GDB XXIV: Roadkill, anyone?

Jason Gregor
November 23 2009 01:52PM

If history shows us anything, then the Oilers have a great chance of winning tonight. The Oilers are 21-6-3 in their last 21 home games against the Coyotes, but in most of the seasons the Oilers were better in the standings.

The Coyotes come to town tonight with four more wins and six more points than the Oilers, but the biggest difference is the goals against. The Oilers are surrendering 3.13 goals per game, while the desert dogs only give up 2.39.

They’ve done that with an anonymous defence corps. Ed Jovanovski will miss his 8th straight game tonight, and Kurt Sauer has yet to play this season.

The dogs’ defence tonight will consist of James Vandermeer, Keith Yandle, Adrian Aucoin, Sami Lepisto, Shaun Heshka and David Schmelko. But the key to their defensive success is that their forwards play just as hard/smart in their own zone as they do in the offensive zone. Scottie Upshall leads the Coyotes with seven goals, but he only has eight points. Shane Doan has 16 points, while Matthew Lombardi, Robert Lang and Adrian Aucoin are tied for second with 12. The Coyotes are winning because they have bought into Dave Tippett's tight defensive game, but I don't see them maintaining it all season if they don't start to score more goals.

While some Oiler D-men have struggled in their own zone — Tom Gilbert — the forwards haven’t helped. Too often they have made the wrong read, or left the wrong guy open. The Oilers allow too many goals from right in front of the goal. They need to be tougher on guys at times, but more importantly they need to be in the right position.

Communication meeting

The meeting with the coaches and leadership group seems to have focused on communication more than anything. Shawn Horcoff said that Quinn had told the guys at the start of the season that he wanted to have a meeting like this near the 20-game mark.

It wasn’t coincidental that it came after a loss where they were completely dominated, but the players felt it was good timing. They know they need to be better, and they liked that Quinn and Tom Renney wanted to hear what they felt. Dustin Penner said, “The meeting allowed us to feel fresh even after that tough loss to Chicago. It was a good forum to listen to the coaches and for them to listen to us.”

Of course the players wouldn’t divulge every aspect of the meeting, but they all think that Pat Quinn is fair. They like that he is fiery, even in his post-game comments, but none of the guys that I talked with felt that Quinn was being too hard on the players. And thankfully they felt that way, because if the players actually felt he was too hard on them, then this team would be in big trouble.

I think the biggest problem in the room is that some guys feel they deserve to be in the top-six, and get upset when they aren’t slotted there. The coaches CAN’T just hand guys those spots. They have to earn it. Quinn would love one or two guys to play so well that he has no choice but to give them second-line minutes. The young guys who want to be in the top-six haven’t earned that role, and if they don’t get over a sense of self-entitlement then they won’t anytime soon.

Can't win with one

Quinn will try to get some more balanced scoring by shuffling the deck once again tonight.

Penner — Gagner — Hemsky
Jacques — Horcoff — Brule
Reddox — O’Sullivan — Stortini
Moreau — Potulny — Cogliano

This team hasn’t had any consistent scoring outside of their top-line in almost a month. Penner and Hemsky have been the only consistent producers, and they need Brule, Gagner, O’Sullivan and Cogliano to start producing. Gagner needs to play better, and get back to being a bit abrasive. Same with Brule.

Injury update

Nikolai Khabibulin didn’t skate and won’t play tonight, but it doesn’t sound like he should be out very long. Ryan Stone skated today, but his knee still feels sore when he pushes off. He might be ready for Friday against the Sharks, but it will depend if the pain subsides by then. Robert Nilsson also skated, but he won’t play tonight, and needs a few more days of practice before they clear him. He could be available on Wednesday, but based on the style of game he plays, I don’t see who he would come in for even when he is healthy.

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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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#151 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 09:06PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

These announcers are such homers. Canadian announcers aren't this bad.. I think?

I always wonder that whenever I'm like "ugh what a homer". But I'm pretty sure Kevin Quinn and DeBrusk are just as homery, they just cheer for the correct team.

But yeah these two seem especially brutal tonight. I'm not sure how letting in 2 goals in 7 seconds equals the Coyotes playing a good first period, but I'm no expert I guess.

