GDB 67: Moreau and Souray in it to win it

Jason Gregor
March 12 2009 12:26PM

Oilers Captain Ethan Moreau

The Oilers looked like a team a few days before the start of the season, with 24 players, five coaches and third goalie Floyd Whitney on the ice for the morning skate today. They went through a bevy of cross-ice and two-on-two, and two-on-one passing drills. Sad thing is they didn’t come close to scoring as often as Peter Pocklington has been charged by creditors.

Sheldon Souray was out there and took part in every drill so he will suit up tonight. Ethan Moreau also skated hard, while wearing the darkest colour-tinted visor I’d seen, so expect him to play as well.

Moreau’s visor makes him look a bit like a Euro, but he insisted his game won’t change due to the visor.

What will change is the lineup. Moreau and Penner will dress tonight, and they’ll play on the same line with Kyle Brodziak.

21 – 10 – 83 12 – 89 – 78 19 – 13 – 34 18 – 51 – 27

This is how they will start but if the Kovalchuk - White - Little line gives the Oilers problems don’t be surprised to see Horcoff, Moreau and Pisani become a trio to try and shut them down.

MacTavish admitted the lines could become very interchangeable tonight. Altanta coach John Anderson told me yesterday on my show that he likes to juggle his lines a lot, so expect to see many different combinations tonight.

A Horcoff - Moreau - Pisani trio could become reality down the stretch as a shut-down line.

Don’t think MacTavish doesn’t listen to the radio or read the Internet based on his comments today. He was asked about O’Sullivan and his overall game.

“I’m trying to find offensive opportunities for O’Sullivan. I want to get him some power-play time. I’m not going to pigeon-hole him as a checker just yet, that’s apparently my expertise to turn offence into checkers. He is in the process right now, (he laughs) but hopefully he has more goals in him.”

It looks like MacTavish is going with his most offensive unit of the season. The competition for ice-time tonight should be fierce, and if players are going early MacTavish said they will play more.

The Thrashers are playing well right now, going 6-3-1 in their last ten, with Johan Hedberg between the pipes, so the Oilers can’t overlook the lottery-bound Thrashers.

Their top line of Kovalchuk - White - Little have combined for 82 goals and 183 points, compared to Hemsky - Horcoff - Penner’s 49 goals and 128 points. Look for Souray and Staios to match up against that line.

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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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#301 David S
March 12 2009, 10:11PM
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Right over Tom's shoulder. Helluva pass actually. But Roli has to stop that one. I mean, it's Marty freaking Reasoner FFS.

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#302 jeanshorts
March 12 2009, 10:14PM
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If we're going to lose to the Thrashers sans Kovie we might as well just throw in the towel right now. Seriously. What the hell is with this team. STOP PLAYING WITH MY HEART! It's very fragile.

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#303 Zamboni Driver
March 12 2009, 10:14PM
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...twice so far...

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#304 David S
March 12 2009, 10:17PM
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That started with Cogliano making like 99 - and getting pwn3d.

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#305 hockeysmack
March 12 2009, 10:24PM
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Sweet jesus this team sucks.

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#306 Kevin "Lets the shot go!" Quinn
March 12 2009, 10:31PM
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mediocre team mediocre results Cogs, that's on you pal...

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#307 roughneck
March 12 2009, 10:50PM
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simply painful.

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#308 Dennis
March 12 2009, 10:53PM
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Gregor: I like to challenge anything that I figure is fit to questions. Things like Rypien being better than 78 and some penalties being easier to kill off than others are the lowest hanging fruit for sure:)

My deal with Brule is what has Brule done that shows him to be a better fit as a bottom sixer than 78? Why can one guy take that role but the other's not fit to do so?

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#309 Dan from Wainwright FMNF
March 12 2009, 11:13PM
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MacT: screwy line combos, destroying the confidence of the young guys, over-using the "plumbers" (Reddox on first line? Huh?), 8 years of mediocre hockey, he's lost the confidence of the dressing room. I bleed copper and blue, but the Oil have turned up the "suck" knob too much the last few years, and it's high time MacT took appropriate responsibility.

