GDB 68: It's simple – chemistry's either there, or not

Jason Gregor
March 14 2009 03:25PM

pennistry

Do you remember your English 10 teacher? Mine was Mrs. Stroud and I couldn’t stand her obvious bias. The first essay I wrote I got 69%, and every one after that was within three percent + or -. I had 85% in grade nine English, and I got 84% in English 20, so I couldn’t understand how I became such a bad writer over that one summer. Of course my other grades weren’t stellar, but that’s not my point.

My buddy always got 80+ on his essays so late in the semester, to prove my point, we wrote our own essays and switched the names. I still got 71 and he got an 84. When I told the principal what we did, and how Madame Stroud was clearly biased, he wanted proof. Well, since in my time we didn’t have a home computer, I wrote on paper and then typed it at school. I always threw my paper away like it was some big accomplishment having it typed. Needless to say nothing happened, and Stroud hated me even more after that.

My point is, as humans we are all biased, but teachers (My mom is one, and she just got her doctorate so don’t take offence, teachers) and coaches have to try to hide and ignore those biases. Craig MacTavish has to find a way to put his frustration and bias towards Dustin Penner aside, for the sake of his team (and possibly MacT’s job).

Ales Kotalik is not working on the first line, and there isn’t time to find out if the chemistry will develop.

“I think you can see chemistry in one game, and it’s there or it isn’t,” said Thrashers head coach John Anderson.

Anderson is in his rookie season in the NHL, but he won four championships in the AHL so he knows how to determine chemistry and a winning formula.

This is not the time to send messages or get the point across to players. The Oilers are in a dogfight for the playoffs and they have only won three of their past 11 games. A few more losses and they will be in chase mode once again.

Ice your best line-up, your best possible combinations and go from there.

Put Penner back with Hemsky and Horcoff. Move Kotalik back to his natural right wing along side Gagner and Nilsson. Leave O’Sullivan with Cogliano and Pisani because they have chemistry and then you have Moreau, Brodziak and Stortini as your energy line and potential shut-down line.

If Penner has one of his “going-through-the-motions” games, sit him and promote O’Sullivan there and Moreau up to the third line. There are lots of options within the game to get guys going. Make it a healthy and competitive atmosphere. Play whichever line is going, and if it is a different top nine forwards every night that play in the final ten minutes, so be it.

Sure, Penner can be frustrating, but he has also shown in the past that after a benching he can go on a productive ten game stretch, and right now you need him to be productive. Like it or not, he is your best option on the first line. You said it yourself earlier this year, so go with you gut.

Kotalik wasn’t lighting it up before he came here, so help him out and put him back on his right wing, and more importantly play him on the left point on your first PP unit. Your PP has stunk for the past month. You are 6 for 51 in your past 13 games, so it clearly isn’t working.

You are six points back of Columbus all of a sudden for 6th spot, and that is the spot all Albertans want. Fans don’t want 7th or 8th, they NEED 6th place.

Our economy is in a bit of a dip, it’s not warm enough for girls to wear summer dresses yet, they’re trying to take fighting out of hockey, and the Oilers have the most clothed ice girls in the league. Give the fans something to cheer about, check your pride and ice your best possible lineup.

LOYALTY IS TAUGHT

While many of us have bemoaned that there is too much loyalty within the Oiler organization, yesterday’s actions by the former GODFATHER of Oilerville showed where Lowe and company learned it.

Glen Sather, who orchestrated and conducted the glory days of the Oilers, stood up for his buddy Peter Pocklington and forked out a cool million for Puck’s bail. That is loyalty.

Whether you like Pocklington or not, Sather’s gesture re-affirms the depth of the Boys On The Bus loyalty. A true friend is one who stands beside you in a time of need, and Pocklington definitely needs one, and has a pal in Sather.

I understand where Lowe and MacTavish got their loyalty from, so if anything MacTavish owes it to Lowe to play Penner and try to save face for his GM.

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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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#51 Mr P
March 14 2009, 08:22PM
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F*** sakes, Hemsky needs to start scoring

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#52 Arnie
March 14 2009, 08:23PM
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They are flying...Hemsky looks sick tonight...

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#53 Arnie
March 14 2009, 08:24PM
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oilersseasonticketholdersince99 wrote:

what about Gagner ?

He doesn't lollygag like Penner and Nilsson and that is why

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#54 Arnie
March 14 2009, 08:26PM
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What a tilt....Hey Dennis I guess you turned you TV off for that because no one likes..Peckham is great...he had the jackhammer going...

