GDB XXXVI: Blues on the Winter Solstice

Jason Gregor
December 21 2009 12:27PM

I wonder what Steve Tambellini would like for Christmas... Wins? Consistency? A healthy team? Another forward in double digits in goals?

The big question for Tambellini is will he want wins, or sacrifice that and take player development at this point; because right now it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to have both this season.

The Oilers find themselves 15th in the west this morning, seven points out of the playoffs. It's stunning how quickly things can change in Oilerville in the span of a week. After five straight road wins the Oilers were back in the playoff hunt, three points out with a four-game home stand on the horizon, but three consecutive losses have them closer to Taylor Hall than Lord Stanley.

They lost to LA, Nashville and Washington — all top-seven teams. So it’s not like they're losing to dogs, but it also shows that this team isn’t ready for prime time.

The biggest challenge that Tambellini, Quinn and company face is trying to separate which of these young players will continue to develop and which ones don’t have the ability to elevate their game to the next level.

The players in the dressing room still feel they can win and get to the playoffs, so don’t expect them to roll over and play dead. But from my stand point, this team is a few players away from being a contender. I don’t expect the team to lose on purpose, because players aren’t wired that way, but within a month the landscape should be very clear in what direction Tambellini should go.

Do you remember the first time?

Quinn has elected to give Devan Dubnyk his first NHL start tonight. According to Quinn, he had this game penciled in as a Dubnyk’s a few weeks ago, but didn’t tell him until this morning.

Dubnyk was obviously excited, but he joked about the pressure of the first NHL start compared to his first NHL game when he came off the bench in Vancouver.

"You always have time to be nervous. The difference about today is that I have all day to think about it, rather than getting nervous when I put on my mask in Vancouver. Trust me; the nerves will be there either way."

Dubnyk won’t be the only change tonight. JF Jacques has recovered from the flu and is ready to go and Quinn wants to play him, but he liked Jason Strudwick’s game on Saturday and hinted that 43 might not be the guy coming out.

He likes the intangibles that Strudwick brings. He talked about his mental toughness, his strength and you got the feeling that Quinn wants guys he knows will compete every play regardless of their ability.

Line shuffle

 Quinn also juggled his lines this morning, which shouldn’t surprise anyone considering they’ve lost three in a row.

Penner — Horcoff — Nilsson
Cogliano — Gagner — Stone
Moreau — Potulny — Brule
Jacques — Stortini — O’Sullivan

This is how they looked at practice, but they could change depending on who Quinn sits out tonight.

Considering the players still feel they can make the playoffs, tonight is a must-win. The Blues are one point ahead of the Oilers, but the Oilers have owned them, winning eight straight.

The Blues don’t have a player with more than 22 points (Brad Boyes), but they have eight players with 18 or more points.

David Backes is hot all of a sudden, with five goals and seven points in his last five games. He had four goals in the first 29 games. The Blues spread out their scoring and David Perron and TJ Oshie each have 18 points playing on the third line.

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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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#1 swany
December 21 2009, 12:41PM
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Gregor, I like the lines Quinn was running this morning, Cogs has done everything but score so it's nice to see him with Gagner and Stone. Stone should give those two guys some space and Cogs speed should help, If I was betting I could see Struds go in for PattyO on the 4th line other than that I don't see who else he would take out. If they lose this one Quinn might start smoking again I bet he craves that fat stoogie.

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#2 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 21 2009, 12:48PM
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Went to Saturday's game and it doesn't matter what Quinn does with the lines, these guys need to learn to play better without the puck. There is a lot of laziness that you don't get to see on the TV, that needs to change if this team wants to go anywhere.

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#3 Librarian Mike
December 21 2009, 12:52PM
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I hope Dubnyk's first time doesn't end up with him being done in 2 minutes and crying tears of shame like me this guy I used to know.

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#4 Muji 狗
December 21 2009, 12:58PM
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The Oilers just aren't good enough.

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#5 Heatly
December 21 2009, 12:59PM
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They will win tonight, however will lose the next 3.

Go Oilers!

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#6 Smokin' Ray
December 21 2009, 01:00PM
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GAME DAY!!!

