GDB 4.0: LOOKING TO END A STREAK

Jason Gregor
October 16 2010 01:17PM

After a convincing 4-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on opening night, the Oilers have played two consecutive unemotional, unable-to-complete-a-pass and soft-on-the-forecheck type of games. Whether they can complete consecutive passes tonight is still a mystery, but there should be no lack of emotion or grit when they drop the puck on the second installment of the Battle of Alberta.

The Oilers couldn’t end a 13-game losing streak in Minnesota on Thursday, and tonight they play at the Saddledome where they have lost five straight and haven’t won since Oct 17th, 2008. When you've missed the playoffs for four straight years, there's a good chance the Oilers could end some sort of losing streak every week, but tonight is a great test to see if these Oilers are ready to compete physically.

The Flames aren't going to out-skill many teams; two shutouts in three games has the Flames shooting more blanks than any fighting scene in The Other Guys. The Flames first line of Jarome Iginla/Olli Jokinen/Alex Tanguay has combined for zero points. Maybe Tom Renney was on to something when he kept putting Jim Vandermeer and Theo Peckham out against Iginla and company after an Oiler PP in game one?..I keed I keed. But they way they are playing, I don't think Renney will be too nervous if his 3rd pairing sees a few shifts v. Iginla tonight.
 
Some were wondering if Tom Renney would juggle his lines tonight, but it looks like he'll start with the same lines as the frist three games, but if they struggle to produce some offensive chances, look for Renney to move some guys around. It sounds like he will dress Steve MacIntyre tonight, which shows me Renney wants to make sure the Flames don't get too stupid or try to intimidate the young kids on the road.
 

OILERS LINEUP

 
Penner-Gagner-Hemsky
Hall-Horcoff-Eberle
Paajarvi-Cogliano-Brule
MacIntyre-Fraser-Jones(Stortini)
 
Whitney-Foster
Smid-Gilbert
Vandermeer-Peckham
 
Khabibulin 

FLAMES LINEUP

 
Brent Sutter will tweak his lineup tonight, as he should, with only three goals in three games.
 
Tanguay-Stajan-Iginla
Hagman-Jokinen-Morrison
Glencross-Backlund-Jackman
Conroy-Meyer-Sutter
 
He will also sit out rookie TJ Brodie and play Cory Sarich for the first time.
 
Giordano-Sarich
Bouwmeester-Staios
Regehr-White
 
Kiprusoff 

QUICK NOTES

  • It is early, but the Oilers have been getting great production from their backend. They nine points from their blueliners so far, although only Gilbert has a goal. The Flames don't have one point from their backend so far.
     
  • Foster hasn't gotten comfortable yet. He needs to shoot more. So far he seems more content looking for the slap pass, rather than just letting it fly. He has a great shot, and he needs to start using it.
     
  • MacIntyre needs to intimidate and set the tone with his shoulders, not his fists tonight. Jackman would fight him if he had to, but tonight MacIntyre and either Jones or Stortini need to keep the Flames on their toes. In the home opener the 4th line set the tone early with some big hits and will need to do the same tonight.
     
  • While the Flames can't score, Kiprusoff hasn't been great either with a .890 SV%. He was really good v. the Oilers, but he hasn't been great in any game. The Oilers need to get traffic in front of him early.
     
  • Paajarvi needs to be better in the corners. His backchecking, skating and effort has been good except he hasn't won many battles for pucks in the offensive zone.
     
  • Not to harp on the obvious, but "win some %^&*$&* faceoffs" is what Renney should be saying in the room tonight.
     
  • It must be the letter C. Cogliano has five goals v. Columbus, four v. Chicago and three v. Calgary and Colorado. He might show up offensively tonight.
     
  • Gagner also likes playing the Flames. He has five career goals v. Calgary. The only team he has scored more against is Colorado (9).
     
  • Khabibulin has dominated the Flames in his career going 23-7-3. Next closest is LA and St. Louis where he has 19 wins.

After two snoozefests, let's hope the Oilers at least make the game entertaining tonight. Regardless of the score I'd like to see a few tilts, big hits, nice goals and some animosity. The Flames should be pissed after a 35-minute closed-door meeting yesterday, followed by a 24 minute no-puck skate. The Oilers will need to match the Flames emotion/anger tonight.

