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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#51 Ender the Dragon
September 24 2009, 04:51PM
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I have mixed thoughts seeing Reddox in the middle between Storts and Smac Attack tonight. On the one hand, it's obvious what they're looking for out of him; energy, strong checking, smart defensive play, and winning the battles on the puck. That's cool; he can do those things. If he were on a line with, say, Gagne and Cogliano, you'd know the coaches were looking to see if he could score and the kid would be in a bit more trouble. On the other hand, being the center again is going to cause him some trouble. His FO record last time out was 2 out of 9 and while you might expect that from a winger playing center, it's still got to suck if you're the guy losing all the draws in front of your new coach.

Overall, it looks like he's auditioning for the fourth line along with Smac Attack while the other guys are all auditioning for the scoring lines. I think it's reasonable to assume they don't expect Reddox to play fourth-line center all year, especially since they have a glut of centers on this team. So if you figure that the real fourth line to start the season is probably centered by someone like Brule or Pouliot, then I think tonight will decide between Smacintyre and the Red Ox in regards to who gets to stay and who gets a pink slip.

Regarding all the scoring forwards, that's so complicated I wouldn't even want to speculate. It'll be a fun game to watch. (I can't believe I wrote that about a pre-season game involving the Tampa Bay Lightning. I am so going to need therapy . . .)

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#52 The Menace
September 24 2009, 05:03PM
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That Penner/Schremp/Eberle line should be interesting to watch tonight.

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#53 Dominoiler
September 24 2009, 05:05PM
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Hamhuis ?!?!

Bet you anything we're lookin at sullivan and/or ellis..

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#54 Dominoiler
September 24 2009, 05:06PM
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Agreed Menace.. that was the line that stood out for me too..

Gagner w moreau.. ugg...

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#55 Prop Jay
September 24 2009, 05:12PM
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@ RossCreek: I don't know 100%, but I am pretty sure it will be wale. He just announcd he was joining Jays tour.

J.Cole might be. I can see it, but nothing official.

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#56 Jason Gregor
September 24 2009, 05:21PM
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Dominoiler wrote:

Bet you anything we’re lookin at sullivan and/or ellis..

A 34-year-old small centreman, and another goalie when they have three...yes...makes perfect sense.

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#57 Prop Jay
September 24 2009, 05:27PM
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@ Jason Gregor: ryan ellis...i think. Neither a 34 year old centre or a goalie.

Is there another ellis?

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#58 rindog
September 24 2009, 05:29PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

I know most Oiler fans would cringe at the thought; but what about the idea of going after Arnott?

If Comrie can comeback - couldn't Arnott?

Maybe we package Nilsson and Pisani to get him?

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#59 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 05:33PM
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@ Prop Jay: G Dan Ellis

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#60 Travis Dakin
September 24 2009, 05:34PM
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@ rindog: now youre talking

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#61 rindog
September 24 2009, 05:36PM
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rindog wrote:

Maybe we package Nilsson and Pisani to get him?

If that is not enough we can sweeten the pot with Smid (or a prospect).

I would then also like to see if Bonk could fit somewhere on our team.

I have never really had an opinion on Bonk one way or the other. He does however have the size, defensive awareness and face off ability that we seem to lacking?

Just thinking out loud???

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#62 The Menace
September 24 2009, 05:36PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

@ rindog: now youre talking

Bah! why not guerin and weight too?

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#63 rindog
September 24 2009, 05:45PM
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@ The Menace:

I would think that Arnott is still considered a first line centerman. He has grown up alot since his days here and think would be a very good option for the next two seasons until we diecide if Cogliano and Gagner are the real deal.

Arnott is also 3 and 4 years younger than Weight and Guerin respectively.

It seems quite evident that we aren't going to land the marquee player - so why not consider Arnott?

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#64 The Pestival
September 24 2009, 05:48PM
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Please be Tootoo, please be Tootoo, please be Tootoo, please be Tootoo, please be Tootoo!

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#65 The Menace
September 24 2009, 05:54PM
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@ rindog: that was kind of a knee-jerk response from me. I really don't know how he'd fit cap-wise here. I imagine we'd have to send some dough the other way - do you know what his cap hit is?

~while we're at it, maybe we could track down Pat Faloon and see what he's up to~

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#66 olderthendirt
September 24 2009, 06:02PM
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Tootoo, that's all we need is a player with no respect. Leaving for the game in a few minutes. Expect this might the my only chance to see Schremp outside of the AHL, I will be watching him closely. Looking forward seeing Eberle and Nilsson.

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#67 Jason Gregor
September 24 2009, 06:17PM
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Prop Jay wrote:

ryan ellis…i think. Neither a 34 year old centre or a goalie. Is there another ellis?

Sullivan is the centre...and I wasn't thinking Ryan Ellis, because why would they give up a top 15 first round pick for a guy who has done squat since being the 15th overall pick.rindog wrote:

Maybe we package Nilsson and Pisani to get him?

