GDB 52: Moving in Different Directions

Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009 10:44AM

NHL/

With Lubomir Visnovsky already injured, and Tom Gilbert likely out after getting hurt against St. Louis, the Oilers have recalled their best AHL prospect, defenseman Theo Peckham. Peckham has two NHL games to his credit, one against Columbus at the tail end of last season, and one against Pittsburgh earlier this year.

J-F Jacques is once again ready to play, so he takes up a roster spot while on his two-week conditioning stint with Springfield. His activation and the recall of Peckham necessitated sending down Ryan Potulny.

Also injured for the game against Detroit this afternoon is Shawn Horcoff, the only centre on the team with more than two seasons of NHL experience. With him out, the top line spot between Penner and Hemsky needed filling, something Kyle Brodziak did for the end of the St. Louis game. Craig MacTavish’s comments before the game indicated that he was likely to leave Brodziak in that spot, at least to begin with.

It’s an opportunity for Brodziak (the first words out of Brodziak’s mouth when asked were “It’s a big opportunity for me”). I’ve commented before on how he’s been used this season, but it’s worth repeating. For the vast majority of the year, he’s been saddled with inferior linemates (MacIntyre, Stortini, etc.) but that’s only part of the problem. Brodziak’s been starting in the defensive zone more than any other player on the team. Of his 314 non-neutral zone draws, 219 of them have been in the defensive end. That means that he’s had 124 more defensive zone draws than offensive zone draws; the next nearest Oiler is Shawn Horcoff with 86. No other player on the team has more than 40.

It’s a measure of the trust that MacTavish has in those two players that they are his go-to guys for defensive zone faceoffs.

Checking in on the other end of the blender, Marc Pouliot will centre Steve MacIntyre (asked about MacIntyre playing against Detroit, MacTavish said “we don’t have anyone else”) and Zach Stortini on the fourth line tonight, and MacTavish hinted that he didn’t trust them to play much at all against Detroit, saying that they’d likely sub in on other lines. After saying that he didn’t like Pouliot at centre, MacTavish expanded that he felt Pouliot, for all his improvements ‘needed something he can provide every night, whether it be a better defensive game, a more physical game, or more consistent offensive contribution’. He summed up by saying that while Pouliot was improving, but that his game on a whole was “vanilla”.

The bottom line though is that this Edmonton Oilers team isn’t at nearly the same level of the Red Wings when healthy, and they aren’t close to that tonight.

On the Red Wings front, significant players in Tomas Holmstron (groin) and Brad Stuart (ribs) won’t be playing this afternoon. Marian Hossa, who turned down a massive contract from the Oilers this off-season, is leading the Red Wings in goals (28) and comes to town amid rumours that he and fellow pending unrestricted free agent Johan Franzen are negotiating extensions with the Wings. The real news is that the Red Wings are hoping to sign the two “for a package price of around US$10-million per season.” The other thing worth noting is that Albertan Chris Osgood, suffering through a poor season, is not expected to start tonight, making room for ex-Oiler Ty Conklin, who has been very good over the past two seasons.

Because I’m incapable of predicting an Oilers loss, I’m going to call it a 3-2 win with Kyle Brodziak leading the way offensively and Dwayne Roloson making 436 saves (give or take 5). Chime in with your predictions below.

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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 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
February 07 2009, 01:43PM
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Lovely.

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#102 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 01:43PM
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@ Wej: I should of downed a bottle of crown this morning ... I d be passed out right now ..and I wouldnt force myself to watch this oh wait....Thats 5..

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#103 Sing A Song For SingSing
February 07 2009, 01:43PM
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5.

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#104 freeze
February 07 2009, 01:43PM
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oh. my. god.

Can we just call the game?!

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#105 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:43PM
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@ Andrew W:

I think the difference is that Gagner isn't getting injured. The other thing is that I think the Oilers feel he has better coaching here than at the junior level, since he can't play in the AHL.

