Horcoff Injury Has Major Impact

Lowetide
December 08 2010 07:53AM

A few days ago, the Edmonton Oilers remained relatively untouched by injury; today, they are facing some very difficult choices in terms of roster makup for the next two months or more. Faceoffs, penalty-kill, the powerplay, evens. This has an impact on everything.  

Hemsky's gone for 4 weeks, Horcoff is out for a long time (8 weeks or more). He'll have an MRI today, and surgery hasn't been ruled out. Horcoff plays a lot every game in every situation:

  • 14:03 at evs (5th on the team among F's)
  • 2:07 on the PK (1st among forwards)
  • 2:33 on the PP (4th among forwards)

Horcoff was doing an excellent job in the mentor role with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. All reports suggested he was an excellent captain and took his role seriously. This is a bitter pill, made doubly so because well known "borderline" player Corey Perry was involved.

Accidental my ass.

The Oilers will be calling someone up today, possibly two players:

  • Linus Omark: Highly skilled but there is concern about what he'll leave behind and how often he'll be on the wrong side of the puck upon turnover. Could help on the PP.
  • Liam Reddox: Ginger has been effective on the farm (again) and could help out on the PK.
  • Ryan O'Marra: Could help in the dot and on the PK.

I think it might be wise to recall all three. It might require placing Jason Strudwick on IR, but at this point the Oilers need all capable hands on deck up front. They may move Dustin Penner or Gilbert Brule over to center, giving the depth chart the folllowing look: Penner, Gagner, Cogliano, Fraser.

I've always felt this season was best spent in the basement. Get Sean Couturier and then add those quality veterans over next summer with an eye to being competitive for 2012 spring. The hockey Gods appear to agree. That's the only explanation I can think of at this point in time.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Oilcruzer
December 08 2010, 07:56AM
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Second!!!!

Edit. "doh!"

It better be Linus and someone... Either Ginger or Ryan, it doesn't matter.

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#2 BingBong
December 08 2010, 08:02AM
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We're never gonna win another faceoff... :-(

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#3 pelhem grenville
December 08 2010, 08:08AM
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...nation...

be very afraid

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#4 Milli
December 08 2010, 08:09AM
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Yes, losing Horc is a disaster. We will see the impact I'd imagine, LOUD AND CLEAR. There is noone that they can call up to replace those minutes. Well, it's starting to look like a high pick again......but I still hope not!

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#5 Dyckster
December 08 2010, 08:10AM
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I posted this on the previous article (Wanye's).

"Anyone,

Didn't see the game last night, was the knee on knee a dirty play? Or just inadvertant contact?"

Based on Lowetides comment, sounds like it may have been intentional?

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#6 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 08 2010, 08:11AM
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We've had our fun this year, now lets suck it up and go grab our top 15C.

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#7 Jeremy S.
December 08 2010, 08:11AM
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It is going to be a long road now... ELPH here we come...

Problem is the defence concence of the kids line is gone.

I hope they don't break up the Jones/Gagner/Paaj line, Paaj has finally got on a stable line and he is just starting to produce. All of at least 2 of Jones last 3 goals have ether been heads up or beauty passes from Paaj!

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#9 mayorpoop
December 08 2010, 08:12AM
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its not all bad news horcoff is down. if we stayed healthy, would we have seen reddox or omark or even o'mara for that matter this season? maybe maybe not...me i lean towards not all three thats for certain.

we are young and now is the time to challenge all our young promising players whether they be from the farm or the big club.

sorry horcoff is hurt but at the end of the day does it really matter? we want elph and this may just grant our x-mas wishes!

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#10 Dodd
December 08 2010, 08:13AM
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Omark was so mad on his way out of town that I would like to see that turned into strong - willed success.

Reddox is a no - brainer. He's coming up. I hope both.

What better time for a couple important vets to go down, when you think about it... if we're rebuilding, let's get it over with. Horcoff will still be available to the team and the kids for mentoring.

