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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#201 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:18PM
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Seriously, how good is Visnovsky. That guy can make some amazing plays.

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#202 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:19PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I was going to congratulate Brule on that hit

Ya, he's no Pouliot.

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#203 BarryS
September 23 2009, 08:19PM
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Oilers are playing like the puck is a live handgrenade.

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#204 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:20PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Sorry Jonathan I couldnt resist.

Back to the game...

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#205 The Menace
September 23 2009, 08:20PM
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I'm just tuning in now. i read jen sharpe's update, but would like a better read on the game. how have the boys looked?

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#206 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 08:20PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: HA! Nice to have you here tonight JW. Congrats on your new gig at the Score

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#207 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:20PM
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@ Gunner:

In the sense that Pouliot knows throwing himself out of position on the PK and not separating the puck carrier from the puck is a lethal combination?

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#208 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:21PM
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Last Saskatechewan Pirate! Hells yeah!

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#209 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:21PM
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@ Gunner:

No worries ;)

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#210 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:22PM
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@ Fiveandagame:

Thanks!

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#211 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:22PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: He never makes a mistake? I doubt it. I'd rather not argue tonite.

Where were you during the first period? It was so quiet we could hear crickets in here.

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#212 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:23PM
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The Menace wrote:

I’m just tuning in now. i read jen sharpe’s update, but would like a better read on the game. how have the boys looked?

It's bizarro-world Oilers; Hemsky and Horcoff (especially the latter) look bad, while Penner looks great.

Also, Khabibulin's been shaky.

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#213 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:23PM
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@ Gunner:

I missed the first ten minutes of the period; the time difference confused me.

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#214 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:23PM
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F*ck! I hate Calgary.

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#215 ronaldo
September 23 2009, 08:23PM
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I hope this is "preseason Khabby".

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#216 oilersordeath
September 23 2009, 08:23PM
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Wow Oilers arent skating at all!!

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#217 ScubaSteve
September 23 2009, 08:23PM
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Tough night for Grebs tonight......

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#218 Pedro
September 23 2009, 08:24PM
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Hey I just turned on the game, has Cotton-Eyed Joe played yet?

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#219 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:25PM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

Tough night for the entire team……

Fixed. They must want to save themselves for Winnipeg tomorrow night.

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#220 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:26PM
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Nice to see that Moreau still sucks.

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#221 Eric
September 23 2009, 08:26PM
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The Oilers decision making is horrribllllllleeeeeeeeee

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#222 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 08:27PM
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Wow do Horc and Hemsky look bad tonight..

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#223 ronaldo
September 23 2009, 08:27PM
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I got the munchies!

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#224 BarryS
September 23 2009, 08:27PM
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We're in trouble, JFJ is the best player on the 1st? line.

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#225 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:27PM
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Smid would be sooo much better if he could shoot.

Also, this Old Dutch thing is highly irritating. Highly, highly irritating.

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#226 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:28PM
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God, I cannot wait to watch an actual TV feed tomorrow night.. in HD... *drool*

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#227 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 08:29PM
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I know Brennan isn't a skill guy but he does skate a hell of a lot better than MacIntyre...

If you're going to use a roster spot I'd rather have Brennan.

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#228 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:29PM
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After the greatness that is Last Saskatchewan Pirate, I see the music has stepped into the same elevator shaft as Hemsky's play.

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#229 ShaunDoe
September 23 2009, 08:29PM
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Yeah Hemsky has just looked lack luster and lost out there. The puck just seems to die on his stick. I was used to the old Hemsky that would deke and dangle himself into a position to shoot only to dish the puck off instead. Now he can't even find open ice. On a Brule note, I like how the kid is willing to throw the body around but I don't think I've seen him remain standing after one yet.

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#230 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:29PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

I know Brennan isn’t a skill guy but he does skate a hell of a lot better than MacIntyre… If you’re going to use a roster spot I’d rather have Brennan.

Agreed, but I don't think either gets one. If someone steals one of the veterans' spots, I'd guess it's Ryan Stone.

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#231 BarryS
September 23 2009, 08:30PM
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Gunner wrote:

God, I cannot wait to watch an actual TV feed tomorrow night.. in HD… *drool*

I not sure, to see them play like this on the big screen might put me off hockey forever.

*Mutters curse, pops hood on cherry red ‘60 Studebaker Lark, smothers carburetor fire with piece of rag, slams down hood, cranks it successfully, and roars off in the usual cloud of smoke.*

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#232 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 08:31PM
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JFJ!!!!! Way to go kid!!!

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#233 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:31PM
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Good grief, Horc.

And all hail J-F Jacques, who just earned a roster spot.

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#234 ronaldo
September 23 2009, 08:31PM
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OH YEAH!!!! NTFO!!!

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#235 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:31PM
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JFJ just made the team. Book it.

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#236 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:32PM
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That hit was a little dirty, but jeez it was nice to see Regehr go down.

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#237 vern
September 23 2009, 08:32PM
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go JFJ sweet

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#238 BarryS
September 23 2009, 08:32PM
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JFJ 1st like winger who'd a thunk it.

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#239 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 08:33PM
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Say what you will about the sloppy play the Oilers are playing a hell of a lot more in the flames Zone than their own.

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#240 ronaldo
September 23 2009, 08:33PM
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New star- JFFJ. The extra F is for Fcukin.

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#241 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:34PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

That hit was a little dirty, but jeez it was nice to see Regehr go down.

No hit on any Flame can possibly be dirty. NEVER!

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#242 oilersordeath
September 23 2009, 08:34PM
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At least Brule is maiking things happen! Horc and Hem look stoned.

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#243 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 08:35PM
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a hooking call...really , what a surprise

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#244 ScubaSteve
September 23 2009, 08:38PM
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After 2 Periods:

Thumbs Up: JFJ Souray Strudwick Brule Penner Nilsson

Thumbs Down: Hemsky Horcoff Grebs Khabi Gilbert Smid thecaptainethanmoreau

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#245 The Menace
September 23 2009, 08:39PM
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ronaldo wrote:

New star- JFFJ. The extra F is for Fcukin.

I love it. and thanks Willis for the update.

I said on twitter that Glencross plays like a man possessed everytime he plays the oil. Does he really have that much of a hate on for his former club? Come on man, we rescued you from Columbus hell!

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#246 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:39PM
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I haven't been a fan of Brule this preseason; and this is coming from a guy who liked him last season.

If he makes the team, I think it's because they don't want to risk him on waivers.

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#247 BarryS
September 23 2009, 08:40PM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

After 2 Periods: Thumbs Up: JFJ Souray Strudwick Brule Penner Nilsson Thumbs Down: Hemsky Horcoff Grebs Khabi Gilbert Smid thecaptainethanmoreau

The captain has only played about a minute and a half so you can't blame him for this disaster.

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#248 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:42PM
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@ BarryS:

But Moreau has had a couple of lazy backchecks, and that's supposed to be his strength.

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#249 David S
September 23 2009, 08:42PM
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oilersordeath wrote:

At least Brule is maiking things happen! Horc and Hem look stoned.

Our two best guys not showing up makes it pretty tough to win. And as much as I like their try, having a bubble boy on every line is just screwing things up royally.

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#250 ronaldo
September 23 2009, 08:42PM
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Does anyone know if something is wrong with Hemsky? He has looked like dogsh!t the whole preseason.

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