GDB MINUS ONE: LAST CHANCE

Jason Gregor
October 03 2010 11:47AM

 It's last chanceville for Richard Petiot, Theo Peckham and Shawn Belle as they will battle the Flames and each other for the final slot on the blueline. Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert, Kurtis Foster, Ladislav Smid, Jim Vandermeer and Jason Strudwick have the other six spots.

While Petiot has played very well in his first two games, he will need to be just as good, if not better, tonight if he wants to complete the Cinderella hometown-guy-makes-Oilers scenario. The harsh reality is that if Petiot stumbles a bit tonight, that will open the door for the Oilers to keep Peckham and send Petiot to the minors.

The Oilers are leery that if they make Peckham available someone will claim him on waivers. They thought the same thing last year with Liam Reddox, and it didn't happen. I'm not saying it won't this year, and I have invested nothing in Peckham, but if Petiot deserves to be here I'd like to see him stick.

Peckham was okay against the Flames on Friday, but we've yet to see much of his physical side. I'm not talking just fighting, but he needs to lean into a few Flames tonight and get noticed. I don't think Belle has much of a chance. He's only played one game so far, and was okay at best in that game. He is an incredible skater, but his decisions with the puck aren't great. He is a good depth guy, and we will probably see him in Edmonton at some point this season, just not to start the year.

Even when you look at the pairings tonight, you wonder if Peckham is not still slighty ahead of Petiot.

OILERS LINEUP

Penner/Cogliano/Eberle
Giroux/Gagner/Brule
Omark/Fraser/Jones
MacIntrye/O'Marra/Ondrus

Smid/Peckham
Strudwick/Gilbert
Petiot/Belle

Deslauriers
Dubnyk

I will be curious to see how they distribute the minutes on the blueline tonight. Petiot has played well when he has played a lot, but when the regular season starts he'll be in the 3rd pairing and be playing less. It is hard to be as effective when you play fewer minutes. It is hard to stay in the game when you sit on the bench for longer stretches, so watch for how much icetime Petiot gets tonight. If he shows he can be just as effective with reduced minutes, he might just make the team. But if Peckham plays well tonight, I think he will be sticking with the big club.

I'm not sure who will start in goal, because yesterday Dubnyk mentioned to me that he thought he was starting. At this point, I don't think it really matters. No one within the organization has told me this, but I think Dubnyk will be the backup.

Up front I don't see any surprises.

Jones was okay his first game, despite being -3, and they like that he is a thick body, but I'm guessing he starts the season in the pressbox. I'll bet that MacIntyre starts opening night, and then Reddox plays against the Panthers on Sunday. I think Reddox and Jones will be the two extra forwards.

O'Marra has gotten better every game, but if Jones didn't have a one-way deal at $975,000 he might stay just because he can play centre. He and Chris Vande Velde will battle to be the first centre called up once the season starts. O'Marra's problem is that he is big, but doesn't use his size often enough. He needs to lean on some guys a bit more often. I just haven't seen enough "I want to really be here" from him during camp.

Omark has really impressed people with his offensive skill, but he'll most likely start the season in OKC. If he gets off to a great start down there, I think we will see him in Edmonton by December at the latest. They want him to be less of a freelancer in his own zone, and if he can show that in 15 or 20 games in the AHL he will get the call. Renney loves his determination to battle for lose pucks.

Cogliano was 50% in the dot on Wednesday, but he had Brule take the draws on the right side of the ice. Tonight he will probably take all of them, and we'll see if all his off-season work will start to pay off. If he is around 50%, he and the coaches will be happy.

WAIVERS

Some are worried that JDD could get claimed on waivers, but I don't see that happening. The Sharks will waive Thomas Greiss and the Kings will expose Erik Ersberg. Ersberg makes $750,000 while Greiss is a $550,000 cap hit. Deslauriers makes a cool $1,050,000 and I don't think he has shown much more than either Ersberg or Greiss at this point.

The Wild signed Jose Theodore this weekend, so that one less team that might be interested in grabbing a goalie. The Nashville Predators seem the most likely to grab someone.  I don't see them taking Deslauriers when he is the most expensive.

