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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#351 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:34PM
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@ Fiveandagame:

A junior high school A/V club? That would make some sense.

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#352 oilersordeath
September 23 2009, 09:34PM
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I hate to say this but I really believe this team will not make the playoffs. I know its just pre season but I starting to come to grips with it.

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#353 David S
September 23 2009, 09:35PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Khabibulin isn’t even on the bench. We’ll get report afterwards.

Maybe he said "F0ck it!"

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#354 hemmertogagner
September 23 2009, 09:35PM
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wow im speechless cant believe it what a load

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#355 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:36PM
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@ ScubaSteve:

I think Penner's played with everyone; he saw time on the Horcoff, Comrie and Brule lines.

Quinn's been keeping duos together but certain players have moved around a fair bit.

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#356 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:36PM
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well thanks boys, that was ... interesting.

Have a great night everybody.

Khabibulin down in the preseason.... JDD and DD potentially our starting goalies....

That combined with the ~stellar~ play of Horcoff and Hemsky was one heck of a great night.

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#357 David S
September 23 2009, 09:37PM
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hemmertogagner wrote:

wow im speechless cant believe it what a load

That's what she said! ;)

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#358 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:37PM
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@ David S:

Hopefully that's the answer.

Hopefully this isn't.

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#359 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:37PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Fiveandagame: A junior high school A/V club? That would make some sense.

Work experience you know... Isn't that what they did with the reffing tonight?

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#360 BarryS
September 23 2009, 09:38PM
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David S wrote:

hemmertogagner wrote: wow im speechless cant believe it what a load That’s what she said!

I think she was talking about what was in the shorts on the floor

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#361 Chris
September 23 2009, 09:38PM
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If Schremp had a good camp, and made the team, and was slotted in the top six; none of us would bat an eye. JFJ is having a good camp, he will make the team, but because he has size: we all have him relegated to bottom six duty in our minds...Why? It's funny that that assumption is so automatic, particularly when you consider JFJ's AHL production is superior to Schremps.

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#362 Shapeman
September 23 2009, 09:39PM
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lets see how quinn reacts in this post game press conference i hope hes mad at the performance of the oilers. The thing i hate about this team is that they seem to lose hope after they get scored on instead of getting angry and fired up to get it back. sigh i guess there is tampa and vancouver still

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#363 David S
September 23 2009, 09:39PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Hopefully this isn’t.

Thanks Jonathan.

Thanks alot.

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#364 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:40PM
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@ Chris:

Mostly, it's this stats line:

60GP - 1G - 0A - 1PTS - 44PIM

I realize that came largely in a fourth-line role, but I don't think JFJ makes it in an offensive role in the big leagues.

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#365 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:41PM
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Chris wrote:

If Schremp had a good camp, and made the team, and was slotted in the top six; none of us would bat an eye.

I know you're making a point, but you know that the Rob Schremp holy wars would just pick up new life.

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#366 David S
September 23 2009, 09:41PM
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Chris wrote:

It’s funny that that assumption is so automatic, particularly when you consider JFJ’s AHL production is superior to Schremps.

~Yeah. And he's been lighting it up here, just like in the AHL.~

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#367 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:41PM
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@ David S:

The good news is that the Delorean looks good so far.

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#368 Chris
September 23 2009, 09:42PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Me neither... But please remember 37 of those 60 games were played down the stretch in 07 when nobody in copper and blue scored.

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#369 BarryS
September 23 2009, 09:43PM
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Wonder if Quinn makes his cuts tonight and goes the rest of the way with maybe 26 or 27 players

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#370 David S
September 23 2009, 09:43PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The good news is that the Delorean looks good so far.

I know some of us have been cringing when discussion of JDD comes up, but you're right Jonathan. So far he's looked pretty solid.

Something tells me he'll need to be. Alot this year.

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#371 The Menace
September 23 2009, 09:43PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ David S: The good news is that the Delorean looks good so far.

he may have got a new flux capacitor.

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#372 Charlie
September 23 2009, 09:44PM
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Hey Willis:

What Oilers were out of the lineup tonight? I know Gagner didn't play, any other notables off the top of your head?

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#373 Charlie
September 23 2009, 09:44PM
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Hey Willis:

What Oilers were out of the lineup tonight? I know Gagner didn't play, any other notables off the top of your head?

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#374 David S
September 23 2009, 09:46PM
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BarryS wrote:

Wonder if Quinn makes his cuts tonight

I bet Hemsky and Horcoff are hoping he won't.

