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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#201 Jonathan Willis
September 24 2009, 09:00PM
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As I write that, beauty play by Brule.

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#202 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 09:01PM
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ronaldo wrote:

Fiveandagame wrote: Anyone + Mustache = wicked fixed

Thank you.

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#203 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:01PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: It may very well be. Or maybe this is the year all the damage done by Doug Mclean will be undone and he will finally be there player he should have been.

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#204 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 09:01PM
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Son of a .... ugly just ugly

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#205 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 09:02PM
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Went off the Goats stick

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#206 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:03PM
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Schremp has done zilch tonite. He might as well text JT and ask if he has a spare room.

As I type Robbie misses.. haha

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#207 David S
September 24 2009, 09:03PM
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Moreau with his patented Flamingo®.

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#208 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 09:03PM
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Power play.... wow Schremp schowed schome hustle

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#209 Alon
September 24 2009, 09:03PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Brule has been great these last two periods

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#210 Ty
September 24 2009, 09:03PM
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Couple of good shifts from Penner/Schremp/Eberle

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#211 Reggie
September 24 2009, 09:03PM
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Did you see Penner finish that check ?

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#212 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 09:04PM
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Speaking of goats... watch how he just keels over... www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_3Utmj4RPU&feature=fvw

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#213 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:04PM
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Gagner with the G-Dub. Book it.

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#214 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:05PM
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@ RossCreek: Hahaha...wtf?

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#215 David S
September 24 2009, 09:06PM
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Kid line PP looks pretty decent. Nice to see Sam breaking out.

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#216 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 09:06PM
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@ RossCreek: Thats how he broke his ankle!

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#217 Ty
September 24 2009, 09:06PM
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Gagner: The next, next, next (next??) one?? Discuss...

Seriously though, Gagner with Cogliano on the wing looks good.

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#218 Jonathan Willis
September 24 2009, 09:06PM
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@ Alon:

Well, he's been good. He's made a couple of beauty passes, and his forechecking hasn't been bad either. He's throwing his body around a bit, although unfortunately not to much effect. He also had at least one brutally ugly giveaway.

I think he makes the team, but not the opening night top-12.

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#219 Jonathan Willis
September 24 2009, 09:08PM
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Beauty pass by Vishnovsky. Too bad it got by Gilbert.

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#220 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 09:08PM
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Great hustle to keep it in by BRULE!

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#221 ronaldo
September 24 2009, 09:09PM
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Wow, Gagner keeps finding Cogliano. These two need to stay together.

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#222 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 09:09PM
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@ Fiveandagame: @ Gunner: LOL Imagine every time you got "spooked" you just locked up like that.

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#223 David S
September 24 2009, 09:09PM
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Notice how Gagner is using the stretch pass to break free Cogliano?

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#224 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:10PM
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@ RossCreek: I actually laughed out loud. That is some funny sh*t right there.

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#225 Alon
September 24 2009, 09:10PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I would be surprised if he doesn't make the opening night roster. If he doesn't, I would think it's only because MAP has 'veteran' status over Brule

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#226 ronaldo
September 24 2009, 09:10PM
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Faceoffs are going to kill us.

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#227 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 09:11PM
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Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky Jacques-Comrie-O'Sullivan Cogliano-Gagner-Pisani Moreau-Brule-Stortini

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#228 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:12PM
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Someone get to the net.

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#229 Travis Dakin
September 24 2009, 09:12PM
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It says a lot that Schremp isn't out there.

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#230 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 09:12PM
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How come nobody is getting infront of the net...

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#231 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:13PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky Jacques-Comrie-O’Sullivan Cogliano-Gagner-Pisani Moreau-Brule-Stortini

Seconded.

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#232 Jonathan Willis
September 24 2009, 09:13PM
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Lecavalier's having all kinds of trouble with Schremp and Nilsson.

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#233 Travis Dakin
September 24 2009, 09:13PM
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weak

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#234 Jonathan Willis
September 24 2009, 09:14PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

Great hustle to keep it in by BRULE!

Seconded.

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#235 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 09:14PM
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Foster went down like Kennedy riding in the back of an open limo....

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#236 ronaldo
September 24 2009, 09:14PM
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Could Schremp's last play as an Oiler be a shootout attempt? If so, it would be fitting to go Lacrosse style.

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#237 Jonathan Willis
September 24 2009, 09:14PM
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Brutal.

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#238 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 09:14PM
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Well that sucks

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#239 ronaldo
September 24 2009, 09:15PM
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ronaldo wrote:

#225 ronaldo September 24 2009, 9:10 pm. Faceoffs are going to kill us.
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#240 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 09:15PM
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WOOOOOOOOO Staios... The REAL G.O.A.T.

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#241 Reggie
September 24 2009, 09:15PM
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So Tambo ? Want to trade for a center yet ?

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#242 Ty
September 24 2009, 09:15PM
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Faceoffs..... Faceoffs...... Faceoffs....

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#243 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:15PM
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How good do Betts/Malhotra or someone who can win a draw look right now???

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#244 David S
September 24 2009, 09:15PM
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ronaldo wrote:

Steve Staios is going to kill us.

Fixed.

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#245 Jonathan Willis
September 24 2009, 09:15PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

Foster went down like Kennedy riding in the back of an open limo….

Though that was a fairly gratuitous shot by Staios.

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#246 Colin
September 24 2009, 09:15PM
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Wow That was a very light Pk on our end and quite the toploaded PP by the bolts.

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#247 Travis Dakin
September 24 2009, 09:15PM
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So Tambellini.... think you need a Face off guy yet. This team must have been under 35% tonight.

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#248 Colin
September 24 2009, 09:15PM
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@ RossCreek: For the season......

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#249 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 09:16PM
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SO who is off the team?

I think Nilsson bought himself another game

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#250 Alon
September 24 2009, 09:16PM
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Well that was unfortunate for JDD, the last two goals were both 60 footers he should have had

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