UPDATED: WHITNEY OUT TWO MONTHS??

Jason Gregor
December 29 2010 01:26PM

Back on December 3rd I wrote that the the Oilers were ready to put ELPH in the rearview mirror, and would not finish in the bottom five. Shows how much I know, although I did state the only way they would stay in the hunt for a lottery pick would be if the injury bug hit. The injury bug bit Ales Hemsky for 13 games, Shawn Horcoff has been out since December 7th and now Ryan Whitney will be out at least a few weeks.

Most teams would struggle losing arguably their three best players, but when you are a young team the impact hits even harder.

UPDATE

Whitney's ankle has been bugging him for a few weeks, but last night he really aggravated it and it sounds like he'll be out at least two months now, according to Bob McKenzie. McKenzie tweeted that it looks like Whitney's injury is more long term than short term. That will definitely impact the Oilers draft standings. Losing Whitney is the worst possible injury for the team on the ice, but the best injury for the scouting staff.

Welcome to the NHL, Jeff Petry. I wrote yesterday that the only way Petry would stay here for any length of time would be if he played incredibly well (he was minus three last night) or there was an injury, and with Whitney going down, Petry will get ample time to learn the NHL game.

Petry will get a lot of PP time with Whitney on the shelf, and he'll probably get more ice time than he is ready for, but getting put in the fire for a brief period should help him longterm.

QUICK HITS

  • Gilbert Brule skated today with Ryan O'Marra and Magnus Paajarvi and he'll be activated tomorrow and dress v. Colorado.
     
  • Linus Omark wasn't on a line at practice today, and it looks like he will take a seat in the pressbox after another giveaway resulted in a goal. His giveaway led to Buffalo's 2nd goal last night, and Tom Renney wasn't pleased about it. Omark was benched in the 3rd and will take a seat on popcorn alley tomorrow. I'm sure he'll get another chance to play, but he needs to learn to make smarter plays with the puck in the neutral and defensive zones.
     
  • JF Jacques will also be sitting out. Last night he crushes Craig Rivet with a big hit, but when Rivet challenged him to drop the gloves Jacques skated away. How he does that when his team is trailing boggles my mind, and that might have finally sealed his fate with the organization. If he doesn't play with an edge and show a willingness to play tough and drop the gloves now and then he has no value to the team. I guarantee you Renney was fuming after watching that sequence last night.
     
  • Ryan O'Marra has to show more grit. He isn't a scorer, and if he doesn't start hitting someone or becoming great defensively I'm not sure where he fits down the road. He has a great opportunity, but he needs to grab hold of it.
     
  • Under the caption of OBVIOUS, the Oilers don't shoot the puck enough. Last night they looked for the cute pass way too often. Renney has harped on it a few times this year, but clearly the message isn't getting through. I wonder if it is time for some tough love from Renney. He has been incredibly patient in a lot of areas, but 35 games in some habits aren't being broken, and he needs to change them.
     
  • Too bad for Martin Marincin. He was suspended for four games, which is essentially the rest of the WJC for his blatant elbow v. the USA. The kid has had a great year, and it would have been nice to watch him on the junior stage, but the more I watch him the more I like him. Right now it looks like the Riley Nash trade was a hell of a deal, and if he keeps progressing as fast as he has this season, that trade might go down as one of the key parts of the Oilers rebuild. 
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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 Wedge
December 30 2010, 07:43AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

5 star give-aways in high risk areas and lots of flash with little results.

Agree 100%. Put #12 on Omark and no one could tell the difference. Unless he learns defence he will bounce around to some teams and end up bought out and back in Europe.

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#52 dawgbone
December 30 2010, 07:57AM
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callighenfan wrote:

I'm no fan of JFJ, and think it's absurd that Renney is giving him run over Stortini, but I turned to my dad and gave Jacques props after he turned down that bout. Before skating away, he looked up ice and saw that the Oilers were closing in on the Sabres' net. Dropping the gloves then could have negated a scoring chance, and those were pretty rare last night.

