GDB XXV: Coping with Kopitar

Jason Gregor
November 25 2009 01:14PM

If the Oilers can keep Anze Kopitar from lighting the lamp they will have a good chance the win. Kopitar leads the NHL in scoring, with 14 goals and 33 points, but when he scores a goal the King’s chance of winning is exceptional.

The Kings are 47-23-8 when Kopitar scores, including 8-2 this season. Kopitar is big, strong, highly skilled and he skates exceptionally well, but it will be interesting to see how he plays without Ryan Smyth.

Smyth’s style complimented Kopitar and he opened up a lot of ice for the Slovenian, but his new left-winger Alexander Frolov doesn’t play the same way. Frolov has more natural skill than Smyth, but he is very inconsistent.

Terry Murray benched Frolov for one game after eight unproductive games, and Frolov responded with eight points in his next six, and now he has one goal in his last eight games. He has played two games with Kopitar and has a goal, but it will be interesting to see how productive Kopitar is with Frolov instead of Smyth.

Talking with the media and management of the Kings, Smyth is responsible for a lot of Kopitar’s success. Oiler fans are well aware of Smyth’s consistent work ethic, and that, combined with Kopitar’s improved conditioning has Kopitar off to such a great start.

Assignment

I asked Pat Quinn on which defensemen he plans on playing against the Kings top line of Kopitar, Frolov and Justin Williams, and it sounds like he will rotate between Steve Staios/Sheldon Souray and Ladislav Smid/Lubomir Visnovsky.

Quinn is very comfortable with the play of Smid and he was happy with how Smid matched up against Rick Nash earlier this year. While Staios and Souray are a more physical pairing and should be able to negate the size of that line, Quinn and Tom Renney will give Smid and Visnovsky some time against them as well.

Coming off a 4-0 shutout win, there will be no lineup changes and no new lines. For one of the few times this season we will see the identical lineup in consecutive games.

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

Stone to return

Ryan Stone was put through the paces for an extra 20 minutes after practice today, to see where he is at. When I spoke to him after practice, he was a bit frustrated with his recovery. He is still feeling pain in his knee, and he is only doing skating drills at this point. They won’t put him in one-on-one drills until the pain subsides. He ruled himself out for this weekend, and said he is looking at possibly the final three games of the upcoming six-game road trip as a possible return date.

Robert Nilsson skated and he will have another neurological test this afternoon, and if he passes that then he should be cleared to play for Friday. He said he is feeling better and his headaches have disappeared. Even if he is cleared, I think it will be hard for him to get a spot in the lineup.

Marc Pouliot skated alongside Stone and Nilsson after practice, and it looks like he is about two weeks away. If Potulny and Reddox continue to play well it will be very interesting to see what Steve Tambellini does with his roster in two weeks, when Stone, Nilsson and Pouliot are ready to go.

The Oilers are being very cautious with Nikolai Khabibulin’s back, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be ready for this weekend’s back-to-back games v. the Sharks and the Canucks. Devan Dubnyk (Doob-nick) is itching to play and I’m curious if the Oilers will give him a game or two.

Dubnyk will have to clear waivers next season, and it is doubtful that he would get through, so will the Oilers give him a game or two? And what is the point of only a few games? If he plays well, is that enough proof that they could move Deslauriers, and if DD struggles in two games is that reason enough to give up on him? I think he will get a game or two, but I don’t think those games, regardless of how he plays, will be the deciding factor in what they do with him this summer.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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
Avatar
#101 TigerUnderGlass
November 25 2009, 07:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

comments working? My last post never came up.

Avatar
#102 socaldave
November 25 2009, 07:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Okay, silly question, but does anyone know of a non-flash site I can listen online on my iPhone? I'm on the road from LA - SF and am leaving the local radio coverage area.... booooooooooo for no flash on the iPhone!!

Avatar
#103 socaldave
November 25 2009, 07:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

yay! Edit buttons FTW!

Avatar
#104 Eddie Shore
November 25 2009, 08:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Wow it sure is quiet around these parts.

Avatar
#105 David S
November 25 2009, 08:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

So when does the game start? This sure is a long warm-up.

Avatar
#106 Eddie Shore
November 25 2009, 08:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Potulny buddddyyy

*cheers' himself*

Avatar
#107 Oilchange64
November 25 2009, 08:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Watching with the sound off - helping kid with homework - thought they must have disallowed the goal at first - took them forever to put it up in the scorebox on tv.

Now he has "What the (*&%^%&^%#$!!!!" written into his assignment.

Avatar
#108 Shawn Cronin
November 25 2009, 08:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Was that not Potulny's third? Even the Oilers announcer said it was his first.