Some fans wondered if Shane O'Brien would have been an upgrade. If he was a better puck mover they might have put in a claim, but they have enough rugged guys in Vandermeer, Peckham and Strudwick that they didn't need another. If a team exposes a puck mover this week, then Oilers might think about it. If they get an injury to one of their top-four D-men they will be in trouble. 

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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 Shaun Doe
October 03 2010, 07:06PM
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Don't know about anyone else but I am seeing a lot of plays that could be interpreted as Interference.

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#52 Wangtaco
October 03 2010, 07:13PM
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I can hardly watch this broadcast. The announcers are verging on aural masturbation. It's almost embarrassing. Not everything that the Flames do calls for the most extreme, fawning adjective in Websters. Chill out guys, the players can't hear you down there. Yeesh.

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#53 Wanyes bastard child
October 03 2010, 07:20PM
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Its probably to early to tell but im really liking Eberle and Hall on the PK, add in Reddox and we may not be as bad off as we thought before on the PK eh.

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#54 Shaun Doe
October 03 2010, 07:25PM
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Penner looks a step behind this game. Slower than previously in the pre-season

Oh and that first PP unit needs someone who can one time it

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#55 Dan the Man
October 03 2010, 07:29PM
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Did Simmer really just say "Brule is playing physical tonight and that's very uncharacteristic of him"?

Simmer is an idiot.

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#56 RossCreekNation
October 03 2010, 07:30PM
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@Dan the Man

Simmer IS an idiot... and Millions is a cokcsucker, lol.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DikFNHqytVg

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#57 bigrroberto
October 03 2010, 07:32PM
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Eberle looks really solid.

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#58 cara
October 03 2010, 07:32PM
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Eberle is playing very well tonight - even strength, PK, PP. Smid is also looking good.

Omark has been somewhat disappointing however.

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#59 Dan the Man
October 03 2010, 07:40PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Simmer IS an idiot... and Millions is a cokcsucker, lol.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DikFNHqytVg

I love that clip.

I actually don't mind Loubardias either but Simmer and Millions are brutal.

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#60 Dutchscooter
October 03 2010, 07:48PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Did Simmer really just say "Brule is playing physical tonight and that's very uncharacteristic of him"?

Simmer is an idiot.

Just goes to show that ol' Simmer spent the last few days on his hair rather than some simple research on the opposition. You know, like a colorman SHOULD do?

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#61 DK0
October 03 2010, 07:51PM
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I'm waiting for Simmer to go into a spiel about how Eberle is a point per game guy in the AHL over the last 2 season, for the THIRD TIME

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#62 Jeremy
October 03 2010, 08:00PM
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God I hate Millions' homer-assed commentary. And yes, simmer is a tool.

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#63 DK0
October 03 2010, 08:01PM
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"If you can get that many in the AHL, you can get at least half that in the NHL"

Ohhhhhhh. so Giroux is a 30 goal scorer and every team has just been too dumb to put him on their roster?

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#64 Shaun Doe
October 03 2010, 08:02PM
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Well I just learned the AHL:NHL goal conversion is 2:1 all thanks to the Flames announcers

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#65 Dutchscooter
October 03 2010, 08:07PM
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O'Marra hasn't looked bad. Taking the body, some good defensive plays. Hasn't looked out of place. Eberle has pretty much erased any doubt that he's ready.

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#66 Wanyes bastard child
October 03 2010, 08:09PM
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Off topic.... HDPVR is FREAKIN AWESOME!!!

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#67 Wanyes bastard child
October 03 2010, 08:21PM
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Are we watching hockey or baseball here?

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#68 Shaun Doe
October 03 2010, 08:21PM
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Way to go Eberle standing in the crease for the screen.

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#69 Freezing Weather Fan
October 03 2010, 08:22PM
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@ Wanyes bastard child

So you can listen to these announcers over and over again? ~

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#70 Shaun Doe
October 03 2010, 08:23PM
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We really suffered from a lack of a shot from the point.

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#71 Oilchange64
October 03 2010, 08:28PM
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Prediction: general outrage as some readers favourite 4th liner is waived/sent down this week. And then general silence when no one claims him.

