GDB 78: The Brink

Jason Gregor
April 02 2009 03:04PM

brink_final

The Oilers playoff hopes are on the brink (I said a loss against the Ducks was the unofficial end of the dream, but mathematically they are still alive), and the Sharks are circling tonight. Do they smell blood?

Can the Oilers live to skate another day? Who the hell knows? One game at a time was the overwhelming theme and retort inside the lockerroom, and really, what else do the Oilers have to cling to.

I suggest covering your eyes when the second period starts. The Oilers have been outscored 90-74 in the middle frame, while the best frame is the 2nd where they have dominated the opposition 86-50 on the scoreboard.

The Oilers best frame, not surprisingly is the third where they have potted 73 and given up 66 goals. The first period they are -4, scoring 67-71. Maybe they should each chug a Rockstar or one of those Five hour energy drinks. Or get their video guru, Brian Ross, to have a motivational vignette of great movie speeches.

Play parts of Rudy, or the Reg Dunlop speech when he tell the team the only option left is to win the F-ing league. How about Tony DAmatos (Al Pacino) halftime doozy during Any Given Sunday to fire up the troops? Because whatever is happening in the first intermission is not working, so they better do something to change it up.

RYE AND COKE TO SPARK THE TEAM

The Trailer Park Boys were at the Rex this morning. They must have had a ripper of a party in Lethbridge last night because the aroma was obvious this morning. They eventually made their way to the players only area in the back of the room. Maybe Bubbles or Ricky or Julien loosened the boys up with a skit or some inspirational story about gathering shopping carts, living in a car, dealing pot or how to succeed with a drink in your hand 24/7.

At this point the Oilers need to try something different. Their routine is not working. Sixteen wins in 37 home games is pitiful. There will be one lineup change tonight. Robert Nilsson will skate on the LW with Gagner and OSullivan. Penner will play with Stortini and Brodziak. Expect to see Horcoff go against the Thornton line, and he will be flanked by Pisani and Moreau on certain shifts, and Hemsky and Kotalik the rest of the time.

FIVE-ON-FIVE PRODUCTION

The Oilers have more EV goals than the Sharks, 143-132, but they have also given up more 140-116 five-on-five. The glaring difference between these teams comes, wait for it, on special teams. The Sharks have 70 PP goals to the Oilers 48, and theres a bigger gap on the PK. The Oilers PK has surrendered 70 goals, while the Sharks have only been scored on 44 times.

Combine the two and the Sharks are 48 goals better than the Oilers on special teams. That explains the 30 point difference in the standings. I'm not sure what will have more life support tonight; the Oilers or the ER finale. Both might become unwatchable.

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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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#101 jeanshorts
April 02 2009, 09:32PM
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BBAHHHH NO!!!! Amazing play by Hemsky there. And of course no finish. DAMN YOU GODS OF HOCKEY!!!!

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#102 jeanshorts
April 02 2009, 09:37PM
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Whey does Penner take draws on the power play????? Anyone? I just noticed this for the first time a couple games ago.

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#103 David S
April 02 2009, 09:51PM
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Maybe he's drawing in when the primary guy gets kicked out.

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#104 David S
April 02 2009, 09:52PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

BBAHHHH NO!!!! Amazing play by Hemsky there. And of course no finish. DAMN YOU GODS OF HOCKEY!!!!

Lack of finish has been our undoing this year. That and thecaptainethanmoreau.

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#105 jeanshorts
April 02 2009, 09:53PM
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@ David S: I thought so at first, him drawing in, but both times I noticed he was the one getting kicked out.

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#106 David S
April 02 2009, 09:57PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

@ David S: I thought so at first, him drawing in, but both times I noticed he was the one getting kicked out.

Then we have a mystery.

Man. Could Gilbert telegraph that one any more?

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#107 jeanshorts
April 02 2009, 09:58PM
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Well. At least they made the last 30 minutes entertaining.

FROWN.

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#108 David S
April 02 2009, 09:58PM
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Here comes the vortex of deeeeeath!!!!

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#109 Librarian Mike
April 02 2009, 09:59PM
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Sigh. Well, at least there was some effort near the end.

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#110 RossCreek
April 02 2009, 10:02PM
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Why on Earth was Souray up in front of the net? Why? Why on Earth did they win the faceoff to Tom Gilbert for the point shot? Why not Souray? Why? Why was Gilbert and Grebeshkov manning the blueline while Souray was roaming around as a rover with the extra man? Why was there 3 d-man? Why?

