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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#301 BarryS
September 23 2009, 09:14PM
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Seems to me 2 hours passing drill after the game

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#302 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:14PM
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oh my god Horcoff.... He is just painful to watch, it's like his hands went to Buchberger school...

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#303 ronaldo
September 23 2009, 09:14PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: A big body who is physical.

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#304 ScubaSteve
September 23 2009, 09:14PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Jonathan Willis wrote:

If I were to say that Dustin Penner’s been the Oilers’ best forward in the preseason, would anyone disagree?

No argument from me.

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#305 ScubaSteve
September 23 2009, 09:16PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

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

You sound pretty sure of that, he's looking pretty comfortable with Horc and Hemmer

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#306 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:16PM
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Penner has been great. Moving his feet, his hands have been solid and he's played consistent. He gets a two thumbs up.

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#307 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:17PM
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That last smooch cam bit was too funny.

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#308 David S
September 23 2009, 09:17PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

They just showed every goal fernando scored last season

And thus the problem I'm afraid.

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#309 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:17PM
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love that the guy flipped the bird on the big screen

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#310 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:18PM
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@ ScubaSteve:

Yep. I think Penner's gonna start the season there.

I'd say that of the fringe guys playing with real NHL'ers, Ryan Stone has the best shot of keeping his linemates.

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#311 BarryS
September 23 2009, 09:18PM
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Whoa, fans called a penalty

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#312 Gunner
September 23 2009, 09:18PM
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Ok boys we need one here on this pp.

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#313 Charlie
September 23 2009, 09:18PM
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Hahaha buncha beauties on that smooch cam...

One dude chugs a beer and than another guy flips off a Flames fan.

Love it.

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#314 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:19PM
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Honestly, if Jacques does that every time he sees Regehr, I'll chip in to pay his salary.

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#315 Gunner
September 23 2009, 09:20PM
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Yeeeaa boooy. I think Comrie is really going to help our PP this year, especially the 2nd unit.

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#316 ronaldo
September 23 2009, 09:20PM
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Good things happen when you shoot. Sully = star. Nice work by Penner.

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#317 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:20PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Honestly, if Jacques does that every time he sees Regehr, I’ll chip in to pay his salary.

I second that.

And Penner continues his dominance.

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#318 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:22PM
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Dear god.

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#319 ronaldo
September 23 2009, 09:22PM
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weak

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#320 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:22PM
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How was that not Cross checking from Iginla?

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#321 oilersordeath
September 23 2009, 09:22PM
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WOW what a bunch of Fu$%ing clowns!!

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#322 Gunner
September 23 2009, 09:23PM
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That is awful.

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#323 Charlie
September 23 2009, 09:23PM
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Dammit.

Plus Old Roddy just said "...and Moreau rubs off a Flame"

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#324 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:23PM
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Hemsky, Rod! 83 is Hemsky!

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#325 Gunner
September 23 2009, 09:24PM
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Has anyone even noticed Theo Fleury out there? He hasn't done a single thing tonite to help out his cause.

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#326 David S
September 23 2009, 09:24PM
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Strudwick Vs. Iginla. No contest.

My god JDD.

Otherwise, Penner/Comrie/O'Sullivan?....hmmmmm

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#327 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:24PM
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In fairness, Moreau had a pretty nice forecheck, but Nilsson and Brule got lost, and to absolutely nobody's surprise Strudwick/Smid were overmatched.

Bad luck for JDD; that goal looked worse than it was.

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#328 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:25PM
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Does the camera always zoom in on underage girls this much, or am I just getting older?

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#329 ShaunDoe
September 23 2009, 09:25PM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

Jonathan Willis wrote: A 4th-liner? Because that’s where he’ll slot in. You sound pretty sure of that, he’s looking pretty comfortable with Horc and Hemmer

Not hard to look comfortable with those two, they took the night off so he's got an easy ride

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#330 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:25PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Hemsky, Rod! 83 is Hemsky!

