GDB 50: Can Robert Nilsson be the guy?

Jason Gregor
February 03 2009 03:53PM

bobbynilsson

Yesterday Craig MacTavish stated, “We haven’t an answer on that left side for awhile. We’ve tried a lot of players there, virtually everybody has had an opportunity there, and we need to find someone. Dustin is the best fit there when he is playing, and playing well.”

Tonight it will be Nilsson, and he is excited.

“Hemsky’s a great player, especially this year, and I know I will get more chances playing with him... I just have to bury them.”

Considering Horcoff has one goal in his last 15 games, if Nilsson can bury one chance that will be an improvement. As dominant as Hemsky has been since returning from a concussion, if one of his linemates starts to heat up he could be a two-point-a-game guy for a stretch.

Speaking of Horcoff, I asked him if he feels he needs to bear down more offensively.

“I probably need to relax a bit more and I think that’s been my problem lately. I’m squeezing the stick a little tight... I’ve had chances, with the crossbar last game, and if I relax that shot probably goes in.”

Pressing too hard never results in more goals, but with the coach calling out Penner, Pouliot and Brodziak to play with more jam, Horcoff needs to bear down and bury a few more chances. I know scoring is that hardest thing to do, and Horcoff never gets questioned for his work ethic, but his job is to produce and he needs to start producing more.

This team has no other options right now as far as #1 centre, so unless a trade happens Horcoff needs to find the scoring touch he had last year until his season was cut short.

Here are tonight’s lines:

  • 12 – 10 – 83
  • 21 – 89 – 26
  • 18 – 13 – 78
  • 27 – 51 – 46

Penner and Brodziak should play inspired considering what happened after practice yesterday. Brodziak explained what MacTavish said to him and his fellow doghouse dwellers yesterday.

“I have to play with more jam and more intensity in my game. Making sure I play physical every chance I get and never pass up an opportunity. I think it is a simple thing to get back in my game. Over my career it hasn’t been a real focal point of my game, but I know at this level it needs to be and it’s an element of my game I need to add. It’s something I definitely feel I can do and I don’t think I will have a problem with it.”

He also shouldn’t have a problem being ready to play tonight. With Penner on his left side, both players will have something to prove tonight, so you would HOPE they would play an inspired game. Reading between the lines with some of the conversations I had today in the locker room, it sounds like MacTavish didn’t want to just single out Penner again, so he went with two guys who haven’t been awful, but clearly can bring more intensity to their game.

Brodziak also added, “Coach said he was happy with my decisions and positional play, but just wants me to play more intensely. And maybe I’m guilty of not seeing that. It’s a little bit frustrating being called out, but realistically I know it was deserved, so I’m more frustrated in myself than anything else.”

Tidbits

Dwayne Roloson didn’t skate this morning, but he will play tonight. He faced lots of shots in practice yesterday so he got the morning off.

When asked about hearing cat calls walking off the ice after the Buffalo game, MacTavish laughed about the unique situation at Rexall.

“No one likes to walk through that when you lose a game, but like I’ve said before our fans have great perspective in terms of that. But not every team walks through the BAR on the way in and out... but we do, so those situations might occur.”

The uniqueness of Rexall Place: no other building in the league that I’ve been to has that set up, and I've been to 22 out of the other 29. It is great for young kids, and chicks trying to wheel, and outside of the odd profanity-laced tirade from some I’m-tough-when-I’m-drunk idiot it allows fans a close up look at the players. You take the good with the bad, and 90 per cent of the time the fans are supportive, but when you lose 10-2 you’d expect an odd “YOU SUCK”, or worse.

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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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#151 Fiveandagame
February 03 2009, 09:21PM
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balled fists? Sounds like a friday night at the MacT residence.

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#152 Fiveandagame
February 03 2009, 09:23PM
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Watching this team this year sometimes feels like visiting a proctologist with balled fists....

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#153 Al Hamilton
February 03 2009, 09:23PM
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steady steve lost his mind i think. almost worked though.

