GDB XXII: Preventing another Avalanche

Jason Gregor
November 18 2009 11:49AM

It's quite amusing how after one blow-out loss to Vancouver, many thought the Avalanche bubble had burst, and they were destined for the bottom of the standings. I don’t think they will stay in the top two in the West division, but I don’t see them plummeting to the bottom either. They are 5-4-1 in their last ten, and if they play like that in ten game segments the rest of the year, they will be right in the mix.

Unlike the Oilers right now, the Avalanche understand and play the system their coach wants. They clog up the neutral zone if they get a lead, and while they give up a lot of shots, many come from the outside. And they don't turn the puck over very often in the neutral zone.

The biggest surprise in Colorado has been Ryan O’Reilly. The second-round pick this past summer is in double digits in points (15) and +/- (12). The best way to describe his game is mature. He is just as good away from the puck as he is when he has it.

Pat Quinn, and his predecessor, has tried urging the Oilers younger players to realize that if they make smart plays in their own zone and away from the puck that it will ultimately lead to more offence. So far though, Quinn hasn’t been able to get the kids and some of his veterans to understand this concept.

When you watch the game tonight, take a few shifts and watch what O’Reilly does. Don’t watch the play, focus on O’Reilly. Then pick an Oiler and do the same. You might be surprised in the results.

Up-tempo

The Oilers had an up-tempo morning skate. They had more jump than usual, and the pace was quicker. Speaking with them after practice it is clear they realize they need to be more aggressive and have more energy in their game.

The Oilers are 2-6-2 in the last ten and begin a five-game home stand tonight. After games against the Avs, Hawks, Coyotes, Kings and Sharks they head back on the road for six games. If they don’t get seven points out of ten at home, they could be in serious trouble heading on the road.

New lines

Pat Quinn shuffled his lines again this morning:

Penner — Horcoff — Hemsky
Reddox — O’Sullivan — Brule
Strudwick — Cogliano — Comrie
Moreau — Potulny — Stortini

Gilbert — Souray
Smid — Visnovsky
Staios — Arsene

Deslauriers

Quinn has got to get some secondary scoring going so it is no surprise he has juggled the lines again. At this point I don’t think there is any combination that would give him a better chance, so he is going with completely new combinations.

It looks like he is reverting back to having some sort of grit/physical presence on his bottom three lines. Sam Gagner wasn’t in any of the lines, but I spoke to him after practice and he said he is ready to go. When I asked Quinn he admitted that Gagner is likely to play, so that will change the lineup.

If Gagner goes you have to think that Strudwick will move back to the blue line, unless Quinn wants more size up front. Mike Comrie still isn’t feeling right. His energy level isn’t where he wants it to be, but he said he is feeling a bit better today. That would explain why he has looked a step behind that past few games.

We could see a battle of the back ups tonight. Craig Anderson has played 20 games already for the Avalanche and last week Joe Sacco said he would try to get him some rest. When you consider the Oilers have faced a back up in 8 of their 21 games so far it wouldn’t surprise me if Peter Budaj gets the start tonight.

Injury update

J.F Jacques skated this morning, but won’t return until Saturday at the earliest. Robert Nilsson wasn’t even on the ice this morning, and he is still suffering with concussion-like symptoms. Ryan Stone didn’t practice with the team and his still has soreness in his knee, so unfortunately he is at least another week away.

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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 Eric Johnson
November 18 2009, 07:29PM
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poor Dan Tencer, guy gets no love around here.

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#102 Eddie Shore
November 18 2009, 07:29PM
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If he were less of a D-bag he might get some.

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#103 Dustin Penner
November 18 2009, 07:30PM
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SirFozz wrote:

Will you marry me Penner? I'll cook.

Alright... but I'm the man!

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#104 Maggie the Monkey
November 18 2009, 07:33PM
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That might have been the worst pp I've seen this season. The Avs pk can't be that good...

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#105 Eric Johnson
November 18 2009, 07:33PM
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Wow our powerplay is more pathetic than Sam Gagner's mustache...

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#106 Eddie Shore
November 18 2009, 07:34PM
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@Maggie the Monkey

It isn't. The Oilers just refuse to chip it in because they all think they can stick handle through 4 Avs.

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#107 SirFozz
November 18 2009, 07:34PM
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Dustin Penner wrote:

Alright... but I'm the man!

Finish top 10 in scoring and you got yourself a "wife".

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#108 Eric Johnson
November 18 2009, 07:36PM
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Poor Liam Reddox... In Strudwicks defense He thought Reddox was part of the Center line...

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#109 Brandon
November 18 2009, 07:36PM
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Dear Pat Quinn,

I know you don't know your team yet but putting Visnovsky and Souray and the same PP does not work(ask MacT).

Love,

Oilers Fans

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#110 SirFozz
November 18 2009, 07:40PM
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Hot damn!

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#111 Eddie Shore
November 18 2009, 07:40PM
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Thats about the only way Horc can get a goal these days. But we'll take it.

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#112 Eric Johnson
November 18 2009, 07:43PM
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Penner's mustache is beyond words... unless the word is spectaculawesome.

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#113 Eddie Shore
November 18 2009, 07:43PM
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Our dzone is embarassing.

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#114 SirFozz
November 18 2009, 07:44PM
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Did that go right through Delorean? Also, F U Gilbert. I hate you so much right now.

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#115 Librarian Mike
November 18 2009, 07:44PM
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You know that kid in school who, when you played floor hockey at lunchtime, would stand in front of his own net waving his stick back and forth?

