Mighty Oil need quality scoring chances

Jason Gregor
November 03 2009 12:25PM

The Oilers have the day off before getting back on the ice to prepare for the New York Rangers. I wonder what they will do on their off day.

Maybe they should go to the gun range and take shooting practice, because the Oilers either can’t shoot straight or won’t shoot. They have out-shot the opposition a grand total of ONE time in their first 15 games, and that was the first game of the year v. the Flames.

Since then, they have tied in shots twice; 28 apiece in a SO loss to Calgary and 32 a side in a 6-4 win over Columbus. In the other 12 games they have been out-shot and out-chanced significantly. They’ve averaged 23.5 shots while surrendering 35.6 shots a game in those 12 games.

Do they really expect to win when they give up 12 more shots a game?

Shots don’t always reflect how many quality scoring chances a team generates, but the fact is the Oilers don’t generate lots of quality chances, and lately they don’t get garbage goals either.

You have to earn your breaks in the NHL, and the Oilers aren’t doing that.

The defencemen haven’t been able to consistently get shots through from the point. Did you see Brendan Witt’s two goals last night? They weren’t Sourayesque by any stretch. He just put them on net and got lucky.

And the Oiler forwards aren’t winning any battles down low. They haven’t been making smart dump-ins either. They dump the puck when no one is on the forecheck, and it results in an easy turnover for the opposition. Right now the Oilers offensive problems are more because of a lack of brains rather than effort.

Insanity

How many times does Robert Nilsson have to make a blind back pass to the opposition before he realizes that it’s a low percentage play? Nilsson is now a team worst -9, with one empty-net goal in ten games. He doesn’t play physically, he doesn’t score and he doesn’t want to make the smart play. He isn’t a puppy — being cute won’t warm the hearts of his coaches or the fans.

He just doesn’t seem to understand what he needs to do to contribute in the NHL. If his high-risk plays were working and he was producing, the coaches would still cringe, but they would see results. The fact is he isn’t producing and his cute passes aren’t working.

I think we saw the end of Nilsson last night in Long Island.

Mike Comrie will return to the lineup on Thursday, and barring another flu attack or multiple injuries I don’t see how or why Pat Quinn would put Nilsson back in the lineup.

Staios improving

Steve Staios could play as early as Thursday v. the Rangers, and that's why Theo Peckham was reassigned to Springfield. Staios has long been a whipping boy for many of you in the Nation, but I’m guessing you’re begging for his return now. He isn’t the best passer, but he competes harder than most of their current blueliners, and his grit, determination and willingness to do anything to win will be a welcome return to the backend.

He won’t help the offensive woes of the Oilers, but he should give them a bit more fight shift-to-shift.

With a woeful 1-5 record on the road, and five of their next six on the road, the Oilers have to find some chemistry quickly, or once again they will find themselves in chase mode in the playoff picture.

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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 Oilersordeath
November 03 2009, 02:39PM
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Even if the Oilers offered to pay half of Horcoffs rediculous salary, I dont think any smart GM would take it!! He's embarrissing to watch try and play hockey. I cant beleive we are the new Islanders of the NHL, I feel bad for Quinn and Co.

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#52 Bar Qu
November 03 2009, 02:40PM
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@Jmask5

No, that is not my point. Again, I think rather than calling for more scoring, we should be calling for more defensive responsibility (either through trades or waiving irresponsible players) from the team. You want the Oil to high fly like Crosby & Malkin or Zetterberg & Datsyuk? Tell me where those players are on this roster? Or how we get them for Nilsson. Seems to me the only chance for success is to see some of the poorer players (non-2-way players) let go or traded for pucks and pick up some low-cost, quality help.

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#53 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 02:40PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Ya I'd hesistate on moving him, but if the return was suffecient (say similar to the TO package for Kessel from a bottom feeder). I'd field offers.

If that package can drastically change by year end, what happens if Toronto ends up out of the Top 10, then it may not look as good of a trade.

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#54 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 02:45PM
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BarryS wrote:

You know, I realize the players have families and all but the way they played lately seems to me they need practice time more than day off time. Given the number of bad passes you'd at least think they could have a few dozen passing drills today. Someone should make some short of long distance shock machine so the coach could push a button and gave a player a shock everytime he makes a dumb play. Of course a couple players would end up glowing like lightbulbs but then maybe they could see the puck better.

