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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#51 Wanyes bastard child
October 16 2010, 09:29PM
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Do i hear a "lets go oilers" chant? :)

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#52 AussieOil
October 16 2010, 09:33PM
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Can I just point out that MPS both poitns are without Cogliano! What is the prize for picking this years goat? and WBC, "Go Oil Go"

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#53 Travis Dakin
October 16 2010, 09:35PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Do i hear a "lets go oilers" chant? :)

I'm yelling really loud...

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#54 Eric Johnson
October 16 2010, 09:42PM
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Mac needs to get out there before the end of the period

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#55 AussieOil
October 16 2010, 09:48PM
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And in other news:

Colin McDonald set up Linus Omark's game-winner with less than two minutes left as the Barons beat Lake Erie 4-3 for their first win

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#57 Just A Name
October 16 2010, 10:10PM
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WTB: One player that can win a faceoff. Please send resume c/o Edmonton Oilers.

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#58 Colin
October 16 2010, 10:15PM
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Little sick of the clearly Calgary biased commentary from Weekes.

I don't know how being a 3rd string NHL goalie qualifies you to be a colour commentator, but surely they could get someone who isn't a moron.

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#59 Colin
October 16 2010, 10:19PM
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Dont like Jones, Fraser on the PK not sure why Renney keeps using them so much........

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#60 Dutchscooter
October 16 2010, 10:26PM
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I think this game is showing something we feared in preseason: our defense isn't good enough. When CALGARY can fly by our defensemen, well....gulp!

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#61 ubermiguel
October 16 2010, 10:28PM
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Frick, needed to call a timeout after that lousy shift after the 3rd goal.

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#62 Deke Rivers
October 16 2010, 10:29PM
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DUI chant pretty classless by flames fans. Just when I was starting to feel sorry for them getting stuck paying to watch seniors hockey. They go and lower themselves. At least it was HNIC for everyone to hear.

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#63 Dutchscooter
October 16 2010, 10:29PM
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@Jason Gregor

'My main point was which GMs would give him more than 7 million at his age'

Glen Sather? Brian Burke? Oh, wait Burke only overpays defensemen.

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#64 Kodiak
October 16 2010, 10:32PM
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Gagner 2-15 so far on the dot. Lost in his own zone. A passenger on the top line. I know he is young, but lets play him somewhere he can learn, as the top line isn't the right place.

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#65 BUCK75
October 16 2010, 10:33PM
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Colin wrote:

Dont like Jones, Fraser on the PK not sure why Renney keeps using them so much........

Iginla should have been sitting in the penalty box after he tripped up Fraser along the boards. That is the reason he was so pissed off. They have played well tonight, give them a break coach...

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#66 BUCK75
October 16 2010, 10:35PM
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@Kodiak

So Horcoff is going to take every face off? Remember we are in a rebuild.

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#67 Matt Henderson
October 16 2010, 10:39PM
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Who is coaching the special teams? Brutal.

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#68 Zamboni Driver
October 16 2010, 10:40PM
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I blame Rod Phillips.

Actually no.

I believe the one to blame is whoever is paying Tom Gilbert 4 mil.

the guy is a complete trainwreck.

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#69 Charlie
October 16 2010, 10:40PM
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Weekes is the Gene Princepe for the Flames. I absolutely did NOT enjoy listening to that jackass.

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#70 GSC
October 16 2010, 10:46PM
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Gilbert and Gagner's fear of contact in the corners kills me. Instead of taking the hit and mucking the puck on his forehand, Tammy threw it blindly around the boards to no one and it turned into the 2nd Calgary goal.

And Samantha absolutely bailed out on the forecheck in the final minute, slowing down and reaching instead of keeping his feet moving and playing the body.

It sickens me to watch some pansies continue to take the ice for this team.

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#71 Kodiak
October 16 2010, 10:47PM
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BUCK75 wrote:

So Horcoff is going to take every face off? Remember we are in a rebuild.

I know, I know. Just tough watching him look lost on the dot and in his own end for over 20 minutes a game. If there was even an inkling of improvement in his game I probably wouldn't be so annoyed with him, but I seriously don't see any at all. I'm not trying blame him for our struggles either, just pointing out what I see in him as a player.

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#72 AussieOil
October 16 2010, 10:50PM
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Cogliano was terrible tonight, why are you focusing on Gagner? Cogs kills his line, I saw at least 4-5 times where he did not pass to MPS or Brule in the neutral zone, and took away their speed gaining the zone. he needs to be shuffled to the 4th line or press box - Oilers lost because Calgarys third line destroyed our third line.

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#73 BUCK75
October 16 2010, 10:53PM
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Definitely one we could have won. Chances are we will probably see about 40 more of those this season. They played good the first half of the game, them Calgary woke up in the second period.