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#310 topshelf
March 12 2009, 11:23PM
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@ Kevin "Lets the shot go!" Quinn: That was right at Gilbert. Instead of him trying to hit a double he should've caught the fly ball and Marty Sakic wouldn't have scored. PS. F*ck Sportsnet

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#311 Robin Brownlee
March 12 2009, 11:27PM
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Dennis wrote:

Gregor: I like to challenge anything that I figure is fit to questions.

No, Dennis, you and your gaggle of stats geeks like to question pretty much everything Gregor and I write, so don't try to sound so righteous.

There's a helluva lot of scrutiny, most of it fitting under the category of nit-picking, baiting and being pains in the ass, of the copy we turn out. Do you provide this same level of ongoing and incessent inquiry to items posted on any other websites? I'd like those links. How about to any of the other writers on this site? I think we know the answer to that one.

That, speaking only for myself, is what makes this "it's just reasoned debate" facade you trot out such a joke. You come to our website and hack away at two writers incessently, but at the same time, we have to read "Dennis called it . . . " or "As JW rightfully pointed out" in an ongloing reacharound and display of mutual admiration. It's as sickening as it is obvious.

We've been through all this before. It's really tired.

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#312 David S
March 13 2009, 12:35AM
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@Dennis - I guess the Captain Obvious in me wonders why you don't call up Gregor and Brownlee on their radio show? Seems like a real conversation might be more productive than this incessant chirping. I'd take work off to hear that broadcast.

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#313 TonyT
March 13 2009, 02:17AM
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@ Gregor or Brownlee: Honestly, I don't believe the Oilers will keep Gilbert over Grebeshkov, but how much (or for who) could the Oilers get for Gilbert? Also, at trade deadline Sportsnet kept mentioning Bouwmeester to Edmonton during the offseason, is there stock to that?

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#314 Dennis
March 13 2009, 04:36AM
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RB: it's hard to get mad when a fellow uses the term "gaggle."

I actually liked that:)

To get back to the point, I went at JW about praising 18' season thus far but the reason why him and I agree so much is we both believe in numbers. As an aside, just how many times have you disagreed with Gregor?:) So, what's the difference?

The reason why I don't go to other cites to debate points is because no one else has guys with access and or no one else has guys who come across as so authoritative. And, if you fellows were guys who believed in numbers, we'd be on the same page and there would be less to debate.

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#315 treblecharger
March 13 2009, 06:32AM
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freeze wrote:

why does the new site stall my computer every time a page reloads? (firefox-osx) status shows it bogging down while it connects to google-analytics.com

Same here, (firefox-osx)

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#316 Travis Dakin
March 13 2009, 06:53AM
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Dennis wrote:

Things like Rypien being better than 78 and some penalties being easier to kill off than others are the lowest hanging fruit for sure:)

Maybe I'm always just reading that wrong or not getting the joke but you always bring up the "some penalites being easier to kill" thing as a cut down.... You do realize that what he meant by that was the team would be more tolerant of a penalty taken in an aggressive sense as opposed to a lazy hook or a just not doing their job... A penalty taken as a result of coming to the aid of a team mate would be character building in the room and your team would gladly kill that penalty for you.

Not that it is somehow physially easier to kill a penalty. I know I am just not getting the joke... That's gotta be it.

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#317 hat pughes
March 13 2009, 07:02AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Why can Atlanta’s #1 Centre have 30 goals but ours can only have 15?

Cause Atlanta's #1 center really is a #1 center not a 3rd liner dressed up like a first liner......

whoops wait a minute...Im back to my minor hockey days where the coaches dont designate lines by number cause its emotionally stressful on the kids. So lets just go with the "Whiffcoff Line".