I gotta go with the cup being half - full here. This sucks but what can we do?

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#11 pelhem grenville
December 08 2010, 08:21AM
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LT...accidental...?

my ass as well...very borderline... Perry looks like he knew where his leg was when he approached 10 on PVR frame by frame.

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#12 Jeremy S.
December 08 2010, 08:28AM
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So do you call up Omark and Reddox and move Brule to Centre?

Hall-Brule-Eberle Paaj-Gagner-Jones DP-Cogs-Reddox *insert whoever 4th line here*

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#13 Souby
December 08 2010, 08:30AM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

LT...accidental...?

my ass as well...very borderline... Perry looks like he knew where his leg was when he approached 10 on PVR frame by frame.

I third that. Perry is one of those guys that plays like a prick, but doesn't have to. He has the skill and grit to get the job done without this B.S. . My two cents....

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#14 Oilers4ever
December 08 2010, 08:30AM
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Jeremy S. wrote:

It is going to be a long road now... ELPH here we come...

Problem is the defence concence of the kids line is gone.

I hope they don't break up the Jones/Gagner/Paaj line, Paaj has finally got on a stable line and he is just starting to produce. All of at least 2 of Jones last 3 goals have ether been heads up or beauty passes from Paaj!

Disagree on this... Ebs has probably been the best defensive forward on this line... and Hall's been coming back more and more and getting better... it's the leadership that's going to be missed here.. .Horc has cement hands in my books and is not a good finisher... I think they should put Brule back to center here... He's got better hands and what's his faceoff percentage this year so far in his limited action there, over 60% I believe.. the true stats guys can provide that number... I don't think the hit by Perry was dirty either... just looked like a collision.. the replays clearly show Perry did NOT stick his leg out... You guys thinking otherwise are acting like homers and looking through rose-tinted glasses... I have PVR to... didn't see it like that at all. You can say that all you want when you slow it down.. but the game is played a high speed pace and I don't think Perry went out with malicious intent to hurt Horcs..

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#15 9 Inches Uncut
December 08 2010, 08:34AM
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They seem loathe to call up anybody from Oklahoma and want that team to be successful.

All three of the Barons you mentioned could help the Oilers but winning has a low priority this year on the big squad.

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#16 Oilers4ever
December 08 2010, 08:46AM
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Seriously... if mgmt is going to willing try to lose this year and not help the club.. I hope fans stop going... people don't pay thousands of dollars for season tickets to watch a team tank on purpose.. like I said in the other thread..that is just so wrong in so many ways.. if that is what they decide to do then Katz better stop his snivelling and whining like a 3 year old and fork out all the dough himself for his building. Tax payers shouldn't have to pay for a team that doesn't want to try... if they don't have to try, then why should the fans when it comes to the building.

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#17 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 08 2010, 08:48AM
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Oilers4ever wrote:

Disagree on this... Ebs has probably been the best defensive forward on this line... and Hall's been coming back more and more and getting better... it's the leadership that's going to be missed here.. .Horc has cement hands in my books and is not a good finisher... I think they should put Brule back to center here... He's got better hands and what's his faceoff percentage this year so far in his limited action there, over 60% I believe.. the true stats guys can provide that number... I don't think the hit by Perry was dirty either... just looked like a collision.. the replays clearly show Perry did NOT stick his leg out... You guys thinking otherwise are acting like homers and looking through rose-tinted glasses... I have PVR to... didn't see it like that at all. You can say that all you want when you slow it down.. but the game is played a high speed pace and I don't think Perry went out with malicious intent to hurt Horcs..

Couple things:

Eberle is -3 and Hall is -4 while Horc is +4

Considering they've played 80% of the season on the same line, I think it's safe to say the rooks are getting lit up defensively when they aren't playing with Horc.

So far Horc has a very respectable 16.7% shooting percentage. That's far from "stone hands so far this year".