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#72 Eddie Shore
October 03 2010, 08:41PM
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Shaun Doe wrote:

We really suffered from a lack of a shot from the point.

I can't wait until Smid and Peckham never see powerplay time again. Ever. I'm ready for the real season to start where players play where and when they should....

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#73 RossCreekNation
October 03 2010, 08:45PM
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LOLZ...

FAN960 postgame...
Rob Kerr: "Looks like you have a running feud with Brule out there."
Mark Giordano: "He plays for the Oilers."

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#74 sizedoesmatter
October 03 2010, 08:46PM
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congratulations to the calgary flames on winning the pre-season cup.Where is the parade?

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#75 Shaun Doe
October 03 2010, 08:47PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

I can't wait until Smid and Peckham never see powerplay time again. Ever. I'm ready for the real season to start where players play where and when they should....

Don't get me wrong, those two HELD the line well. But with no shot comming from the point the forwards were forced to play the puck through the seam which the larger Flames players just plugged up. Not to mention that none of the forwards appeared ready to fire in a one timer on those cross crease passes. But I agree, lets get it on for real now.

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#76 OilFan
October 03 2010, 09:09PM
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Can't wait to see what players are going to stay with the big club. Paajarvi seemed to be the best player in the preseason

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#77 jr_christ
October 03 2010, 09:13PM
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How was bourque not in the box for elbowing smid right in the head?

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#78 rubbertrout
October 03 2010, 09:15PM
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cara wrote:

Eberle is playing very well tonight - even strength, PK, PP. Smid is also looking good.

Omark has been somewhat disappointing however.

I though Omark looked good. I was there live and up close and he looked like a guy trying to make the squad.

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#79 chris
October 03 2010, 09:38PM
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the game tonite was so hit and miss for so many players. jones was really noticable. he was all over the ice and one of the oilers best players all nite. he should be a lock for the forth line. omark had flashes of brillance and should be good once he gets used to the smaller rinks. gags and penner def looked a step faster, gags still gets knocked down but not as easy as last year imo. gilbert and belle were just plain out awful. if it was my choice i would wave gilbert. if they had the games worst star he would get it. turning over the puck like crazy, i think olny once he was able to hold the blue line. he better get his act together fast. im gettin jacked for this season, should be a real exciting team, and hopefully bad enough for larssen

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#80 chris
October 03 2010, 09:40PM
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oh ya and smid look amazing. he had alot more composure with the puck. still playing the nice rugged style but finally making nice crisp passes and was able to hold onto the puck, unlike gilbert

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#81 Wanyes bastard child
October 03 2010, 11:04PM
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jr_christ wrote:

How was bourque not in the box for elbowing smid right in the head?

Umm, Smid had his head down and ran into Bourques shoulder, sorry dude there was no elbow.

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#82 jr_christ
October 04 2010, 08:35AM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Umm, Smid had his head down and ran into Bourques shoulder, sorry dude there was no elbow.

Ohhh ok, I didn't see Smid run into bourque I thought Bourque ran into him... ok.. weird.

So that new NHL rule which was substantially enacted through GM vote stating,

"whether a player has or does not have the site of a player coming, ANY direct impact with the players head is ruled a head shot."

does not matter in this case, because Smid ran into him, right?

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#83 jr_christ
October 04 2010, 08:36AM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Umm, Smid had his head down and ran into Bourques shoulder, sorry dude there was no elbow.

PS. watch the link below is slow motion.

Sorry dude, YES IT WAS an elbow to the head

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYJKUFDVb-4

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#84 jr_christ
October 04 2010, 08:39AM
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@Wanyes bastard child

That is unless Bourque caused Smid nose to bleed when his shoulder hit the air directly above Smid's head... that is a possibility too.

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#85 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
October 04 2010, 10:46AM
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I think the Oilers signed JDD to the cool Million+ just so he would be less attractive and clear waivers. With the cap being no issue and wanting good goaltenders in OK it also makes sense. Also a good season of training down in OK for JDD will be good for him. They have I think found a way to keep him. I think they are just waiting to let other teams rosters settle a bit so he is even less likely to be taken. Its a good move if you ask me. In the long run I am getting more sold on DD for the Show but JDD could end up as the 30 game backup in a couple of years.

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