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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#1 socaldave
February 14 2009, 11:13AM
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effin' COLUMBUS, eh? wow... they're not helping, that's for sure

FMNF

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#2 Smokin' Ray
February 14 2009, 11:29AM
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GAME DAY!!!

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#3 R-DAWG
February 14 2009, 12:53PM
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If history has shown us that after a big win comes a big loss...look for the Oil to stumble out of the gate large in part to golfing the day before. How come when we win a big game there are 2-3 days till the next game? LET'S GO OIL!!!

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#4 Harlie Chuddy
February 14 2009, 12:57PM
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this better be in HD on sportsnet. I hate the crappy SD feeds!

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#5 R-DAWG
February 14 2009, 12:58PM
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R-DAWG wrote:

If history has shown us that after a big win comes a big loss…look for the Oil to stumble out of the gate large in part to golfing the day before. How come when we win a big game there are 2-3 days till the next game? LET’S GO OIL!!!

*Hoping reverse psycology works today*

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#6 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 14 2009, 01:07PM
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Can we fire the damn coach already? Im so sick of Mactavish.

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#7 R-DAWG
February 14 2009, 01:08PM
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@ Jack "FMNF" Bauer: I can't say I don't agree with you but who did you have in mind??

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#8 Robin B
February 14 2009, 01:15PM
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An afternoon game is bad enough. Losing another hour because it's a 1 p.m. west-coast start is worse. The Oilers might not have their legs early after a day off of teeing it up with the boss.

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#9 socaldave
February 14 2009, 01:27PM
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Just walked into staples - LOADS o Oil fans.... I'm feeling good and it's not only this $12 beer!!

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#10 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 14 2009, 01:29PM
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@ R-DAWG:

Without knowing the history and resume of every assistant coach/AHL head coach in north america, I cant really say. But im sure the millionares that make these kind of decisions can find someone.

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#11 Don Murdochs Hair
February 14 2009, 01:41PM
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R-DAWG wrote:

@ Jack “FMNF” Bauer: I can’t say I don’t agree with you but who did you have in mind??

What about prying Schoenfeld away from Slats in NY?

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#12 Dennis
February 14 2009, 01:44PM
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I love this Sat afternoon games. Granted, I'm 3.5 hours ahead but it gives you something to do in the afternoon/evening and leaves your nights unencumbered.

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#13 R-DAWG
February 14 2009, 02:00PM
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@ Don Murdochs Hair: I totally forgot about him! He might be good!

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#14 R-DAWG
February 14 2009, 02:02PM
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Holy crap, Dallas is kicking ass!! I guess Sean Avery is poison!

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#15 freeze
February 14 2009, 02:16PM
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beauty pass! nice finish for Pens.

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#16 RLH
February 14 2009, 02:20PM
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Nice execution so far. Good pressure, lots of speed and action.

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#17 Don Murdochs Hair
February 14 2009, 02:24PM
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@ R-DAWG: As long as he doesnt decide to call anymore ref's Fat Pigs, but I'm sure Koharski deserved it.

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#18 Harlie Chuddy
February 14 2009, 02:29PM
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The SD feed sux. Time to pour a rum and get fuzzy with the vision.

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#19 freeze
February 14 2009, 02:31PM
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awesome PP!!!

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#20 RLH
February 14 2009, 02:31PM
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I'd be interested to see how many penalties Horc draws.

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#21 Jonathan Willis
February 14 2009, 02:34PM
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Anybody see what Stoll's problem as?

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#22 freeze
February 14 2009, 02:37PM
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lol, Gagner drops the gloves!! AWESOME!

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#23 Jonathan Willis
February 14 2009, 02:38PM
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freeze wrote:

lol, Gagner drops the gloves!! AWESOME!

Not so much. Gagner really shouldn't be allowed to fight Jack Johnson.

And somebody should make that clear to Johnson.

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#24 freeze
February 14 2009, 02:39PM
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true, Willis, true. but I crave to see this team show some intensity. Smid was trying to get in there anyway.

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#25 Jonathan Willis
February 14 2009, 02:41PM
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freeze wrote:

true, Willis, true. but I crave to see this team show some intensity. Smid was trying to get in there anyway.