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#152 Eric Johnson
November 23 2009, 09:06PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

These announcers are such homers. Canadian announcers aren't this bad.. I think?

Come on give them a break. They are trying to "sell" hockey in a place where half the people can't spell Hockey.

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#153 Shawn Cronin
November 23 2009, 09:07PM
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And they mail it in in the third...........

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#154 freeze
November 23 2009, 09:07PM
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"He's actually standing on his head!" Did I hear that right?

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#155 Dan the Man
November 23 2009, 09:07PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

I imagine it as Quinn standing there with his Blackberry telling Hemsky, "I'm texting Tencer right now *tap tap tap* and I'm going to send it unless you start scoring!"

At which point a lone tear trickles down Hemsky's cheek.

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#156 Eddie Shore
November 23 2009, 09:08PM
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Is the ice tilted?

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#157 Shawn Cronin
November 23 2009, 09:09PM
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@Eddie Shore

Oh no, they are great, especially that bald headed fella on TSN.

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#158 Eddie Shore
November 23 2009, 09:11PM
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Hockey U --> dedicated for those fans who know jack sh*t about hockey. I'm so glad I don't live in a market like that.

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#159 Eric Johnson
November 23 2009, 09:12PM
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Ha, Hockey edumacation... thats gonna help Phoenis.. (thats not a typo)

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#160 freeze
November 23 2009, 09:13PM
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Gumby isn't getting much help at all right now.

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#161 Dan the Man
November 23 2009, 09:14PM
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Sweet we are back to getting out shot and winning, I'll take it!

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#162 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 09:14PM
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Shawn Cronin wrote:

And they mail it in in the third...........

Thankfully the Oilers are known for playing really tight defensively and have yet to blow a lead this year.......

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#163 Eric Johnson
November 23 2009, 09:14PM
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I love how their defensive plan in the third is to ice 6 goalies...

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#164 freeze
November 23 2009, 09:16PM
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Wow, these announcers are really, really making excuses. The pregame ceremony? I don't think that's it. Must have been the bad trumpet.

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#165 Poo Czar
November 23 2009, 09:16PM
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Is it optimistic or pessimistic to hope that Reddox could be the new Mark Lamb?

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#166 Wanyes bastard child
November 23 2009, 09:17PM
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FCK fck FCK .. Kelly said the dirty word :(

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#167 Shawn Cronin
November 23 2009, 09:22PM
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@freeze

They were saying the same sort of thing on CBC during the T.O. game against Washington this weekend. Apparently the pre game ceremonies at the A.C.C were throwing off the Leafs......

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#168 Librarian Mike
November 23 2009, 09:22PM
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@Shawn Cronin

Apparently the pre game ceremonies at the A.C.C were throwing off the Leafs......

I think the Leafs were throwing off the Leafs.

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#169 Eddie Shore
November 23 2009, 09:23PM
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Moreau looks to be having a good game tonight. He's got jump and he's making plays. It's good to see.

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#170 Eddie Shore
November 23 2009, 09:23PM
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@Librarian Mike

Check out Ron Wilson's expression when they gave up the OT goal tonight. Priceless!

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#171 Hemmertime
November 23 2009, 09:24PM
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Only jersey retirement ceremonies or other ungodly long things can be used as excuses... and then only if home team is out on the ice while the visiting is not.

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#172 freeze
November 23 2009, 09:24PM
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@Shawn Cronin

I suppose that they are paid to make excuses during these bad games. The RSW crew has made a few in the last 3-4 years.

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#173 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 09:26PM
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Shawn Cronin wrote:

They were saying the same sort of thing on CBC during the T.O. game against Washington this weekend. Apparently the pre game ceremonies at the A.C.C were throwing off the Leafs......

To be fair though, the amount of pre game ceremonies this year at the ACC has reached Canadiens-esque levels. Honoring Willy Stempkowski or whatever? Really? Come on.

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#174 Shawn Cronin
November 23 2009, 09:27PM
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@Librarian Mike

But I don't get it, they have Luke Schenn AND Phil Kessel!

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#175 Librarian Mike
November 23 2009, 09:28PM
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@Shawn Cronin

Don't forget about Mr. Dedication: Masterton Trophy Winner Jason Blake.

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#176 Dan the Man
November 23 2009, 09:29PM
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Did that fool just say the S word?