SAY WHAT???

I've been reading all over twitter this morning, from MSM guys, that Joe Thornton could have gotten more than the three-year $21-million extension he signed with San Jose this morning had he waited until July 1st.

Are you kidding me?

Name the teams that would have lined up to pay a guy more than $7 million a year, who has never taken his team close to the Stanley Cup? Thornton is the posterboy for "can't win the big one". He also doesn't score enough goals to be a true impact player in my mind.

He has yet to prove he can carry he team on his back, or score the big goal in the playoffs. He should be pumped the Sharks gave him $21 million over three seasons.

Has Thornton made any of his teammates that much better? I can think of Jonathon Cheechoo for two years and that is it. Thornton is great regular season player, but has yet to be a true impact player in crunch time.  

SEE WHAT THE FLAMESNATION IS SAYING HERE

"The Auld Enemy make their first visit to the Moneypit this evening, fresh off a haphazard performance in St. Paul Thursday night that lead to their first loss of the season. The first meeting between these two clubs gave most folks that cheer for the Flames a bad case of agita, but from what I've seen of Edmonton since last week, it isn't because they're particularly good." - Robert Cleave flamesnation.ca

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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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#101 Zamboni Driver
October 17 2010, 10:31AM
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@madjam

Learning curve?!

WTF are we PAYING these d-men?! My review of capgeek.com (or whatever) tells me...

a

SH!TLOAD. That's how much!!

These are NOT rookies. They do not get any time to 'learn'.

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#102 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 17 2010, 10:43AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Learning curve?!

WTF are we PAYING these d-men?! My review of capgeek.com (or whatever) tells me...

a

SH!TLOAD. That's how much!!

These are NOT rookies. They do not get any time to 'learn'.

Without out looking, I'd guess we have a bottom 5 paid defense in the leauge. So I don't think you can play the $$$ card.

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#103 Chris.
October 17 2010, 10:47AM
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@Archaeologuy

I've noticed that some of the potshots at Gagner have you really upset. IMO, it just something that comes with the territory. Every single first line center on this team since Gretzky left town has drawn a lot of undeserved heat. (Like being a starting netminder in Montreal)

I'm old enough to remember how things soured a bit with Messier, and then people complaining daily about Doug Weight... and how Arnott was run out of town... etc. (Course in those days all the bitching just took place on the radio *Grandpa Simpson voice*)

Funny thing is, and the reason I'm posting this to you: I watched Horcoff get drafted, attend camps, and work his way up the roster to first line C... I rooted for him even though he was always going to be a non-prototypical offensive centerman. It kinda bugged me when people did nothing put take potshots at Horc particularly after he was such an important part of that cup run. You have seen Gagner drafted, attend camp, work his way up to first line center. You root for him even though you know he is always going to be a somewhat non-prototypical offensive centerman... Kinda stings?

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#104 Zamboni Driver
October 17 2010, 10:55AM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

You are probably forgetting (or blocking out, which I don't blame you) some genius decided that Gilbert is worth $4 mil.

And Vandermeer is like 2 and a half. VANDERMEER!!??

Okay I have a question that bears asking.

Who in god's green earth is Jim Vandermeer?! Seriously.

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#105 Skidplate
October 17 2010, 11:03AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

You are probably forgetting (or blocking out, which I don't blame you) some genius decided that Gilbert is worth $4 mil.

And Vandermeer is like 2 and a half. VANDERMEER!!??

Okay I have a question that bears asking.

Who in god's green earth is Jim Vandermeer?! Seriously.

Vandermeer is the guy we were fortunate enough to get for ditching that P.O.S. Patrick O'Sullivan and his 2.925 mil cap hit.

I say good move.

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#106 Skidplate
October 17 2010, 11:04AM
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Oh and Vandermeer is 2.3 mil not 2.5.

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#107 Zamboni Driver
October 17 2010, 11:15AM
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@Skidplate

Forgot about that.

Agreed.

(Though it's mind boggling that anyone thought he was worth 2.3 or whatever it is.)

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#108 madjam
October 17 2010, 11:25AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

You are probably forgetting (or blocking out, which I don't blame you) some genius decided that Gilbert is worth $4 mil.

And Vandermeer is like 2 and a half. VANDERMEER!!??

