GDB 55: Old Friends Who Need To Lose Tonight

Jonathan Willis
February 14 2009 11:07AM

Greene & Stoll

Remember the Los Angeles Kings? Here in Edmonton, we complain (rightly) about a team that’s only made the playoffs three times during Kevin Lowe’s tenure, but things could have been much, much worse. Here is a season-by-season comparison of the two teams since 2000:

2000-01: EDM – 39-28-12-3 (93 PTS) > LA – 38-28-13-3 (92 PTS) 2001-02: LA – 40-27-11-4 (95 PTS) > EDM – 38-28-12-4 (92 PTS) 2002-03: EDM – 36-26-11-9 (92 PTS) > LA – 33-37-6-6 (78 PTS) 2003-04: EDM – 36-29-12-5 (89 PTS) > LA - 28-29-16-9 (81 PTS) 2005-06: EDM – 41-28-13 (95 PTS) > LA – 42-35-5 (89 PTS) 2006-07: EDM – 32-43-7 (71 PTS) > LA – 27-41-14 (68 PTS) 2007-08: EDM – 41-35-6 (88 PTS) > LA – 32-43-7 (71 PTS)

Only once during Kevin Lowe’s tenure as General Manager have the L.A. Kings managed to outperform the Edmonton Oilers over the course of a full season.

One of the quirky side effects of this perpetual ineptitude is that the Kings have gotten a lot of young hockey players very quickly. They have a very robust group of forwards and defensemen; only four players on the team are over the age of 30, and of that group the only really significant piece of the roster is 31-year old Michal Handzus.

The scary thing, for the Oilers, is that they’re very much in danger of being passed by this group not only over the next five years, but right now. A quick look at the Western Conference standings tells us that:

5. Dallas 54GP - 61 PTS 6. Anaheim 57GP – 61 PTS 7. Vancouver 55GP – 60 PTS 8. Minnesota 54GP – 59 PTS 9. Columbus 55GP – 59 PTS 10. Edmonton 54GP - 58 PTS 11. Los Angeles 53 GP - 55 PTS 12. Nashville 55GP – 55 PTS 13. Phoenix 56GP – 55 PTS

The Kings have the most games remaining, and a win tonight would put them within one point of the Oilers, and in legitimate contention for a playoff spot. An Oilers win tonight would keep them on pace with the Canucks and in the thick of the hunt, and help keep the Kings back.

Tonight’s game is the first of a four game road trip through the Pacific Division, a road trip that looks to be essential to the Oilers’ playoff hopes. They need to bank some points tonight against the Kings and Monday against Phoenix, because the tail end of this trip is ugly. They play San Jose on Tuesday in their second game in two nights, and then close out the trip Thursday in Dallas, and they aren’t likely to pick up wins in either of those cities.

They need to win this afternoon.

And another thing

Nationeers are invited -- no, scratch that: required -- to join Twitter and listen to @WanyeGretz rant all game long. And don't forget to enter Jason Gregor's promotions contest for your chance to win tickets to the Oilers v. the Flames next Saturday!

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 Jonathan Willis
February 14 2009, 04:56PM
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Good stuff. Be interesting to see what MacTavish thought of the game.

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#102 Milli
February 14 2009, 04:58PM
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Beautiful!!!!!!

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#103 freeze
February 14 2009, 04:58PM
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haha, Gene was totally distracted by the ice girl that went by.

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#104 freeze
February 14 2009, 05:00PM
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I would imagine that JDD is a lock for Monday?

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#105 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 14 2009, 05:17PM
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Tencer is worthless.

"Im not going to harp on the officals" "But I thought that was a stunning bad call"

Jesus Christ man grow some balls.

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#106 socaldave
February 14 2009, 05:54PM
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I know you all see Cole live way more than I do, but watchng hmi live.... he's an impressive hockey player. He can cycle the puck exceptionally well and hardly ever puts a skate wrong defensively. I'll be sad to see him go in the summer...

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#107 Susan Caverta
February 15 2009, 12:19AM
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Congratulations and best wishes from the bottom of my heart. Be happy forever.

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#108 Fiveandagame
February 15 2009, 01:21AM
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Was at the game at Staples center today, the Oiler Nation was well represented in the crowd. Lots of vintage Oil jerseys and happy Oiler fans leaving the building

... and man was that hit on Dustin Brown the sweetest thing Moreau has done all year (yeah he scored a hat trick, but that hit was amazing!)

Best back and forth between an Oiler and Kings fans was "Oilers Suck!"

"Yeah, but the Kings swallow"

It was a good time had by all the copper and blue.

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#109 Smokin' Ray
February 15 2009, 07:42AM
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Susan Caverta wrote:

Congratulations and best wishes from the bottom of my heart. Be happy forever.

What happened? Am I missing something?

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#110 The Towel Boy
February 15 2009, 08:34AM
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Susan Caverta wrote:

Congratulations and best wishes from the bottom of my heart. Be happy forever.

Thanks so much! You too.

...wait...what the hell?

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