GDB XV: Passing and faceoffs and goals, oh my!

Jason Gregor
November 02 2009 11:21AM

Courage wolf says score goals or else

All of a sudden the Oilers can’t score, but even though they were blanked three times in the last week, they have scored the 7th most goals in the league. Through 14 games their offence has been fine, but like previous years, they are giving up too many goals.

The Oilers have surrendered the 7th most goals, 43, so far this year. Injuries and illness to Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios and Lubomir Visnovsky have played a role in that, but I still see too many turnovers and errant passes if this team wants to be more than a .500 team.

Visnovsky is feeling better and his return should help the PP and cut down on turnovers. Staios is skating with the team, but highly doubtful for tonight. The bad news, like I wrote last week, is that Souray isn’t getting any better. Concussions are unpredictable and it looks like Souray might be out until December.

I don’t just blame the D-men though.

Passing the buck... and the puck

The forwards have been just as guilty, if not more, of horrendous passes. How often do the Oilers miss a teammate with a simple eight-to-ten-foot pass? Bad passing has been a problem for a few years, and I believe it starts in practice. The players need to demand better execution from one another.

Their leaders need to be more vocal about this.

I don’t like to compare players or teams, but the Detroit Red Wing players demand crisp and accurate passes in practice. I’ve watched a Wings practice and the players — not the coaches — expect good, crisp and accurate passes.

It helps when Nick Lidstrom along with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavol Datsyuk are their leaders, but at this level every player should be able to make tape-to-tape passes in practice.

I will chart tonight’s game and list how many times the Oilers either miss a pass, or just dump the puck away when they have complete control. Lately, many players will have possession of the puck without being pressured, and they will just dump it into the neutral zone, or deep in the offensive zone. The problem with that thinking is this team still isn’t good at retrieving pucks.

Father-son combo

When Steve Tambellini was hired in 2008, some jokingly wondered if he’d try and acquire his son, Jeff. Most would have ripped him for making such a move, but right now the young Tambellini is red hot with five goals in four games. He tallied a hat trick v. Buffalo on Saturday and had two goals in Montreal last Monday. Prior to last week, he had never had a two-goal game.

Tambellini has six goals in eight games and is tied for the team lead in goals with unheralded Jeff Moulson. Moulson, was a 9th draft pick for the Penguins in 2003. He never played for them, and had six goals and ten points in 29 games with the Kings over two seasons, before signing with the Islanders this summer.

Moulson along with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo lead the Islanders with 10 points.

Know thy enemy

The Islanders are 15th on the PP and 8th on the PK, while the Oilers come in 16th on the PP and 14th when down a man. The big advantage will be in the dot. As a team the Islanders are 4th in the league winning 53.4% of their draws, while the Oilers are a 27th winning only 47.1%.

The four centres tonight will be Shawn Horcoff (50.5%), Sam Gagner (43.8), Gilbert Brule (50.5) and Andrew Cogliano (36.5) and none of them are above average.

With Mike Comrie (54.6%) and Dustin Penner (64.5%), I wonder if Quinn will start to use them more in faceoff situations. Penner has only taken 31 draws, and I doubt he could maintain that much success, but tonight is the 15th game of the season and we haven’t seen any improvement in the dot. In fact, the Oilers have gotten worse in recent weeks.

The Islanders don’t rely on just one guy like the Oilers. Tavares has taken 195 draws winning 49.2%, while Richard Park has also taken 195 winning 57.4%. Josh Bailey has taken 152 and is 51.3% while their best guy is Frans Nielson who has won 53 of the 85 draws he’s taken.

The lack of success in the dot hasn’t hurt the Oilers offensively, but it is a big reason why they have given up an average of 33.7 shots a game. Only Colorado is giving up more.

Look for a combination of Fernando Pisani, Brule and Patrick O’Sullivan tonight. Horcoff will play with Ales Hemsky and Penner. Gagner will centre JF Jacques and Robert Nilsson while Cogliano is back in the middle with Zack Stortini and Ethan Moreau.

Looks like Visnovsky is back in and Theo Peckham comes out.

