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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#151 King Mob
February 07 2009, 02:09PM
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hey, at least Gene Principe showed up today.

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#152 Greg MC
February 07 2009, 02:10PM
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It's not out of the realm of possibilities that Kevin may be in trouble for not acting soon enough, along with his track record.

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#153 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:12PM
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@ Greg MC: Lowe and MacT need to be gone before July 1.

They don't have a F***ing clue on how to run a team. Katz won't do anything though; his head is so far up Lowe's ass that we may never see Katz in public again.

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#154 jeanshorts
February 07 2009, 02:14PM
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@ Greg MC:

Just get rid of the whole friggin bunch. Everyone but Joey Moss and Ken Lowe should be looking for a new job come the summer. It's time for a fresh start.

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#155 Gene's pubes
February 07 2009, 02:15PM
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yeah but Gene left me on the bottom of the shower stall.....THE HUMANITY!!

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#156 I Am The Law
February 07 2009, 02:15PM
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Does anyone remember how in April 2007, Claude Julien was axed by the Devils, even though they were second in the conference with 107 points? The reasoning was apparently because they weren't ready for the Stanley Cup Playoffs...

So, we apparently aren't ready for an mighty-mite-exhibition game...

But in all seriousness, the Devils are cutthroat enough to axe a very successful coach (see 2008-09 Bruins, Boston), right before the playoffs begin, and our strongest argument for not axing Mac-T is because we're in the middle of a playoff "race"? It's more like a clusterf#ck to the playoffs in the West. I see no reason for keeping a coach on when you have two performances like this within 10 days of each other.

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#157 David S
February 07 2009, 02:16PM
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I don't mean to be a dick here, but I can't understand how you guys figured this would go any other way. I'm too lazy to do it, but I'm willing to bet if you compared the rosters man-to-man, every Detroit player would be better than every Edmonton player - or pretty darn close. The Wings are just a vastly superior team.

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#158 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:16PM
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What we're witnessing is a team that doesn't give a flying f**k.

The funny thing is there will be MacT and Lowe apologists who still think this team is good.

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#159 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 02:17PM
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How do Huddy Moores and Baconburger get off scott free....Toss them all!!

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#160 Gene's pubes
February 07 2009, 02:17PM
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By the sounds of it, Staios is the only one getting into it.

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#161 Poo Czar
February 07 2009, 02:17PM
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Is Bill Ranford THAT much older than Roli?

I STILL LOVE YOU BILLY!!!

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#162 I Am The Law
February 07 2009, 02:18PM
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@ Poo Czar: We want Billy!! *clap clap clapclapclap*

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#163 jeanshorts
February 07 2009, 02:19PM
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@ David S: Oh I don't think anyone seriously expected a win tonight, but to be this badly out played and be down by 5 goals in the first? I think that's a little unreasonable even for our crappy ass team.

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#164 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:19PM
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@ David S:

Dude. Give your head a shake.

At least in previous years, the team would still show some effort. There's none here. Normally the Oilers play Detroit well.

Christ, in the 90's those sad sacks put more effort in. As a season ticket holder for 30 years, I can say that I would rather watch those games in the 90's than what I'm seeing from this current group.

No one expects a win, but we do expect to at least see some drive and effort.

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#165 Milli
February 07 2009, 02:19PM
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i love listening to the detroit feed, they make it sound so good, ya know, how they are just pounding the oil, how dirty we play.....AWESOME.

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#166 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:20PM
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The officiating has been pretty suspect today as well.

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#167 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 02:21PM
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@ Wej: Mac T Apologists are people that dont know there ass from a hole in the ground Its all about the thesaurus for him..I would like to see all of them defend Mac and the boyz today...Where are you where are u ... Mac Tea baggers...

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#168 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:22PM
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@ Milli:

They are pounding us; and Reddox did get away with an obvious elbow.

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#169 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 02:23PM
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@ Milli: Listen to the edmonton feed ..dont worry rod and Bob are ripping them too..

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#170 Cory Dakin
February 07 2009, 02:23PM
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I wonder if Hossa is regretting his decision to not take that long term contract offer from the oilers right now...

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#171 I Am The Law
February 07 2009, 02:23PM
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Can we do it how they do in the KHL (or Varsity Blues) and fire Mac-T during intermission?

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#172 jeanshorts
February 07 2009, 02:24PM
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It's games like these that I wish Ray Ferraro was doing the color, because I would love to hear him just rip into how bad the Oilers are playing right now. Oh Ray. Please come put Louie DeBrusk out of his misery.

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#173 Milli
February 07 2009, 02:24PM
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@ I Am The Law:

I could not agree more. A debacle of monutmental proportions......AGAIN.

Well, this organization has turned into a debacle of monumental proportions.