Also, the fact that Renney didn't have Jacques on a line is hardly evidence that he was punishing him for that one event. Maybe he just finally figured out that Jacques isn't so good at the hockey.

The Oilers were nowhere near the Sabres net (the puck went in and Stortini was 15 feet offside so they had to wait), but JFJ did suck Rivet into a cross checking penalty to put the Oilers up a man.

Seems to me he made the right play. Threw a hit and drew a penalty. I'll take that from my 4th line any day.

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#53 Oil Dude
December 30 2010, 08:20AM
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dawgbone wrote:

The Oilers were nowhere near the Sabres net (the puck went in and Stortini was 15 feet offside so they had to wait), but JFJ did suck Rivet into a cross checking penalty to put the Oilers up a man.

Seems to me he made the right play. Threw a hit and drew a penalty. I'll take that from my 4th line any day.

But would it not have been even better to take away one of the best d-men on the Sabers team for 5+ minutes , hype the team up through a fight , and change the momentum of the game?

JFJ's game is not to be a pest but rather a guy that hits , fights occasionally and makes this team hard to play against.

Message from that sequence? The Oilers won't fight back.

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#54 dawgbone
December 30 2010, 09:38AM
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Oil Dude wrote:

But would it not have been even better to take away one of the best d-men on the Sabers team for 5+ minutes , hype the team up through a fight , and change the momentum of the game?

JFJ's game is not to be a pest but rather a guy that hits , fights occasionally and makes this team hard to play against.

Message from that sequence? The Oilers won't fight back.

Is there any indication that fighting "hypes a team up" or "changes momentum"?

A team who wins a fight isn't any more likely to score in the next 10 minutes of playing time than a team who goes offside. There's almost nothing that suggests fighting changes a game.

Personally speaking, I'd rather take the 5 on 4 advantage (even if the Oilers PP does suck) rather than a potential hype up or change of momentum (which, if we follow hockey logic, should have happened with the hit).

JFJ's game should be (like all hockey players) to help contribute to winning. All that other stuff is secondary and rather useless if he's not doing the former. Hitting is useful if you are getting the puck back. Fighting is useful if you are protecting a team mate. Making your team hard to play agaisnt should mean exactly how it sounds. Puck possession and chances not coming easy to your opposition, which doesn't necessarily have to do with fighting or hitting.

And I don't think the message from the sequence was that the Oilers won't fight back. They Oilers (specifically JFJ) had nothing to fight back from. JFJ was the one who initiated the sequence and it was up to Rivet to respond. He did by taking a penalty and Jacques accomplished something tangible, he got his team a PP.

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#55 hamzinoilcntry
December 30 2010, 12:09PM
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dawgbone wrote:

The Oilers were nowhere near the Sabres net (the puck went in and Stortini was 15 feet offside so they had to wait), but JFJ did suck Rivet into a cross checking penalty to put the Oilers up a man.

Seems to me he made the right play. Threw a hit and drew a penalty. I'll take that from my 4th line any day.

Stortini was 15 feet offside casue he was sitting in the pressbox in favour of JFJ. JFJ needs to be released from this team. Pefect oppurtunity to take rivet off the ice for 7 minutes and he skates away from it. I wish Zack was dressed. he'd have been a willing partner( probably would have hugged him to death) but atleast the 5 for fighting and the original penalty would have been there. abnother missed opurtunity from JFJ. On a side note if he would have fought he would have to be placed on ir for the season. Tough to be a scrapper and a aggitator when you are made from glass.

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#56 hamzinoilcntry
December 30 2010, 12:15PM
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dawgbone wrote:

Is there any indication that fighting "hypes a team up" or "changes momentum"?

A team who wins a fight isn't any more likely to score in the next 10 minutes of playing time than a team who goes offside. There's almost nothing that suggests fighting changes a game.

Personally speaking, I'd rather take the 5 on 4 advantage (even if the Oilers PP does suck) rather than a potential hype up or change of momentum (which, if we follow hockey logic, should have happened with the hit).

