote:

Leave the Captain alone...he has goat flu.

LOL!

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#64 Tight Lips
November 16 2009, 06:16PM
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*sigh* back to the game plan i see

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#65 SirFozz
November 16 2009, 06:16PM
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Crust wrote:

Leave the Captain alone...he has goat flu.

He IS the goat flu.

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#66 Crust
November 16 2009, 06:17PM
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Agreed...patient zero.

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#67 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 06:18PM
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Weird, that 5 on 3 goal sparked the Jackets even more, and took away all the Oilers momentum. YARGH. Okay we need another good scrap to get this thing going again.

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#68 Shaun Doe
November 16 2009, 06:18PM
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So why is it that we never have a guy waiting at the halfboards for the ring it around the boards pass/shots? It seems that the other team always intercepts those attempts while our player is late skating to the wall from the slot.

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#69 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 06:19PM
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They were married in an apartment in Calgary? Classy.

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#70 Crust
November 16 2009, 06:21PM
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And it was a "quicky"...classier yet.

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#71 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 06:21PM
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HOLYCRAPLOOKATREDDOXGO!!!!!!!!

Like a young Todd Marchant!

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#72 RW
November 16 2009, 06:23PM
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Wow. What a useless sack that Reddox kid is. What NHL head coach in his right mind would ever play that guy?

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#73 Librarian Mike
November 16 2009, 06:23PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

They were married in an apartment in Calgary? Classy.

http://www.shuttertalk.com/forums/images/upload/Redneck_Wedding_n_Cake.jpg

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#74 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 06:24PM
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Uhhh, wait, what? Where was the hook there?

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#75 Crust
November 16 2009, 06:26PM
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Goal

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#76 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 06:27PM
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WWWHHHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PENNER!! or HEMSKY!!!! WWWEEEE!!!

See, if we just SHOOT THE GOD DAMN PUCK AT THE NET ON THE POWER PLAY, good things happen.

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#77 SirFozz
November 16 2009, 06:27PM
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We'll take it. Best goal ever!!!!!

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#78 Librarian Mike
November 16 2009, 06:27PM
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Yay! Penner is so dreamy...(sorry Amber)

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#79 Freezing Weather Fan
November 16 2009, 06:28PM
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Wow... guess Hemsky's trying to work on that grade of yours Gregor.

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#80 Crust
November 16 2009, 06:29PM
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Lots of man-wrestling in this game.

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#81 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 06:31PM
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Khabby is playing the game of his life out there! They shouldn't be getting nearly that many cracks at the puck, but at least there's a stopper in there tonight! Can anyone rightfully complain about this signing anymore? Give it a year or two, and then you will probably have a reason to crap on it.

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#82 Lofty
November 16 2009, 06:32PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Yeah, but just you wait and see. If he keeps trying to do it enough he'll eventually be able to stick handle through the entire Blue Jackets team! (scoring not guaranteed)

He didnt do much stick handling on that one... Just give the goal to Penner!

So I guess the question is would you rather have Hemmer trying the cute play and turning it over or just floating and doing nothing?

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#83 SirFozz
November 16 2009, 06:32PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Khabby is playing the game of his life out there! They shouldn't be getting nearly that many cracks at the puck, but at least there's a stopper in there tonight! Can anyone rightfully complain about this signing anymore? Give it a year or two, and then you will probably have a reason to crap on it.

He only makes twice that of what Nilsson makes to sit in the press box.

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#84 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 06:35PM
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Lofty wrote:

He didnt do much stick handling on that one... Just give the goal to Penner!

So I guess the question is would you rather have Hemmer trying the cute play and turning it over or just floating and doing nothing?

What a question! That's like "What would you rather have, cancer or aids?"

I guess I'd take floating Hemsky, since he's less likely to bleed offensive chances the other way. But really, why can't we just have Hemsky that tries AND doesn't give away the puck?

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#85 Lofty
November 16 2009, 06:40PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

What a question! That's like "What would you rather have, cancer or aids?"

I guess I'd take floating Hemsky, since he's less likely to bleed offensive chances the other way. But really, why can't we just have Hemsky that tries AND doesn't give away the puck?

Agreed, Hull floated lilke crazy when he was around but would always seem to find a rebound coming out on the wide side that he would bury.

At the risk of sounding like Larry Johnson if I had to choose I would take cancer... less questions about those nights when I had way too many cold colds and couldnt remember what I did.

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#86 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 06:43PM
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RJ Broadhead thought that Hemsky goal was a beautiful goal? Jesus. I'd hate to see how he reacts when Ovechkin pulls some of his magic.

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#87 Librarian Mike
November 16 2009, 06:43PM
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Horcroff, MacLean?

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#88 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 16 2009, 06:54PM
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Hormeoff*

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#89 Librarian Mike
November 16 2009, 06:59PM
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Hemsky to Comrie! Then to ..... Sully....sigh.

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#90 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 07:00PM
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I never understood how guys could chew gum while playing. Guaranteed if I tried that I'd choke to death the first time I took a hit.

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#91 libbers
November 16 2009, 07:03PM
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was that Hemsky just throwing a hip check on Nash or am I dreaming??

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#92 Librarian Mike
November 16 2009, 07:04PM
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libbers wrote:

was that Hemsky just throwing a hip check on Nash or am I dreaming??

It was nice. Right after he did a nice little stick lift on Nash as well.

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#93 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 07:05PM
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WWWHHHHOOOOO!!!! VISH THE FISH!!!!!!

Please lord, let the Oilers continue to play well on the power play for the rest of the year.

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#94 17
November 16 2009, 07:05PM
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WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO VISNOVSKY

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#95 SirFozz
November 16 2009, 07:05PM
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SWEEEEEEEET!!!VISH!!!!

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#96 freeze
November 16 2009, 07:07PM
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why do Columbus fans insist on banging on the glass like that?

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#97 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 07:07PM
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Wow how slow does Comrie look tonight? I guess he's not completely out of the woods with that whole "I can't breathe correctly" thing.

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#98 Librarian Mike
November 16 2009, 07:09PM
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freeze wrote:

why do Columbus fans insist on banging on the glass like that?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7ZAFx8MKEU

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#99 jeanshorts
November 16 2009, 07:13PM
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Ugh, is it just me or is there something really unsettling about seeing Gilbert and O'Sullivan on the ice together for the power play? I keep thinking they're going to find a way to take away goals from us.

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#100 Shaun Doe
November 16 2009, 07:13PM
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Two things there. I have never seen a stick blade fired into the stands like that and how the hell did Umberger get so far behind our defence on a PP?

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