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#18 mayorpoop
December 08 2010, 08:53AM
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Oilers4ever wrote:

Seriously... if mgmt is going to willing try to lose this year and not help the club.. I hope fans stop going... people don't pay thousands of dollars for season tickets to watch a team tank on purpose.. like I said in the other thread..that is just so wrong in so many ways.. if that is what they decide to do then Katz better stop his snivelling and whining like a 3 year old and fork out all the dough himself for his building. Tax payers shouldn't have to pay for a team that doesn't want to try... if they don't have to try, then why should the fans when it comes to the building.

there is a difference between "trying" to lose and not being unhappy with losing. i don't belive they are purposely attempting to tank, but if it happens no biggy! we all want to win, but most understand the process of re-building and the associated benefits of that with a higher draft pick, in a good draft year.

play to win, but lose and learn and no one is worse off!

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#19 Ryan2
December 08 2010, 08:54AM
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It will be interesting to see what kind of an impact this injury has on Hall and Ebs. Horcs did a lot of coaching on the bench and on the ice - they will not get that from any of our other centers.

Hopefully Penner will continue his inspired play of late and step up as the leader until Hemmer returns. If it is a tear that requires surgery, Horcs is likely done until next season.

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#20 VMR
December 08 2010, 08:55AM
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With Jones showing he has some skill along with a physical edge can they finally give up on Jacques and just waive him to make space for someone from the farm?

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#21 mayorpoop
December 08 2010, 09:04AM
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VMR wrote:

With Jones showing he has some skill along with a physical edge can they finally give up on Jacques and just waive him to make space for someone from the farm?

couldn't agree more! jacques played just over eight minutes last night and some of that time was probably due to having horc out early (shared time amongst all). what does he bring that stortini can't? parros was in and big mac was out, why? so we could play jacques and stortini on the same line and get the same result.

don't understand what jacques brings?

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#22 Milli
December 08 2010, 09:12AM
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I used to think JFJ had a role on this team, but he only does if he is smashing and crashin and banging....wgich to my eye, he seems to be doing less and less. His first couple games back, I thought he was creating havoc, but if he plays in the bigs, this MUST be every shift, not here and there. Gagner, this guy is playing possesed! I'm saying by far the best hockey of his career.

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#23 jdubbs
December 08 2010, 09:14AM
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wouldn't Moran be a more logical callup right now?? natural center, don't have to move guys out of their comfortable positions. little more offensive upside. haven't seen him play much since he was a Hitman but has good numbers. Not disagreeing with the ginger call-up either...maybe both would be good additions to the lineup.

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#24 Crash
December 08 2010, 09:24AM
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While the team can't keep up the winning ways minus Hemsky, they will be just fine without Horc...

Call up Omark and O'Marra, Hemsky will be back in 3 weeks and things will be just fine. Please Oilers, NO to Reddox, that ship has sailed. He will not improve things here.

The sky isn't falling people....and even if it is (which is isn't), you can clearly see that sweeter days lie ahead in the very near future.

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#25 Michael
December 08 2010, 09:35AM
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I think a more interesting question is how this affects the fourth line. The Oilers have been rolling three lines pretty consistently, on the common knowledge that their fourth line seems as though it was just dropped from a giraffe's womb.

Horcoff being out means that they may need to rely on the 4th line much more to play a defensive role, and start spotting Hall/Ebs against the toughs.

It may force their hand on Jacques, or Smack, if they need to plug one or two of O'Marra and Reddox in there...

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#26 Oilers4ever
December 08 2010, 09:38AM
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MayorPoop.. while I understand where you are coming from, don't try to dump that on the people that are being told they have to fit the bill for the building because they sure don't buy into that at all.. Most of it I'm sure is because they figure that Katz has the money to pay for the whole thing himself... but either way.. I could understand some fans having a hard time paying for something for a team that is going to "accept losing as acceptable" just because they are trying to learn... seems to me they won 4 straight and learned the whole way. This team could win, make the playoffs (even if they got knocked out) and learn from that as well. You will never convince me that losing is acceptable regardless of how well you play just to get a draft pick. Acceptance of losing is never acceptable.. how's that for a spin on words. You can rebuild without having to trash your season...