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#318 Travis Dakin
March 13 2009, 08:12AM
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Fu*king Horcoff bashers. Two years ago everybody hated him... last year everybody loved him. This year, everybody hates him. If you think Shawn Horcoff isn't a number 2 center then you have no idea about hockey. Granted he is having a sub par season as all players do from time to time but he will rebound. He brings everything you need in a top center. Yes there are better centers in the league. When him an hemsky get a true LW to play with and Horcoff isn't being over used because MacTavish has no other option, he will be back to almost a point a game player. All the Horcoff bashing really just brings down the collective credibility of the Oiler fan base.

-05/06 73 points in 79 games on route to game seven of the stanley cup final. -07/08 50 points in 53 games (all with a bum shoulder) -over 50% on the dot -Defensively sound and a PK machine. -Second to none work ethic and a leader. In case you haven't noticed, but this team is sorely lacking in those.

Collectively it is this team that is bringing his, Hemsky's and all other players numbers down. Replace him with ANY other center in the league and they would fail on this miserable team too.

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#319 Travis Dakin
March 13 2009, 08:15AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

If you think Shawn Horcoff isn’t a number 2 center then you have no idea about hockey

HAHAHA obviously that is a slight keystroke error. Oh that's good comedy on my part. Please replace the number "2" with a big giant numero uno.

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#320 David S
March 13 2009, 08:23AM
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That's a Freudian slip there if I ever saw one Mr Dakin.

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#321 Peter Pan
March 13 2009, 08:38AM
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Dennis wrote:

My deal with Brule is what has Brule done that shows him to be a better fit as a bottom sixer than 78?

Hey Dumb Ass Dennis... the only reason Brule is not playing in the NHL is solely due the rules and conditions of NHL waivers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Brule is a player that does not have to clear waivers because he has not played enough regular season games. In addition, he is only 6 regualr season games away from being eligible to be placed on waivers. The Oilers can not afford to lose him and, unfortunately for him, he was sent back to Springfield; not for poor play, but formalities in player transfer. Pouliot is the opposite. He needs to clear waivers and a demotion to the Farm may lead to the Oilers losing him for nothing in return.

As for the tangibles that the players bring, Brule's style of game would be much more beneficial to this current lineup, then Pouliot does. He's more fiesty, he can fly, and is better suited to the bottom six role than is Pouliot.

But ultimately, neither is a huge upgrade over the other.

In regards to love affair you appear to have with JW, its gross.

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#322 Mike Krushelnyski
March 13 2009, 09:11AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

All the Horcoff bashing really just brings down the collective credibility of the Oiler fan base. -05/06 73 points in 79 games on route to game seven of the stanley cup final. -07/08 50 points in 53 games (all with a bum shoulder) -over 50% on the dot -Defensively sound and a PK machine. -Second to none work ethic and a leader. In case you haven’t noticed, but this team is sorely lacking in those.

Don't forget handsome as all get out

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#323 Zamboni Driver
March 13 2009, 09:13AM
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@ Travis Dakin: Seven

Million

Dollars

Wasted

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#324 W.T.
March 13 2009, 09:18AM
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W.T. would like R.B. and J.G. to give us your thoughts on how the Oilers can lose to Atlanta without Kovy, at home, when Atlanta is out of the playoffs and Oil have must win games AT HOME.

W.T. heard Ron Wilson tell the entire country that he has a bad hockey team. Did W.T. miss MacT or KLowe say the same about the oil?

W.T. says it is carma that Marty Sakic scores goal in OT. Nice trade to get him back home.

W.T. can't believe KLowe is hiding during the heat of the race. Why???

Is Klowe any different than Peter Puck producing a fraud? Peter Puck did it with paper assets, Klowe is doing it with on ice assets.

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#325 CurtisS
March 13 2009, 09:22AM
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Fire Mact!!!

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#326 Dennis
March 13 2009, 09:25AM
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Peter Pan: Thanks, bud! You know what, I never did hear tell of dem waiver claims!!!

Hey, Berndine, Peter Pan is up on all dem fancy rules!:)

If Brule was good enough, he'd be here. I know the waiver rules play some part in it, but usefulness to the club would supercede all. There was a way he could force himself into the top 14 and he simply didn't. Look at his stats again this year, the's guy's future usefulness is in question.