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#154 baggedmilk
February 03 2009, 09:25PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

Fiveandagame wrote: WG? are you here? You’re laying under the sheets like a silent but deadly. Yeah you know I’m here. You know I came home and bought 1 period on the PPV and didn’t realize that “these Oilers” showed up to play tonight. *stares angrily at TV with balled fists* *balled fists: thats what she said”*

Problem is THESE Oilers show up almost every other night. Here's to the drive for 8th place with 20 games left.

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#155 OilersNinja
February 03 2009, 09:25PM
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This is just brutal. I think we will see a move after this game.

Something has gotta happen

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#156 APE
February 03 2009, 09:27PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

APE wrote: What an awful goal by Havlat. Roli is having a good game but that is terrible timing to let in a goal like that. Just another uninspired effort by the squad tonite. Shots 41-16……

So that means you should let in a goal like that? C'mon man. I never said the team was playing well but IF we were to have a chance that needs to be stopped.

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#157 Fiveandagame
February 03 2009, 09:27PM
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Hey Oiler fans, angry much......Rexall place should be renamed Rectal exam place...

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#158 Rev
February 03 2009, 09:27PM
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Yay! We only lost by 2!! Raises for everyone!

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#159 APE
February 03 2009, 09:28PM
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Good game guys. No really, that was a solid effort.

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#160 Travis Dakin
February 03 2009, 09:28PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Problem is THESE Oilers show up almost every other night. Here’s to the drive for 8th place with 20 games left.

too bad the nights they show up are on off days.

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#161 Dropping Deuces
February 03 2009, 09:29PM
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Thank f**k they are going on the road. Maybe some other towns tail will help bring them around.

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#162 Fiveandagame
February 03 2009, 09:29PM
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@ APE: Yeah the problem is Roli already made "that" stop dozens of times tonight. That was an unlucky bounce and falls more on the defense shoulders than Roli...but give the guy some slack, he was in a shooting gallery.

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#163 Wanye Gretz
February 03 2009, 09:30PM
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An open question to Jonathan Willis:

What lines was Penner on when he scored? Does he ever score when he isn't on the first or second line?

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#164 Fiveandagame
February 03 2009, 09:30PM
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@ Fiveandagame: Fiveandagame wrote:

Hey Oiler fans, angry much……Rexall place should be renamed Rectal exam place…

Shut up fiveandagame, why don't you think before you post something stupid....retard

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#165 Fiveandagame
February 03 2009, 09:33PM
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one win in their last 4 games, three lack luster efforts....who do you call out next MacT before you point the finger at the mirror.

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#166 APE
February 03 2009, 09:33PM
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@ Fiveandagame: Agree to disagree. I think that if you are going to make the hard saves you better make the easy ones. Either way he was hardly the problem tonite.

**another $15.00 wasted**

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#167 APE
February 03 2009, 09:36PM
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Off topic but why is Winchester willing to fight for the St. Louis blues but he was softer than Jason Strudwicks pillow hands when he played here? I've seen him in a few good tilly's this year already..

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#168 Fiveandagame
February 03 2009, 09:37PM
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@ APE: I agree with you pal, you want those ones saved, the first and every time....

Where was everybody else tonight? Where was the revenge for getting embarrassed 9-2....no heart, no drive, no playoffs....

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#169 Fiveandagame
February 03 2009, 09:38PM
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APE wrote:

Off topic but why is Winchester willing to fight for the St. Louis blues but he was softer than Jason Strudwicks pillow hands when he played here? I’ve seen him in a few good tilly’s this year already..

When he was here I think he fancied himself a power forward with scoring ability, now the reality has set in and he's 27 doing what ever he can to stay in the league.

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#170 David S
February 03 2009, 09:42PM
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APE wrote:

Good game guys. No really, that was a solid effort.

Seconded. Let's face it. We just got beat by a Stanley Cup final four team. Big. Strong. Skilled. And their rooks (what few they have) are all stars. Last time they rocked us hard so I consider this a solid effort, the likes of which would have won us the last game if we had chosen to bring it. And THAT'S what p^sses me off.

Bottom line - it was unlikely we were going to win this game in our present state. We still need at least 2 more solid players (vet C and a big D?) in trades to have a chance against a team like this. Simply not enough horsepower.

Having said that, I must admit our 4th line looked great - and I haven't said that for a while. The Chicago color guys were raving about them all night. Oh yeah - Gagner! Man he was doling out the chances. Shawn "Hands of Stone" Horcoff had a few juicy ones. A year from now and a couple of trades, we beat these guys going away.

