Bum fights: the Oilers KTFO by the Blues

Robin Brownlee
December 22 2009 09:12AM

What we gave up to get here (hat tip to David S)

Relatively speaking, Devan Dubnyk is making progress when it comes to the tricky business of getting the hang of the goaltending game, even if he got lit up like a cheap cigar as the Edmonton Oilers took a 7-2 butt-kicking from the St. Louis Blues Monday.

As sieve-like as Dubnyk was in his first NHL start, fishing those seven pucks out of his net on 26 shots, his Andre Racicot impression pales in comparison to his first game as a goaltender -- a 13-1 loss in minor hockey after his dad coughed up all that money for pads. He got past that. He'll get past this.

Dubnyk wasn't very good against the Blues, and he didn't get much help, as the 15th-place Oilers embarrassed themselves good and plenty in a meeting of have-not bottom-feeders in the Western Conference.

That said, let's not get carried away writing Dubnyk off, as some people no doubt will after a regrettable debut. Doing that, based on one bad night and hideous numbers after just two NHL appearances, is as ridiculous a stance as suggesting before this debacle Dubnyk was somehow a better prospect than Jeff Deslauriers, with no NHL experience as evidence to back it up.

But, yes, it was truly ugly.

Look Ma, no hands

Dubnyk, stuck behind Nikolai Khabibulin and Deslauriers in the Oilers crease pecking order, isn't nearly as bad as his teammates helped him look against the Blues and their juggernaut power play. That's obvious. Of course, that isn't much solace to frustrated Oilers fans, who've seen their team win once in their last eight tries at home.

"Devan will remember this game for a long time, I'm sure," coach Pat Quinn said of Dubnyk, who had his parents in the sell-out crowd. "He was kind of left out to hang by his teammates."

Kind of? Counting a relief appearance in a 7-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, Dubnyk has now allowed 10 goals on 50 shots, which will play hell with his saves-percentage and put a dent in his confidence.

After all, it's not like he's going to get a lot of chances to redeem himself, even with Khabibulin out. Deslauriers made 14 straight starts before the Blues came calling and he'll carry the load until Khabibulin gets back.

Dubnyk might get a start against either Toronto Dec. 30 or Calgary the next night. A little more help might be an idea if he does.

Exasperated

You know things are in the sh*thouse when the coach sounds like a beaten man 36 games into the season and the housemen and fart catchers, those charged with finding silver linings in the septic tank, are carving ass.

Quinn was running a quart low on piss and vinegar compared to past games during his post-game availability with reporters last night, leaving most of the zingers to those who are usually sunshine and light.

Props, then, to Dan Tencer of 630 CHED, who didn't play patty-cake on his post-game show. Milhouse got all revved up and ripped the Oilers good and plenty. Red his cheeks were. Furnace red.

"The most embarrassing loss of the season for the Oilers," began Tencer, just getting started after the Oilers made it four straight losses at Rexall Place. "They were just flat-out embarrassed on this homestand... You cannot lose 7-2 to the St. Louis Blues." Apparently you can, Dan. Apparently you can.

Given all the above, I can only wonder if owner Daryl Katz has seen enough and is taking notes and names — GM Steve Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, for starters. How long will Katz sit silent paying the bills while this franchise spirals into nothingness?

And...

-- Captain Ethan Moreau keeps digging himself deeper in the estimation of fans, and his tantrum late in the game, when he tripped and then cross-checked T.J. Oshie to the ice after a clean hit, just adds ammunition to those arguing No. 18 should have the "C" ripped off his chest.

"I don't like to get hit when it's 6-2," Moreau said. "I'm not going to allow that to happen."

What, Moreau is frustrated? He didn't pay 100 bucks to get into the rink and inhale this stink.

-- If I'm Tambellini or Lowe, assuming they still have jobs when the Christmas roster freeze is lifted, I'm picking up the phone and calling old pal Scott Howson in Columbus to see if there's room to make a deal that can shake up both teams. Problem for a problem? Fine. Spare parts for spare parts? OK. Both outfits are dead in the water right now.