..and Quincey backed away just as fast as he could. The intensity is nice, but Johnson's a fairly tough and occasionally dirty player; I don't like Gagner getting into it with him. Still, as you say, it's good to see.

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#26 Jonathan Willis
February 14 2009, 02:42PM
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Stortini's got guts. Ivanans is a scary guy.

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#27 freeze
February 14 2009, 02:42PM
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no tie downs on that jersey?

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#28 socaldave
February 14 2009, 02:43PM
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JW you are absolutely right - that fight happened right in front of me and Gags took a beatng. Someone better have an answer to that

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#29 Travis Dakin - FMNF
February 14 2009, 02:44PM
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So... Just joined the show.... Gagner fought?

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#30 Jonathan Willis
February 14 2009, 02:45PM
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@ socaldave:

Especially considering that Johnson mugged Gagner before Gagner supposedly started it.

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#31 cardz
February 14 2009, 02:46PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I agree...Ladi Smid should twist him up!!

Awesom fukn game tho and good gutsy jog done by stortz!

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#32 freeze
February 14 2009, 02:49PM
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fantastic period! great to see some 'jam'. Good PP, PK, EV and some fistycuffs.

Johnson will get his. It just can't come at the expense of one of our D. With Sam's size he will need to show some toughness and strength. It is a good thing he didn't get hurt for sure.

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#33 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 14 2009, 02:54PM
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I always say, your a pretty tough guy going after Sam Gagner.

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#34 Travis Dakin - FMNF
February 14 2009, 02:58PM
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wait... Johnson fought Gagner? um... how did that happen? Ah if he doesn't get a beat down I'm going to be pretty pissed.

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#35 Travis Dakin - FMNF
February 14 2009, 02:58PM
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Harlie Chuddy wrote:

this better be in HD on sportsnet. I hate the crappy SD feeds!

Glad to know it's not just me.

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#36 Jonathan Willis
February 14 2009, 03:12PM
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Travis Dakin - FMNF wrote:

wait… Johnson fought Gagner? um… how did that happen? Ah if he doesn’t get a beat down I’m going to be pretty pissed.

Johnson mugged Gagner when Gagner had a couple of really good chances in front 4x4. When Gagner got up, he dropped his gloves and went after Johnson, who made short work of him.

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#37 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 14 2009, 03:14PM
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2-1 Oil coming right up.

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#38 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 14 2009, 03:15PM
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Gagner deserves a good beatiing. Maybe it will invigorate his play.

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#39 freeze
February 14 2009, 03:15PM
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another bad 2nd period by the Oil?

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#40 freeze
February 14 2009, 03:15PM
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huge saves!

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#41 Jonathan Willis
February 14 2009, 03:16PM
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It's probably worth noting that Horcoff and Stoll fought, as well as Ivanans and Stortini.

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#42 Smokin' Ray
February 14 2009, 03:16PM
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ROLI, ROLI, ROLI!!!

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#43 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 14 2009, 03:17PM
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what a god damn shock

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#44 Jonathan Willis
February 14 2009, 03:17PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

2-1 Oil coming right up.

And.... there it is.

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#45 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 14 2009, 03:17PM
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Horcoff and Stoll had words nad a few shoves. Nothing that warrants being called a fight.

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#46 Travis Dakin - FMNF
February 14 2009, 03:20PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

It’s probably worth noting that Horcoff and Stoll fought

Wait... Horcoff fought? Stoll fought... Each other? on V day? what in the sweet fruckin' hell?

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#47 Jonathan Willis
February 14 2009, 03:20PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

Horcoff and Stoll had words nad a few shoves. Nothing that warrants being called a fight.

They went at it again on the PK there, with Horcoff tackling Stoll a little bit.

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#48 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 14 2009, 03:21PM
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yup I caught that, apparantly no love lost between the former assistant captain and the current assistant captain.

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#49 Don Murdochs Hair
February 14 2009, 03:33PM
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@ Jack "FMNF" Bauer: Does Elisha Cuthbert have anything to do with it?

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#50 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 14 2009, 03:34PM
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Yeah, or Rachael Hunter. Maybe Horcs had his way with Stacey's mom last night and Stoll is a bit pissed.

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