Paq Twinn and myself will be a the game tonight thanks to David Staples and the Edmonton Journal. Let's hope it's a good game. I can't handle more disappointment. GOILERS!

ps. I smoke at the Gretzky statue during intermissions. Use the code words: Jambalaya Soup. *wink*

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#7 Smokin' Ray
December 21 2009, 01:01PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

I hope Dubnyk's first time doesn't end up with him being done in 2 minutes and crying tears of shame like me this guy I used to know.

Ummm... I used to know a guy like that too.

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#8 Dave
December 21 2009, 01:01PM
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I would bench O'Sullivan.

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#9 Giggsunited
December 21 2009, 01:04PM
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Dave wrote:

I would bench O'Sullivan.

Do you think he would actually give a Sh*t?

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#10 Giggsunited
December 21 2009, 01:08PM
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My brother just got back from Phoenix and he went to a Coyotes game and said there was a Hooters on the concourse that only does take out.................................................................? interesting?

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#11 Dan the Man
December 21 2009, 01:15PM
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Giggsunited wrote:

My brother just got back from Phoenix and he went to a Coyotes game and said there was a Hooters on the concourse that only does take out.................................................................? interesting?

Depending on what it is that you get to take out.

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#12 The Towel Boy
December 21 2009, 01:17PM
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Oilers: 10, Blues: (2x-1)/4

Yeah, that should do it.

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#13 Milli
December 21 2009, 01:41PM
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oiler 4 blues 2, tomorrow we can all debate who should be our starting goalie after we are outshot 48 -22, but still pull out the win....

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#14 Arby
December 21 2009, 01:48PM
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It will be a LOOOOOONG night for the Blue’s.*

*It will be a long night for everyone actually, it’s the longest night of the year.

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#15 Rob
December 21 2009, 02:15PM
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Huh?

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#16 I'm a Scientist!
December 21 2009, 02:17PM
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Game Day Prediction: Blues 3 Oilers 1. The lone goal will come from Cogs as the monkey jumped off his back and landed on O'Sullivan.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: The fans will be angry at the poor perfomance of the team and will start chanting Taylor Hall's name. Classy.

Not So Obvious Game Day Prediction: Mid-way through the second, the anti-solstice drugs that Stortini took prior to the game to help control his werewolf urges will quit working and his demon will emerge to enjoy the longest night of the year. His face will get hairy, he will be missing teeth and his helmet will look like it is just barely on his head... Wait...isn't that every game? Nevermind...

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#17 Arby
December 21 2009, 02:35PM
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@I'm a Scientist!

What if they just blow the dust off the old 'MAKE IT TEN' chant and substitute Seguin in there somewhere?

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#18 Ender
December 21 2009, 02:40PM
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My goat and my back-up goat both playing on the top line with an injured center. Please, just kill me now.

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#19 misfit
December 21 2009, 02:46PM
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If I was a player in the dressing room, I'd definitely be thinking playoffs. Sure, they are 7 points out of 8th, but there's also 50 games left on the schedule. I can't even fault Tambellini and Quinn for thinking playoffs right now. Mind you, they should at least recognize by now that this team is going to need some things if they want to achieve that.

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#20 bingofuel
December 21 2009, 02:49PM
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@Rob

Try commenting without the swear words. ;)

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#21 jeanshorts
December 21 2009, 02:55PM
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Rob wrote:

Huh?

Quote of the week!

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#22 KenL
December 21 2009, 03:11PM
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Why is Quinn seperating Brule and Penner? Didn't they have good chemistry on the road?

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#23 Dan the Man
December 21 2009, 03:12PM
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I wonder if Tambo is done evaluating this team or if he wants to wait until Hemsky is back?

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#24 OILERSORDEATH
December 21 2009, 03:14PM
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Kudos to the Oil fans for constantly selling out Rexall with the team we have to cheer for. I think we have some hard core die hard fans who will be rewarded in a couple of years once Quinn and Renney assemble a team with the kind of players they need to do so. I will still cuss and throw things while watching them on center ice, none the less I'll still be cheering them on. GOILERSSS!!!

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#25 SirFozz
December 21 2009, 03:19PM
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The nice part about this time of year is combining Oilers losing drinking with festive drinking.

8-2 Oilers. Goals by defencemen.

Go team!

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#26 Stall35
December 21 2009, 03:20PM
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KenL wrote:

Why is Quinn seperating Brule and Penner? Didn't they have good chemistry on the road?