And, I hate to say it, but it was nicely pointed out to me today by a Lames fan.....It's starting to look like Burke was right.

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#174 jeanshorts
February 07 2009, 02:25PM
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I Am The Law wrote:

Can we do it how they do in the KHL (or Varsity Blues) and fire Mac-T during intermission?

Souray for Player-Coach!!!!!!!

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#175 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 02:25PM
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2 mins for winning 5 nothing..lilya

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#176 David S
February 07 2009, 02:26PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Oh I don’t think anyone seriously expected a win tonight, but to be this badly out played and be down by 5 goals in the first? I think that’s a little unreasonable even for our crappy ass team.

Who knows. It might be pacing. The level of intensity these guys need to win against a normal team, let alone Detroit, may not be sustainable game-to-game. Maybe mentally they've checked out to play a hard one tomorrow night. Whatever. But I agree these games are hard to watch.

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#177 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 02:27PM
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@ Milli: oouch that one hurts...

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#178 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:28PM
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Hey Daryl. Your prized little possession SUCKS!

And I hate to say it, but Burke was right about Lowe.

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#179 Cory Dakin
February 07 2009, 02:28PM
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If I didn't know any better I would have thought there were 9 players out there killing Detroit's penalty.

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#180 jeanshorts
February 07 2009, 02:29PM
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Milli wrote:

It’s starting to look like Burke was right.

Okay, whoa whoa whoa. Things are looking bad, but my god man it's not that bad. Burke was right that we have a poorly run organization, but at least we are, for the most part, still competative. Although like someone said earlier our record is not indicative of our horrendous play night in and night out.

But I'm so excited for Burke to A) never have any success in Toronto and B) leave the franchise in shambles much like he did with Vancouver and now Anaheim.

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#181 David S
February 07 2009, 02:29PM
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BTW - I was at the last Detroit game here in Edmonton. If you think they look intimidatingly good on TV, it's x10 in person. Awesome team!

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#182 Milli
February 07 2009, 02:29PM
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@ Bru Man: hurts like watching this team....and ya, I hate lames fans.

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#183 Milli
February 07 2009, 02:29PM
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specially when they are right.

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#184 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 02:30PM
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@ jeanshorts: Good comment True That!!

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#185 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:31PM
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@ David S:

Stop making excuses. This team was poorly prepared, and has showed ZERO intensity.

They normally play up to better teams. This has nothing to do with 'pacing'. I've never heard such an asinine excuse.

Just embrace the fact that this team sucks, and will continue to do so as long as Lowe, MacT & Co. are running the show.

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#186 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 02:32PM
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@ Milli: I refer them to them as SHAMES FANS ..

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#187 R-DAWG
February 07 2009, 02:32PM
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Cory Dakin wrote:

I wonder if Hossa is regretting his decision to not take that long term contract offer from the oilers right now…

If by regretting you mean pissing himself laughing and not even giving it a second thought, let alone think about signing here next year...then yes!

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#188 Travis Dakin
February 07 2009, 02:32PM
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Cory Dakin wrote:

If I didn’t know any better I would have thought there were 9 players out there killing Detroit’s penalty.

The players in Edmonton want to lose too so they can hopefully get their ass traded thr f*ck outta this gong show.

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#189 Fiveandagame
February 07 2009, 02:32PM
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they are just toying with us.

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#190 R-DAWG
February 07 2009, 02:34PM
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"Time to build on some positives"???

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#191 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:34PM
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MacT gave Babcock his lunch money during the first intermission so Detroit won't run up the score.

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#192 Milli
February 07 2009, 02:34PM
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@ jeanshorts: that's what he does. I'm not saying he's right, but I am no longer saying he is wrong.

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#193 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 02:35PM
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If J.D.D stands his ground today he starts tomorrow!!!!

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#194 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:35PM
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And my comments are now being moderated why?

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#195 R-DAWG
February 07 2009, 02:35PM
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Holy crap, we killed 2 straight!!! What's next, a goal...thats me builing on the positives!!

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#196 Cory Dakin
February 07 2009, 02:36PM
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One positive... Deslauriers has an 18 minute shutout streak, and he's almost made more saves than Conklin has in a period less

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#197 Milli
February 07 2009, 02:36PM
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4 quick ones, and we're right back in it.

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#198 Travis Dakin
February 07 2009, 02:36PM
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Now the wings are pissing me off. They aren't even trying anymore. I want another 10 goal blowout.

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#199 Wej
February 07 2009, 02:36PM
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@ Bru Man:

I'm pretty sure JDD was starting tomorrow anyway.

Only 12 shots so far? Pathetic.

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#200 Cory Dakin
February 07 2009, 02:37PM
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@ Bru Man: MacTavish only starts Roli against Minnesota because he has such a stellar record against them.

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