Give him a break, he's probably just leaving some in the tank so he's not peaking in september... thats what the veterans are supposed to do... like the captain...

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#331 ScubaSteve
September 23 2009, 09:25PM
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Brule is the only Oiler interested in winning faceoffs tonight

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#332 BarryS
September 23 2009, 09:25PM
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David S wrote:

Strudwick Vs. Iginla. No contest. My god JDD. Otherwise, Penner/Comrie/O’Sullivan?….hmmmmm

Not a goalie in the world stops that one, unless he's got 6 ft arms

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#333 David S
September 23 2009, 09:26PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Bad luck for JDD; that goal looked worse than it was.

I don't know how that could have looked much worse. That shot didn't even qualify as a muffin.

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#334 Gunner
September 23 2009, 09:26PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: I was thinking the same thing.

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#335 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:27PM
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@ Fiveandagame:

I like Rod, but the phrase "half a step behind" has applied tonight. I assume things will get easier once the rosters are more established NHL'ers.

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#336 ScubaSteve
September 23 2009, 09:27PM
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ShaunDoe wrote:

Not hard to look comfortable with those two, they took the night off so he’s got an easy ride

He's looked better than a lot of forwards this preseason, I wouldn't be surprised to see him on the 3rd line and bump Moreau down.

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#337 David S
September 23 2009, 09:27PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Does the camera always zoom in on underage girls this much, or am I just getting older?

Its pre-season Jonathan. Come regular season they'll be back to kids, kids and old farts.

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#338 Charlie
September 23 2009, 09:27PM
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Gunner wrote:

Has anyone even noticed Theo Fleury out there? He hasn’t done a single thing tonite to help out his cause.

A few of my boys saw the Calgary game, and said Fleury looked like someone's dad skating with the team. The highlights might make it look like he's on the comeback trail, but he's got a loooong way to go.

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#339 Jason Gregor
September 23 2009, 09:28PM
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Khabibulin isn't even on the bench. We'll get report afterwards.

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#340 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:28PM
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I swear, if Penner had lowered the boom there on Giordano instead of turning around, we'd build a statue of him.

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#341 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:29PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Yeah, he seemed to take one hard shot in the second - any ideas if that hurt him?

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#342 oilersordeath
September 23 2009, 09:29PM
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Have any Oilers won a puck battles in this game?

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#343 ShaunDoe
September 23 2009, 09:30PM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

ShaunDoe wrote: Not hard to look comfortable with those two, they took the night off so he’s got an easy ride He’s looked better than a lot of forwards this preseason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the 3rd line and bump Moreau down.

Yeah i know that was more of a half hearted jab at the other two more than him. I think JFJ has looked decent all pre-season long actually.

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#344 Gunner
September 23 2009, 09:30PM
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Cogs is happier than a pig in sh*t to finally get away from Moreau.

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#345 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:31PM
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Looks like the MacBlender out ther... oh, wait... ummm...

If this continues into the regular season, does the general love of Quinn mean the complaints about rotating lines will stop?

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#346 BarryS
September 23 2009, 09:31PM
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oilersordeath wrote:

Have any Oilers won a puck battles in this game?

Only on two of the goals

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#347 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:31PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Does the camera always zoom in on underage girls this much, or am I just getting older?

Either that or the Camera guys got younger.

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#348 David S
September 23 2009, 09:34PM
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Stick measurement gambit?

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#349 BarryS
September 23 2009, 09:34PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Looks like the MacBlender out ther… oh, wait… ummm… If this continues into the regular season, does the general love of Quinn mean the complaints about rotating lines will stop?

Pretty hard to think of any team that doesn't use the blender when their loosing. Even Detroit does.

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#350 ScubaSteve
September 23 2009, 09:34PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Looks like the MacBlender out ther… oh, wait… ummm… If this continues into the regular season, does the general love of Quinn mean the complaints about rotating lines will stop?

Well, since the lines have pretty much stayed together all game except for the last 5 minutes, as opposed to staying together for just the first 5 minutes, I'm gonna say no.

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