The penalties in the 3rd were suspect I thought. Smid's was BRUTAL!

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#74 Kodiak
October 16 2010, 10:57PM
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AussieOil wrote:

Cogliano was terrible tonight, why are you focusing on Gagner? Cogs kills his line, I saw at least 4-5 times where he did not pass to MPS or Brule in the neutral zone, and took away their speed gaining the zone. he needs to be shuffled to the 4th line or press box - Oilers lost because Calgarys third line destroyed our third line.

The scary thing is, I thought this was Cogs best game of the season. He was at least trying to forecheck and hit. Don't forget, Cogs is playing with an injured Brule, not a flying Hemsky. Gagner had over 21 minutes of icetime including 3 1/2 on the PP without getting a shot.

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#75 Dan the Man
October 16 2010, 11:00PM
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Deke Rivers wrote:

DUI chant pretty classless by flames fans. Just when I was starting to feel sorry for them getting stuck paying to watch seniors hockey. They go and lower themselves. At least it was HNIC for everyone to hear.

I guess Flames fans have forgotten about Bouwmeester's DUI a couple of years ago.

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#76 GSC
October 16 2010, 11:13PM
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Faceoffs tonight: 18/63 (29%)

Gagner was 2/15.

Anyone want to argue that we don't miss Jarret Stoll?

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#77 Matt Henderson
October 16 2010, 11:14PM
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Hall and Eberle were -3 each but it's Gagner's fault?

Right-O folks. Gagner played pretty well all night, Cogliano did look better out there too. But sure ~Gagner was brutal~.

Khabibulin's 5 hole was open all game and he was handing out rebounds to Flames shooters like a Deaf panhandler hands out "Give me money for being handicapped" cards on the LRT.

Jones and Fraser were once again leading the charge on the PK and the PP was pathetic late in the game.

The young team couldnt hold a lead in the 3rd period. We should get very used to this.

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#78 Hamburgler
October 16 2010, 11:15PM
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GSC wrote:

Faceoffs tonight: 18/63 (29%)

Gagner was 2/15.

Anyone want to argue that we don't miss Jarret Stoll?

Give me two more years to assess the faceoff situation.

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#79 AussieOil
October 16 2010, 11:21PM
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Kodiak - Gagner may have not made every play, he does lead the team with 4 points and is plus 3 and IMHO looks solid so far to my eye. The entire team has sucked on faceoffs. Definately scary if that is Cogs best games of the season! Would love to see a trade for a young and solid third line C who can win faceoffs

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#80 I'm a Scientist!
October 16 2010, 11:22PM
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@Matt Henderson

Khabibulin's 5 hole was open all game and he was handing out rebounds to Flames shooters like a Deaf panhandler hands out "Give me money for being handicapped" cards on the LRT.

Really? Usually I agree with you, but I don't agree with this statement. I thought Khabby played well. He faced 46 shots and I thought that a lot of the time he absorbed the rebounds tremendously. Didn't stand a chance on goals 1, 4 and 5. He is just not supported. Last year, I laughed when Tambo pronounced Khabby as our VIP, but so far this year, I can't argue. Sorry Arch...ain't agreeing with you on this one.

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#81 Dan the Man
October 16 2010, 11:23PM
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On the bright side I think Sean Couturier should become an excellent NHL centre.

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#82 Matt Henderson
October 16 2010, 11:38PM
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@I'm a Scientist!

The point was that there were plenty of other aspects of the team that should carry the blame for this loss before we get to Gagner.

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#83 Ryan2
October 16 2010, 11:38PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Hall and Eberle were -3 each but it's Gagner's fault?

Right-O folks. Gagner played pretty well all night, Cogliano did look better out there too. But sure ~Gagner was brutal~.

Khabibulin's 5 hole was open all game and he was handing out rebounds to Flames shooters like a Deaf panhandler hands out "Give me money for being handicapped" cards on the LRT.

Jones and Fraser were once again leading the charge on the PK and the PP was pathetic late in the game.

The young team couldnt hold a lead in the 3rd period. We should get very used to this.

@ Archaeologuy - Gagner might have 4 points right now, but he is also playing with Hemsky and Penner. Currently, he is the best centreman we have, but to be honest that is not saying much when you look at his competition on the team. Brule is likely the only one that could put up the same numbers with those two wingers when healthy (Horcs would not). I think he will develop into a above average to possibly very good 2nd line center with time, but if he is still the #1 two years from now then the Oilers will have gone nowhere.

That being said, his faceoff % (as well as Cogs' and Horcs') is brutal for someone who has been in the league for 4 years. Yes, the Flames have some good faceoff men, but he is struggling against the rest of the league as well. Basically, each draw he (and our other centremen) lose on the PP = 15 - 20 seconds less time with the man advantage. Add in the fact that our d-men are weak with moving the puck up, and that kills a PP.