Bad news is that Visnovsky looks like he dislocated his shoulder. I've done the same thing and looked the same way. Multiple weeks off at the bare minimum if surgery isn't required. Bah!

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#171 David S
February 03 2009, 09:46PM
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APE wrote:

@ Fiveandagame: **another $15.00 wasted**

The online feed rocked. If you have hi-speed and a decent computer, it's the way to go the way things are going right now. Save the cash for porn.

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#172 David S
February 03 2009, 09:59PM
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Visnovsky separated shoulder has been confirmed. My guess is they popped it back in already, but the damage is done.

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#173 Hockey Gods
February 03 2009, 10:02PM
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@ David S: Yeah garanteed there is some soft tissue damage.

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#174 Bru Man
February 03 2009, 10:16PM
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After the Blackhawks settled into thier game it was obvious that the forecheck was killing us. What did the coaching staff do to adjust? Didn't seem like nothing!!! the team came back flat after both intermissions. A very frustrating game to watch!! Seemed like men against boys to me...Mac T.. Now what?? And as for Pouliot .. What did Cogliano do wrong to play with that Plague.. Man what a Rash!!!Id rather see Reddox out there.

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#175 David S
February 03 2009, 10:20PM
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Is it so hard for everybody here to admit that we got beat by a MUCH better team?

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#176 Bru Man
February 03 2009, 10:21PM
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@ APE:

$15.00 I rented the it in H.D. I think it was $18.00 BRUTAL!!!!

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#177 Bru Man
February 03 2009, 10:33PM
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@ David S: getting beat by the Hawks is no surprise. Yes, A very skilled team. But isnt it frustrating to you when no player other than Hemmer or Roli and in this game Zach do anything to change the flow of the game...Hemski got rammed by byfuglewhatever hes called and everone put thier tail between thier legs..wheres the response?? They came into our building and handed us a beating.And It just seemed like we never went down swinging.

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#178 David S
February 03 2009, 11:24PM
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This from a poster by the name of St George over at LT's site. You may think those guys are the geek squad, but they have quite solid takes on the game...

"This goes back to my beer league theory/analysis. When you need better players, one of the things you think is happening is that some of the players on your team are "passengers" or are not "putting in a strong effort", when in reality they just aren't good enough to be consistently effective. You can call it what you like, but it comes back to the same thing - for $50+ million, we just need better players.

A wiser man once told me at the moment that we traded Smyth that the Oilers would need 4-5 years to get back into the playoffs. His rationale was that we had successfully shed most of the veterans that put us in a position to win, and those were hard to come by in the NHL. Looks like he was right on."

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#179 Jack Bauer
February 03 2009, 11:55PM
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David S wrote:

A year from now and a couple of trades, we beat these guys going away.

Sure a year from now we could beat the Chicago team of Feb 2009, but they will get better, and theyre rookies will get better, and theyre young guys will all improve. Plus havent we been saying this for years? A few trades and moves here and there and we will be in the hunt!!?? Next year will be the same shît, different year.

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#180 David S
February 04 2009, 12:29AM
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Considering how good Chicago is right now, I'd be happy if next year's Oil could beat this year's Chicago.

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#181 Travis Dakin
February 04 2009, 07:55AM
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David S wrote:

Considering how good Chicago is right now, I’d be happy if next year’s Oil could beat this year’s Chicago.

The thing is, again, Chicago shouldn't be that much better. They were garbage last year and as I've said before, if you compare rosters player for player, we match up soildly with them.

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#182 Colin
February 04 2009, 08:37AM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

I love the way Chicago plays…..thats the way a skill team is supposed to play. Fast, on the forecheck, lots of pressure…..

Right(honest, no sarcasm) and since we're supposedly a skilled team(at the start of the year anyway) why aren't we playing that style??

Who chooses what systems we play????(rhetorical)

Anyway now that the token MacT jab is done, it seems like a fairly shitaneous effort again tonight. I didn't see the game(just "highlights") but being outshot 2:1 definately makes it seem like they didn't show up.

Oh and Kudos to Willis for getting the score right ;)

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