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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#51 Harlie
September 23 2009, 11:58AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

@ Harlie: Anywhere but the York Hotel.

shit, and I wanted to get stabbed before going to the game tonight. I guess that's out now.

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#52 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 12:01PM
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@ venue: And I wouldn't mind if someone bet out a vet, but all these guys fighting for spots are they going to be worth it 40 games from now? I still don't see anyone taking Staios or Moreau's spot. Pisani maybe, but I don't know if Stone is ready for third line time in the NHL.

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#53 swany
September 23 2009, 12:02PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

swany wrote: If JFJ keeps up, protect, hits and finishes off his chances is it possible he could be the new Big Dave. Cementhead Jr. I like it, to a point; in 82-83, Semenko had 27 points in 75 games. In his last 3 seasons with the Oil, however, Semenko dropped to 17, 18, and 18 points respectively. I can almost justify having JFJ ride shotgun on the top-line in today’s NHL if he can put up the same 27 points Semenko started with. Almost. 30 to 40 would make that decision a lot easier. But if he’s going to put up 18 points in an enforcer role, I think I’d rather take my chances on the referees and roll the dice on Sully or even Penner in that slot.

JFJ skates way better than Dave, better hands I like the way Gregor, and some others point out Schremps lack of production in the AHL as a reason he's not ready for the NHL and then in the same breath say a guy that scored alot at the AHL isn't ready for top six in the NHL. Question has JFJ ever had offencive linemates up here, he has scored alot with offensive players in the AHL maybe Quinn sees something we don't lets watch the game and see how he does. If he was to play with Hemmer and Horc would 35-45 points be enough

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#54 RossCreek
September 23 2009, 12:03PM
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@ venue: Brennan v. Strudwick www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrY4wrbWJ_Q&feature=related

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#55 RossCreek
September 23 2009, 12:05PM
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Brennan v. Boulerice www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIaaKuUjXU4

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#56 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 12:05PM
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swany wrote:

Ender the Dragon wrote: swany wrote: If JFJ keeps up, protect, hits and finishes off his chances is it possible he could be the new Big Dave. Cementhead Jr. I like it, to a point; in 82-83, Semenko had 27 points in 75 games. In his last 3 seasons with the Oil, however, Semenko dropped to 17, 18, and 18 points respectively. I can almost justify having JFJ ride shotgun on the top-line in today’s NHL if he can put up the same 27 points Semenko started with. Almost. 30 to 40 would make that decision a lot easier. But if he’s going to put up 18 points in an enforcer role, I think I’d rather take my chances on the referees and roll the dice on Sully or even Penner in that slot. JFJ skates way better than Dave, better hands I like the way Gregor, and some others point out Schremps lack of production in the AHL as a reason he’s not ready for the NHL and then in the same breath say a guy that scored alot at the AHL isn’t ready for top six in the NHL. Question has JFJ ever had offencive linemates up here, he has scored alot with offensive players in the AHL maybe Quinn sees something we don’t lets watch the game and see how he does. If he was to play with Hemmer and Horc would 35-45 points be enough

Well Jacques never deserved in the past to play with the offensive guys. By the time he came back last year it was late in the year and there was no time for di*cking around. I think if Jacques can't get 45 then he shouldn't be on the 1st line. I rather have Penner there.

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#57 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 12:06PM
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@ RossCreek: I can't see them. He fought Chara, Orr and S.Thorton a couple years back, you should see how he looks against those guys.

How'd he look in those fights?

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#58 Reggie
September 23 2009, 12:10PM
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I also found a Boogard vs Brennan - back in 2005. But the Boogyman schooled him pretty good. It looks like Zach fighting him ... lots of hanging on.

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#59 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 12:14PM
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hxxp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3pjBfqpcv4&feature=related

Brennan vs. Douche

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#60 DK0
September 23 2009, 12:22PM
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Harlie wrote:

shit, and I wanted to get stabbed before going to the game tonight. I guess that’s out now.

Quit joking about how Edmonton is the stab capital of the world. No one talks about my city like that. I will find you and I will cut you...

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#61 R Kenny
September 23 2009, 12:22PM
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I'm still scarred from Jacques' 37 games in 06/07 with zero points. The idea of him on the top line frightens me.