And, because 78's played in the top nine before so, outside of the fact that Brule "can fly":D, 78's kept the GA down while playing in that role and he's the better option of the two.

And I've got no problem going after JW but the young fella just makes so much bloody sense:)

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#327 I'm a Scientist!
March 13 2009, 09:31AM
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@ Travis Dakin: I was going to say... geesh, what is this guys problem, i DO think Horcs is a number 2 center. He would be a great number 2, and i don't know who would argue with that. Number 1 center though... he is OK, there is probably better out there, but I am not a horc-hater.

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#328 CurtisS
March 13 2009, 09:38AM
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So let me get this straight

Mact benches penner for sticking up for a team mate??

Fire Mact!

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#329 Robin Brownlee
March 13 2009, 09:40AM
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Dennis wrote:

The reason why I don’t go to other cites to debate points is because no one else has guys with access and or no one else has guys who come across as so authoritative. And, if you fellows were guys who believed in numbers, we’d be on the same page and there would be less to debate.

And that's the crux of it right there. The arguments you make day after day and week after week are based on an agenda: poking holes in the arguments of the two MSM guys who see the game and assess it differently than you do. What we base our points of view on, how we see the game and the fact we are MSM guys isn't going to change no matter often you come here and run the same schtick. It's boring. You made your point the first 100 times. We get it.

As for numbers, at least the ones on this site, they show in no uncertain terms that people want to read what Gregor and I write. It doesn't mean we're right all the time. It doesn't mean there isn't room for debate and disagreement. But this ongoing nit-picking based almost solely on the fact two writers don't share the depth of your belief in advanced stats, while one does, is a waste of everybody's time.

The basis for our opinions isn't going to change no matter how often you berate us for not asking the "tough questions" or drag out the same tired arguments.

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#330 Colin
March 13 2009, 09:41AM
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Wow that was a sad affair.

Also losing a Hockey Game to Atlanta at the hands of Joe Sakic2 is pretty embarrassing.

1-4 against the 5 in a row loser section is pretty pitiful. This team isn't making the playoffs at this rate. Two of(Since the top 6 is starting to solidify) the 6 billion teams left in contention can suck less than the Oilers current pace I'm sure.

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#331 Archaeologuy
March 13 2009, 09:42AM
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@ Travis Dakin:

Honestly? You actually think Horcoff is a real #1 Centre?

I cant believe you'd call out other people for not knowing hockey and then claim that a guy who's averaged 41.25 points a season over 8 years is a true #1.

If face-off percentage translated into #1 centre status then Kris Draper and Antoine Vermette should be leading the league in ice-time.

oooooh, I'm so impressed with the two good seasons that Horcoff managed to have in 8 years of playing with the Oilers. One year he almost had 25 goals! Someone give that guy Marion Hossa money next year! Oh...we already did? Great!

People like you are part of the problem. Horc has one good season and it buys him 6 more at premium price, Penner is the same, Pisani had one good 3 month stretch and now he makes 2.5 mill on the 3rd line. Moreau is a 4th liner trapped in a 3rd liners role and he makes 2 mill.

All those guys are so over-valued it's disgusting. And you actually defend these guys. Only Colorado, Columbus, Montreal, NYI, Phoenix, and St. Louis do not have a C that is outscoring Whiffcoff. Might I add that Sakic and Lang have been hurt, and Phoenix traded Jokinen.

Enjoy defending Horc for the next 5 years because next year when the new coach has no emotional attachment to him the guy will be playing the 3rd line.

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#332 topshelf
March 13 2009, 09:49AM
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Horcoff will make 7 million next year. He has to get 90 pts to justify that. End of story.

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#333 Colin
March 13 2009, 09:57AM
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Horcoff's production is hurt this year by being overused by the coach and too much in defensive situations. That said he's not worth 7 million. He's a 65-70 point guy(assuming he has a good season)when playing with good linemates. He's a very good second line centre/not solid 1st line centre.