Family aside what does practice take a couple hours? There is little reason why on off days a player can't take 2 hours out of his day to be with the team. I could see if some sort of emergency comes up, but outside of that they should be at the arena when told.

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#55 Bar Qu
November 03 2009, 03:00PM
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@Oilersordeath

I hope you enjoy watching just how bad the Oil play without Horcoff covering their defensive deficiencies for them. To call him embarassing after he played not only hurt but sick too (and taking a shift after possibly dislocating his shoulder) is to demonstrate no understanding of what professionalism means.

Horcoff may not be the best player in the league, but he is hands down one of the few 'glue' players on the team, and more deserving of the C than anyone else.

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#56 Librarian Mike
November 03 2009, 03:02PM
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Dear NHL GMs:

Please accept this tribute as a scouting report for Robert Nilsson as a possible player in your organization. He was instrumental to the 08-09 Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers. Just check out the moves he makes at 1:25 and 2:27.

We await your trade offer.

Sincerely,

The Edmonton Oilers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK5uysPMKUM

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#57 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 03 2009, 03:02PM
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@Bar Qu

I see where you're going with that, but I don't think you can suggest that Horcoff deserves it more than Souray.

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#58 roughneck
November 03 2009, 03:03PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Family aside what does practice take a couple hours? There is little reason why on off days a player can't take 2 hours out of his day to be with the team. I could see if some sort of emergency comes up, but outside of that they should be at the arena when told.

our coach is 97 years old... he needs days that are 100% nap. Today would be one of those.

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#59 Bar Qu
November 03 2009, 03:09PM
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@Oil kings

I understand where you are coming from too.

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#60 Hemmertime
November 03 2009, 03:15PM
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Oilersordeath wrote:

Even if the Oilers offered to pay half of Horcoffs rediculous salary, I dont think any smart GM would take it!! He's embarrissing to watch try and play hockey. I cant beleive we are the new Islanders of the NHL, I feel bad for Quinn and Co.

Any GM would take Horc at 2.75 for 5 years

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#61 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 03:16PM
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roughneck wrote:

our coach is 97 years old... he needs days that are 100% nap. Today would be one of those.

LOL. That is why we have the other coaches. I think another problem was all those off days or half roster practices. We have two days off until the Rags and then another two days after that until the next game. Use the time wisely and practice passing. Even if you have the guys standing like pylons passing to each other, it won't take much energy but it will help our accuracy. Why practice going up the ice and other such plays if we can't make a pass to someone standing still?

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#62 Dan the Man
November 03 2009, 03:25PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Dear NHL GMs:

Please accept this tribute as a scouting report for Robert Nilsson as a possible player in your organization. He was instrumental to the 08-09 Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers. Just check out the moves he makes at 1:25 and 2:27.

We await your trade offer.

Sincerely,

The Edmonton Oilers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK5uysPMKUM

Nilsson did make some sweet moves in that series but I still can't believe we waived Conn Smythe winner Rob Schremp.

I think in retrospect the Capitals would have focused a little more on the guys with the little arrows over their heads.

But seriously, they video kind of choked me up.

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#63 Lofty
November 03 2009, 03:31PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

So we have Gagner, O'Sullivan, Cogliano, Comrie and Brule(who I don't consider small, because he plays bigger.) Eberle and Omark might be better then Comrie next year, but even that is a stretch. Eberle and Omark need a year of AHL to play with men, so that they can use to it otherwise we are going to end up with more Gagner and Coglianos that get thrown around their first few years in the NHL. Just don't think we should even be thinking of those guys making the NHL next year.

Gagner and Cog's best year was their rookie year

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#64 BarryS
November 03 2009, 03:39PM
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roughneck wrote:

our coach is 97 years old... he needs days that are 100% nap. Today would be one of those.

So, who said the head coach has to run drills? In Training Camp Assistants do that. They could in regular season as well. Now, as a soon to be old guy, Old Jokes are not needed.

