GDB minus-3: Thinning out the ranks

Jason Gregor
September 23 2009 10:08AM

pat-quinn-motivate

The next three games will sort out pretenders from the contenders when it comes to who makes the final roster.

The Oilers are icing a squad that includes players who have all played in the NHL, and the Flames roster is fairly close as well. These rosters will give the coaches a more clear evaluation of which guys can produce and compete in the regular season.

The biggest surprise for tonight is that J.F Jacques gets to ride shotgun with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky. Even Jacques himself is surprised he’s been given a chance to skate beside Horcoff throughout the pre-season.

"I didn’t expect to be given this chance, and it has been great. I just have to continue to show the coaches I can contribute. Even now, though, I wouldn’t expect to start the year in the top six."

Jacques isn’t alone in that thought process, but if he continues to hit and chip in with some points, Quinn might shock everyone and leave him there.

Quinn hasn’t been happy with the play of some of his veterans to this point in the pre-season. He feels some are only playing hard when they have the puck, but aren’t working hard enough without it. He did admit that it might be because it was the early pre-season games, but starting tonight that excuse goes out the window.

Here’s the lineup for tonight's tilt.

Jacques — Horcoff — Hemsky Comrie — O’Sullivan — Stone Moreau — Cogliano — Brennan Penner — Brule — Nilsson Souray — Gilbert Visnovsky — Grebeshkov Smid — Strudwick Khabibulin and Deslauriers

Quinn has a one mucker/grinder type of player on every line, and yesterday he admitted he is more about finding pairs than a complete trio. Dominant and even consistent lines are rare in today’s game. The Ducks have one in Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan. The Sharks have Setoguchi, Thornton and Heatley, but they are rare in today’s game.

And tonight’s lineup also has three offensive oriented lines, and Moreau’s grinder-like line. I get the sense that Quinn might lean more to that type of roster, rather than two top lines, a checking line and 4th line of crashers and bangers. He seems like he's leaning toward having someone with grit on each line.

Most of the returning forwards have talked about how this system forces them to work harder and skate much more. Quinn wants them to be a much better puck-retrieving team, and that could be why he wants one gritty/physical player on each line. Someone needs to be able to go get the puck. Of course he will want Hemsky, Gagner, Comrie and O’Sullivan to compete hard and go get the puck as well.

Quick Hitters

Steve Staios was skating Monday with Theo Peckham and Toni Rajala when the rest of the team had the day off. He has some sort of upper body injury it looks like, but it didn’t look too serious based on how he practiced yesterday with the entire team.

Brennan is itching to drop the mitts and show the coaching staff he can excel in that department. Look for him to find a partner tonight. He was joking yesterday that he has been too much of a choir boy so far.

This is two straight games that we’ve seen Nilsson play the right side. He said openly before camp that he is just as comfortable on either wing, and if O’Sullivan stays in the middle of on the left side, there is a void after Hemsky on the RW. Nilsson needs to be more of an impact if he wants to win that job. So far in camp he has been just okay.

****UPDATE****

The Flames will ice a veteran-heavy lineup as well tonight.

Sjostrom Jokinen Iginla Bourque Langkow Dawes Glencross Lundmark Fleury Stuart Jaffrey Prust

Phaneuf Giordano Kronwall Stralman Regehr Bouwmeester Pardy

Kiprusoff looks like he will start in goal.

Interesing to note that Sjostrom gets a shot on the top line similar to Jacques for the Oilers. They Flames brought an extra D-man, so one will sit, and it looked like Pardy, Stralman or Kronwall would be that guy.

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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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#451 Ogden Brother
September 24 2009, 09:53AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: How was JFJ on the PK? I knew the guy had it in him to at the very least be the 13th forward. I also wasn’t against him being the 12th forward. I also figured someday he could be good enough to be a third liner, but now he is actually throwing his name into the already full top 6.

Didn't really notice him on the PK...so I guess that's a good thing.

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#452 David S
September 24 2009, 09:54AM
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Harlie wrote:

Imagine if Joey’s was situated next to the Rex!?

It would suck just like Diesel. The area is a dump. Who wants to leave his BMW in skid central?

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#453 Harlie
September 24 2009, 10:00AM
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@ David S:

haha you are right! I wouldn't leave a 10 speed bike in that area never mind the wife's Bimmer or my 08'Harley F350. I was kinda wishing that the Diesel was still that dumpy peeler bar that it is used to be there. Why someone would pour a bunch of dough into a place in a location like that is a QTNA. It better be a tax write-off for a rich guy cuz if it's a bunch of investors looking to make a return the only return they will get is DEBT!

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#454 Jason Gregor
September 24 2009, 10:08AM
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@ rindog:

I can see one of Cogliano or Gagner playing the wing, in fact, I think one of them has to. But I'd put Moreau or Pisani with them, not Brule.

Too many young, small guy and I don't think it would work. We'll see.

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#455 Oilersordeath
September 24 2009, 10:31AM
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I was pissed off at the reffing last night, but when I really analized the whole game, the Oil just chased the Flamers all night. They were just flat out lazy (mainly the Vets) they took stupid lazy penaties. Yeah some were iffy but you gotta keep your gaddamn feet moving! Horcoff's playing like a 39 year old and Hemmers attitude like "I too good to play hard in the pre-season" man F$%k that!!

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#456 rindog
September 24 2009, 11:15AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

But I’d put Moreau or Pisani with them, not Brule

I think (and hope) that Quinn sees that Moreau's worth is as an energy guy and on the PK. Last night was a perfect fit for Moreau if you ask me. He had just over 5 minutes of evenstrength time and killed alot of penalties.

I just think Brule has a better skillset to compliment Gagner and Cogliano.

I guess it is more a of a wish from my perspective...

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#457 Chris
September 24 2009, 10:50PM
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Jimmy wrote:

I like how people are finally turning on Pisani. It seemed like I was the only one who had him for goat this year

This is terrible. Everyone values players differently; But as an Oiler fan, are you truly happy that Pisani is having a tough camp, and that a growing number anonymous bloggers are "finally turning on him?"

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#458 vohdgpyyss
October 10 2009, 06:09AM
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