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#84 Kodiak
October 16 2010, 11:44PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

The point was that there were plenty of other aspects of the team that should carry the blame for this loss before we get to Gagner.

If you had read my previous post I commented about not blaming Gagner for the loss in any way, just an observation that he has shown zero improvement in my opinion and not accomplishing a lot with al that icetime. I guess one shouldn't mention a player by name after a loss to avoid it being misconstrued that player is solely to blame.

Scoring chances for and against Cogs/Brule was 0/8. Yes, there are a lot of things to be concerned about. Not arguing that.

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#85 Ryan2
October 16 2010, 11:46PM
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It looks like this will be a long season for the Oilers' blue line this season. As Florida and Minny have shown, if you put any pressure on them they start to toss the puck around like a hand grenade. It is kind of funny, but I think that this season's group of forwards would have done better with last year's starting 6 d-men since that group could move the puck much faster. Right now the point is likely the most glaring weakness in the system. It is too bad that Tambi could not swing a deal to move up in last year's draft for one of the better 1st round d-men.

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#86 Matt Henderson
October 16 2010, 11:51PM
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@Ryan2

I'm not defending F/O numbers. They're brutal for everyone. Even Penner (who usually does fairly well for himself) was brutal. Obviously it's a bad situation on the dots. I dont see it improving this year.

I dont believe that anyone could get those points with those wingers, though. I watch Gagner get the pucks to the right guys out there on a regular basis. He's making good plays.

In a couple year's time I also hope that the Oilers have someone better than Gagner on the #1 line. I'd love to see that. It might happen if the Oil select in the top 3 this year.

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#87 I'm a Scientist!
October 17 2010, 12:00AM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

The point was that there were plenty of other aspects of the team that should carry the blame for this loss before we get to Gagner.

Oh yeah, and I agree with that 100%.

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#88 Biowolf
October 17 2010, 12:54AM
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Would you take Joe over Horc ?

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#89 mattyfinch
October 17 2010, 12:59AM
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Was at the game tonight. These are the finer points from ice level.

1. Gilbert is a denis grebeskov 2.0. He either needs bifocal contacts or has post concusion syndrome because there is no other excuse for handing the puck over EVERY TIME he touched it. Literally, i saw ONEEEEEEEEEEEE effing breakout that he started without a turnover all night.

2. Outside of the fact hall skates like a 12 year old girl, he truly looks lost out there. It was either the second or third flames goal when it became really obvious how lacking his vision in his own zone is. He takes longer shifts then the sedin sisters combined, hovers around the oppositions blue line all game, and rarely even skates back even to pretend hes trying. I firmly believe the juniors or the ahl are his best bet. I DO NOT WANT A KYLE TURRIS in edmonton.

3. Bulin had zero help. I mean zero. We are sending him to his grave quickly focing him to carry us on his back like this. The give aways are bad, but when jim vandermeer is your most reliable defenseman, you know something is WRONG. This team needs to end some of the longer term experiments (i.e. cogliano and dare i say it, gagner) and package something together for the love of god for a legitimate shut down guy. In all honesty, Souray is an upgrade at this point, attitude or not, at least he has pride.

4. System... what system? It was very obvious live this team is sturggling with the idea of systems. Mact at least had them play a semi reliable form of breakout, where when the open winger crossing through was actually given the puck. I dont know how many times tonight the open winger went through no mans land with room to skate and was completely ignored in favour of a sexy give away or icing. I can only imagine how taxing and frustrating it is for guys like hemsky and cogs who build up speed only to receive a cold plate of forced back pressure instead of the puck and the opertunity to do something with it.

5. Calgary transit SUCKS. Literally. I had the bright idea of park & ride tonight. What a whoopsies that was. We stood on the plateform for 25 minutes before the first train showed up (full by the way, compliments of kooza)and another 10 before the second half full train arrived. You would think that the 10,000+ tranist riders at a given game + thousands more coming out of the big tent at the same time would have been cause for more trains more often then a typical saturday night schedule in calgary, but i guess not. Maybe Barb Higgins is running the c-train schedule already?

Anyways, all in all, Hall is not nhl ready. This team couldnt score a legit goal if it bit them on the neck, and we need a nolan,guerin or other grey bread type sooner then later to threaten the teeny boppers with a swift spanking if they dont wake the eff up, and forget about the 60k (before taxes) they get every 2 weeks until early april.

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#90 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 17 2010, 01:17AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

My main point was which GMs would give him more than 7 million at his age. You didn't come up with one.

I don't care how many points he has garnered in the regular season, in the playoffs he has yet to carry his team. That is what matters most.

