PUSHED AROUND: OILERS TURN THE OTHER CHEEK

Robin Brownlee
October 25 2010 06:20PM

Remember the kerfuffle in Cowtown this month when player-turned-TV-guy Mike Peca said Jay Bouwmeester was easy to play against and, essentially, soft? The Edmonton Oilers have a team full of players just like that.

The Oilers not only got drubbed 6-1 by the San Jose Sharks at Rexall Place Saturday, they got roughed up like weaklings handing over their lunch money in the schoolyard. When the Sharks imposed their physical will, the Oilers couldn't, or wouldn't, muster a response.

With all the talk that the Oilers were going to be tougher this season as a means to ride shotgun for youngsters like Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi and Jordan Eberle, Saturday's roll-over had to be particularly difficult for fans to watch.

Sadly, despite the return of tough guy Steve MacIntyre, who watched from the press box, and the addition of Jim Vandermeer and big Kurtis Foster, we've seen this movie how many times before?

Lots of team-tough talk. No action.

PLEASE, SIR, CAN I HAVE ANOTHER?

With MacIntyre watching from the cheap seats and willing Theo Peckham out with a sore hand, the Oilers spent all night turning the other cheek as the Sharks had their way.

Where was the response after Scott Nichol, who wouldn't be six feet tall if he stood on an Edmonton phone book, knocked the starch out of Andrew Cogliano? Did anybody in an Oilers jersey even think of pushing back when the Sharks leaned on them, which was often?

Did Vandermeer, who duked it out with MacIntyre a couple years ago, show up? No. What about Foster, who stands six-foot-five and weighs 225 pounds? Nope. Big Dustin Penner, the Shying Fridge? Nada. Jason Strudwick? What about Tom Gilbert? Right. Has he ever put a glove, let alone a fist, in somebody's face?

Oh, wait, Zack Stortini had a scrap with Jamal Mayers -- one in which Mayers was assessed an instigator penalty for pushing the issue. Zack, of course, seldom needs a written invitation. As for everybody else, not so much.

TALK IS CHEAP

Before anybody gets carried away, I'm not complaining about the Oilers not icing a line-up full of thugs who regularly top the punch parade over at Hockeyfights.com because that's not the answer. A reprise of the Broad Street Bullies we don't need.

I'm not talking about forcing a limited player like MacIntyre into the line-up every night because that won't work, either (and, last time I checked, he can't kill penalties). He can be a positive factor in 40-50 games a year and probably no more.

I'm not even necessarily talking about the gloves hitting the ice and punches being thrown, although that's often the most direct approach if opponents try to run you out of your own rink, which the Sharks did.

Is it too much to ask, though, that somebody plays like they're just a bit pissed off after Cogliano gets steamrolled? Is it unreasonable to expect a more robust, physical tone to the game when that happens?

To see a player in Copper and Blue not named Stortini or MacIntyre push-back? Apparently, it is, despite all the tough talk in pre-season.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 VMR
October 26 2010, 12:52PM
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Fancy Dan wrote:

Send down Struds and Jones, bring up Petiot and Reddox. Trade for Todd White. Now, that sure doesn't solve our toughness, but it does win us some games. If you want tough, sit down Storts and dress Big Mac every game. I doubt you see anyone running around then, they've seen the "one punch" youtube sensation. Not that he would fight everyone, but the Oilers would all play 8 feet tall with him sitting on the bench waiting...Huggy just doesnt intimidate anyone.

Really? Petiot is going to help this team win from the pressbox and Reddox filling in for Jones is going to help us win games? One of the only physical presences we have gets sent down and replaced by Fernando Pisani redux and we'll suddenly be a tougher team to play against. Sorry that and Smac getting 3 minutes of icetime.

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#52 Senator Theo
October 26 2010, 01:12PM
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madjam wrote:

If they are on two way contracts as most are , i don't believe they are required to go thru waivers . The odd one may be ?

Having a 1-way or a 2-way contract has nothing to do with waiver eligibility.

The contract type just determines what they get paid at each level.

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#53 LBH
October 26 2010, 02:01PM
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I like the article Brownlee, its something that we sorely lack, and have lacked for what seems like an eternity.

There are tons of plugs who play their butts off and waiting for the opportunity to make an NHL club, MacI was one of these plugs. I'm sure if the Oilers really wanted to find some plugs to muck it up who can actually play hockey at this level, they could.

Maybe having this team pushed and smacked around for yet another year, T-Lo will have an awakening and realize that a top 9 of smurfs, and a big teddy bear isn't going to cut it.

We really could use a 3rd line of Asham, Ott, and Ruutu running around to compliment Jones, Fraser, and MacI. Looks like a rounded bottom 6 to support the high flying youngsters putting the puck in the back of the net... then again, maybe its just us who think this is needed, not the Pro's who get paid the big bucks and make the decisions.... so disappointing

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#54 FastOil
October 26 2010, 02:15PM
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A smaller player, which in the NHL means under 6 feet and 200 pounds, can have their game shut down by a bigger player with similar or better speed and skill. It's a simple fact.

You can play with crust, but when you are 20-30 pounds lighter than your opponent, you still end up on your can and eventually get hurt like Brule, and soon Hemsky the way he's been getting hit along the boards. Or you end up on the perimeter like the Oilers so often.

The Sharks forwards are WAY bigger than ours and have skill, and it showed on the ice, the Oilers getting man-handled again. Having dwarves and giant trolls for players is a video game, not a winning NHL hockey team.

Stortini can't follow the small guys around and take the body contact for them. The best players are mostly (not all) 200-22o pounds for a good reason - big but still mobile.

On a positive note, the team is much better to watch than last year's, which is enough for me. I want them to finish last again. We need at least one more top draft pick to fill the holes on the team with quality to be a "contendah".

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#55 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 26 2010, 02:24PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Please (everybody) bookmark the following page and use it before asking questions about waivers. It's not that difficult to look up.

http://www.nhlscap.com/waivers.htm

It really should be on every hockey page before you enter the site.

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#56 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 26 2010, 02:25PM
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@FastOil

On a positive note, the team is much better to watch than last year's, which is enough for me. I want them to finish last again. We need at least one more top draft pick to fill the holes on the team with quality to be a "contendah".

This team wasn't exactly bad to watch last year until we started getting injuried and then pretty much quit.

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#57 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 26 2010, 06:09PM
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madjam wrote:

If they are on two way contracts as most are , i don't believe they are required to go thru waivers . The odd one may be ?

just a bit outside

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#58 michael
October 27 2010, 08:33AM
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Soft is understatement when describing this team. But we are what we are. A team with youth and time to make those changes that will make us better on and off the ice. My opinion is that the 3 lines rolling over and over seems to be working for the team. With the fourth line picking up 3-6 minutes as needed when necessary. Your teams win loss record shouldn't be decided by the play of your fourth line. The need for McIntyre and Stortini nightly in the lineup was highlighted against the Sharks. Fraser for me gets the other fourth line spot. I also wish that our D was more tough. I wonder with all of New Jerseys cap issues would they be amenable to a trade for Volchenkov? Just wishful thinking.

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#59 Microsoft Office 2007
November 05 2010, 09:35PM
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