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#65 BarryS
November 03 2009, 03:42PM
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Lofty wrote:

Gagner and Cog's best year was their rookie year

Actually, so far this has been Gagner's best year. Cog the invisible needs to play better for sure.

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#66 BigE57
November 03 2009, 03:56PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

Any GM would take Horc at 2.75 for 5 years

Too bad that's half of his cap hit. At this point both his full salary and his cap rate number are embarrassing. He will probably improve as the year progresses just like this team will get better with 2 more healthy D-men and Comrie back in the lineup.

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#67 quicksilver ballet
November 03 2009, 04:20PM
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[insert dumb and dumber phrase here] Just when i was ready to give up on my Oilers, they go and do something like this and totally redeem themselves.

Devine intervention may indeed be upon us. This season ending injury to Horcoff could breathe new life into this season yet.

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#68 Hemmercules
November 03 2009, 04:25PM
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No word yet on Horc yet tells me its just a tweak and he's going to be fine. I guess we'll find out for sure if he practices or not tomorrow.

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#69 Skidplate
November 03 2009, 04:31PM
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Staios will actually block shots as well, something woefully lacking lately. It seems that ever since Stone got injured, we have not played physical enough. I suspect that is just my perception, but what happened to the team that outhit, outplayed and outlasted the opposition?

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#70 Skidplate
November 03 2009, 04:34PM
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69's better than fist....

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#71 Skidplate
November 03 2009, 04:34PM
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or first

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#72 The Real Scuba Steve
November 03 2009, 04:57PM
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Oilersordeath wrote:

Even if the Oilers offered to pay half of Horcoffs rediculous salary, I dont think any smart GM would take it!! He's embarrissing to watch try and play hockey. I cant beleive we are the new Islanders of the NHL, I feel bad for Quinn and Co.

I couldn't have said it any better.

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#73 rubbertrout
November 03 2009, 04:59PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

It's never too late, trade Souray/Vish and maybe Hemmer, collect top 5 picks for the next year or two and your off.

Maybe I was too hasty when I said OBJ was a shadow of the old man. I'm with him on this issue. trading Hemmer now when he has a decent contract and he is still young enough to be of assistance a couple of years down the line in rebuild mode would be a mistake.

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#74 rubbertrout
November 03 2009, 05:02PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

I see where you're going with that, but I don't think you can suggest that Horcoff deserves it more than Souray.

Assuming Big Sexy ever makes it back. Remember what happened to Adam Deadmarsh when he had his bell rung pretty badly? Nothing I hear about Souray makes me hopefull that he'll be back soon.

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#75 Benhur
November 03 2009, 05:11PM
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Even with Staois back in the lineup there will be minimal improvement. Staois is slow and contributes as much as any of the current D (except Lubo) to defensive turnovers. He has not demonstrated a lot of team leadership so I don't see his return pulling the Oil D up by their boot(skate) straps! The team has to learn how to take care of their own end before they will be able to develop offensive pressure....Quinn & co. know that. But you need the talent and grit to do this. The Oil are still weak in this area compared to a lot of other teams...as has been noted in the territorial advantages of the opposition. At the beginning of the year when they had more grit in the lineup they did much better.

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#76 Word
November 03 2009, 05:51PM
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Hahaha. Tha day before the H1N1 vaccine was no longer available to the public at large, the Flames got it sans lineup in a private clinic under the direction of Alberta Health Services. Oops. That one might be a PR problem for Alberta Health Services.

But why oh why did anyone in the organization let Regehr comment on this? Anybody would see this as AHS's screw-up, but Regehr has to go and say:

"I don't think any of the players knew that there was going to be a shortage. And at the point in time where we as players had the option to do it, I think there wasn't that scare yet of not enough"

The day before Health Canada suspended distribution due to a vaccine shortage. Do the players really have that little idea of what's going on around them? It almost sounds defensive, and kinda like a lie. He shoulda just said, "They told us to go get the shot. So we went and got the shot."

If Alberta Health Services showed up at my office, that's what I would say. Not "Oh no. A shortage??? Really? Daaaaaaamn."