If he put up 82pts he'd be worth his contract. 4.5 -5 mil is probably what he's worth though, so at least his actual cap hit(5.5) isn't terribly over inflated(although it's still too much).

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#334 Jonathan Willis
March 13 2009, 10:02AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

No, Dennis, you and your gaggle of stats geeks like to question pretty much everything Gregor and I write, so don’t try to sound so righteous.

Speaking for myself, I question pretty much everything I read. I've been on different sides of arguments with stats people (Vic Ferrari, Lowetide, mc79hockey, and even Dennis on occasion) and with you and Gregor as well.

I've been working on showing more respect for folks I disagree with (it's just a game and it's just the internet, after all) since I was out of line to take certain shots that I did at you and Gregor earlier in the year.

There's nothing wrong with asking questions, though - it's how we learn. Personally, I like it when different stats guys question me because I know I'm not infallible. I know that you realize you aren't perfect either, so maybe it isn't so much the questions as the way they're asked, yes?

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#335 Jonathan Willis
March 13 2009, 10:06AM
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@ topshelf:

Just a friendly point - wander over to nhlnumbers.com, sort the players by cap hit for next year, and check out how many folks in Horcoff's range have a hope in hell of hitting ninety points.

Given that NHL paychecks seem to have offensive production as what drives them, Horcoff's contract is probably a little high in terms of years and dollars, but mostly it's years that are the concern. 5.5-million a year is a little high, but not way out of line with what other players in his category are making. If you don't believe me, just watch what Henrik Sedin gets signed for, or look up a fellow named Chris Drury.

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#336 Dennis
March 13 2009, 10:08AM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Well, I don't think the arguments are tired in the least and just as I seemingly won't change your mind about things, you won't change me from questioning things:)

I sorta wondered if you knew what this was going to be when you agreed to it. Did you think everyone would agree with you all the time? You said you don't think you're right all the time? well, then why does it drive you batty when people question you?

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#337 Chris
March 13 2009, 10:11AM
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@ Dennis: Are you actually going to argue that waiver rules and politics play no part in lineup decisions? If that is the case why did the Oil move Garon and play Roli for 23 straight games? Pouliot is a tweener period. (Terrible waste of a first round pick from probably the best draft class ever) You will be the ONLY Oiler fan who cares when Pouliot finally moves on.

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#338 Colin
March 13 2009, 10:23AM
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Chris wrote:

You will be the ONLY Oiler fan who cares when Pouliot finally moves on.

But then we won't be able to make Poo jokes......

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#339 Archaeologuy
March 13 2009, 10:33AM
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@ Dennis:

Dennis, were you not hugged enough as a child? Were you the smartest kid in Hickville Alberta before you moved to the big city? Did you grow up as an only child who never lost an argument/discussion because your parents refused to let your confidence get too low?

if you dont think your incessant whinning is tired then there is no hope for you. You're plugging up the posts with the equivalent of some god-squader daring a biologist to convince him of evolution.

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#340 Jason Gregor
March 13 2009, 10:33AM
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TonyT wrote:

Honestly, I don’t believe the Oilers will keep Gilbert over Grebeshkov, but how much (or for who) could the Oilers get for Gilbert? Also, at trade deadline Sportsnet kept mentioning Bouwmeester to Edmonton during the offseason, is there stock to that?

Gilbert would be worth a 2nd line forward plus a possible prospect or pick I would think. He plays just under 22 minutes a night, and is top 20 in scoring for D-men. I'm not as sure as you that they would keep Grebeshkov over Gilbert, unless they can sign him to a significantly lower contract.

Unless this team acquires some proven scorers, or they acquire one via trading a scoring D-man it is hard to give up either Gilbert or Grebeshkov because they bring a lot of offence to this team.

As for J-Bow, would the Oilers have interest? Of course, but my sources tell me the chances are very slim he signs here.

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#341 Jonathan Willis
March 13 2009, 10:34AM
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Chris wrote:

Pouliot is a tweener period.