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#55 Mr P
March 14 2009, 08:27PM
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I love Pekham

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#56 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
March 14 2009, 08:27PM
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dw wrote:

@ oilersseasonticketholdersince99: I didn’t call compare him to Manson or Bundy. It was an illustration of how just because there is another person out there that is more evil than you (Manson evil > Bundy evil) doesn’t mean that you are not a jerk. Unfortunately, I am not able to draw a picture for you, or bring out the hand puppets in order to enhance your understanding. I don’t even know anybody that worked at Gainers, Invested with the Principal Group, etc. my opinion is based solely on his actions. I am just waiting for the point in this discussion where you blame Kevin Lowe for what is happening to Pocklington.

You obviously have a Hard on for Pocklington what part of you being entitled to your opinion and me mine that you dont understand? maybe I should paint you a picture. Your the one who is dragging K lowe into this

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#57 Mr P
March 14 2009, 08:40PM
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Pisani has taken some crappy penalties in the last couple games.

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#58 Arnie
March 14 2009, 08:40PM
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Can they get a shot on a two-on-one??? This might come back to haunt us if they don't score soon.

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#59 Mr P
March 14 2009, 08:41PM
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Is Crawford senile or what. He can't spit out s**t

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#60 Arnie
March 14 2009, 08:42PM
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Surprise surprise....weak on the puck...come on Gilbert....be stronger

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#61 oilersordeath
March 14 2009, 08:45PM
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Thats it right there! The Avs get 1 chance to bury it and they do it. Oliers get 10 chances and NOTHING!!!! This team can F_CK up a wet dream!!

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#62 Arnie
March 14 2009, 08:50PM
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Have a good one Nation...out on the town I go...lets hope they can finish in the final 40....

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#63 Phil
March 14 2009, 09:23PM
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Man people talk about offense being the problem on this team... I think you can pin a lot of it on MacTavish, for all his constant line juggling, not putting players where they should be or would like to be playing i.e. more comfortable playing... This team's problem is still defense... they run around like chickens with their f*cking heads cut off in their own zone the moment they feel an ounce of pressure.

I suspect it's still all a part of the maturation process. And by God I love Stevey Staios, but he can't be playing in the top 4, he's a 6-7 D-man at best. They stil need a solid shutdown guy, who just wants to hurt people and throw a big hit, play D etc. etc.

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#64 Dennis
March 14 2009, 09:45PM
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Gregor: but what about the whole season though? How those that segment sample look regarding 46 vs 78? And how about since 89-78 have played together? Haven't see you seen how they meshed?

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#65 Mr P
March 14 2009, 09:45PM
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This team can't put together 3 shifts in a row. They started the game on fire took the play to the Avs and then said f**k it. If they don't get a goal they pack it in. This is frustrating to watch. Bear down for one whole game for f**k sakes.

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#66 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 09:48PM
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Oilers on fire tonight. If I'm the Wings or Sharks, I would be worried and start scouting them NOW

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#67 dw
March 14 2009, 09:50PM
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I like the offensive possibilities of the Hemsky-Gagner-O'Sullivan line that MacT threw out there in the second but I cringe at the thought of them getting caught in their own zone.

And I'm sure that Horcoff now cringes when he looks to his left and sees Penner then looks to his right and sees Kotalik.

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#68 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 09:54PM
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Kotalik great addition for Oil. He looks great.

Hey, how is Ottawa's record since coaching change?

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#69 Phil
March 14 2009, 09:56PM
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dw wrote:

I like the offensive possibilities of the Hemsky-Gagner-O’Sullivan line that MacT threw out there in the second but I cringe at the thought of them getting caught in their own zone. And I’m sure that Horcoff now cringes when he looks to his left and sees Penner then looks to his right and sees Kotalik.

Simple thought: A risk worth taking.

Hemsky - not that bad defensively Gagner - sure he's small, but he works his ass off Sully - no slouch in his own end

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#70 Mr P
March 14 2009, 10:10PM
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Why don't the Oilers try?

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#71 Phil
March 14 2009, 10:10PM
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And wouldn'tcha know it.

Horrible penalty by Souray there. He just hasn't been the same in the 2nd half.

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#72 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 10:10PM
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ref's have it in for #44. Ref's fault we are losing

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#73 Clifford J. Boostrom
March 14 2009, 10:16PM
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Boy this is a great site, I would like to post a question hopefully someone can ask Ryan Smyth what type a coach Mr. MacTavish is . PLease and thank you

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#74 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 10:19PM
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First line is on fire tonight. I'm not worried at all that we are going to win. Just a matter of MacT continuing with his great strategy of mixing and matching his lines. He reminds me of Scotty Bowman.

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#75 Mr P
March 14 2009, 10:22PM
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@ AlBundy:

~

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#76 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 10:23PM
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I heard that MacT was very very upset with Kevin Lowe when Ryan was traded. Not sure if that is true but I suspect Ryan was a MacT type player, you know work hard and get plenty of ice time. Reminds me of Toby Peterson. The team has never been the same since Toby left

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#77 Phil
March 14 2009, 10:24PM
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Yes he truly is fantastic.