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#27 David S
December 08 2010, 09:42AM
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You guys are kidding yourselves if you think we're back to ELPH. We wish.

With Horcoff's injury we are officially at Defcon 2, which everybody knows is SINFUL (Suicide Inducing Non-Fulfilling Ultra Loser) Hockey

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#28 mayorpoop
December 08 2010, 09:51AM
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Oilers4ever wrote:

MayorPoop.. while I understand where you are coming from, don't try to dump that on the people that are being told they have to fit the bill for the building because they sure don't buy into that at all.. Most of it I'm sure is because they figure that Katz has the money to pay for the whole thing himself... but either way.. I could understand some fans having a hard time paying for something for a team that is going to "accept losing as acceptable" just because they are trying to learn... seems to me they won 4 straight and learned the whole way. This team could win, make the playoffs (even if they got knocked out) and learn from that as well. You will never convince me that losing is acceptable regardless of how well you play just to get a draft pick. Acceptance of losing is never acceptable.. how's that for a spin on words. You can rebuild without having to trash your season...

firstly i think the arena funding debate is a different issue and using that as a crutch for you reasoning is acceptalbe i suppose. i like you want to win. this is a short term (1-3 yr) problem the goal is not to continue to lose but to continue to grow and win, arena funding aside.

as it relates to arena yes katz has the money to build it himself but this is a business and any businessman interested in making money will see whose hands extend to give him money...this is not a not for profit.

go oilers continue to win and rebuild wisely.

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#29 Steve Smith
December 08 2010, 09:52AM
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Ryan2 wrote:

It will be interesting to see what kind of an impact this injury has on Hall and Ebs. Horcs did a lot of coaching on the bench and on the ice - they will not get that from any of our other centers.

Hopefully Penner will continue his inspired play of late and step up as the leader until Hemmer returns. If it is a tear that requires surgery, Horcs is likely done until next season.

I have a hard time imagining Penner doing that; he's fat.

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#30 Oilers4ever
December 08 2010, 10:05AM
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Agreed... although I hate to admit it.. I think if Katz continues to force the payment by taxpayers issue this team will be moving. Because Katz paid 200 million for the team, it is his business for sure. But because it is his business and because he wants all the profits from everything in there (concerts, what have you), then he should be paying the full bill for the building. Like you said.. it's a business, so buck up and pay for the infuse of cash required for all the profit you are going to get. Don't ask the city to pay for it and not expect to be giving them so profit out of it.. that will never happen.

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#31 mayorpoop
December 08 2010, 10:14AM
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Oilers4ever wrote:

Agreed... although I hate to admit it.. I think if Katz continues to force the payment by taxpayers issue this team will be moving. Because Katz paid 200 million for the team, it is his business for sure. But because it is his business and because he wants all the profits from everything in there (concerts, what have you), then he should be paying the full bill for the building. Like you said.. it's a business, so buck up and pay for the infuse of cash required for all the profit you are going to get. Don't ask the city to pay for it and not expect to be giving them so profit out of it.. that will never happen.

i agree as well...makes for boring mindless chatter doesn't it? haha. you want the profit you pay to keep the profit, terrfic in theory but no way the city doesn't give concessions.

it's katz sandbox and he can play with whoever the heck he wants!

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#32 Reggie
December 08 2010, 10:22AM
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Steve Smith wrote:

I have a hard time imagining Penner doing that; he's fat.

Penner is not fat. Take a look at him a little closer. He may weigh the same as last year, but is slimmer and trimmer. You can see it in his face. That is what we heard from training camp physicals as well.

You can complain that he needs to compete harder and be more consistent, etc. But he is not fat.

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#33 risto
December 08 2010, 10:22AM
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@pelhem grenville

Even Horcoff, who chose his words carefully, used the term "Can Opener".