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#62 Chris.
September 23 2009, 12:28PM
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Sandra wrote:

Too bad Pisani got “injured” might be an excuse for him.But the waiver wire can sort it out for him.

Thats just mean. Pisani doesn't need to fake injuries to save face... I think you undervalue him.

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#63 Chris.
September 23 2009, 12:41PM
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R Kenny wrote:

I’m still scarred from Jacques’ 37 games in 06/07 with zero points. The idea of him on the top line frightens me.

Don't forget that Jacques was only 21 or 22 that season... or that he was scoring around a PPG with Wilkes Barre that very same season.

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#64 R Kenny
September 23 2009, 12:42PM
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Aside from my deep-seeded fear, there's another reason Jacques shouldn't see first line minutes. Hemsky-Horcoff just isn't a strong enough 1-2 offensive punch to justify having a big guy that can chip in a few riding shotgun.

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#65 Ogden Brother
September 23 2009, 12:50PM
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R Kenny wrote:

Aside from my deep-seeded fear, there’s another reason Jacques shouldn’t see first line minutes. Hemsky-Horcoff just isn’t a strong enough 1-2 offensive punch to justify having a big guy that can chip in a few riding shotgun.

Agreed, even if the team goes with a balanced approach. the 45 - 55 goals Hemmer/Horc/JFJ would (likely) score just wouldn't be enough.

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#66 RossCreek
September 23 2009, 12:52PM
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@ Ogden Brother Jr.: That Boulerice scrap was pretty good. From the AHL last year I believe. He threw Strudwick around.

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#67 swany
September 23 2009, 12:57PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

R Kenny wrote: Aside from my deep-seeded fear, there’s another reason Jacques shouldn’t see first line minutes. Hemsky-Horcoff just isn’t a strong enough 1-2 offensive punch to justify having a big guy that can chip in a few riding shotgun. Agreed, even if the team goes with a balanced approach. the 45 – 55 goals Hemmer/Horc/JFJ would (likely) score just wouldn’t be enough.

So if JFJ goes out there and looks good playing with Horc and Hemmer gives them alot more room gets a couple points will we take a wait and see approch or does it come back to the guys is NO better than a 3rd or 4th liner. Also remember that we don't nedd another guy on that line to score 60 points as our lines will be much more balanced. IE Pattyo or Comrie can play together on the second line rather than braking them up for our first line LW.

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#68 Chris.
September 23 2009, 01:00PM
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@ R Kenny:

I'm pretty sure Jacques won't start the season on the first line... Quinn probably just wants a look at him in that role... Jacques AHL numbers (when healthy) probably merit a look, and only a look.

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#69 Tapdog
September 23 2009, 01:04PM
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@ rubbertrout:

Oh man don't get me started again!!!!! Today has been a better day..lol

*Slams head on desk!

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#70 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 01:14PM
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@ Chris.: I have to agree. But who knows if some sort of chemitry develops then fine. You knowif Horcoff had the puck and dumps it Jacques and chase and bang.

It's only pre-season so I'm not too worried yet.

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#71 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 01:19PM
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can chase and bang

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#72 Ogden Brother
September 23 2009, 01:23PM
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swany wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: R Kenny wrote: Aside from my deep-seeded fear, there’s another reason Jacques shouldn’t see first line minutes. Hemsky-Horcoff just isn’t a strong enough 1-2 offensive punch to justify having a big guy that can chip in a few riding shotgun. Agreed, even if the team goes with a balanced approach. the 45 – 55 goals Hemmer/Horc/JFJ would (likely) score just wouldn’t be enough. So if JFJ goes out there and looks good playing with Horc and Hemmer gives them alot more room gets a couple points will we take a wait and see approch or does it come back to the guys is NO better than a 3rd or 4th liner. Also remember that we don’t nedd another guy on that line to score 60 points as our lines will be much more balanced. IE Pattyo or Comrie can play together on the second line rather than braking them up for our first line LW.

Tough call, I guess it depends just how balanced our balanced scoring would be. Horc/Hemmer/Penner should get 60 - 75 goals ... a 50 goal first line would be pretty sad.

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#73 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 01:24PM
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I just watched the Brennan interview on Oilers.com. Man you can tell that Stauffer loves this kid.