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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 Rigger
November 02 2009, 05:40PM
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UGH, WTF Chorney?

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#102 Rigger
November 02 2009, 05:42PM
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The Island announcers are total homers.

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#103 Hemmertime
November 02 2009, 05:45PM
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Roadtrip! Star Wars... In CONCERT!

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#104 Cool Beans
November 02 2009, 05:45PM
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Rigger wrote:

The Island announcers are total homers.

Not like that Rod Phillips guy. He is always neutral and un-baised.

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#105 Rigger
November 02 2009, 05:46PM
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@Cool Beans

Don't usually listen to Rod the Bod. I'll take your word for it.

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#106 Rigger
November 02 2009, 05:48PM
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Yay Dougie! Always a classy guy.

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#107 Wanye
November 02 2009, 05:53PM
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Man oh man do I hate having to watch this feed.

MARCO

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#108 Wanye
November 02 2009, 05:54PM
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Who is the most underrated Islander NY FEED?

Uh, I'll go DiPietro for 1000 Alex.

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#109 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:05PM
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FRAK!

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#110 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:07PM
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That bad pass counter is gonna be off the charts.

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#111 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:07PM
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Rigger wrote:

That bad pass counter is gonna be off the charts.

We will need more digits on the bad pass clock to be sure.

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#112 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:08PM
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The fun go pass?! WTF?

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#113 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:10PM
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@Wanye

Depends,is Gregor counting bad passes seperate from full possession dump-ins, cause I've seen a few of those too.

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#114 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 06:11PM
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Anyone see that Kitchener Ranger get killed over the weekend? Lesson number 1 kids: never turn your back when a guy is barreling in on you at 100 mph.

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#115 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:11PM
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Rigger wrote:

Depends,is Gregor counting bad passes seperate from full possession dump-ins, cause I've seen a few of those too.

I've seen everything tonight including the fabled 'fun-go' pass which you referred to earlier.

What I would like to see is an Oilers goal. Preferably now.

*crosses fingers so tightly a nail falls off immediately*

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#116 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 06:12PM
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Whoa Rolli lost his stick. That's so unlike him!

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#117 Hemmertime
November 02 2009, 06:14PM
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Jon Sim's a bitch, should have gotten a penalty too. BS

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#118 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:14PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Anyone see that Kitchener Ranger get killed over the weekend? Lesson number 1 kids: never turn your back when a guy is barreling in on you at 100 mph.

What's lesson #2 Poppa Jeanshorts?

Man, this feed is choppier than (insert dramatic analogy here)

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#119 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:16PM
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@Wanye

No kidding, more than one goal preferrably. Nice to know we're getting outshot again too. Ugh!

Ok, good to know I wasn't hearing things with the "fun go pass". Seriously, what the hell? LOL

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#120 Hemmertime
November 02 2009, 06:16PM
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There is a better feed. Flawless one. I think more people will make it laggy though

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#121 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:16PM
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@jeanshorts

Ouch, poor guy!

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#122 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 06:17PM
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Lesson, 2, ummm. Lesson 2: always make sure you flip your underwear inside out so you can wear them twice, thus saving water and the environment.

MORE GIVEAWAYS! There's no way this team can lose if they keep this strategy up!

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#123 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:17PM
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@Hemmertime

Care to tell? Is it an Isles feed?

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#124 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:18PM
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Rigger wrote:

No kidding, more than one goal preferrably. Nice to know we're getting outshot again too. Ugh!

Ok, good to know I wasn't hearing things with the "fun go pass". Seriously, what the hell? LOL

It's probably the Fuhngoe Pass, named after long time Islander Assitant Coach Harold Fuhngoe who would often bat pucks down the ice during practices in the 1970s.

Or something equally stupid that only an Islander announcer would know.

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#125 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:18PM
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@jeanshorts

LOL, and also ewww! Question, if you turn them backwards do you get an extra day outta them? Haha

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#126 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:19PM
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@Wanye

Ah, I was pretty sure it wasn't a literal "fun go" but I wasn't taking a change on the spelling.

Did anyone else get that weird "this feed has been stolen" commercial?

