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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#251 The Menace
September 23 2009, 08:42PM
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what's nilsson been like so far? I finally learned how to spell nilsson, so i kind of hope he turns a corner here.

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#252 ScubaSteve
September 23 2009, 08:42PM
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BarryS wrote:

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

Actually 8 1/2, hence the reason for a thumbs down, he's invisible.

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#253 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:44PM
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@ The Menace:

Speaking as a guy who thought he has been miserable so far this pre-season, he's had a nice game.

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#254 BarryS
September 23 2009, 08:45PM
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ronaldo wrote:

Does anyone know if something is wrong with Hemsky? He has looked like dogsh!t the whole preseason.

Probably still suffering from the concussion of last year . . . .

Or perhaps can't get his head around the new system . . .

Or maybe just lazy.

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#255 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 08:45PM
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I like Brule on this team if they are as Strudwick said a constantly skating puck pursuit team. He flies.

Stone has played well too. Although I would say he looks nervous tonight, maybe it's just me, but he looks to be trying to hard, I think it's very apparent what's on the line for him.

JFJ... Buddy has finally figured it out... Thats gotta make the Oiler scouts happy.

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#256 David S
September 23 2009, 08:45PM
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ronaldo wrote:

He has looked like dogsh!t the whole preseason.

You mean Jason Dugsheet, the ECHL veteran?

Naw. He looks worse.

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#257 ronaldo
September 23 2009, 08:47PM
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BarryS wrote:

ronaldo wrote: Does anyone know if something is wrong with Hemsky? He has looked like dogsh!t the whole preseason. Probably still suffering from the concussion of last year . . . . Or perhaps can’t get his head around the new system . . . Or maybe just lazy.

Not sure which I prefer.

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#258 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:47PM
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Uhh, I swore. Stupid moderation.

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#259 BarryS
September 23 2009, 08:48PM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

BarryS wrote: The captain has only played about a minute and a half so you can’t blame him for this disaster. Actually 8 1/2, hence the reason for a thumbs down, he’s invisible.

Only heard his name twice, so your right he is invisible. And they haven't even invented stealth hockey gear yet.

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#260 David S
September 23 2009, 08:49PM
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As much as I hate to say it, I kinda like how Glencross makes a point to give us a little payback every time he's in our building.

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#261 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 08:49PM
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@ BarryS: MOreau is probably just leaving something in the tank so that he's not peaking in september like he said in the pre game interview...

That sh!t pisses me off. What a Shayne Corson thing to say...

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#262 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:50PM
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@ BarryS: Or he doesn’t care because preseason doesn’t count for sh*t and he knows damn well he’s first line RW and on the first PP. Maybe Quinn needs to send him a message.

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#263 oilersordeath
September 23 2009, 08:51PM
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David S wrote:

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.

Really? JFJ is on their line and he's outplaying and showing alot more heart than either of the two.

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#264 The Menace
September 23 2009, 08:52PM
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David S wrote:

As much as I hate to say it, I kinda like how Glencross makes a point to give us a little payback every time he’s in our building.

it makes me barf a little in my mouth. i loved him playing with Storts and Brods

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#265 BarryS
September 23 2009, 08:52PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

@ BarryS: MOreau is probably just leaving something in the tank so that he’s not peaking in september like he said in the pre game interview… That sh!t pisses me off. What a Shayne Corson thing to say…

In order to leave something in the tank, aren't you suppose to have something in their first? these guys seem to be running on empty already. or maybe someone put diesel in their gas tank and their power has gone to h**l.

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#266 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:52PM
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@ oilersordeath:

There hasn't been anything wrong with Horcoff's hustle, just his decision making and puck-handling.

Hemsky doesn't seem like he's interested, but then again he did this for the first five games of last season too.

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#267 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 08:55PM
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@ BarryS: Yeah I think he needs to take a page out of the Jason Smith hand book and nut up out there for this battle of alberta.

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#268 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 08:55PM
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Delorean is in net

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#269 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:56PM
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Khabby pulled. JDD in.

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#270 David S
September 23 2009, 08:56PM
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oilersordeath wrote:

Really? JFJ is on their line and he’s outplaying and showing alot more heart than either of the two.