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#177 Eric Johnson
November 23 2009, 09:30PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Did that fool just say the S word?

Yes he did....

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#178 freeze
November 23 2009, 09:31PM
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EEEGADS!!

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#179 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 09:31PM
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Come on Tyson Nash, JDD has played well, but you don't think those 2 goals in 7 seconds were the straw that broke the Coyotes back tonight?

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#180 Hemmertime
November 23 2009, 09:31PM
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Good job JDD, earned his first, should be #1 star

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#181 Wanyes bastard child
November 23 2009, 09:31PM
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WTG gumby! you earned it!

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#182 freeze
November 23 2009, 09:31PM
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NICE WORK GUMBY!!!

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#183 Eric Johnson
November 23 2009, 09:31PM
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Wow, JDD with the goose egg... nice.

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#184 Librarian Mike
November 23 2009, 09:32PM
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Man, it feels nice to see a win for a change.

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#185 Eddie Shore
November 23 2009, 09:32PM
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WE ARE GOING TO WIN THE CUP!!!

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#186 Eric Johnson
November 23 2009, 09:32PM
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Ya think having Dubnyk on the bench is a little extra motivation?

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#187 freeze
November 23 2009, 09:33PM
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@jeanshorts

thanks again for the link! have a good night, justice league!

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#188 Eric Johnson
November 23 2009, 09:33PM
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And was the that the AIR WOLF theme tune playing at the end of the game at Rexall??

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#189 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 09:33PM
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Solid bounce back game. Definitely need a win there. Although I'm not sure they could have looked any worse in the third. It didn't cost them this time, but man they've really got to fix that

Now if only they could find a way to carry positive momentum into other games.....

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#190 Librarian Mike
November 23 2009, 09:34PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

WE ARE GOING TO WIN THE CUP!!!

Just under the wire for quote of the week...

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#191 Eric Johnson
November 23 2009, 09:36PM
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It totally freaking is!!!!!

One word, Spectawesome!

hxxp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr_CJL1YQRc

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#192 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 23 2009, 09:37PM
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At the end of the day, they're still the Phoenix Coyotes...

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#193 Eddie Shore
November 23 2009, 09:39PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

As per tsn...

9 Phoenix 23 13 9 1 27

12 Edmonton 23 9 11 3 21

rrright and we are..?

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#194 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 09:40PM
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@Eddie Shore

The Oilers are the new Coyotes!

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#195 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 23 2009, 09:41PM
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@Eddie Shore

I see what you're getting at. The world will end in 2012!

Edit: Gunner edited his post, fixing his formatting. This was really quite witty. I swear.

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#196 Eddie Shore
November 23 2009, 09:43PM
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Epic formatting fail. My sincerest apologies to all.

Looked like a sequence out of "The Matrix".

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#197 Robin Brownlee
November 23 2009, 09:52PM
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Kevin Smith and Batman into a big bag of bud in the suite right about now? . . . . oh, and Milhouse giving himself a reacharound yet again by mentioning how Hemsky threw him under the bus with a great performance after the big PPV "call out."

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#198 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 09:53PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Kevin Smith and Batman into a big bag of bud in the suite right about now? . . . . oh, and Milhouse giving himself a reacharound yet again by mentioning how Hemsky threw him under the bus with a great performance after the big PPV "call out."

That's one of my non-homoerotic fantasies! One of very few......

Well, not the Tencer self-hate part.

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#199 Gerald R. Ford
November 23 2009, 10:17PM
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@Robin Brownlee

I wish Tencer and/or Stauffer would stop with the constant schoolgirl giggling on their broadcasts. "Oh, man! We just saw/heard the naughtiest insider-only type thing, and it's too awesome to share with you, but we're cool enough to be here to see it, so take our word for it. Tee hee!"

"Milhouse" never gets old, either.

http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/5/milhouse.jpg

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#200 Shaun Doe
November 23 2009, 10:39PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Kevin Smith and Batman into a big bag of bud in the suite right about now? . . . . oh, and Milhouse giving himself a reacharound yet again by mentioning how Hemsky threw him under the bus with a great performance after the big PPV "call out."

I believe he often goes by the psuedonym... "Thrillhouse". And I like to think of him more as a near-sighted pee-wee Herman. Now I can see the reach around more clearly

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