ANd he does have NHL games under his belt.

4-2 Oil. Sully, Jaques, Hemsky and Souray with the goals.

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#74 Ender the Dragon
September 23 2009, 01:28PM
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Sandra wrote:

Too bad Pisani got “injured” might be an excuse for him.But the waiver wire can sort it out for him.

Chris. wrote:

Thats just mean. Pisani doesn’t need to fake injuries to save face… I think you undervalue him.

Well said, Chris. We all get that Pisani isn't going to score 80 points a season for you. But he's taken his share of pain for the team, blocking shots and suiting up when he probably wished he didn't have to. In addition, he's made the team every year under his own power, proving every season that he's better than the other alternatives we had available. He's been a gentleman to the public and a positive influence in the room. Inferring that he's being in any way dishonest but that it doesn't matter because he's completely disposable shows a real lack of class. Your statement says more about you than it does about Pisani.

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#75 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 01:46PM
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@ Ender the Dragon: I don't know everyone should be disposable. That is the problem, too many guys feel to safe here. I wonder if guys would've smartened up if we would've moved one of our vets last year?

To me Souray, Hemsky and Bulin should be the only guys that should be feeling safe about their job.

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#76 cableguy
September 23 2009, 01:51PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

can chase and bang

funny, yo momma said the same thing..

ohhhhhhh

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#77 Jay
September 23 2009, 01:54PM
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@ Ogden Brother Jr.:

And Horcoff, and Vishnovsky

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#78 swany
September 23 2009, 02:00PM
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Oilers line up. The lineup will be the same as last year all this talk about sending guys down (won't happen). Here's why say they send down Nilsson, great but if Gagner gets hurt the first guy they want to call up is Nilsson and guess what he won't make it to Edmonton because he will get claimed on the way back up and we still will be on the hook for a mil a year. same goes with Pies.

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#79 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 02:00PM
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@ Jay: Not sure about Lubo, he could be trade bait. Horcoff well is his #1 center job secure?

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#80 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 02:04PM
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@ swany: Losing one of our top 6 forwards like Nilsson wouldn't hurt that much, even if Gagner went down. You then can call up anyone you have in the minors without them having to clear waivers. Without Nilsson we have 7 top 6 players, one gets injuried we have 6.

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#81 swany
September 23 2009, 02:07PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

@ swany: Losing one of our top 6 forwards like Nilsson wouldn’t hurt that much, even if Gagner went down. You then can call up anyone you have in the minors without them having to clear waivers. Without Nilsson we have 7 top 6 players, one gets injuried we have 6.

So what your saying is that if they send down Nilsson there is NO way he gets recalled?

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#82 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 02:12PM
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@ swany: Well if someone gets injuried he can be recall him without him having to clear waivers. I guess the biggest question is does he clear in the first place?

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#83 tje1412
September 23 2009, 02:12PM
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Is it just me, or does Pat Quinn look like Mr. Magoo?

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#84 RossCreek
September 23 2009, 02:15PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

@ swany: Well if someone gets injuried he can be recall him without him having to clear waivers. I guess the biggest question is does he clear in the first place?

Pretty sure he still has to clear if recalled.

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#85 swany
September 23 2009, 02:16PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

@ swany: Well if someone gets injuried he can be recall him without him having to clear waivers. I guess the biggest question is does he clear in the first place?

No he can't if they recall Nilsson he has to clear re-entry waivers and if he gets claimed we lose him plus have to pay half his salary, that's why I don't see any changes without a trade.

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#86 RossCreek
September 23 2009, 02:16PM
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...at half price.

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#87 Colin
September 23 2009, 02:17PM
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@ Ogden Brother Jr.: He won't clear. There are enough teams that are weak enough on offense that they will snap up a guy with Nilsson's skill even if he is a "project". I don't have a problem with that though really.

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#88 RossCreek
September 23 2009, 02:19PM
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Slats would pick him up... if he wasn't bringin MacTavish in next.

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#89 Wanye Gretz
September 23 2009, 02:22PM
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StickHandler wrote:

this is all good gregor but waht I want to know is how your roast went at the comic strip on monday. Did anyone from the nation go???

RossCreek wrote:

Wanye, where’s your report?