As for Brule, I think he's a player, somewhere. At least as a bottom-six guy, if not higher. Deslaurier's a question mark, but I think he'll be a backup somewhere, although his AHL numbers to date have been fairly mediocre.

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#106 Deans
February 07 2009, 01:43PM
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I'm done with this game. There is a fine line between being a die hard fan and masochism. Have a good one fellas

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#107 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
February 07 2009, 01:43PM
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Wheres the JSBM blog? I want to swear.

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#108 Fiveandagame
February 07 2009, 01:44PM
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wow Brodziak just got schooled by a real player....

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#109 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:44PM
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This is SAD. Fire MacT during the intermission, and Lowe too.

No fight. Nothing. The rest of my season seats are now up for sale.

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#110 Lofty
February 07 2009, 01:44PM
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This team blows

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#111 Sing A Song For SingSing
February 07 2009, 01:44PM
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We honestly have to be on of the worst teams in the NHL right now, our record is flattering.

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#112 Colin
February 07 2009, 01:44PM
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I guess the 9 goal loss game has arrived.

Man this team sucks.

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#113 Fiveandagame
February 07 2009, 01:46PM
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I think I just heard that 5 goals in the first period is a record for the wings.....

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#114 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:46PM
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Anyone that defends MacT or Lowe can hand in their 'fan' cards.

These guys have done nothing in 9 years. The run was a fluke.

Welcome to Edmonton being the Toronto of the West.

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#115 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:46PM
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In fairness, the team isn't this bad, and a bunch of guys are out.

But there simply isn't any excuse for continuing to allow MacTavish to coach the team. And I say that as a guy who has defended him repeatedly in the past.

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#116 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:47PM
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I've seen enough. Cue the comeback and I'll feel bad, but I have a finite amount of time, and I don't intend to waste any more of it watching this particular game.

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#117 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
February 07 2009, 01:47PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Doesnt Vancouver have a goalie in their system that has been lights out for their affiliate.

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#118 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:48PM
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I though that putrid smell was from my cooking...

The I realized I wasn't cooking. I didn't know SUCK had a smell.

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#119 Colin
February 07 2009, 01:48PM
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The thing is Willis, that if they aren't this bad then there is no excuse for 3 stinkers in two months. Somebody needs to be held accountable immediatedly, the bullshit has gone on long enough.

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#120 Fiveandagame
February 07 2009, 01:48PM
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boooo

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#121 jeanshorts
February 07 2009, 01:48PM
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five-nothing??? Did I hear Evanka say that right? After one period? Why the crap did I even get out of bed? God.

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#122 DK0
February 07 2009, 01:48PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

I think I just heard that 5 goals in the first period is a record for the wings…..

I think they said 4 was a record for this season. I'm betting 5 is a record for the franchise. sweet jeebus we are terrible

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#123 Andrew W
February 07 2009, 01:49PM
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I've been one of the confused masses this year about the goaltending situation. Why the Oil decided to sign JDD to a one-way contract last summer baffled me given his lack of success and experience, and I had to assume that it was only due to a fear of loosing him. I'm fairly sure that they would have been better served in net this year with a Garon/Roloson pairing, but that's not exactly a bold statement.

Do you know if there's (ever) been any talk about changing the age restrictions in the AHL? I mean, at a level of basic logic, why would an 18 or 19 year old be allowed to play in the NHL but not the AHL?

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#124 Sing A Song For SingSing
February 07 2009, 01:49PM
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I wonder what the score would be if Horcs was in the line up? Oh yea, he's been making absolutely no difference, virtually at either end this year, despite his fantastic effort and hard work.

This whole organization needs a new identity and new look from the top down.

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#125 King Mob
February 07 2009, 01:50PM
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this is so sad. :(

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#126 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:50PM
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@ jeanshorts:

Go back to bed. It would be a better use of your time.

The Oilers decided to not bother showing up today.

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#127 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:51PM
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By the way, the title of this post really ought to be a description of Edmonton and Detroit at this point. So long folks.