Like I said, good try but having a meathead on that line just makes it that much worse. Hemsky is lost, so who's gonna pass it to Whiffcoff? JFJ? Uhhh...yeah no.

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#271 ScubaSteve
September 23 2009, 08:56PM
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JDD starting the 3rd

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#272 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 08:56PM
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Is horcoff playing with his skate guards on?

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#273 Gunner
September 23 2009, 08:57PM
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Desjardins!

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#274 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:57PM
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@ Fiveandagame:

How long have you been using that nickname? I like it.

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#275 ScubaSteve
September 23 2009, 08:58PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

Is horcoff playing with his skate guards on?

His skating's fine, but he handles the puck like Roloson

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#276 heavyd
September 23 2009, 08:58PM
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Does anyone know what the writing is on the inside of the boards?

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#277 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 08:59PM
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Brennan has no puck skill whatsoever.

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#278 Gunner
September 23 2009, 09:00PM
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Brennan's last game in Oil silks?

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#279 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:00PM
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another Power play... geeze

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#280 The Menace
September 23 2009, 09:01PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Fiveandagame: How long have you been using that nickname? I like it.

The guy from saskatoon called him that by accident last game. i believe fiveandagame made a back to the future crack to seal the deal.

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#281 Smokin' Ray
September 23 2009, 09:02PM
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Gunner wrote:

Brennan’s last game in Oil silks?

I'm sure his performance tonight ends the who's better argument.

His last game indeed.

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#282 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:02PM
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@ The Menace:

Thanks. Delorean it is.

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#283 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:02PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Somebody else game up with it in his last start and we just ran with it.

1.21 gigawatt save percentage...

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#284 ronaldo
September 23 2009, 09:03PM
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The Menace wrote:

onathan Willis wrote: @ Fiveandagame: How long have you been using that nickname? I like it. The guy from saskatoon called him that by accident last game. i believe fiveandagame made a back to the future crack to seal the deal.

And so it shall be.

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#285 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:04PM
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@ Fiveandagame:

But can he stop a slap shot fired at 88 miles per hour?

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#286 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:05PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: HA!!!

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#287 RossCreek
September 23 2009, 09:05PM
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Ya we're goin with Delorean so Sandra's schtick is over. Are we going with Rob Comrie too?

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#288 BarryS
September 23 2009, 09:05PM
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what do we do if JDD is our best goalie, he's been the best in camp. Another 4.5 mil back up? They should, however, chain him to the net so he won't try to make those crazy passes

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#289 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:06PM
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Too bad about that last shift for JFJ, with two brutal giveaways and a lazy stick check.

He had been having a very good game.

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#290 Gunner
September 23 2009, 09:08PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Yeah I was excited to see him back. Hopefully he can string a few good ones together to finish off a solid game for him. Should at least earn him another game.

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#291 BarryS
September 23 2009, 09:08PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Too bad about that last shift for JFJ, with two brutal giveaways and a lazy stick check. He had been having a very good game.

Let's put it down to to long in the penalty box and new linemates. next shift better be better

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#292 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:08PM
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They just showed every goal fernando scored last season ....that was one hell of a short montage...

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#293 ScubaSteve
September 23 2009, 09:08PM
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Get used to the press box, Fernando!

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#294 ronaldo
September 23 2009, 09:09PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Too bad about that last shift for JFJ, with two brutal giveaways and a lazy stick check. He had been having a very good game.

Sometimes the shift just snowballs on you. Overall he's looked great. Just what the Oilers need.

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#295 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:09PM
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Penner is faster this year.

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#296 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:11PM
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If I were to say that Dustin Penner's been the Oilers' best forward in the preseason, would anyone disagree?

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#297 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:12PM
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Gilbert may have misplayed it, but that wasn't a very nice pass from Nilsson.

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#298 Gunner
September 23 2009, 09:13PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: With Eberle a close second. He looks much improved though. For sure he is a step quicker and he looks like he cares.

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#299 oilersordeath
September 23 2009, 09:13PM
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Oilers not taking this game seriously at all! Quinn must be fuming!

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#300 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:13PM
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ronaldo wrote:

Overall he’s looked great. Just what the Oilers need.

A 4th-liner? Because that's where he'll slot in.

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