Apparently...that good chemistry is only for on the Road....I say we let them play on the road the rest of the season...maybe even the playoffs if they can bring back Lord Stanley's Cup.

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#27 RossCreekNation
December 21 2009, 03:24PM
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A quick glance at those lines made me throw up in my mouth.

Don't you guys just wish they could simulate the rest of the year?

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#28 Hemmertime
December 21 2009, 03:26PM
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Stall35 wrote:

Apparently...that good chemistry is only for on the Road....I say we let them play on the road the rest of the season...maybe even the playoffs if they can bring back Lord Stanley's Cup.

Dont let them sleep at home. Hotels even in Edmonton. Or be like Liverpool and cancel Xmas.

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#29 The Towel Boy
December 21 2009, 03:27PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

A quick glance at those lines made me throw up in my mouth.

Don't you guys just wish they could simulate the rest of the year?

Hahahaha....well played.

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#30 ekcut
December 21 2009, 03:29PM
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Devon Dubnyk, after a 48 save performance (most coming on shots from players standing unmolested at the edge of the crease after a turnover getting out of our zone), will become the 1st player in NHL history to request being sent down to the minors. He will be quoted as saying "At least Liam Reddox can pick up the 3rd man coming into the zone"

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#31 I'm a Scientist!
December 21 2009, 03:34PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

A quick glance at those lines made me throw up in my mouth.

Don't you guys just wish they could simulate the rest of the year?

OH GOD YES...

...oh wait...SIMulate...not sTimulate...my bad.

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#32 Hemmertime
December 21 2009, 03:41PM
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@RossCreekNation

Nah, I like watching the storylines. Like, will Penner continue his production? (no) Will one of our young players step up and play to his potential or above? (no, unless count JDD) Will we make a trade that asseses our needs? (no, we will get 2 small wingers on deadline day) Will Pat Quinn have a stroke? (yes)

It used to be entertaining just to see what Hemmer could pull out his ass, sadly not this season

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#33 RossCreekNation
December 21 2009, 03:53PM
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So... the Spengler Cup is coming up. A little warmup for MacT? How long til he takes the helm in St. Louis?

There's certain coaches that must be hard to listen to... Bryan Murray (and his shlicken chicken lisp), Marc Crawford (duh) and Andy Murray (he sounds as though he's about to break out and cry at any moment).

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#34 SirFozz
December 21 2009, 04:03PM
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@RossCreek

Ha, were you just listening to Murray on 1260? Damn dude, clear your throat before you talk.

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#35 Lofty
December 21 2009, 04:10PM
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@KenL

Agreed,

Penner and Brule are the only good thing the Oilers have going. Maybe this is the start of the coaches accepting the dive for five?

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#36 misfit
December 21 2009, 04:14PM
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I actually kinda like the lines. When Comrie gets back, I wouldn't mind seeing Gagner in Nilsson's spot and re-uniting 19-91-32.

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#37 Lofty
December 21 2009, 04:16PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

I wonder if Tambo is done evaluating this team or if he wants to wait until Hemsky is back?

I think Tambo is going to evaluate his way right out of town if he keeps this up.

How much does he get paid? I could sit on my thumb and pretend I'm on the phone for whatver that check is for.

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#38 Robin Brownlee
December 21 2009, 04:24PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

A quick glance at those lines made me throw up in my mouth.

Don't you guys just wish they could simulate the rest of the year?

Please forgive the imposition, but explain this common bit of nerdspeak, "throw up in my mouth" to me. As opposed to throwing up in your ear, your eye or your ass? A lot of people around here say they are throwing up in their mouths, yet I have never experienced the event myself.

Likewise, what is this "batsh*t crazy reference favoured by those toting two-litre jugs of Sprite and bags of Doritos? Is batsh*t crazier than hogsh*t or monkeysh*t? I can find no reference to it in my reporter's thesaurus.

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#39 R-DAWG
December 21 2009, 04:32PM
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@Dave

In a heartbeat...this guy is sick to watch and I can't stand to see someone with no heart!

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#40 Dan the Man
December 21 2009, 04:37PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Throw up in my mouth is from Dodgeball the Movie.

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

The scene is at about 1:54.