-- The good news is that after they lose in Minnesota Wednesday, the Oilers play six of their first nine games after the Christmas break at home. The bad news is they're 8-9-2 at Rexall Place.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#151 Smokin' Ray
December 23 2009, 08:31AM
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Cleetis wrote:

Hey Brownlee,

In Barnes' articcle yesterday he had this paragraph about about hiding big contracts in the minors:

"They were so completely awful and outclassed by the end of it that if general manager Steve Tambellini really had the green light from owner Daryl Katz to stash big, fat contracts in the minors -- as we were led to believe -- the punitive airlift should start as soon as the roster freeze is lifted."

Was there recent indication that Katz has said to Tambellini he can start waiveing some of the big tickets?

God we can only hope so.

-Need New Captain-

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#152 David S
December 23 2009, 08:31AM
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Cleetis wrote:

Hey Brownlee,

In Barnes' articcle yesterday he had this paragraph about about hiding big contracts in the minors:

"They were so completely awful and outclassed by the end of it that if general manager Steve Tambellini really had the green light from owner Daryl Katz to stash big, fat contracts in the minors -- as we were led to believe -- the punitive airlift should start as soon as the roster freeze is lifted."

Was there recent indication that Katz has said to Tambellini he can start waiveing some of the big tickets?

Unless Katz left a message on the white board in the locker room that said "Steve - OK to stash contracts - call Darryl after practice.", I think its unlikely any reporter would get "indications" about this other than from a Tambellini press conference. Barnes was just doing a bit of speculative reporting himself.

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#153 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 23 2009, 08:35AM
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RW wrote:

So the EIG board convened and made it policy that Management screw over a good faith deal last minute to piss off Mike and Rich? Or to try and get money compensation from Mike in order for him to be traded?

Well who do you think cares more about $$$ in your pocket? The manager that wouldn't profit from it, or the ownership that would?

From what I've seen no one knows if it was Lowe or ownership that wanted the money. But it seems to make sense that the owners would be the ones motivated to get it.

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#154 RW
December 23 2009, 09:14AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Well who do you think cares more about $$$ in your pocket? The manager that wouldn't profit from it, or the ownership that would?

From what I've seen no one knows if it was Lowe or ownership that wanted the money. But it seems to make sense that the owners would be the ones motivated to get it.

I think you're trying to shift and/or blur blame by suggesting it may not have been Kevin Lowe's idea to try and ransom 2.5mil from Comrie to get the deal done.

I'm just trying to picture how it would have gone down the way you're suggesting. The EIG had a board of at least 10 members at any given time, a constitution with procedures for making official decisions. Within a strict budget management had alot of independence when it came to making personnel and contract decisions. Goes hand in hand with having 30+ different owners. There's no way they all got together and made it policy to try and extract money from Mike Comrie.

Did one of the owners give K-Lowe the idea when he reported that a deal with Ana was in place? Its possible, but I doubt it. And to follow through with such a bush league strategy is just as asinine as thinking it up yourself.

More likely the idea was born out of some foolish feelings of spite and animosity within Mr. Lowe. The same "I've got bigger balls than you" mentality in handling contract disputes that resulted in the face of the modern Oilers being traded at the deadline over what? $100,000. Ya right. Nice return on that trade too btw.

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#155 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 23 2009, 09:31AM
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RW wrote:

I think you're trying to shift and/or blur blame by suggesting it may not have been Kevin Lowe's idea to try and ransom 2.5mil from Comrie to get the deal done.

I'm just trying to picture how it would have gone down the way you're suggesting. The EIG had a board of at least 10 members at any given time, a constitution with procedures for making official decisions. Within a strict budget management had alot of independence when it came to making personnel and contract decisions. Goes hand in hand with having 30+ different owners. There's no way they all got together and made it policy to try and extract money from Mike Comrie.