Tom Gilbert, ladies and gentlemen.

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#116 Eric Johnson
November 18 2009, 07:45PM
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Damn that Gilbert is a Vag...

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#117 Eric Johnson
November 18 2009, 07:46PM
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How are we out shooting them? We looked pathetic..

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#118 416oil
November 18 2009, 07:49PM
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where is my star comrie?

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#119 Shaun Doe
November 18 2009, 07:49PM
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And so continues our curse of losing while outshooting the opposition. Lets go back to scrambling while being outshot. This scrambling while outshooting is too much work.

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#120 jake
November 18 2009, 07:49PM
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I've concluded that I really don't care to see O'Sullivan in an Oilers jersey anymore and Gilbert is not far behind.

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#121 Brandon
November 18 2009, 07:50PM
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@Eric Johnson

So when do the injuries to our D end? Oh whats that Grebeskov is the only starting D man out? *Scratches head and adores penners stache*

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#122 Librarian Mike
November 18 2009, 07:50PM
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Man Horcoff looks like he's in pain. He's also starting to look like Stallone. That can't be a good sign.

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#123 Eddie Shore
November 18 2009, 07:50PM
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Guess what Horcoff, not only do you lose battles in the front of the net, but your team loses battles...ALL battles in the dzone.

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#124 SirFozz
November 18 2009, 07:50PM
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Good god, can you get the camera closer to Horcoff's face? Yikes!

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#125 Eddie Shore
November 18 2009, 08:05PM
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Uh.. yes!

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#126 Brandon
November 18 2009, 08:06PM
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well then....

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#127 Shaun Doe
November 18 2009, 08:06PM
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All these mixed emotions. I... I just have no idea what to feel anymore

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#128 Eddie Shore
November 18 2009, 08:07PM
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*sigh* *headshake*

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#129 Brandon
November 18 2009, 08:16PM
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So where do we go when the point is covered on the PP?

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#130 Eric Johnson
November 18 2009, 08:16PM
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*double sigh*

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#131 Maggie the Monkey
November 18 2009, 08:17PM
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@Eddie Shore

I hate to say it, but the Avs pk looked pretty good there. Our boys weren't as terrible and the pk did a very good job of keeping everything on the outside.

Well, O'Sullivan still looked terrible giving the puck away every time he touched it, but the rest of them seemed better.

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#132 Eddie Shore
November 18 2009, 08:19PM
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@Maggie the Monkey

We make them look good. We do this by not moving at all. Stationary players trying to pass to other stationary players equals everything being on the outside and very minimal scoring chances.

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#133 Shaun Doe
November 18 2009, 08:19PM
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What I really liked on that last PP was the little hot potatoe session Visnovsky and Hemsky had going. I really feel that if they were left to continue that for the remainder of the PP then the puck would have eventually worked its way into the net.

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#134 Shaun Doe
November 18 2009, 08:21PM
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Why the damn hell was that not a goal!!! Gah we just have no luck working for us some games.

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#135 Maggie the Monkey
November 18 2009, 08:23PM
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@Eddie Shore

You're right - I just meant to say that the Oil looked better than before, as in not making me want to gouge my eyes out with burning knives. Except for O'Sullivan: he's making me want to do that more and more often lately, largely because I picked him as my Star for the season. Shows what I know.

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#136 Eddie Shore
November 18 2009, 08:24PM
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This keeps getting better and better..

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#137 jeanshorts
November 18 2009, 08:25PM
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@Maggie the Monkey

This is the worst buyers remorse I've ever had.

Maybe his dad was onto something........

*too soon*

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#138 stilldrinkingthekoolaid
November 18 2009, 08:26PM
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While I didn't expect the playoffs, I did expect an effort everynight, oh well..........

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#139 Brandon
November 18 2009, 08:27PM
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How much longer before Quinn just snaps?

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#140 jeanshorts
November 18 2009, 08:29PM
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So, can't buy a bounce, PP looks like absolute garbage once again, and the reffing is god awful. Is it the third period yet?

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#141 jeanshorts
November 18 2009, 08:30PM
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AND we're getting destroyed in faceoffs by the worst faceoff team in the league! WWHHOO!!!

Worst rollercoaster ever.

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#142 jake
November 18 2009, 08:31PM
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geez, gotta love the grit by staios

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#143 SirFozz
November 18 2009, 08:31PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

AND we're getting destroyed in faceoffs by the worst faceoff team in the league! WWHHOO!!!

Worst rollercoaster ever.

Rollercoasters also go up right?

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#144 Tooles
November 18 2009, 08:32PM
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...Of course there's another penalty.

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#145 Brandon
November 18 2009, 08:33PM
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@SirFozz

not this one

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#146 SirFozz
November 18 2009, 08:33PM
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Soooooooooooo Taylor or Tyler?

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#147 Eddie Shore
November 18 2009, 08:33PM
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Willis is going to have a field day about FO stats after this game. WTF is Tambellini doing? GET US A CENTRE THAT CAN WIN A DRAW!!!

fixed.

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#148 jeanshorts
November 18 2009, 08:35PM
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@SirFozz

I'm not a fan of rides in general so I really couldn't tell you.

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#149 Maggie the Monkey
November 18 2009, 08:37PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

This is the worst buyers remorse I've ever had.

Maybe his dad was onto something........

*too soon*

Wow.

Harsh, but fair.

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#150 SirFozz
November 18 2009, 08:38PM
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And still no ice girls...

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