GDB minus-2: It's crunch time

Jason Gregor
September 24 2009 02:20PM

capn-quinn

Tonight is the last chance for players to impress the coaches, and when you look at tonight’s roster it is pretty clear which players are on the bubble.

Nilsson — Brule — Stone MacIntyre — Reddox — Stortini Moreau — Gagner — Cogliano Penner — Schremp — Eberle

Grebeshkov — Staios Chorney — Gilbert Smid — Visnovsky

Deslauriers and Dubnyk

Stone, Brule, Nilsson, Reddox, MacIntyre, Schremp and Eberle are all on the bubble. And so is Pouliot, but he is out with a slight muscle pull.

Quinn hinted today that if Pouliot and Pisani don’t get into Sunday’s game, they might get veteran status and be on the 23 man roster. Pisani is shooting to play on Sunday so we’ll wait and see.

It sounds like Quinn is leaning towards moving Cogliano to the wing and will keep Gagner and either Comrie or O'Sullivan and Horcoff as the other top three centres.

It is also interesting to look at the D-pairings for tonight. I don’t think it is a guarantee that the top four will consist of 44, 71, 77 and 37. Renney wants his defense to be more aggressive, especially at the blueline. But they can only stand up the opposing forwards if the Oiler forwards are backchecking.

The story so far...

Through six pre-season games the forwards and D-men haven’t been that cohesive yet. Quinn said it was almost like they were playing as two separate units, and there was too much space between them, especially in the neutral zone.

I’m curious how long it will take for those who ripped MacTavish for sucking the offence out of young Oilers to say the same about Quinn.

Quinn is adamant that this team will be better defensively before they work on their offence. Doesn’t that sound a lot like MacTavish? The difference is that this coaching staff has a different approach in how they are selling that message.

According to the players, the coaches have consistently relayed the same messages every day. Last year, after many games MacTavish and the media and the fans complained the team wasn’t physical enough.

But a player, who agreed they weren’t, said it was never a message the coaching staff hammered home every day. As strange as it sounds, if a coaching staff isn’t constantly focusing and reminding players how they should play, then the players won’t play that way.

The messages to the players have been clearer and right now they are being hammered home on a daily basis, and I’d expect that to continue all season. The players who buy in will play, and those who don’t won’t play and ultimately won’t be here very long.

This power struggle will be won by the coaching staff, and for some veterans and young players, they'd better realize that quickly.

The best fight I saw today

Who would have thought the best fight of the pre-season would have occurred at practice, and at Eskimo practice?

After leaving Rexall I went to watch the Eskimos practice and I witnessed the most one-sided football tilt I’ve seen in a long time.

During scrimmage, O-lineman Aaron Fiacconi and D-lineman Xzavie Jackson got into it. They threw some punches and then Fiacconi showed his hockey background: he ripped off Jackson’s helmet, pulled his head down and fed him two huge uppercuts, the second one dropped Jackson.

Jackson picked himself up off the turf and stormed off to the sidelines. Meanwhile Fiacconi went back to the huddle and got ready for the next play. Not one player said anything to Jackson. He was on the far sidelines, and then he proceeded to throw off his gloves, take off his practice jersey and walked towards the north end zone of Clark field. He walked across the endzone and towards the gate. Only receiver Maurice Mann came over to try and get him to not leave practice. Jackson barked something to him, and then proceeded to continue walking towards the dumpsters.

Thirty seconds later he returned with a shovel that he had found. He was slowly walking back towards the field when trainer TD Forss and Danny Maciocia stopped to talk to him. Jackson was visibly upset, and after some talking he left towards the locker room with Forss.

His left eye was swollen shut and had a cut on it. The strangest part for me wasn’t that he found a shovel and contemplated going WWE on someone, but that not one of his defensive teammates did anything on the field, or said anything to him on the sidelines.

Their silence told me he isn’t that respected in the locker room and I can’t see him sticking around very long. Rarely is a football fight more entertaining than a hockey fight.

***UPDATE***

I got some confirmation that the Oilers and Predators are kicking each other tires. Nilsson would seem like an obvious choice, but I've heard whispers about Pouliot and Pisani as well. Nashville has lots of cap space if they want to acquire either Pisani or Nilsson.

I know the Oilers have lots of D-men, but would Hamhuis be of interest to them? We'll see.

It sounds like there might be some interesting names across the NHL that might land on waivers as early this weekend.

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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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#451 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 25 2009, 01:11PM
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@ Ogden Brother: Who did we have that was going to step up?

I have said from the start I didn't want Eberle, Chorney, Peckham, Plante, Schremp and others to make the team.

Brennan suprised me until I seen him fight. Stone was the only suprise and I don't even see the fuss in him, he isn't better then Pisani or Moreau.

