UPDATED: Monday morning musings

Jason Gregor
December 14 2009 11:40AM

After a weekend of hibernating, what else is there to do when Edmonton is the second coldest place in the world (someplace in Siberia was two degrees colder Saturday night)? Let’s find out what exactly is going on in Oilerville and the league.

A five-game winning streak has the Oilers back in the playoff hunt, although they are still four points out. The Oilers will need to reel off at least four more wins this month just to stay in contention.

The first place — that’s right first freaking place — Los Angeles Kings come to town tomorrow. Normally the Oilers stink up the joint after a lengthy road trip, but they’d never won five road games on one trip before, so who knows how they will play tomorrow.

I know things are slow in Oilerville, when many of you are debating whether Devan Dubnyk is a legitimate goalie. Fact is we won’t find out anytime soon because Pat Quinn will keep going with Jeff Deslauriers until Nikolai Khabibulin returns. Don’t expect that to happen until 2010, and the likely hood of Khabibulin being traded at the deadline is as likely as me coming back from Costa Rica with flowing locks. Not going to happen!

Annual board of governor meetings

The meetings will be held in Florida this week and concussions, Coyotes’ ownership and future Canadian cities will be the hot topics.

I’d be curious what Wild GM, Chuck Fletcher, has to say on concussions. The Wild have had four players out with head injuries — Andrew Ebbett, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Brent Burns and Petr Sykora — so he’ll be listening closely.

The pace of the game is leading to more concussions, so they either get better helmets or have a severe crackdown on head shots. The problem with the latter is that many of the perceived head shots are legal hits under the current rule book.

Will they change the wording, or have it read that any contact that hits the head first is an automatic penalty?

Once again there is such a grey area that it would be hard for officials to call it correctly.

How often have we seen a hit in a slow-motion replay where it was questionable whether the initial contact was on the head of shoulder? If we can't decide in slow motion how do they expect the officials to get it right in real time?

It's a slippery slope, because if they take a hard stance it could lead to fewer hits overall and that won’t be good for the game.

Edge Holdings Inc is a research investment firm, and they submitted their letter of intent to purchase the Coyotes. Did they do any research that could prove that the Coyotes are a good investment? They must be purchasing them with the hope that they can relocate after a year.

This is a good strategy, and one that Mr. Balsillie should have looked at rather than trying to move the team out of Phoenix before he actually owned the team.

Your move!

The Christmas roster freeze starts on Sunday, so if a team is going to make a move it has to happen before then. The Canadiens are looking to move Jaroslav Halak, but with Philly signing John Grahame there isn’t a long list of teams looking for a goalie. In fact, there are more teams trying to get rid of goalies than bring one in.

The Flyers are a mess. They are tied with the Leafs for 14th in the East, but they aren’t out of it by any stretch. They are only four points behind Montreal for 8th spot and they have three games in hand. Every team in the East is in the playoff hunt excluding the Hurricanes.

On Saturday, 15th place in the West would have been 9th in the East. Only the Oilers, 3-5-1, the Blues, 2-4-2 and the Ducks, 4-5-1 have losing records against the East.

The Avalanche beat the Flames for the 3rd straight time last night, but they are only 2-7-2 against the rest of the NW. The Flames, meanwhile are 0-3 v. the Avs, but are 5-0-1 against the rest of the division. It’s strange that the Avs can dominate the Flames but struggle against the Oilers, Canucks and Wild. The Canucks are 8-4 in the division, while the Oilers are 4-5-1.

I will update you after Oiler practice on the health of Comrie and Khabibulin.

Practice Update: 1:36pm MST

Neither Sheldon Souray nor Gilbert Brule are practicing this morning. Here's what the lines look like:

Penner — Gagner — O'Sullivan
Moreau — Potulny — Cogliano
Nilsson — Horcoff — Stone
Jacques — Pouliot — Stortini

Gilbert — Grebeshkov
Smid — Visnovsky

Brule didn't skate because he wasn't feeling well. He doesn't have an injury and they expect him to play tomorrow night. Souray is resting his back, and back's can be unpredictable. They might err on the cautious side and give him a few extra days.

Look for Horcoff to play with Stone and Nilsson tomorrow. Quinn said he liked what they did in St. Louis, which would mean that Patrick O'Sullivan would play with Jacques and Stortini. He won't mess with the top line, unless Brule gets worse, and he likes the Moreau/Potulny/Cogliano trio.

Nikolai Khabibulin had a good day two days ago, but he isn't ready to skate with the team just yet. Quinn said he was surprised it has taken this long, but they are being very cautious. Mike Comrie looks like he won't return until after Christmas.

Pouliot looked okay, but I'd guess they'd want him to get some conditioning down in Springfield before he plays here. The only way he plays is if Brule can't go, and that seems unlikely.

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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 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 15 2009, 11:26AM
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@Ogden Brother

Move Grebs/Gilbert for help up front, but something still isn't adding up in terms of Bulin and being able to lose his cap hit.

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#152 Ogden Brother
December 15 2009, 11:27AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

What if we've got Comrie and Pouliot back?

Ya I suppose we've got the bodies... after the first three months I'm convinced we'll have 1-2 more season ending injuries though.