JFJ's game should be (like all hockey players) to help contribute to winning. All that other stuff is secondary and rather useless if he's not doing the former. Hitting is useful if you are getting the puck back. Fighting is useful if you are protecting a team mate. Making your team hard to play agaisnt should mean exactly how it sounds. Puck possession and chances not coming easy to your opposition, which doesn't necessarily have to do with fighting or hitting.

And I don't think the message from the sequence was that the Oilers won't fight back. They Oilers (specifically JFJ) had nothing to fight back from. JFJ was the one who initiated the sequence and it was up to Rivet to respond. He did by taking a penalty and Jacques accomplished something tangible, he got his team a PP.

Dawgbone. The trade off that could have been is Craig Rivet the sabres number one defenseman that night in the penalty box for 7 minutes. Could that have changed the momentum of the game? Could some of the younger Buffalo defenseman late in the game of back to back nights been exposed easier? We will never know. Mark my words though Tom Renney will have told JFJ what might have been had he engaged Rivet.

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#57 dawgbone
December 30 2010, 12:28PM
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hamzinoilcntry wrote:

Stortini was 15 feet offside casue he was sitting in the pressbox in favour of JFJ. JFJ needs to be released from this team. Pefect oppurtunity to take rivet off the ice for 7 minutes and he skates away from it. I wish Zack was dressed. he'd have been a willing partner( probably would have hugged him to death) but atleast the 5 for fighting and the original penalty would have been there. abnother missed opurtunity from JFJ. On a side note if he would have fought he would have to be placed on ir for the season. Tough to be a scrapper and a aggitator when you are made from glass.

Sorry, it was Jacques who was 15 feet offside (no idea why I typed Stortini).

The only reason Rivet got the penalty was because JFJ declined the fight and Rivet cross checked him.

Don't get me wrong, I think JFJ is a terrible player and doesn't belong in the NHL, but this isn't an example of why.

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#58 dawgbone
December 30 2010, 12:39PM
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hamzinoilcntry wrote:

Dawgbone. The trade off that could have been is Craig Rivet the sabres number one defenseman that night in the penalty box for 7 minutes. Could that have changed the momentum of the game? Could some of the younger Buffalo defenseman late in the game of back to back nights been exposed easier? We will never know. Mark my words though Tom Renney will have told JFJ what might have been had he engaged Rivet.

In what world is Craig Rivet the Sabres #1 defenceman? Someone should tell the Sabres that because he's only playing a shade over 15 minutes per game which puts him in the range of a #5/6 on the Sabres team.

The other question is does Jacques end up drawing a penalty if he decides to drop the gloves? How many times have you seen a player take a shot at another guy (to initiate a fight) and not get a penalty when they both fight? It happens quite a bit. I can't say for sure but I have doubts Rivet gets called for his cross check if they both fight.

There's more goals scored in the first 2 minutes following a PP than there are after a fight.

If Ethan Moreau takes the penalty Rivet takes, he's a selfish moron.

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#59 Jon
December 30 2010, 02:25PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Why would the penalty not have been called? That is a complete guess on your part, and I doubt it wouldn't have been called.

The fact his own coach didn't have him on a line in practice today pretty much shows that Renney didn't agree with the decision.

Yes, it's a guess on my part, but it's a fairly logical one. Watch the replay, you see Rivet facing Jacques for a second or two, then he crosschecks Jacques. It's fairly logical to think that Rivet is not standing there silent and then cross checks him. Most likely, Rivet is yapping at Jacques trying to get him to drop, Jacques starts skating away and Rivet cross checks him. If Jacques drops when asked, the cross check doesnt even happen. That's one reason why it wouldn't have called and I don't think you can disagree with that.

Secondly, just based on how refs call penalties, seeing that it wasn't a very vicious crosscheck, I would think it doesn't get called even if both the crosscheck and fight happened. But we can agree to disagree on that reasoning, I guess.

Unless you asked Renney as to why, you are just guessing as well on why he was scratched. Like another poster mentioned, there are a plenty of reasons to scratch Jacques.

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