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#41 Hemmertime
December 21 2009, 04:46PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Its also when you dont open your mouth for exodus of said vomit. You hold it in and swallow that warm goodness. Generally done when you cant spew everywhere, like getting your diploma in front of school or your first turn on the pole at Diamonds.

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#42 Hemmertime
December 21 2009, 04:49PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Also, your dislike of "Top Cheddar" has spread to me. At first I though harmless video game geek speak on forums. Now though, PJ Stock and the SNET guys use it to describe goals in the replays. Pisses me off greatly. They likely dont even know it means a "cheesy glitch goal" in NHL video games. Thus, every time they are saying it, they are actually using a derogatory term to describe the goal, insulting the player who put it in.

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#43 RossCreekNation
December 21 2009, 04:53PM
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SirFozz wrote:

@RossCreek

Ha, were you just listening to Murray on 1260? Damn dude, clear your throat before you talk.

Ya. But he always sounds like that.

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#44 Arby
December 21 2009, 04:53PM
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DUBEY.... DUBEY.... DUBEY.... hahaha i can't wait. I hope he get's the shutout and Principe has the gumption to use a 'He Stoned Them' somewhere in the future. He will have a free pass with me for a long time.

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#45 RossCreekNation
December 21 2009, 04:57PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Throwing up in your mouth refers to when you throw up in your mouth. As opposed to throwing up in the shower, throwing up on my dog, throwing up on my couch. If one throws up IN their mouth, the "throw up" does not leave the body. It is heartily swallowed and re-digested. Sometimes one may throw up in their mouth with indigestion. Or after a good donair... there's no way your letting that leave the body, so you swallow it with a "Tiger Woods sized smile" and say "I just threw up in my mouth a little".

Personally, I prefer "ape sh*t" over 'batsh*t'.

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#46 RossCreekNation
December 21 2009, 05:01PM
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Arby wrote:

DUBEY.... DUBEY.... DUBEY.... hahaha i can't wait. I hope he get's the shutout and Principe has the gumption to use a 'He Stoned Them' somewhere in the future. He will have a free pass with me for a long time.

Perhaps...

DUBEY GETS LIT UP AT REXALL

or

DUBEY GETS SMOKED IN DEBUT

or

ROLL UP ANOTHER DUBEY, OIL WIN SHUTOUT

or

DUBEY COUGHS UP WINNER

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#47 DK0
December 21 2009, 05:02PM
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@RossCreekNation

See but i think they are used differently. like one is an act and one is a state of mind. like:
That Swedish player just went Apesh*t and nearly nailed the ref in the face with his stick.
or
Doug MacLean is batsh*t crazy if he thinks he adds anything to the sportsnet intermission panel.

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#48 DK0
December 21 2009, 05:05PM
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@RossCreekNation

Dammit, i typed up a witty response to this and then hit post, forgetting to censor the sh*ts and now the post is gone forever.
@Bingofuel you should make it let you know why your post didn't appear and give you a copy of it back so you can edit it and paste it in a new comment box.

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#49 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 21 2009, 05:05PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Throwing up in your mouth refers to when you throw up in your mouth. As opposed to throwing up in the shower, throwing up on my dog, throwing up on my couch. If one throws up IN their mouth, the "throw up" does not leave the body. It is heartily swallowed and re-digested. Sometimes one may throw up in their mouth with indigestion. Or after a good donair... there's no way your letting that leave the body, so you swallow it with a "Tiger Woods sized smile" and say "I just threw up in my mouth a little".

Personally, I prefer "ape sh*t" over 'batsh*t'.

i second the ape sh*t preference.

whoresh*t should now be in the urban dictionary in reference to tiger woods.

ie) tiger woods is in all sorts of whoresh*t now.

***crickets*** ****bueller? bueller?****

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#50 Hemmertime
December 21 2009, 05:07PM
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DK0 wrote:

Dammit, i typed up a witty response to this and then hit post, forgetting to censor the sh*ts and now the post is gone forever.
@Bingofuel you should make it let you know why your post didn't appear and give you a copy of it back so you can edit it and paste it in a new comment box.

If you hit the back button, the text comes back. At least using Firefox. However, Sh*t should not cause your post to disappear, they say it on NBC nowadays, Basic f*cking cable for christs sake. That, and it used to be waiting for moderation, now just gone into abyss.

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