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#77 TonyT
November 03 2009, 06:10PM
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I don't think we've seen the best from Cogliano so offering him up as tradebait is a liitle premature. I would hardly call Moreau and Stortini putting Cogliano in a position to succeed. Same goes for comparing him to Gagner as their draft pedigree is quite different.

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#78 Librarian Mike
November 03 2009, 06:11PM
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As a preemptive statement, I would like to say that if the Oilers had jumped the line, I would be just as disgusted with them as I am with the Flames right now.

Hey, hockey's hockey, and I'm all for friendly rivalry. However, I have a wife who's 9 months pregnant, i.e. RIGHT IN THE HIGH RISK GROUP, and she has to wait so some mouth-breathing jock can get his shot early.

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#79 Big M
November 03 2009, 06:12PM
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quicksilver ballet wrote:

[insert dumb and dumber phrase here] Just when i was ready to give up on my Oilers, they go and do something like this and totally redeem themselves.

Devine intervention may indeed be upon us. This season ending injury to Horcoff could breathe new life into this season yet.

Bang on! To consider Horcoff anything more than a competant 4th line - penalty killing center is totally ludicrous.

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#80 Big M
November 03 2009, 06:28PM
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Jmask5 wrote:

This has been a frustrating start to the season. Last night the Oilers finally got a lucky goal and guess what? The Islanders get two. Maybe I'm blind or something but this team is pretty much the same team that we had last year. Sure Penner and Smid are playing great but that's just natural progression. I think for Penner it has more to do with almost getting traded and actually working out in the offseason more than the fact that MacT isn't the coach. I have not seen the Pat Quinn effect yet.

If this continues a lot of people are going to look stupid for blaming it all on MacT. Maybe it was time for a change but the coaching staff shouldn't have been the only one. This team is wrong in so many places and if things keep going like this we might have to start rebuilding again. Guys that we thought will lead us to a new future are not looking so good right now i.e. Cogs, Nilsson, Gilbert. Gagner is the only one who has a bright future in my mind. So much for the optimism after 2007-2008.

Coaching is overated. Let's not forget who aquired the majority of these players and signed them to their present contracts. Horcoff's contract alone seriously compromises the Oilers effectiveness for years to come. Let's put the blame where it should be.

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#81 Senator Theo
November 03 2009, 06:52PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Too late to do a full rebuild, they should've done it a couple years back but it is too late now.

too late? Is there something in the CBA about that? What do you mean, too late?

An old Chinese woman once told me, "the best time to plant a tree? twenty-five years ago. The second best time? today."

I think what she means is that we should have done a complete overhaul in 2007, but she thinks we could still do one now. She really likes some of the prospects coming down the pipe.

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#82 Chris.
November 03 2009, 06:54PM
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MacTavish said, "When the players want new coaches and the coaches want new players: a change has to be made"...

We got a new coach... Maybe it's time for some new players. If a no-name AHLer like Stone can land in the top six out of camp, make an immediate impact, and later be badly missed; What does that say about our overall talent level?

I don't need another twenty games: this basic core has played over a hundred: Blow it up!

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#84 Horcsky
November 03 2009, 08:13PM
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For all the Horcoff bashing that is going on right now, watch what happens when we have to play a few games without him

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#85 Shaun Doe
November 03 2009, 08:25PM
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Hey Gregor or Brownlee:

What is the vibe from the players after these most recent losses? Is there a sense of "woe is me" in face of the flu and injuries or are they owning up to their lack of scoring and structure? I was just curious as to what the players are saying right now since the fans tend to be most focused on the flu/injuries as the cause for our current woes. How about the Coaching staff? Do they give the impression they feel the roster is capable of providing more?

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#86 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 03 2009, 08:28PM
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Senator Theo wrote:

too late? Is there something in the CBA about that? What do you mean, too late?

An old Chinese woman once told me, "the best time to plant a tree? twenty-five years ago. The second best time? today."