Okay I have a question that bears asking.

Who in god's green earth is Jim Vandermeer?! Seriously.

Your not suggesting unreasonable contracts and /or overassessment of talent procurred by Lowe and Tams are you ? Still waiting for faceoff woes to be fixed by same crew ? PK and Powerplay to magically be fixed somehow with present crew ? Frustrated by learning curve trying to obtain valuable non bubble pieces via trade or other route ? No longer ready to buy into learning curve of youngsters as being reason for our woes ?

Plenty of forseeable offence already noticeable , but not much else looks nearly as promising as new and old voids mount . It'll be difficult ,if not impossible ,to sell learning curve of youth as an excuse for lackluster results this year . Who will learn faster and stay perhaps longer - Youth or Upper management ?

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#109 Skidplate
October 17 2010, 11:26AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Forgot about that.

Agreed.

(Though it's mind boggling that anyone thought he was worth 2.3 or whatever it is.)

True, it is probably .5 to .7 overpay, but his toughness and the huge plus of ridding ourselves of POS is worth it IMO. And Vandermeer is only on the books for this year.

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#110 Team Hall of Fame
October 17 2010, 11:54AM
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Lay off Hallsy, he looked good out there offensively, better than Hemmer did in his rookie season, if you want a comparable. The boy will be good. Old Stamkos wasnt looking too good in his first year, and Tavares looked mighty average. Next Oilers game we should start chanting, "Jay-bo, Jay-bo" that guys kitchen is easy to get into. You've got to single guys out if you want to disrupt the team.

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#111 Team Horcoff
October 17 2010, 11:57AM
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One more thing about last night to make you smile, in a must win game in their own barn the Flames barely beat us in the last minutes. How good is that team? Can you say 10th place? The Oilers show real promise this year so far. Mind you, we won't be making the playoffs either, but we're at least heading in the right direction. Lets let the Flames have their little bit of false confidence today.

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#112 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 17 2010, 12:41PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

You are probably forgetting (or blocking out, which I don't blame you) some genius decided that Gilbert is worth $4 mil.

And Vandermeer is like 2 and a half. VANDERMEER!!??

Okay I have a question that bears asking.

Who in god's green earth is Jim Vandermeer?! Seriously.

Unfortunatly you still haven't grasped the concept that you don't get bonus points for having approprietly paid players. Who cares what they make. We've got piles of cap space.

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#113 Zamboni Driver
October 17 2010, 06:36PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Thanks for the clarification.

Luckily I can spell though, so at least I have that going for me.

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#114 Oilcruzer
October 17 2010, 07:05PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Unfortunatly you still haven't grasped the concept that you don't get bonus points for having approprietly paid players. Who cares what they make. We've got piles of cap space.

Agreed.

And yah... There was a time everyone moaned about Messier or Coffey.

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#115 Zamboni Driver
October 17 2010, 07:16PM
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@Oilcruzer

Yeah.

Gilbert = Coffey

I see it.

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#116 Archaeologuy
October 17 2010, 09:11PM
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@Chris.

Well played Chris, well played.

Yeah, the potshots to Gagner get under my skin. The guy is playing well and getting piled on for no reason by people who cant formulate any real arguments to speak of.

I admit. I have piled on Horcoff in the past (and reserve the right to pile on in the future). The difference being that Horcoff was in the prime years of his career and playing well below previously established standards. Gagner is at an age where most players are just getting good enough to compete for NHL jobs and he's already the 1st line centre of his club.

Nonetheless, you made a good point.

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#117 Chris.
October 18 2010, 07:06AM
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@Archaeologuy

This place can be therapeudic. Before the lockout, many people hated it when Horcoff became the defacto first line center... but there really was no other option. Horcoff worked hard, improved, grew into the role, and against all odds really delivered in that role. Then he got injured, signed a large contract, (kiss of death in this town), and had a couple of poor seasons... thus beginning his ride back down the depth chart after five seasons at the top. I just can't help but see similarities between the way both Horcoff and Gagner were thrust into such an important role before they were necessarily completely ready...

So cheers Arch! And let's hope that Gagner can make the best of his opportunity, stay healthy, and never sign a large contract!

(And we will both yell at the younger fans who diss Gagner ten years from now when his skills start to fade)

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