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#375 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:46PM
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BarryS wrote:

Wonder if Quinn makes his cuts tonight and goes the rest of the way with maybe 26 or 27 players

After tomorrow night's game, I'd imagine. Hopefully Reddox and Schremp get one more preseason game in.

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#376 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:47PM
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@ Charlie:

Gagner, Pisani, Stortini, Staios... I can't think of any other regulars missing.

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#377 rlh
September 23 2009, 09:47PM
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Right, so, Oilers-only stars? I have to go Penner-Jacques-Brule. Penner, you keep that play up and you'll get Goals.

Hemmer and Horc looked completely flat. They'll heat up, right?

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#378 Fiveandagame
September 23 2009, 09:48PM
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rlh wrote:

Hemmer and Horc looked completely flat. They’ll heat up, right?

*crickets*

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#379 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:50PM
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Quinn's PC looks almost ready to start.

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#380 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:52PM
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rlh wrote:

Right, so, Oilers-only stars? I have to go Penner-Jacques-Brule.

Penner for sure. Jacques had two ugly shifts to my eye, but a good game on the whole, andthe stuff with Regehr warms my heart. Wasn't impressed with Brule at all.

I really can't think of any names other than Penner tonight.

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#381 smiliegirl15
September 23 2009, 09:52PM
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It's hard not to be still bitter about the whole Glencross thing. I wasn't sad to see Smyth go but I was sorely disappointed to see us not sign Glencross before last season. What's up with the reffing tonight? Is Lee going to be our new McGeough??? Not impressive.

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#382 David S
September 23 2009, 09:53PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I really can’t think of any names other than Penner tonight.

Maybe Mike Comrie? At least he looked like he was trying. And you know, scored a goal.

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#383 quicksilver ballet
September 23 2009, 09:55PM
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Really underwhelmed with Gilbert,Vishnovsky and Moreau. What a terrible waste of 11 million dollars and three Oilers sweaters. FUGG!

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#384 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:55PM
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@ smiliegirl15:

Of interest: the Oilers had a 9W/4L record when McGeough reffed in 2005-06.

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#385 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:56PM
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@ David S:

Yeah, Comrie came to mind.

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#386 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:57PM
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Quinn mentions Penner, Brule and Cogliano as the team's strongest forwards.

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#387 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 09:58PM
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Khabibulin "dehydrated", not injured: Quinn.

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#388 BarryS
September 23 2009, 09:58PM
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smiliegirl15 wrote:

It’s hard not to be still bitter about the whole Glencross thing. I wasn’t sad to see Smyth go but I was sorely disappointed to see us not sign Glencross before last season. What’s up with the reffing tonight? Is Lee going to be our new McGeough??? Not impressive.

Checked the Ref's web site. this Lee character has been a member of the union since 1999 and is listed as a NHL only ref.

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#389 smiliegirl15
September 23 2009, 09:58PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Thanks statsman! I don't think anyone will ever forget the infamous call heard around the city and for that he will always be a villian to me.

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#390 Chris
September 23 2009, 09:58PM
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Dehydrated... wow. Russian goalies..?..

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#391 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 10:02PM
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Quinn wants 3 "two-way" lines and then a fourth line that can fit in and kill penalties.

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#392 Jason Gregor
September 23 2009, 10:02PM
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Khabibulin left due to dehydration. Pouliot and Pisani won't play tomorrow due to some muscle pulls!

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#393 Chris
September 23 2009, 10:02PM
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I like Quinn.: "skill at the end of the day doesn't win you many games, it's a lot of the intangible things..."

I need Quinn to post here and back me up from time to time...

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#394 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 10:03PM
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Quinn praises Penner's camp, especially his ability to play with different linemates and against different players.

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#395 Chris
September 23 2009, 10:04PM
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JFJ is clearly in.

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#396 Jonathan Willis
September 23 2009, 10:05PM
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Hey, Quinn doesn't see a shutdown centre! Whaddya know.

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#397 smiliegirl15
September 23 2009, 10:06PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Well at least the macblender was good for something then. I still stand by my Penner for star and Horc for goat this season. Poor Horc. PSH?

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#398 David S
September 23 2009, 10:06PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Quinn praises Penner’s camp, especially his ability to play with different linemates and against different players.

And so he should. Dustin looks like he's making the most of his "second chance". He looks faster to my eye, but I haven't been to any games yet. Good on him.

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#399 Shapeman
September 23 2009, 10:07PM
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@ David S: well he did cut down on some of the "wheat-based drinks" maybe he feels a little lighter

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#400 David S
September 23 2009, 10:09PM
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Stars -

1. CGY L 20 C.GLENCROSS 2. EDM R 27 D.PENNER 3. CGY R 12 J.IGINLA

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