Did one of the owners give K-Lowe the idea when he reported that a deal with Ana was in place? Its possible, but I doubt it. And to follow through with such a bush league strategy is just as asinine as thinking it up yourself.

More likely the idea was born out of some foolish feelings of spite and animosity within Mr. Lowe. The same "I've got bigger balls than you" mentality in handling contract disputes that resulted in the face of the modern Oilers being traded at the deadline over what? $100,000. Ya right. Nice return on that trade too btw.

Think whatever you want.

The 2.5 million they wanted from Comrie would go in the owners pocket, not Lowes. That should at least lead to some suspicion that it was the owners idea.

Heatly's July 1 bonus gives us a good contrast. Who do you think had the most motivation to have something done before July 1? Ownership that had to stroke the cheque, or managment that didn't?

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#156 David S
December 23 2009, 09:38AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Think whatever you want.

The 2.5 million they wanted from Comrie would go in the owners pocket, not Lowes. That should at least lead to some suspicion that it was the owners idea.

Heatly's July 1 bonus gives us a good contrast. Who do you think had the most motivation to have something done before July 1? Ownership that had to stroke the cheque, or managment that didn't?

Lowe and Mike admitted that mistakes were made on both sides. Why not let this go huh?

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#157 Rogue
December 23 2009, 09:47AM
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who would of thunk that our top line, at this point of the season would be Penner, Brule and Potulny. Just shows our true lack of talent.

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#158 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 23 2009, 09:49AM
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David S wrote:

Lowe and Mike admitted that mistakes were made on both sides. Why not let this go huh?

I'd love to, but it keeps getting brought up 5/6/7 years later.

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#159 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 10:28AM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

It's sad this never came up until Perry actual became a good player.

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#160 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 23 2009, 11:05AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

It's sad this never came up until Perry actual became a good player.

Ya that parts frustrating too. When the news first came out everyone was happy the teams was "sticking it to him" 5 years later we find out we could have landed a star so the story is now that they "held him hostage"

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#161 rindog
December 23 2009, 11:16AM
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Coppperhead wrote:

When you're supposed to be a physical presence on this team and you complain when getting hit, something is not right.

Does anyone know what Moreau brings to the team anymore? No one really knows what goes on between the players but if I was Sam Gagner watching Moreau take stupid penalties, generally play lazy and not even finish his checks well...I would probably tune him out.

For that matter though would Souray really be that much of a better leader? He's constantly taking bad penalties himself. How many times this year will we watch him punch a guy in the face at the blueline for a roughing penalty? 15? 20? Obviously he brings more to the team than Moreau but I'm not sure he's the right guy to lead our young core.

Horcoff would be a decent choice for me because despite his struggles I don't think anyone can argue that he's the hardest working player on the team. But from a fan standpoint though I don't think there could be a worse choice. Everyone already hates him for the dead weight his contract is.

The guys whose play could earn them a C on their jersey are all too soft-spoken to be a leader. Smid, Visnovsky and Penner have all played well this year but none of them are going to lead your team.

Actually the guy I would really love to be the Captain is Pisani but he seems destined to spend most of the rest of his career on the sidelines.

Considering Souray only has 10 minor penalties all season (not too bad for a defenseman), I think you might be exaggerating a bit...

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#162 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 11:17AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Ya that parts frustrating too. When the news first came out everyone was happy the teams was "sticking it to him" 5 years later we find out we could have landed a star so the story is now that they "held him hostage"

And you know we ruin players so who is to say Perry would've been any different.

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#163 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 11:22AM
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@rindog

Keep in mind he only played 20 games take that number over 35 and he has 17.5 which would put him in the top 5.

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#164 rindog
December 23 2009, 11:22AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Got it. Not sure about Staples' idea of bringing in an interim caretaker type to clean up the mess.

I have no inside information that Katz is getting tired of what he's seeing, but it just stands to reason he is. I don't see a direction being plotted here and if the boss feels the same way, I'm not sure how long he'll stick with a losing hand. Even if Katz makes a move, I think Lowe is safe, or at least will be allowed to serve the duration of his extension.