I think what she means is that we should have done a complete overhaul in 2007, but she thinks we could still do one now. She really likes some of the prospects coming down the pipe.

common sense and a few long term, big money deals to some veteran players says it is too late for a full rebuild.

now, the oilers have missed the playoffs 3 years in a row. Is a 4th,5th and maybe 6th year a viable option? Probably not.

too late? Yup

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#87 Senator Theo
November 03 2009, 10:47PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

common sense and a few long term, big money deals to some veteran players says it is too late for a full rebuild.

now, the oilers have missed the playoffs 3 years in a row. Is a 4th,5th and maybe 6th year a viable option? Probably not.

too late? Yup

That's not common sense. If you believe that the current group of players won't give you success, it's not a good business decision to spend more time and money moving ahead with those players. You would be chasing a bad decision with another bad decision. If you believe that the current model doesn't work, it's never to late to start over. We saw this summer that no contract is un-moveable (Gomez).

That said, I don't think we need a complete rebuild. The Oilers (and their fans) have undervalued role players in the past few years. No one was worried when whe got rid of guys like reasoner, stoll, smith, Greene and Torres until they saw the roles those guys filled after they were gone. These guys are cheap, but important to any team.

We have too many coglianos, nillssons and osullivans, and not enough stones. What I mean are crusty guys like him. It wouldn't hurt if they cpiod win faceoffs either!

this is a kind of fix that could be addressed with 1 or 2 small moves. It doesn't require a rebuild IMO.

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#88 Senator Theo
November 03 2009, 10:51PM
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heheh. not enough Stones.

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#89 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 04 2009, 07:03AM
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Senator Theo wrote:

That's not common sense. If you believe that the current group of players won't give you success, it's not a good business decision to spend more time and money moving ahead with those players. You would be chasing a bad decision with another bad decision. If you believe that the current model doesn't work, it's never to late to start over. We saw this summer that no contract is un-moveable (Gomez).

That said, I don't think we need a complete rebuild. The Oilers (and their fans) have undervalued role players in the past few years. No one was worried when whe got rid of guys like reasoner, stoll, smith, Greene and Torres until they saw the roles those guys filled after they were gone. These guys are cheap, but important to any team.

We have too many coglianos, nillssons and osullivans, and not enough stones. What I mean are crusty guys like him. It wouldn't hurt if they cpiod win faceoffs either!

this is a kind of fix that could be addressed with 1 or 2 small moves. It doesn't require a rebuild IMO.

You would be chasing a bad decision with another bad decision.

i would imagine this is on the wall above KLowes desk in his office.

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#90 Hemmercules
November 04 2009, 07:48AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I wouldn't think so. He is getting re-evaluated today, and they will announce it tomorrow. My guess is he will be out at least a few games. I'm no doctor and won't speculate further, but I highly doubt he plays Thursday.

I know Gregor, I'm in denial. As much as some people hate him, that would be a huge blow to lose him long term.

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#91 Racki
November 04 2009, 08:03AM
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I'm on the side of happy to see Staios returning... if he's actually back Thursday. I'm not sure how anyone can not be though. At the very least he's a big upgrade on Strudwick... and when paired with the right guy (i.e. not Smid, for whatever reason) he can be pretty solid still.

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#92 Ogden Brother
November 04 2009, 08:24AM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Maybe I was too hasty when I said OBJ was a shadow of the old man. I'm with him on this issue. trading Hemmer now when he has a decent contract and he is still young enough to be of assistance a couple of years down the line in rebuild mode would be a mistake.

Just like every "potential trade": It all depends on the return.

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#93 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 04 2009, 08:52AM
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Senator Theo wrote:

too late? Is there something in the CBA about that? What do you mean, too late?

An old Chinese woman once told me, "the best time to plant a tree? twenty-five years ago. The second best time? today."

I think what she means is that we should have done a complete overhaul in 2007, but she thinks we could still do one now. She really likes some of the prospects coming down the pipe.

I just don't see the point of a complete blow up when we have so many young players. Sure try move Horcoff, Lubo, Visnovsky, but outside of those 3 who are impact guys that are over 30? Sure as hell not Moreau and Pisani, who get you very little in return. Staios is somewhat of an impact, but is easily replaceable if need be. Don't see us moving Bulin.

Give our young core guys of Gagner, Hemsky, Penner, Cogliano, Gilbert, Grebshkov, JDD, O'Sullivan etc... 3 years and I bet the team is a solid playoff team. Of course we will need to move some pieces here and there, but a complete rebuild isn't needed at this point.

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