I would take Arnott back for sure, but you are dreaming if you think Pisani and Nilsson are fair value. No chance...Nilsson has little to no value folks, don't overestimate what he is worth...

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#68 rindog
September 24 2009, 06:28PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I would take Arnott back for sure, but you are dreaming if you think Pisani and Nilsson are fair value. No chance…Nilsson has little to no value folks, don’t overestimate what he is worth…

Would adding Smid be enough to sweeten the pot?

olderthendirt wrote:

I imagine we’d have to send some dough the other way – do you know what his cap hit is?

Arnott is a $4.5 hit for this year and next. Pisani and Nilsson add up to the same.

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#69 rindog
September 24 2009, 06:30PM
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The Menace wrote:

I imagine we’d have to send some dough the other way – do you know what his cap hit is?

Site error!!!!

Read above for Arnott's cap hit. I hilited your quote but it threw the other quote in their instead???

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#70 Unnamed source
September 24 2009, 06:34PM
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anybody have a link for the game online?

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#71 ronaldo
September 24 2009, 06:34PM
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What? No MacT tonight?

Also, anyone else hate the Simple Plan edition of "The Hockey Song"?

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#72 Doug
September 24 2009, 06:38PM
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i hate how it looks like a Simple Plan music video

gay

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#73 hemmertogagner
September 24 2009, 06:44PM
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does anybody have a link

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#74 ronaldo
September 24 2009, 06:46PM
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Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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#75 Unnamed source
September 24 2009, 06:48PM
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http://www.atdhe.net/9419/watch-edmonton-oilers-vs-tampa-bay-lightning

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#76 David S
September 24 2009, 06:52PM
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Gotta say. The MTS Centre looks like a pretty decent rink.

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#77 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 06:58PM
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MacIntyre's last game as an Oiler...

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#78 ronaldo
September 24 2009, 06:59PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

MacIntyre’s last game as an Oiler…

If this is the case, he needs to go down swinging.

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#79 David S
September 24 2009, 07:03PM
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Kid line's back! And I have to say, lookin' pretty good!

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#80 Unnamed source
September 24 2009, 07:05PM
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great looking power play... Looks alot like last year :(

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#81 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 07:06PM
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@ David S: Kid line always looked good in the offensive zone.

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#82 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 07:08PM
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@ Unnamed source: Apparently ( I think Gregor said this) they have yet to practice the powerplay this season. They have been working on the PK and defensive positioning.

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#83 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 07:09PM
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So Stone's stick breaks and he gets the penalty?

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#84 Unnamed source
September 24 2009, 07:10PM
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@ Fiveandagame:

I guess that explains why it looks so bad. I thought i was having deja vu from last year

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#85 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 07:10PM
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Staios launched himself face first into the boards... nice move.

There is a small man who knows how to play...

DAMNIT!

6-2 tampa. Eberle and Penner with the goals for the Oil.

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#86 David S
September 24 2009, 07:11PM
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Martin St Louis. FFS!

Man what I'd give to have a guy like that on our team.

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#87 17
September 24 2009, 07:11PM
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Bogus.

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#88 Unnamed source
September 24 2009, 07:11PM
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wow i wish we had somebody who could do that :(

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#89 ronaldo
September 24 2009, 07:11PM
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Time for the energy line to stir things up. *hoping for blood splatters*

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#90 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 07:11PM
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@ Unnamed source: Oh yeah cause it's ugly... Buchburger ugly

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#91 David S
September 24 2009, 07:12PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

So Stone’s stick breaks and he gets the penalty?

He can't try to play with it. Looks like he tried to push the puck with the nub. Stupid Stone.

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#92 17
September 24 2009, 07:12PM
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Damn that shot was fast by St. Louis. Blink and you miss it.

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#93 Unnamed source
September 24 2009, 07:13PM
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Is Tampa really good or are we just playing that bad?

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#94 Bob Cob
September 24 2009, 07:13PM
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New year, Same damn old pathetic team. No playoffs for a fourth year in a row.

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#95 ronaldo
September 24 2009, 07:13PM
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David S wrote:

Fiveandagame wrote: So Stone’s stick breaks and he gets the penalty? He can’t try to play with it. Looks like he tried to push the puck with the nub. Stupid Stone.

He got the penalty for slashing.

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#96 Racki
September 24 2009, 07:14PM
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Gregor: The Oilers may have a lot of d-men, but they don't have a single guy that can really be considered a "shut down" d-man. I am not sure what Hamhuis is like. Can he fit that role at all?

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#97 Unnamed source
September 24 2009, 07:14PM
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@ Fiveandagame:

He maybe ugly but i would take a guy like him on this team anyday

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#98 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 07:14PM
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MacIntyre on the ice with Lecavelier.... not a good match up...

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#99 ronaldo
September 24 2009, 07:14PM
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~Nice period.~ :(

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#100 David S
September 24 2009, 07:16PM
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ronaldo wrote:

He got the penalty for slashing.

Really? OK. However, like I said, stupid Stone.

Maybe he's trying to take Moreau's position.

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