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#452 Chris
September 25 2009, 01:16PM
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@ Ogden Brother: @ Ogden Brother Jr.:

I'm not blamming the players. I'm making observations about overall team depth. We have too many of the same types of forwards... and JFJ is the only prospect who has really impressed me, though he has been playing off and on in the NHL since 2006/2007.

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#453 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 25 2009, 01:20PM
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@ Chris: That is what happens when you lose 6 guys through free agency/trades in one year, you are forced to go in to your prospect pool and drain it.

Give it sometime and some of these guys will thicken up and hopefully some trades are made to fix some holes. Until then what can we do?

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#454 Ogden Brother
September 25 2009, 01:21PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: Who did we have that was going to step up? I have said from the start I didn’t want Eberle, Chorney, Peckham, Plante, Schremp and others to make the team. Brennan suprised me until I seen him fight. Stone was the only suprise and I don’t even see the fuss in him, he isn’t better then Pisani or Moreau.

No one, that isn't really the issue though IMO. We should have the NHL depth where 25/26 year old 4th liners are proving they can be 3rd liners so when the time comes that Moreau fits more as a 4th liner (probably right now) that move can be made, from their you want your prospects (say JFJ) making a case that he should then replace Moreau on your 4th line.

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#455 Ogden Brother
September 25 2009, 01:22PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: @ Ogden Brother Jr.: I’m not blamming the players. I’m making observations about overall team depth. We have too many of the same types of forwards… and JFJ is the only prospect who has really impressed me, though he has been playing off and on in the NHL since 2006/2007.

Don't lump me in with jr.

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#456 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 25 2009, 01:28PM
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@ Ogden Brother: Stortini-Brodziak-Jacques was our 4th line at season end.

Brodziak is gone so he can't make the jump, although he probably could've if still here. Jacques might very well get a shot on the 3rd line and Stortini well he has always been a mucker so if he makes it to third line that is a huge bonus.

The main problem is the small guys being afraid to go into the tough spots. Hemsky does it at 190lbs, Comrie does it at 185 maybe it is time for the other to learn this attribute. We have what we have and it is up to Quinn to find a way to win this team and it is up to the players to listen.

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#457 Chris
September 25 2009, 01:29PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Don’t lump me in with jr.

Sorry. Maybe I'll start commenting as Ogden Brother Senior.

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#458 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 25 2009, 01:30PM
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@ Chris: Or Sister?

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#459 Ogden Brother
September 25 2009, 01:37PM
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Chris wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Don’t lump me in with jr. Sorry. Maybe I’ll start commenting as Ogden Brother Senior.

I'd be on board with that.

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#460 Chris
September 25 2009, 01:41PM
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Could three Ogeden's working together finally subdue Archaeologuy?

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#461 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 25 2009, 01:45PM
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@ Chris: Ogden

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#462 Ogden Brother
September 25 2009, 01:53PM
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Chris wrote:

Could three Ogeden’s working together finally subdue Archaeologuy?

Maybe, he's a fiery little guy though... certainly worth a shot.

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#463 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 25 2009, 01:58PM
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@ Ogden Brother: I don't even remember 95% of the people on this site. We need avatars, that is how I work. Whar is archaeloguy's angle?

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#464 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 25 2009, 02:01PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Chris wrote: Could three Ogeden’s working together finally subdue Archaeologuy? Maybe, he’s a fiery little guy though… certainly worth a shot.

So if we can subdue Archaeologuy do we try another fiery guy in Brownlee? Or would he destroy us?

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#465 cableguy
September 25 2009, 02:02PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

Whar is archaeloguy’s angle

midgets and weed

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#466 Archaeologuy
September 25 2009, 02:03PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Chris wrote: Could three Ogeden’s working together finally subdue Archaeologuy? Maybe, he’s a fiery little guy though… certainly worth a shot. So if we can subdue Archaeologuy do we try another fiery guy in Brownlee? Or would he destroy us?

Sorry, had to work, Brownlee destroys all that oppose him.

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#467 Chris
September 25 2009, 02:16PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Sorry, had to work

Unacceptable.

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#468 smiley
September 25 2009, 08:58PM
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@ Chris: Chris wrote: Pisani is a fourth liner? BTW Did you know that since the lockout, despite colitus, repeated injury, and so on: Pisani has scored an average of only .20 goals/game… (Crappy right?) But let’s remember that Pisani is not playing an offensive role: He plays THIRD line minutes, with other third line players in an evidently thankless role. Hemsky, on the other hand, is the centerpiece of the Oiler offence. He gobbles up every available minute on the powerplay, and is the GOLDEN BOY in the Oilogosphere with a stunning .25 goals/game average over the same time period. It’s been a tough three years out of the playoffs. It’s fun to point fingers. The Oilers lose a lot of games due to epidemic levels of inconsistant play… why all the hate for one of our most consistant performers?

I really hope the kudos system makes it for the season launch, because I would kudos this too the moon if I could.

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#469 karrpv
October 10 2009, 06:48AM
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