Sure he is a productive player, but why would anyone pay him more than 7 million?? Why?

That was my point. He didn't make this huge sacrifice by taking only 7 million, because come July 1st I don't see anyone paying him more. He sacrificied length, MAYBE, but not more money per season.

Good on him for doing it, but if I'm starting an NHL team tomorrow, he isn't in my top 15 players...and not worth more than 7 million.

"My main point was which GMs would give him more than 7 million at his age. You didn't come up with one."

Impossible to say, he never got to July 1.

"Sure he is a productive player, but why would anyone pay him more than 7 million?? Why?"

Why did Kovalchuck get 100 million? I haven't checked out next years UFA crop, but I'd bet theirs not going to be a pile of high end offense available, so the couple of guys that are, will likely cash in.

I think one thing for sure, high end guys are always going to get paid more then we think they should when they hit the open market.

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#91 Skidplate
October 17 2010, 05:53AM
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BUCK75 wrote:

Iginla should have been sitting in the penalty box after he tripped up Fraser along the boards. That is the reason he was so pissed off. They have played well tonight, give them a break coach...

I agree. Smid's should not have been in the box in the first place, but the refs blew it again by not calling Iggie's blatant penalty just prior to the goal.

CBC and the refs do not appear to like the Oil. What did we ever do to them?

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#92 R.A. Slapshotzky
October 17 2010, 08:34AM
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Deke Rivers wrote:

DUI chant pretty classless by flames fans. Just when I was starting to feel sorry for them getting stuck paying to watch seniors hockey. They go and lower themselves. At least it was HNIC for everyone to hear.

I don't really mind the fans chanting at the Bulin Wall.

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#93 Dutchscooter
October 17 2010, 09:00AM
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@mattyfinch

'I firmly believe the juniors or the ahl are his best bet. I DO NOT WANT A KYLE TURRIS in edmonton.'

How many times does it have to be said......Hall CANNOT go to the AHL 'cause he's too young. And besides, I thought it was his best game so far. I'm not saying he didn't make mistakes but he's 18 for heavens sake. He looked more confident and was trying to make plays. He'll learn.

It's game 4.

Relax.

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#94 Matt Henderson
October 17 2010, 09:16AM
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@Dutchscooter

I dont think he'll be a Kyle Turris, but I'd agree that he isnt ready for the NHL.

That said, I dont think he'll get any more ready by playing in the OHL this season, so he's gonna have to learn here in the NHL.

Like you said, it's game 4. If he still looks the same in game 64 then I'll be worried.

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#95 Wedge
October 17 2010, 09:18AM
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@Dutchscooter

Agreed. I thought Hall looked better last night and was being more creative. He is obviously finding out he has way less room to dangle in the nhl. Jeez, the kid is 18 yrs old!

I am already so sick of all the complaining/negativity after only 4 games. It is so dissapointing.

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#96 DN
October 17 2010, 09:24AM
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Should they bring up Petiot ? Could he bring the puck up the Ice ?

( I am still thinking that dumping Souray was a bad move. He is not a great puck mover but he is a NHL level player that they are paying for nothing. Also his trade value had no where to go but up.)

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#97 DN
October 17 2010, 09:34AM
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@DN

But I see that Shawn Belle is +2 and Petiot -3. Interesting that Giroux leads the team in PIM's

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#98 Dutchscooter
October 17 2010, 09:36AM
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DN wrote:

Should they bring up Petiot ? Could he bring the puck up the Ice ?

( I am still thinking that dumping Souray was a bad move. He is not a great puck mover but he is a NHL level player that they are paying for nothing. Also his trade value had no where to go but up.)

Well, Souray's stuck in Hershey for the season, so that point is moot.

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#99 C-DOG
October 17 2010, 09:38AM
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DN wrote:

Should they bring up Petiot ? Could he bring the puck up the Ice ?

( I am still thinking that dumping Souray was a bad move. He is not a great puck mover but he is a NHL level player that they are paying for nothing. Also his trade value had no where to go but up.)

A healthy Souray might mean finishing outside of the lottery, and they would still miss the playoffs, I'm happy but I guess it's just how you look at things.

Avatar
#100 madjam
October 17 2010, 09:40AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Brutally inept defence looks like it's going to destroy everything we do this year . I don't know how much more i can stomach watching that group flounder ! How much can rest of team do to make up for such an inadequate defence - far too much i'm afraid .Not enough adjectives to describe our defencesive woes . They're protecting and backing our youth about as good as our goal area - subpar to say the least .

Learning curve of defence far behind youth learning curve i'm afraid . Tams has got to pull off some deal to start shoring up the defence woes before this season is shot to crap like last season . Here's hoping it doesn't take 4-5 years to assess and do something about it . It's to obvious to ignor already !

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