Former Oilers in the Playoffs: Opening Night

Jonathan Willis
April 16 2009 10:48AM

Ray Whitney

So the Edmonton Oilers are out of the playoffs. There are, however, Edmonton Oilers who are still in the playoffs – because really, who among us is ready to sever our emotional ties to players as renowned as Joffrey Lupul and Tom Poti?

In any case, here’s a quick look at every ex-Oiler in action last night, and my picks for best three performances.

Hurricanes vs. Devils

Former Oilers: Ray Whitney, Sergei Samsonov, Joni Pitkanen, Erik Cole

We start with the Carolina/New Jersey series because there are four former Oilers playing in it. All the ex-Oilers in this series come on the Carolina side of the equation, and if the series keeps going the way it did last night they aren’t likely to look very good at the end of it. By the numbers, Ray Whitney had easily the best night (although Joni Pitkanen led the team in total ice-time) – here’s the summary for all of them:

  • Ray Whitney: 1 goal, 2 PIM, 19:10 TOI, 4 shots and 1 missed shot
  • Sergei Samsonov: 1 hit, -1, 13:09 TOI, no shots and 1 shot attempt blocked
  • Joni Pitkanen: 1 hit, 2 blocks, 1 takeaway, -1, 23:21 TOI, 1 shot and 1 missed shot
  • Erik Cole: 3 hits, -1, 17:59 TOI, 1 shot and 1 missed shot

Flyers vs. Penguins

Former Oilers: Joffrey Lupul, Bill Guerin, Petr Sykora, Mathieu Garon

None of the Oilers in this series had a terribly noteworthy game last night; Garon didn’t play, and none of the forwards recorded a point. Bill Guerin didn’t hesitate to make his presence felt, though, fighting with Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn (who had a rough night overall). Guerin scored the takedown on Coburn, but it was more of a wrestling match than an actual fight, so it wasn’t a clear win. By the numbers:

  • Joffrey Lupul: 2 PIM, 16:30 TOI, 1 hit, 2 hosts, 1 giveaway, 1 shot attempt blocked
  • Bill Guerin: 5 PIM, 14:54 TOI, +1, 1 hit, 3 shots, 1 missed shot, 2 shot attempts blocked
  • Petr Sykora: 14:02 TOI, 1 shot, +1

Blues vs. Canucks

Former Oilers: Brad Winchester, Jeff Woywitka

I watched this game and have my thoughts up at CanucksArmy, and there’s another good take on things over at Nucks Misconduct (for a Blues’ take, see St. Louis Gametime). In any case, Winchester was used sparingly (his most notable moment was earning a 10 minute misconduct in a scrum at the end of the first), although Woywitka had a very nice game with a couple of very good plays that don’t show up on the stats sheet. In any case, here are the numbers for both:

  • Brad Winchester: 10 PIM, 7:25 TOI, 3 hits, 1 shot
  • Jeff Woywitka: 18:59 TOI, 2 hits, 1 shot and 1 shot attempt blocked, 1 block

Rangers vs. Capitals

Former Oilers: Stephen Valiquette, Tom Poti

Oddly enough, the Rangers don’t have many ex-Oilers these days. Stephen Valiquette played a dozen minutes with the team half a decade ago, and he never left the bench (and probably won’t, barring injury). This leaves fan favourite Tom Poti as the only Oiler in the series. Poti played 18:29 on the night and led the Capitals in short-handed ice-time (4:50). He had one shot, and took a second one that missed, and finished the evening +1.

Three Stars

My take for best former Oilers on the night:

  1. Ray Whitney
  2. Bill Guerin
  3. Tom Poti

Whitney gets the nod for his goal, Guerin for six shots attempted on net and a physical game, and Tom Poti edges out Cole and Pitkanen with his strong play on the penalty kill and at even strength.

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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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#1 Antony Ta
April 16 2009, 11:23AM
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Seems just like yesterday when MacTavish decided to insert Winchester onto the 1st line for a game against the Detroit Red Wings.

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#2 Archaeologuy
April 16 2009, 11:41AM
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The idea of Tom Poti on the PK bothers me. I'm sure he's better now than he was while he was here, but my heart is still chanting "Trade Poti" (during the American National Anthem because I'm classy like that)

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#3 Phil
April 16 2009, 11:49AM
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I have to admit, Bill Guerin still looks good out there playing with Crosby. He really wants that last Stanley Cup on his resume. Good for him.

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#4 Jonathan Willis
April 16 2009, 11:53AM
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Yeah, I always liked Bill Guerin. It was a shame when he left, even though it did ring us Hemsky.

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#5 BarryS
April 16 2009, 12:49PM
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I don't know, seems to me too many people on this site live firmly in the past. I was ten once, but I'm not now. Traded players are no longer Oilers and what they do now means nothing to what they didn't do which got them traded. Besides, the players they play with now have something to do with their current success or lack of it. Can't have it both ways, we wanted them traded then, and its to late to change our minds, so get over it.

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#6 Jonathan Willis
April 16 2009, 12:58PM
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@ BarryS:

I was kidding about the deep emotional attachment - which is why I used the names Poti and Lupul.

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#7 BarryS
April 16 2009, 01:16PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Glad to know this, and I not really aiming at you, but many of those who post here. Its just so many posts seem so life and death serious it can be hard to discover humour when it is meant. Still, it gets a little tiring to read about how good Garon is all the time, career back up always was always will be. Roli is the exception which proves the rule. Now JDD might be a career back up, if that, but until he plays several weeks in a row, no one will have any idea. Performance in the minors proves nothing, as as many players play to the level of the competition as above or below it. Just to bad there was not the hockey summer equivalent to the baseball winter pro leagues where players like JDD could play extra high competition games.

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#8 Robin Brownlee
April 16 2009, 01:25PM
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So Poti and Valiquette finished with the same number of hits then?

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#9 Ssseth
April 16 2009, 03:37PM
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@ Antony Ta: I almost forgot. Someone should make a list of 3rd and 4th liners MacT played on the first unit over the years.

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#10 West Coast Oil
April 16 2009, 08:33PM
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Ssseth wrote:

@ Antony Ta: I almost forgot. Someone should make a list of 3rd and 4th liners MacT played on the first unit over the years.

Actually what I would like to see is a list of players we have traded during MacT's tenure in Edmonton and see if their performance improved or declined since leaving E-Town. It would also give us a snapshot of what type of players excel under MacT's coaching. What do you think JW are you up for the challenge???

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#11 the vagabond
April 16 2009, 10:30PM
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I think Cole and Pitkanen will be the players who have a good playoffs

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#12 humantorch
April 17 2009, 06:32AM
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Ssseth wrote:

@ Antony Ta: I almost forgot. Someone should make a list of 3rd and 4th liners MacT played on the first unit over the years.

Looking at the players he's had on his roster to work with, you could make an argument that other than Hemsky, every player that's been on our first unit over the years has been a 3rd/4th liner.

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