I wonder, and it's been suggested before, if it might make sense to move Quinn into the GM's chair and let Renney and Buchberger work the bench. Again, that's based more in common sense than anything I've heard, but I wonder if we might see that.

At JackBauer: I agree it falls on the players first, but if they don't respond, it's up to the GM to change the mix. I get it that Tambellini can't just snap his fingers and clean up this mess with the bad contracts he's working with, but at some point he either had to formulate a plan and carry it out or get the hell out of the way.

Quinn as GM makes so much sense.

Shall we start a campaign?

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#165 rindog
December 23 2009, 11:28AM
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I don't think we wwere debating how many penalities Souray takes. I think we were discussing how many times Copperhead said (15-20) that Souray punches a guy in the face at the blueline.

I believe that Souray has to play on the edge to be effective. If you are going to be on the edge - you are going to take penalties.

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#166 Hemmertime
December 23 2009, 11:31AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I'm not a fan, period. Not of the Oilers. Not of the Canucks. I cover and write about hockey for a living. It's my job.

Liar, you are attached to the Oilers. I've never seen you admit frustration watching the NYI squander their third lead in a row. Also, you are either with us or against us. Oiler fan or not, easiest way to put it. So either stop commenting on your articles to prove that you're only in it for the $7.65 per article or do not insult our intelligence.

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#167 Hemmertime
December 23 2009, 11:33AM
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@rindog

Do not forget management neutered Souray, telling him he cannot fight since his injury. Souray has a lil too much honor to be extremely rough when he cant back himself up.

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#168 JackBauer
December 23 2009, 12:47PM
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" So either stop commenting on your articles to prove that you're only in it for the $7.65 per article or do not insult our intelligence."

Thats all you guys make? I would have thought it would be more.

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#170 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 23 2009, 01:09PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

Liar, you are attached to the Oilers. I've never seen you admit frustration watching the NYI squander their third lead in a row. Also, you are either with us or against us. Oiler fan or not, easiest way to put it. So either stop commenting on your articles to prove that you're only in it for the $7.65 per article or do not insult our intelligence.

durrrrr

do you not think that maybe, just maybe, brownlee writes about the oilers because he gets paid to, i dunno, cover the oilers?

if brownlee fired up a riveting read about the problems of the florida panthers, would anybody at OILERSnation give a flying f***?

and "either with us or against us"??? who the hell is "us"? 95% of oiler fans are knuckleheads who gave up playing hockey when they hit peewee because it hurt to much, and the other 5% fills their day responding to the knuckleheads that make up the 95%.

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#171 David S
December 23 2009, 02:52PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

Liar, you are attached to the Oilers. I've never seen you admit frustration watching the NYI squander their third lead in a row. Also, you are either with us or against us. Oiler fan or not, easiest way to put it. So either stop commenting on your articles to prove that you're only in it for the $7.65 per article or do not insult our intelligence.

I'd love to see you say this to Robin's face.

People who abuse forums like this for the purpose of reinforcing their own sense of self grandeur make me laugh. Didn't get your Christmas bonus at the warehouse today? Sheesh.

"With us or against us"? Its. A. Game.

I swear to god. Some people here treat this place like the World of Warcraft fanboards.

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#172 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
December 25 2009, 07:47AM
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"What, Moreau is frustrated? He didn't pay 100 bucks to get into the rink and inhale this stink."

Yeah I paid 1000$ for 2 seats in a 3 pack and they went from good to worse. Montreal, NYR and now this crap show against STL. No more tickets being bought by my hard earned cash. After the Montreal game I was dead set on getting some more tickets this season but not anymore. No more 1000$ going into Katz' pocket. I feel sick that I paid 1000$ for one good game. I remember my dad taking me to games in the Doug Weight era and paying like 60$ and feeling like he was breaking the bank to see a bad team give it all they had.

Merry Xmas by the way everyone.

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