The real game story: or not

Robin Brownlee
December 08 2009 08:57AM

SUNRISE, Florida -- The struggling Edmonton Oilers continued what's turning into a disastrous five-game road trip with a costly 3-2 shootout win over the Florida Panthers Monday.

Sitting pretty in 15th place in the Western Conference and contenders for a 2010 Entry Draft lottery pick a week ago, the reeling Oilers won their third straight game as Shawn Horcoff beat the Panthers in the shootout, tucking a backhand between the pads of Tomas Vokoun.

For Horcoff, playing through a shoulder injury instead of resting up and taking one for the team in the lottery bid, it was his second consecutive game-winner -- he was the difference in a 3-2 shootout win in Dallas Saturday. On Monday, Horcoff opened the scoring with a deflection past Vokoun to make it 1-0.

"F*ck me," said coach Pat Quinn, asked about Horcoff's performance. "How does that tip go in? Off somebody's ass, or something, I suppose. We're not getting the bounces right now. That's hockey."*

With Nikolai Khabibulin doing his part in the Seguin Sweepstakes -- dubbed Dive For Five by Oiler fans -- by sitting out with a back injury, Jeff Deslauriers made his ninth straight start and kicked aside 33 shots for the win.

"Jeff was good again," Quinn said of Deslauriers, who couldn't stop a beach ball in some earlier starts but is buckling down at the wrong time.

"What can you do? Skill isn't enough. Jeff has to think in terms of the team. There's a bigger picture to consider."*

After a promising stretch in which they went 4-11-3, prompting excitement about a headlong tank-job, the Oilers, winners in Detroit, Dallas and now Florida to start the road trip, improved to 13-13-4.

"No comment," said a red-faced Steve Tambellini, who brushed off reporters on the way to the team bus. "F*ck off, Tychkowski. You too, Ireland . . ."*

In other developments, the DFF took another hit with news defenceman Denis Grebeshkov has returned from a knee injury and skated Monday. He could be ready to play before the end of the road trip.

*Or not.

WHAT YOU TALKIN' ABOUT?

WTF, Brownlee? The Oilers win three straight and they're blowing it? Well, from the perspective of those ON readers who just a week ago opined the Oilers should pull the chute, fold and take the pipe in pursuit of a lottery pick -- and a lot of you said it -- yes, things are going badly.

Rewind eight days to Nov. 29, a day after the Oilers took a 7-3 spanking in Vancouver from the Canucks.

-- Travis Dakin: "I really wish that Horcoff would just pack it in and get the surgery done too. He needs it and the team really needs the dive for five. BAD."

-- Pat Quinn's Chest hair: "I didn't want to be writing this kind of post this year, especially given how Penner's play has improved so much and that the Wall played pretty well, but I just don't see enough other players doing or having what it takes to win. C'mon Tambo, kick some ass already and blow this sh1t up."

-- Dave: "Dive for 5. Use the pick to grab a young ubertalent with great leadership qualities. Hopefully he grabs this team by the throat and becomes so popular his cache can be used to attract other talent to Edmonton. Dismiss the coaching staff and insert a puppet chosen by the players as coaching has become redundant in Edmonton."

-- Jack Bauer: Its pretty clear that this team needs to do the following:

1) Rid themselves with as much salary as they can. Whatever means necessary to fix the cap issues this team will have for the next few years. Vancouver has done it and they have a very nice cap number right now.

2) Bottom out for a couple of years and get some top 5 draft picks that will hopefully pan out and build around them.

3) Pray.

NOW WHAT?

There's plenty more examples of similar lament and consternation like the bits I just picked out above, but you get the drift.

So, with the Oilers having a chance to rattle off five straight victories with stops left in Tampa Bay and St. Louis, are the vocal members of the DFF camp of the mind that Quinn's men are blowing it?

Are the Oilers going to play heroes just long enough to miss the lottery, pull fans back in and then come up short of a playoff spot, earning the right to take a sleeper Slovakian centre with the ninth pick?

Or, is the DFF bunch slowly slinking back to a position atop the fence and taking their hands of the panic button -- those quoted above have plenty of company -- and getting a grip until the next three-game losing streak? Any second thoughts? "That Horcoff. Always liked him . . . We're one shutdown D-man from Cup contention, baby."

Just let me know. It makes it infinitely easier to come up with an angle for a game story or a column if the writer has a feel for where the heads of Oilers fans, particularly those in the DFF camp, are at on any given day.

I'll resist the obvious punch line and leave it at that.

-- 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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#201 Harlie
December 09 2009, 08:43AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

LOL, I forgot about that. I'm sure I heard him say "I wish I made a million dollars" in one presser.

yeah I heard that on one of the pressers. Pat said something like we all wish for a lot of things, "hell I wish I had a million dollars". And then one of the Reporters said, "you must have a million dollars". And then Pat said, "are you kiddin?"

~Maybe ole' Patty was lendin to McCarty?~ haha

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#202 VK63
December 09 2009, 08:44AM
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@RossCreekNation

I cant believe Stone from the hitmen didnt get an invite. Unless Ive miraculously seen the 6 best games hes ever played.

I think Kadre will be the most dominant player but am hoping for great things from both Hall and Seguin as hockey needs as much pre draft hype as the media can legitimately generate.