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#127 BUCK75
November 02 2009, 06:19PM
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@Rigger

I found athde.net

had to download a thing called sopcast.

Is a NYI feed

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#128 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:19PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Lesson, 2, ummm. Lesson 2: always make sure you flip your underwear inside out so you can wear them twice, thus saving water and the environment.

MORE GIVEAWAYS! There's no way this team can lose if they keep this strategy up!

Giveaways are part of a larger STRATEGY! Suddenly it all makes sense.

*sits back in comfort, knowing there is a larger plan*

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#129 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:21PM
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Rigger wrote:

Ah, I was pretty sure it wasn't a literal "fun go" but I wasn't taking a change on the spelling.

Did anyone else get that weird "this feed has been stolen" commercial?

No......

*hides behind desk*

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#130 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 06:21PM
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Oh weird the Oilers were standing around, unable to get the puck out of their own zone and the other team scored. When did Brendan Witt play for the Oilers? Because he's having the game of his life.

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#131 BUCK75
November 02 2009, 06:21PM
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Eff sakes! How often does Brenden Witt score,

Way to 1/2 ass it guys.

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#132 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:22PM
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Two goals for Witt, who hadn't scored going into this game in 1,795 games.

GREAT

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#133 Shaun Doe
November 02 2009, 06:22PM
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That goal was a direct result of an oiler making a cute 4 foot fancy pass that got picked right off on the break out. I mean what ever happened to making smart passes. Enough of this High risk, high reward crap cause the team has obviously forgotten the reward quotient of the equation. Brutal.

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#134 Hemmertime
November 02 2009, 06:23PM
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The announcer talks during the game excessively in the arena.

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#135 BUCK75
November 02 2009, 06:23PM
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Witt: 3 goals in 218 games - then a 2 goal flurry tonight.

Another career game for the opposition I guess...

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#136 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 06:23PM
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Is it too early to start the dive for Taylor Hall?

*yes*

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#137 Shaun Doe
November 02 2009, 06:25PM
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Ugh god its just disgusting to watch, there is NO puck support, and NO use of hockey sense in their decision making out there. Its just completely unorganized hockey...

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#138 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:25PM
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@BUCK75

That's the one I'm on, just thought there might be a clearer one. thx though

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#139 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:26PM
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@Wanye

*joins Wayne behind desk*

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#140 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:27PM
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On a related note, free chili in the building because of two goals in regulation time. LOL! Okaaaay...

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#141 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 06:28PM
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@Shaun Doe

It's almost like watching those games when the Oilers rookies play the Golden Bears and the Bears wipe the floor with them. Only difference is the Oiler rookies look a lot more composed and actually try.

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#142 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:30PM
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Kid line back on? Gotta try everything I guess.

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#143 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:30PM
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Rigger wrote:

*joins Wayne behind desk*

@Rigger

Want a beer?

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#144 Shaun Doe
November 02 2009, 06:30PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

It's almost like watching those games when the Oilers rookies play the Golden Bears and the Bears wipe the floor with them. Only difference is the Oiler rookies look a lot more composed and actually try.

Yeah I just have no idea why the play could degrade to this level after a few players get sick. Was it mind erassing sickness?

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#145 BUCK75
November 02 2009, 06:31PM
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did I hear Gilbert left the game? Who is the #10 defenceman in the Oilers organization?

*shakes head*

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#146 Librarian Mike
November 02 2009, 06:31PM
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So, I can't get a decent feed and I'm not willing to download an app I've never heard of. Doesn't sound like I'm missing much though.

*Wishing I picked Brendan Witt instead of Eric Staal in my pool*

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#147 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:32PM
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@Wanye

They keep playing like this, I might need something a lot stronger...with more chemicals.

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#148 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:33PM
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@BUCK75

Really? I missed that. Did he take a big hit or something? I can't imagine he GAVE a hit.

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#149 Librarian Mike
November 02 2009, 06:33PM
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@BUCK75

Who is the #10 defenceman in the Oilers organization?

I don't know. Joey?

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#150 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 06:34PM
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OHMYGOD there's still a whole period left? Ugh.

Really wish I would have saved some of the JD from the weekend.

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