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#128 Greg MC
February 07 2009, 01:51PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

In fairness, the team isn’t this bad, and a bunch of guys are out. But there simply isn’t any excuse for continuing to allow MacTavish to coach the team. And I say that as a guy who has defended him repeatedly in the past.

It's not the skill, their hearts aren't in it. It is impossible to ignore now.

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#129 Travis Dakin
February 07 2009, 01:51PM
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This is awesome.

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#130 David S
February 07 2009, 01:52PM
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Compare the lineups. There was no way this was going to end well.

When you're playing a team this much better than you, the guys could all play at 110% and still look like they're taking the night off.

The one redeeming aspect? EVANKA!

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#131 jeanshorts
February 07 2009, 01:54PM
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Uncensored JL meeting thread up over at our site in case anyone wants to say the "f-word" or tell me about their girlfriends vagine.

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#132 Travis Dakin
February 07 2009, 01:54PM
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If this team makes trades to give up prospects for a spare part or two just to squeeze in and get murdered in the playoffs.... Holy crap I will have issues with staying commited.

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#133 The Towel Boy
February 07 2009, 01:55PM
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*stumbles in, late and hungover*

F*#@*! Great game so far.

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#134 Lofty
February 07 2009, 01:55PM
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look on the bright side... at least its not PPV

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#135 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 01:55PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Ok roli knocked cleary in the jewels..penalty deserved Pouliot couldnt even cover his eys on the second goal..and zack is still wondering whats going on..and the other ones I was typing to you...This Team looks lost!!! and the time out only gave the wings a breather to come back and spank us again.. I hope we lose by 10 ..Ive been mesmorized by Mac T's thesaurus for too long ..... at least the Crown Royal still tastes good !! Im with you ..wadda you think of Quinn.

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#136 DK0
February 07 2009, 01:57PM
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Time to make myself happy by playing my NHL09 season where Horcoff and Hemsky are 4th and 6th in the league for points and the Oilers are in 1st place in the west. What a wonderful world that magical dreamland is.

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#137 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 01:57PM
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@ David S: At least I could watch Evanka ..shes wicked!!

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#138 freeze
February 07 2009, 01:58PM
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@ DK0: I hear ya.

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#139 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 01:58PM
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@ DK0: why dont you trade Pouliot in your game to team kazakstan......

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#140 jeanshorts
February 07 2009, 02:01PM
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@ DK0:

In mine, computer generated Tambo just traded Sheldon Souray to the Flyers for Ethan Moreau (whom we traded for Kimmo Temonen a season earlier). I was right pissed off, but I guess the trades are really realistic.

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#141 Rev
February 07 2009, 02:03PM
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Yay - 2nd period - more Detroit and their passionate, fiesty competitors welcome back the Novice D's!!!

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#142 jeanshorts
February 07 2009, 02:05PM
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So is this the new strategy? Play okay for a game or two, lose a game or two, and then get completely blown out, repeat. ??

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#143 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:05PM
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Why bother putting JDD in net? Let Roli finish the game. More BS coaching from the Magnificent Moron MacT.

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#144 Milli
February 07 2009, 02:06PM
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This is a joke. I dunno what to even say anymore.

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#145 Poo Czar
February 07 2009, 02:06PM
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Sooo... What's the Oilers worst ever ROAD loss??

Ladies and Gentlemen - Your RECORD BREAKING 2009 Edmonton Oilers!!!

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#146 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:06PM
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This game is well on the way to smashing the 11-0 Whaler's blowout.

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#147 Sing A Song For SingSing
February 07 2009, 02:07PM
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My God is Penner ever soft.

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#148 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:07PM
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On a positive note, the Mule's out of the game.

We have a good chance of making a game of this now.

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#149 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 02:08PM
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@ Sing A Song For SingSing: Penners playing??

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#150 Poo Czar
February 07 2009, 02:09PM
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Anybody keeping track of "Jam"? Are we showing any of it?

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