PS - powerplay coming up.

Grrrrrrreat!

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#78 Phil
March 14 2009, 10:26PM
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OK, I will admit this one has been quite a bit better so far. I'll be happier when they score though.

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#79 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 10:26PM
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Penner is going to score. From press box to hero. Here he comes, he is a great player and a very nice man

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#80 Mr P
March 14 2009, 10:30PM
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I am starting to dislike this team.

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#81 Mr P
March 14 2009, 10:31PM
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When was the last time they played 60 minutes of good hockey? The game they best Montreal 7-2.

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#82 Clifford J. Boostrom
March 14 2009, 10:31PM
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Finally a 1st line and Horc is where he belongs. Now John Francis Desjarlais gets a start and Roli is rested we will see a different team. Thank You

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#83 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 10:31PM
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Man we have had a tough schedule lately, Leafs, Atlanta and now Rockies. Gee, it just isn't fair.,

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#84 Clifford J. Boostrom
March 14 2009, 10:34PM
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If Moreau is out on the kill they score

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#85 Mr P
March 14 2009, 10:34PM
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@ AlBundy: ~ = sarcasim

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#86 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 10:34PM
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Ref's can't take that away from #44 but look what they do to Penner. Ref's don't want Oil to win, just not fair for our boys that are working so hard tonight. Horcoff playing way over everyone's head, #37 is a Paul Coffey in the making. Come on boys, you can do it even though the ref's are against you.

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#87 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 10:36PM
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I wonder if Moreau can even see the puck or maybe he is seeing two pucks tonight. What a hero, a real captian. He does everything except play goal. He IS Oiler hockey

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#88 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 10:38PM
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Maybe Mact(Scotty) puts JFD in net for shootout. That would be awesome. That would throw off Rockies for sure. I think he will do it

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#89 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 10:41PM
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Hall of Famer Rod and Fred are really funny tonight. You guys getting all the jokes they are throwing out tonight. Way too funny

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#90 Clifford J. Boostrom
March 14 2009, 10:45PM
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AlBundy wrote:

Hall of Famer Rod and Fred are really funny tonight. You guys getting all the jokes they are throwing out tonight. Way too funny

are you talking about Stauffer? He did refer himself to a Tom Sellik type in his younger years(80's) and now he said he looks like Fred Flintstone...... Damn Roli he's too tired take your self out your a liabilty

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#91 Mr P - FMNF
March 14 2009, 10:47PM
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Pisani in overtime 2 nights in a row. You're a flippin' genius MacT. Play for the tie because thats what we need. F**K!

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#92 Clifford J. Boostrom
March 14 2009, 10:51PM
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FMNF FMNF FMNF FMNF FMNF FMNF When will they realize

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#93 dw
March 14 2009, 10:52PM
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3 wins in last 12 games. Not the stretch run I was banking on.

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#94 Clifford J. Boostrom
March 14 2009, 10:54PM
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MacT's press conference

http://oilers.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=616&id=36624

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#95 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 10:54PM
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Hemsky back checking hard on the overtime winner. Gee, that was a tough one. I thought for sure we would go to shootout and then win with the big three shooters. We have the best big 3 in shootout shooters in the league. Darn it. I see #44 was second star, ref's couldn't take that away from him. Ryan was third star, I bet MacT(Scotty) was upset that Kevin Lowe traded him. I'm not worried at all, boys are playing real hard and puck just not bouncing their way. It will come and we make playoffs and then look out Whyte ave. Here we come this year, I feel it in my bones. Trade deadline pick ups are really adding lots to the team. Way to go Steve. Great moves

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#96 Clifford J. Boostrom
March 14 2009, 10:56PM
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MacT's press conference opps sorry hxxp://oilers.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=616&id=36624

change xx to tt

Thank You

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#97 AlBundy
March 14 2009, 10:56PM
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Yes, I heard him on the radio call himself Fred Flinstone and I just started laughing. He is so funny. Bob/Fred, you are way better than poor Morley Scott. What is he doing now anyways?@ Clifford J. Boostrom:

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#98 dw
March 14 2009, 10:57PM
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14 games left: 2 vs. CGY, 2 vs. ANH, 2 vs. MIN, SJ, VAN, LA, STL, COL, DET, CHI and PHO (not in that order). If we can't beat the ATL's and the COL's of the world...

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#99 Travis Dakin
March 14 2009, 10:57PM
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@ AlBundy:

That rant was AWESOME!

I wish I could look at life like that. HA

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#100 Clifford J. Boostrom
March 14 2009, 10:59PM
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I have MacT's comments memorized you will hear Yah we played well just a bad bounce on Roli,Yah he was great again.

But your playing the last place team. please help me understand.

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