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#203 Ogden Brother
December 09 2009, 08:50AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

I think I've heard Patrice Cormier is potentially supposed wear the cheddar. But Eberle should be the best player.

That be sweet, though I don't know if thats amazing for the Oilers or mbarrassing for the world jr team.

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#204 Quintana
December 09 2009, 09:03AM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Post 197 is supposed to read:

With Hogdson out, I can see Eberle as captain of that team. From what I've heard, theirs not going to be many returning players... and off memory, none that were top 6 guys from last year.

I just hope MPS and Lander have a good WJ!!!

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#205 RossCreekNation
December 09 2009, 09:06AM
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I wonder if Windsor's top line sticks as a unit (Greg Nemisz, Taylor Hall & Adam Henrique). Obviously, I want to get a look at this Nemisz kid on the big stage. Hoping he's a keeper!

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#206 Ogden Brother
December 09 2009, 09:18AM
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Quintana wrote:

I just hope MPS and Lander have a good WJ!!!

Ya, we need MPS to be a player. A bust with that pick would be bruts for this

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#207 RossCreekNation
December 09 2009, 09:24AM
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Quintana wrote:

I just hope MPS and Lander have a good WJ!!!

Sweden looks tough. I'll be watching Tim Erixon & Magnus P.I.

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#208 Ender
December 09 2009, 09:39AM
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@RossCreekNation

Magnus P.I.; I like it.

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#209 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 09 2009, 10:47AM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Post 197 is supposed to read:

With Hogdson out, I can see Eberle as captain of that team. From what I've heard, theirs not going to be many returning players... and off memory, none that were top 6 guys from last year.

for the love of god man, just sign up and you get a f-ing edit button

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#210 Ogden Brother
December 09 2009, 11:02AM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

for the love of god man, just sign up and you get a f-ing edit button

Where's an emoticon when you need it.

Tried setting account up when the site originally set up, for some reason my email/logon name went into purgatory. Haven't botherd since.

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#211 bingofuel
December 09 2009, 11:07AM
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@Ogden Brother

Hey Ogden. Email bingofuel@oilersnation.com and let me know what email you used, what browser you used to sign-up.

thanks.

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#212 Harlie
December 09 2009, 11:48AM
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F***in' Quintana... that creep can roll, man.

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#213 David S
December 09 2009, 11:53AM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

for the love of god man, just sign up and you get a f-ing edit button

That's just hilarious.

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#214 Ogden Brother
December 09 2009, 02:07PM
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bingofuel wrote:

Hey Ogden. Email bingofuel@oilersnation.com and let me know what email you used, what browser you used to sign-up.

thanks.

Will do

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#215 Ogden Brother
December 09 2009, 02:08PM
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*Looks for him*

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#216 Ogden Brother
December 09 2009, 02:08PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

i dont want to hear your excuses princess

***runs and hides***

**Looks for him**

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#217 RossCreekNation
December 09 2009, 02:09PM
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@Ogden Brother

Psst... I heard cableguy "can't even be compared to a real man"

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#218 William
December 09 2009, 03:01PM
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Get over yourself Brownlee. The oilers win a couple of games, and now you're trying to stick it to the fans who recognize this team does not have the core to ever challenge for a cup?

Maybe the only thing more annoying than anonymous arm chair critics, are trade school journalism/broadcasting diploma graduates who think they're perspective is more enlightened than the unwashed masses who actually pay to support this underachieving organization year after year.

The fanbase have been patient with this club for long enough. Bad moves by the hockey ops department have mirred this team in a never ending cycle of mediocirty.

Rather than spending to the cap(and price gouging your fans to recoup that expenditure) every year with the hope of creeping into the playoffs, what is so hard to grasp about cutting loose low value contracts and rebuilding thru the draft?

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#219 Ogden Brother
December 09 2009, 03:43PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Psst... I heard cableguy "can't even be compared to a real man"

I can confirm that.

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#220 Robin Brownlee
December 09 2009, 04:18PM
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@William

Nice comprehension, champ.

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#221 JackBauer
December 09 2009, 09:25PM
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"you'll be truly entertained when I actually do lay the smack down.

Find a way to move Moreau, Staios and Souray --three deals, not seven or eight that screams "We give up" -- and the Oilers will not only free up cap space, the lottery pick will take care of itself. A lottery pick should be an offshoot of a proper rebuild, not the focus."

I know! I was there for the Deep Oil thread. Although you never did answer the question on if he was as crazy in person as he seems on here.

I agree with that this team needs to change its veteran core. They are simply got good enough to be "leaders" on this team.

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#222 Robin Brownlee
December 09 2009, 09:40PM
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@JackBauer

Not crazy, just somebody with issues involving the Oilers. I'm not going to run DO down now that he's agreed ranting here time after time isn't the best idea.

And I hope you didn't take me using your quote personally. A lot of people feel the way you do about the DFF. This team, everybody can agree, needs a significant makeover.

My position is simply that it should be done methodically, not as an all-out purge with its foundation in frustration. The Oilers have now won four straight, but it doesn't change the fact they need an overhaul.

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#223 TigerUnderGlass
December 09 2009, 10:37PM
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Harlie wrote:

F***in' Quintana... that creep can roll, man.

Nobody F***s with the Jesus.

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#224 Petr's Jofa
December 11 2009, 03:27AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Nobody F***s with the Jesus.

8 year olds do

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