Can JFJ/Stone stay healthy so we can aford losing Moreau's grit? If he's gone and one of those guys go on the shelf we're back to butter soft hockey.

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#153 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 15 2009, 11:32AM
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dantencer- Quinn says Khabibulin is having some sort of spinal 'procedure' today...

I have no idea what the time line is for this.

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#154 Original Ogden Brother
December 15 2009, 11:35AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Move Grebs/Gilbert for help up front, but something still isn't adding up in terms of Bulin and being able to lose his cap hit.

Then our piss poor defensively defense would only be average offensively (to go with below average defensily) :(

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#155 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 15 2009, 11:39AM
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@Original Ogden Brother

What I thought Chroney was better then Grebs/Gilbert.

Really I don't see this team going with 4 offesnive d-men for much longer, one will need to be moved out eventually. Move one offesnive d-man and one offesnive forward and bring in a defensive forward and defensive d-man.

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#156 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 15 2009, 11:43AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

dantencer- Quinn says Khabibulin is having some sort of spinal 'procedure' today...

I have no idea what the time line is for this.

Am I the only one still hoping for a post-surgery Rookie of the Year situation?

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#157 Original Ogden Brother
December 15 2009, 12:33PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

What I thought Chroney was better then Grebs/Gilbert.

Really I don't see this team going with 4 offesnive d-men for much longer, one will need to be moved out eventually. Move one offesnive d-man and one offesnive forward and bring in a defensive forward and defensive d-man.

Ha-ha, ok Maxbone.

Looks like all that's left on this site is current and past brothers of the Ogden :(

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#158 Original Ogden Brother
December 15 2009, 12:42PM
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I'd also like to note that the incompetently managed Oilers are now ahead of the briliantly managed Blue Jackets.

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#159 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 15 2009, 12:53PM
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Halak might be an interesting choice to bring in, too. He's in the last year of his contract.

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#160 Ogden Father
December 15 2009, 12:56PM
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How sure are we that Bulin is done for the year?

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#161 Ogden Father
December 15 2009, 12:57PM
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How sure are we that 'bulin is done? is it really taht urgent we get a goalie, as we likely wont make the playoffs anyways?

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#162 Original Ogden Brother
December 15 2009, 01:01PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Halak might be an interesting choice to bring in, too. He's in the last year of his contract.

Halak would probalby be my choice. More proven then JDD.

Again though, Bulin would basicly need to be done for good if Halak was brought in.

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#163 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 15 2009, 01:10PM
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Original Ogden Brother wrote:

Halak would probalby be my choice. More proven then JDD.

Again though, Bulin would basicly need to be done for good if Halak was brought in.

Done for good, or just done for the season? The article I linked to suggested that LTIR was really the only cap relief eligible for a player who's signed when he's 35+.

With Halak being done at the end of the season, wouldn't he make a good rental until Khabibulin's healthy?

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#164 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 15 2009, 01:13PM
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Ogden Father wrote:

How sure are we that 'bulin is done? is it really taht urgent we get a goalie, as we likely wont make the playoffs anyways?

Wasn't Vancouver pretty much a lock to make the playoffs this year? A win for the Oil tonight puts them only 2pts back from the Canucks.

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#165 Hemmercules
December 15 2009, 01:26PM
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So if Khabi were to suddenly say, "I can't continue playing NHL hockey because my back is done for good", would his cap hit go away?? Is there a difference between retiring and being forced to retire due to injury??? Copper n Blue suggested the money would be off the cap if he was done due to injury but most of what I have been reading is that the Oil are stuck with that money in any situation.

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#166 Original Ogden Brother
December 15 2009, 01:26PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Done for good, or just done for the season? The article I linked to suggested that LTIR was really the only cap relief eligible for a player who's signed when he's 35+.

With Halak being done at the end of the season, wouldn't he make a good rental until Khabibulin's healthy?

I suppose he would, Halak is an RFA though (which again I guess isn't a bad thing)

I guess my line of thought is: I really think Halak will be a top 15 starter in a year or two, so if we were getting him, I'd want him for the long haul, and I'd want him to be the #1.

ie not a short term band aid.

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#167 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 15 2009, 01:38PM
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Original Ogden Brother wrote:

I suppose he would, Halak is an RFA though (which again I guess isn't a bad thing)

I guess my line of thought is: I really think Halak will be a top 15 starter in a year or two, so if we were getting him, I'd want him for the long haul, and I'd want him to be the #1.

ie not a short term band aid.

Are you suggesting a 4-year, 3.75MM/year contract?

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#168 Original Ogden Brother
December 15 2009, 02:39PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Are you suggesting a 4-year, 3.75MM/year contract?

*Shifts eye's around*

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#169 Eddie Shore
December 15 2009, 02:58PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:
Do you watch soccer?? Not every player dives like he's been shot AAND they are actually cracking down on diving. FYI

Yes I do actually. And I know they don't all dive, but suggesting that hockey should be presentable like soccer was laughable.

Did you know that after every game in hockey that the refs don't pull the players apart or escort them to the dressing room? FYI

I'll agree that hockey should not and never could be presented like soccer. I just don't like when people take pot shots at professional soccer because some players are bigger pussies than Tom Gilbert.

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