Better play it safe, so when we pull the goalie to get an extra attacker, we throw out an extra defenseman? Really?

Like... for real?

Jeez...

...Iz

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#111 David S
April 02 2009, 10:13PM
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CHECK THE OILERS SITE RIGHT NOW!

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#112 Colin-FMNF
April 02 2009, 10:38PM
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David S wrote:

CHECK THE OILERS SITE RIGHT NOW!

umm why I don't see anything revolutionary.

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#113 Smokin' Ray - NNC
April 02 2009, 10:41PM
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Yeah... NNC is Need New Captain. I really believe that that would change a lot for this team. But, maybe I should switch to NNE? Need New Everything.

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#114 17
April 02 2009, 10:46PM
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Sigh. Predicted the right score but for the wrong team. Crowd was preTty loud when it got going. My hands are still tingly from the clapping

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#115 Colin-FMNF
April 02 2009, 10:48PM
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Well hopefully the ducks pick up the deuce tonight and we can all but write off the season.

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#116 Colin-FMNF
April 02 2009, 11:01PM
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@ Colin-FMNF:

Yay in the shoot out.

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#117 David S
April 02 2009, 11:09PM
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Colin-FMNF wrote:

David S wrote: CHECK THE OILERS SITE RIGHT NOW! umm why I don’t see anything revolutionary.

Yeah sorry. I usually assume "Kevin Lowe press conference after the game" means something big. It ended up being the most bizarre thing I've seen in a while.

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#118 RossCreek
April 02 2009, 11:21PM
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OIL OVER, BUT THE CRYING

Kevin Lowe handed the reigns over a year too late. By the time this team is ready to win, the vets will be long gone (or shells of themselves). He moved 3 key core roll players last summer that this team could desparatly use.

Jarret Stoll was supposed to be this teams future captain. Some thought maybe that time came prior to last season after the Jason Smith trade. The Oil instead named Ethan Moreau captain and then played virtually all season without their team leader. Stoll was a key faceoff man and a key penalty killer - both problem areas for the Oil since moving him. Also, now without Stoll, the Oilers felt the pressure to get Shawn Horcoff signed. Without another veteran center, Lowe had to act fast to ensure Horcoff was locked up long-term, signing him to a six year deal with a cap hit of $5.5 million (actual $$ figure of $7 million next season). Jarret Stoll soon after his trade signed a new four year deal worth $3.6 million (the same 3.6 that Horcoff is making under his old deal). Now I'm not saying they should've kept Stoll over Horcoff. I'm just saying that with Horcoff signed to a deal paying 3.6 til the end of this season (no 6yr extension) and Stoll signed to that same 4yr deal LA gave him, the Oil may not have been leveraged by Horcoff so badly. Or at least they could've decided to move the impending UFA at the deadline and kept Stoll to be the team leader he seemed destined to be.

This team has lacked energy all season and at times has lacked grit. Raffi Torres' name come to mind? I know he was frustrating at times and he lacked consistency, but he's 27 (just hitting his prime, or physical & mental maturation if you will, lol). Have you noticed what he's done for the Columbus Blue Jackets lately? And now they're looking at him to be a key veteran leader for a young, inexperienced team (kinda sounds like the Oilers). One can only wonder what he could've done for this team. He may have been frustrating, but surely not as frustrating as this year's team. After last season, I figured that I would rather move Ethan Moreau than Torres. Torres is not only younger, but more skilled. And with some criticism of Ethan Moreau this season, could it be that I was right. I'm not questioning Moreau, I'm just saying that maybe he's not the right captain for this team. Heck, take a look around the league at all the other captains and check their ice time to Moreau's. Doesn't that say something. Gritty, classy veteran that any contender would love to have, but maybe not the right man to lead this ship.

With such an urgency to remodel their blueline in more of a puck moving style, Kevin Lowe may have tipped the scales to far. Matt Greene was pegged as Jason Smith's replacement, and with Steve Staios' time nearing an end, Green would've become the big, #4 physical, stay-at-home, shutdown defenseman this club lacks. Instead, he along with Stoll, have taken LA's penalty-kill from 29th last season to 9th this season. The Oilers incidently went from 5th last season to 28th this season. Coincidence? And many of the same things said about Moreau could be said about Staios.

There's a time to be loyal, and a time be right. No one ever questions how loyal the Oil are.

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#119 robbie
April 03 2009, 03:28AM
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Don't forget glenX!

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#120 Colin-FMNF
April 03 2009, 08:08AM
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I think the next post/blog needs to be called free fall because the oilers are clearly over the brink.

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