Avatar
#109 jeanshorts
November 25 2009, 08:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Shawn Cronin

Sometimes third can sound like first, especially since what's his name at Rexall sounds like Harry Carey.

Avatar
#110 Shawn Cronin
November 25 2009, 08:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@jeanshorts

On Sportsnet they had it listed as his first as well. Maybe they meant it's his first goal in the first period against the LA Kings off a deflection on a Souray shot. Then they are correct.

Avatar
#111 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 25 2009, 08:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Shawn Cronin wrote:

On Sportsnet they had it listed as his first as well. Maybe they meant it's his first goal in the first period against the LA Kings off a deflection on a Souray shot. Then they are correct.

Ah, the nuances of sports commentary.

Avatar
#112 Eddie Shore
November 25 2009, 08:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Shawn Cronin

They said it was his 3rd goal and 5th point in 9 games.

Or maybe I heard that on tsn?

Avatar
#113 jeanshorts
November 25 2009, 08:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Shawn Cronin

They also took about 3 minutes to put the goal up on the board or whatever at the top of the screen. I think they're dipping into the eggnog and rum a little early. Well, early by normal people standards anyway.

Avatar
#114 Dan the Man
November 25 2009, 08:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
jeanshorts wrote:

They also took about 3 minutes to put the goal up on the board or whatever at the top of the screen. I think they're dipping into the eggnog and rum a little early. Well, early by normal people standards anyway.

I'm gonna blame it on MacT, Horcoff's contract and Khabibulin's age.

Avatar
#115 Oilchange64
November 25 2009, 08:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Refer post 107. My kid feels your pain.

Avatar
#116 Shawn Cronin
November 25 2009, 08:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

They call Pronger the human rake, can Strudwick be called the Human Cape? He kind of drapes himself all over everyone

Avatar
#117 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 25 2009, 08:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Shawn Cronin wrote:

They call Pronger the human rake, can Strudwick be called the Human Cape? He kind of drapes himself all over everyone

****crickets****

Avatar
#118 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 25 2009, 08:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Oh, Jarro. You can't have the Stanley Cup Champions tin from Scotiabank! You're not even a kid!

Avatar
#119 Travis Dakin
November 25 2009, 09:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Damn the picture on this post is creeping me out. I can't figure out if it's photoshopped or what.

Avatar
#120 jeanshorts
November 25 2009, 09:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Thank god we have a tall goalie to, you know, cover the top corners well........

Avatar
#121 Shaun Doe
November 25 2009, 10:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Well you can quickly rack that loss up to the PP. We didn't seem to be handily outworked but we had multiple chances to put that away and possibly tie that game. That last poweplay was simply horrific.

Avatar
#122 Dan the Man
November 25 2009, 10:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

JDD saw that shot all the way, he should have had it.

Avatar
#123 Dan the Man
November 25 2009, 10:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Hey remember that one game winning streak? That was awesome.....

Avatar
#124 Eddie Shore
November 25 2009, 10:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

How was that only a 2 min boarding call on Handzus? Cross check in the numbers into the boards. Worse than Ovechkins tonight in my humble opinion.

Initially I didn't think it was that bad but after watching the replay that was a dangerous hit.

Avatar
#125 Dan the Man
November 25 2009, 10:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The good news is that the Hawks are doing to the Sharks what they did to us lat week. 4-0 Hawks right now including 3 shorties.

I feel bad for whoever the Sharks play next....

Avatar
#126 Eddie Shore
November 25 2009, 10:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Dan the Man

Devan Dubnyk?

Avatar
#127 Shakyds
November 25 2009, 10:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Anyone else find it funny that when we have Pat Quinn, Tom Renney and Wayne Fleming on the coaching staff, Buchy is the guy drawing up the play during the timeout? WTF

Avatar
#128 C#### W###
November 26 2009, 02:07AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Shakyds wrote:

Anyone else find it funny that when we have Pat Quinn, Tom Renney and Wayne Fleming on the coaching staff, Buchy is the guy drawing up the play during the timeout? WTF

I've sat behind the bench a few times this year and in those games Quinn said essentially nothing and Buchy was the guy slapping players on the back.

Buchy = positve reinforcement guy

Buchy is "middle management" of the coaching staff, he reinforces the message during the grind.

We all know Buchy traced the play not drew it.

Avatar
#129 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 26 2009, 07:48AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Jason Gregor

Never read it and don't really care what Burke's son does with his life.

Avatar
#130 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 26 2009, 07:49AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Shakyds

I was going to say the same thing. Although from what I gather Bucky is suppose to be a pretty decent coach, so who knows.

Comments are closed for this article.