Perry knew exactly what he was doing, and easily could have avoided him. instead, he braced for collision and put his stick between C13's legs to guarantee a twist on contact.

That ANA team is coached to thug it up constantly. Something in my head is telling me "remember Marchment", did he ever make me queasy too when he would destroy the opposition, and then his horrible head injury on that open penalty box door - I think someday Perry gets his, simply because he plays the game the WRONG way.

Our team looked great in the 3rd period!

Fraser is the only passenger right now, and he'd better step up or some Baron will steal his land.

Are our main players injury-prone, or targeted by hit men?

*wonders if Mush can still skate*

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#34 Steve Smith
December 08 2010, 10:25AM
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@Reggie

Penner is, by every reasonable measure, an excellent player. But we've got people complaining that he *looks* lazy, and apparently looking like you're working hard is important to winning hockey games. So whenever people say anything positive about Penner, I point out that that can't possibly be true, because he's either (depending on where whim takes me) fat or lazy. I understand that it's house logic around here.

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#35 Quicksilver ballet
December 08 2010, 10:28AM
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Because i'm a glass is half full kinda guy. The Oilers have once again gained favour with the hockey Gods, the Quest for Couturier is back in motion.

ALL ABOARD THE COUTURIER AND LARSSON EXPRESS!

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#36 rubbertrout
December 08 2010, 10:46AM
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Dyckster wrote:

I posted this on the previous article (Wanye's).

"Anyone,

Didn't see the game last night, was the knee on knee a dirty play? Or just inadvertant contact?"

Based on Lowetides comment, sounds like it may have been intentional?

It was Perry. I assume that it was intentional unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.

Perry is a cheap shot artist.

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#37 Racki
December 08 2010, 10:48AM
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Good to see I'm not the only one that realized Perry did that $%!t intentionally. It looked like he had plenty of opportunity to bail out of the way.

Anyways, put Strudwick on IR? Is he even injured? Can you put a non-injured player on IR? I think they honestly should consider demoting one of: MacIntyre, Strudwick, Jacques, Stortini to the AHL.

Jacques maybe gets a slight pass for coming back from a long injury, which may be impacting his game. But the rest have played to a point where they are considered expendable.

That said, I would pick OKC completely clean. I'd say put Hemsky and Horcoff on IR, and then call up Omark and O'Marra or Reddox. Ideally if we can acquire another AHL lifer, that could help out the farm, that would be great... otherwise perhaps sending Stortini or Jacques down would help.

Yes, I know those guys have to clear waivers, but these guys aren't superstars.

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#38 rubbertrout
December 08 2010, 10:50AM
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Oilers4ever wrote:

Disagree on this... Ebs has probably been the best defensive forward on this line... and Hall's been coming back more and more and getting better... it's the leadership that's going to be missed here.. .Horc has cement hands in my books and is not a good finisher... I think they should put Brule back to center here... He's got better hands and what's his faceoff percentage this year so far in his limited action there, over 60% I believe.. the true stats guys can provide that number... I don't think the hit by Perry was dirty either... just looked like a collision.. the replays clearly show Perry did NOT stick his leg out... You guys thinking otherwise are acting like homers and looking through rose-tinted glasses... I have PVR to... didn't see it like that at all. You can say that all you want when you slow it down.. but the game is played a high speed pace and I don't think Perry went out with malicious intent to hurt Horcs..

Look at Staples' blog. He charts this stuff. He did one recently on how Paajarvi has been better defensively than the other kids. Eberle hasn't been bad but Horc has been very good. "Cement hands"? His shooting percentage suggests otherwise.

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#39 hamzinoilcntry
December 08 2010, 10:53AM
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Reggie wrote:

Penner is not fat. Take a look at him a little closer. He may weigh the same as last year, but is slimmer and trimmer. You can see it in his face. That is what we heard from training camp physicals as well.

You can complain that he needs to compete harder and be more consistent, etc. But he is not fat.