Oh I attended Gregor's roast all right. It was awesome. Gregor not only knocked back about 10 shots of Jagermeister on stage but he took the mic for the grand finale.

During his lengthy rebuttal he ripped on all his roasters grandly, laid claim to inventing sports radio in 1996 and told most of the western world to bite him.

Then we went to Hudsons and your ol' pal Wanye showed Gregor how you get drunk in a bar.

(Hint: You drink triples)

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#90 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 02:24PM
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@ RossCreek: Not if it is for an injury. That is how we recalled Potulny last year.

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#91 swany
September 23 2009, 02:27PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

@ RossCreek: Not if it is for an injury. That is how we recalled Potulny last year.

just talked to the team he has to clear waivers as he is on a one way deal down or up he has to clear no matter what

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#92 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 02:27PM
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@ Wanye Gretz: So he does still have friends after the roast.

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#93 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 02:35PM
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@ swany: Get them to ask Rick Olzyck and then you'll know

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#94 RossCreek
September 23 2009, 02:36PM
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Wow Dave King suffers heart-attack www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2009/09/23/king_hospital/

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#95 Ender the Dragon
September 23 2009, 02:36PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

I don’t know everyone should be disposable. That is the problem, too many guys feel to safe here. I wonder if guys would’ve smartened up if we would’ve moved one of our vets last year?

I understand your sentiment and agree that the underlying principle - that the best players should play - is completely sound. There's a line you have to walk though; everyone needs to have some degree of job security to perform well. If your veteran core knew that in order to play in Edmonton, you needed to be the best every night - that one night of poor performance would see you in the minors - how many of them would re-sign here? For that matter, what if every day at your job, there were always two more bodies than there were jobs and you knew that just because you'd been there for three years didn't mean you'd have a job tomorrow? I don't doubt that your company wouldn't see many slackers, but I also suspect that the HR department would be the busiest part of the organization and that experience would be something in short supply. I further suspect that you'd keep your resume up-to-date, and that if something more stable came around, you'd be on it like a fat girl on a candy bar. Some allowances need to be made for what someone has contributed in the past; it can't always be about today.

Let's be straight here; I'm not suggesting that vets should get a free ride. If JFJ, Eberle, and Stone all outplay Pisani, then he should be placed on waivers. What I am saying is that in the case of a tie, you go with the guy who's paid his dues for your organization. Where there's doubt, you look longer at the guy who's done it for you before. And if you do decide that it's time for a vet to move on, especially one who's pulled the cart for a long ways for you, then you handle it with the dignity that they deserve and focus on the fabulous kids that forced your hand, not on the ~slacking veteran who's probably faking injury just so he doesn't have to skate with the group.~

I know it's killing Pisani not to be out there, so to cheap-shot him when he's down is pretty poor form. A little class from an organization and it's fans goes a long way to creating an atmosphere that draws retains veteran players.

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#96 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 02:38PM
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Ah yes Emergency recall it is called.

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#97 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 02:40PM
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@ Ender the Dragon: I'm not saying they should and will, but if someone is clearly out playing him I would be okay with it.

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#98 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 23 2009, 02:41PM
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@ RossCreek: Does Phoenix get any decent press?

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#99 Jason Gregor
September 23 2009, 02:52PM
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swany wrote:

JFJ skates way better than Dave, better hands I like the way Gregor, and some others point out Schremps lack of production in the AHL as a reason he’s not ready for the NHL and then in the same breath say a guy that scored alot at the AHL isn’t ready for top six in the NHL.

Jacques doesn't have to put up numbers in the AHL, because I don't see him being an offensive guy in the NHL. He can be a crash and banger. Schremp either scores or does nothing. He is one-dimensional, that is why it is harder to be a soft scorer than a gritty guy.

Who scored a lot in the AHL??? Stone. I don't see him being a top-six forward here because he doesn't have the natural skill to be legitimate top-six forward. If he is in their top six, then they are in trouble in my mind. Stone would be a 3rd or 4th line guy in my mind, not a top-six.

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#100 swany
September 23 2009, 02:53PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

@ RossCreek: Not if it is for an injury. That is how we recalled Potulny last year.

Potulny has a 2 way deal. He can go down or up without clearing

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