I think the odds are in favour of Pouliot turning into a decent third liner, personally. It's definitely early to write him off.

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#342 Jonathan Willis
March 13 2009, 10:37AM
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@ Archaeologuy:

Do you seriously think Dennis adds nothing of value to the discussion? His work with scoring chances alone makes his input valuable, however much you disagree with his presentation.

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#343 Chris
March 13 2009, 10:38AM
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Dennis wrote:

I know the waiver rules play some part in it,

Sorry. My bad. 327 posts are a lot to absorb. You acknowledge that waiver rules plat SOME part in roster decisions. With the Oilers, I'd contend, that waiver rules and politics play TOO LARGE a part in roster management. (For example... Garon.)

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#344 CurtisS
March 13 2009, 10:38AM
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Am I the only one that has a problem of Mact sitting a guy for sticking up for his team mate?

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#345 Tyler
March 13 2009, 10:50AM
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He didn't sit him for sticking up for his team mate. The fourth line had one more ES shift after Penner returned. 3-3 game, offensive zone faceoff. He sent out Hemsky, a natural RW, to play RW, instead of Penner. That was it for the fourth line at ES for the night.

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#346 Chris
March 13 2009, 10:51AM
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CurtisS wrote:

Am I the only one that has a problem of Mact sitting a guy for sticking up for his team mate?

Penner sat around for 45min of real time...

The game intensity had increased and Penner was cold. I think it was a wise decision by MacT to shelter Penner from those potentially disasterous final minutes. Penner had one hell of a game... why ruin it? I disagree with how MacT has handled Penner all season, but in this instance I agree with sitting the player.

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#347 Archaeologuy
March 13 2009, 10:57AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I didnt say he doesnt add anything, but when 2 guys are clearly at a stalemate and things break down to...

Dennis wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee: I sorta wondered if you knew what this was going to be when you agreed to it. Did you think everyone would agree with you all the time? You said you don’t think you’re right all the time? well, then why does it drive you batty when people question you?

Where in that back and forth where Dennis acted like his feelings were hurt that Brownlee and Gregor didnt let him win the argument did I overlook the wicked great stuff.

Come on Willis. Just like the Oilers trying to make the playoffs under MacT, you eventually have to say, "What's the point?"

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#348 Colin
March 13 2009, 10:57AM
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CurtisS wrote:

Am I the only one that has a problem of Mact sitting a guy for sticking up for his team mate?

I thought he was booted not sat. If he was sat, that's a load, I don't know what MacT wants from this guy, he showed up to play, stuck up for his teammate and gets benched? What more can you ask for?

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#349 Chris
March 13 2009, 11:05AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I've argued in the past that the Oilers owe it to themselves to be patient with Pouliot... based on who Oilers management passed on that draft day, they had better give Pouliot every chance to succeed. When I diss Pouliot it is a partially emotional reaction.(I admit that) I dislike Pouliot because he is NOT Parise, Getzlaf, or Richards... I dislike the fact that Pouliot will never be the first line center to play with Hemsky like these other guys Prendergast took a pass on.

I also liked to diss Stortini in the past... based purely on emotion. I hated the way Oilers management discarded big Georges, and then tried to forcefeed Stortini down our throats as a viable replacemnt... Stortini has played his way into my good books. I'm still waiting for Pouliot to do the same!

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#350 CurtisS
March 13 2009, 11:06AM
Trash it!
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@ Chris: 45 of that was a 20 min intermission the rest of them sat also.

That is Bull ****. Simple. He got out of the box at the 13 minute mark. I can not find on any nhl site that Penner had a shift in the 3rd period.

You think it was wise to sit a player after he stuck up for your star?

Wasnt Moreau the one that did it in Dallas not too long ago? He got the approval from Mact at that point.

Now Penner does it and its a double standard? Didnt Mact want Penner to play with more of a edge? He does and gets sit?

Fire Mact

Fire Mact

Fire Mact!!!!!!!!!

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