And Penner looked pretty good last night. It was suprisingly nice to see a little emotion from the big man when he netted the tying goal. Good on him I hope he can keep it up.

It must be a completely different feel in the room as we get into December 5 points out of the play offs than a year ago when we were mathematically elimanted!!!

Penner is going to have to move into the mentor role for the kids now and is going to have to lead by example with Whitney. Slap and "A" on him and lets ride this train as far as it can go. get some call ups done and hope the gingie can kill a few penalties and O'Mark and O'Marra are ready to go! I hope that the race is still close if and when Horc is ready to return in March!

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#40 rubbertrout
December 08 2010, 10:56AM
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Crash wrote:

While the team can't keep up the winning ways minus Hemsky, they will be just fine without Horc...

Call up Omark and O'Marra, Hemsky will be back in 3 weeks and things will be just fine. Please Oilers, NO to Reddox, that ship has sailed. He will not improve things here.

The sky isn't falling people....and even if it is (which is isn't), you can clearly see that sweeter days lie ahead in the very near future.

I hope you forgot to put the "~" around the "they will be just fine without Horc."

If you actually think that then I can save myself the trouble of reading your comments from now on.

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#41 The Evaluator
December 08 2010, 11:02AM
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Who should I call up? I can't decide...

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#42 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 08 2010, 11:02AM
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The Evaluator wrote:

Who should I call up? I can't decide...

The prudent thing would be to take a few months to mull things over.

We have faith that you can do it.

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#43 Reggie
December 08 2010, 11:15AM
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@Steve Smith

@Steve Smith

Oh ok, sorry I missed the sarcasm there. Didn't realize the assumed part of the banter

I am a Penner fan and I see his short comings, but the guy is a player. I supported Penner back when he was still in MacT's dog house and favorite whipping boy.

The guy brings way more than some fans realize or understand. Glad to hear I am not the only one who sees that.

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#44 John Chambers
December 08 2010, 11:21AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Because i'm a glass is half full kinda guy. The Oilers have once again gained favour with the hockey Gods, the Quest for Couturier is back in motion.

ALL ABOARD THE COUTURIER AND LARSSON EXPRESS!

Shouldn't you be of the mind that the Oilers will be a .700 team, winning 2 out of every 3 games, now that Horcoff is out of the lineup?

That is more or less what you've been advocating since, well, forever.

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#45 Reggie
December 08 2010, 11:21AM
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@hamzinoilcntry,

I loved his interview in the intermission about his trash talking with Perry. Not quite "sky rockets in flight" but still quite priceless.

@risto and @racki

Agree with you guys, he didn't stick the knee out or anything blatant, but he had his head up the whole time, knew the collision was coming but he did nothing to avoid it at all.

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#46 Captain Obvious
December 08 2010, 11:28AM
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O'Marra and Omark have been called up.

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#47 Dan the Man
December 08 2010, 11:32AM
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I was very disappointed with the Oielrs response to the knee on Horcoff.

Jaques...Stortini...Vandermeer...I'm talking to you.

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#48 hamzinoilcntry
December 08 2010, 11:39AM
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@ REGGIE: I missed the interview. What did Pens have to say?

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#49 dohfOs
December 08 2010, 11:55AM
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Happy Oilers went with Omark and O'Marra. Two of the players I've been eagerly awaiting to see wear the Oilers jersey once again.

Hopefully Reddox will get up as well, once they realize JFJ just isn't good truth to be told.

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#50 KSC10032
December 08 2010, 11:56AM
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I imagine that they'll give O'Marra decent minutes to see if he has topped out in terms of development (@ 4th liner status), and then check the waiver wire; as there do not seem to be any viable in-system alternatives, apart from playing Penner out of position (if he were perceived as a genuine NHL centre, he'd have been moved there years ago), or moving Brule (back) to centre (where results have been spotty, at best).

In terms of cheaper/waiver options that migh exist, I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned Mike Comrie, who is currently rotting in Pittsburgh's press-box. I expect the Penguins would list him as "free to a good home".

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