GDB LIV: What a difference a goalie makes!

Jason Gregor
February 01 2010 01:41PM

Eight days ago tonight’s game looked like an epic battle for 30th place, but after four straight wins the Hurricanes are seven points ahead of the Oilers. Have the Canes being playing great hockey all of a sudden? Not really, but their goalie, Sherwood Park native Cam Ward sure is.

Ward has allowed five goals in the four game winning streak. The Canes have been out shot every game, but Ward has a ridiculous .962 SV% in those games. Meanwhile as a team, the Canes have a shooting percentage of 20 with 18 goals on only 91 shots. They won’t keep winning games if these numbers stay the same. Teams can have short stretches where everything they shoot goes in, or their goalie stops most shots, but eventually those bounces will cease.

I wrote on Friday that cheering for a win v. Calgary made sense because of pride, and of course we all saw that there didn’t seem to be much pride on the ice. So tonight, you watch the game knowing that a loss will tie the franchise record for the longest winless streak at 14 games.

Do you cheer for a record or as fans do you need to see your team win one game just to remind you how that feels?

Tough call!

With Sheldon Souray out until after the trade deadline, and possibly the rest of the season (would there be an reason to come back on March 15th) the Oilers attack becomes less potent by the day.

Alex Plante, 15th pick in 2007, will make his NHL debut tonight. Plante has been okay in Springfield according to the scouts and coaching staff. He’ll wear #48 tonight and be paired with Taylor Chorney.

They didn’t do any line rushes this morning, but at yesterday’s skate Marc Pouliot and J.F Jacques looked to be the extras. The top three lines were the same, while Mike Comrie and Zack Stortini skated with Andrew Cogliano. Jacques was invisible in Calgary and Pouliot hasn’t done much since returning from the injured list.

Sheldon Souray’s injury will force Tom Renney to make some changes on the backend. Visnovsky, Gilbert and Plante will play the right side while Strudwick, Chorney and Grebeshkov will play the left side. Strudwick will play with Alex Plante while Renney will put Chorney with Visnvosky and Gilbert back with Grebeshkov. This blueline corps definitely lacks a physical presence and we could see a few fire drills in their own zone tonight.

Jeff Deslauriers gets the start and is looking for his first win since December 30th.

CONSPIRACY THEORY?

I’m not a huge believer in conspiracy theories, although Mel Gibson was great as Jerry Fletcher in the 1997 flick especially when he bit part of Dr. Jonas’ nose off.

But many Oiler fans are concerned that the Count, aka Gary Bettman, will rig the lottery to ensure that the Hurricanes win it. Their basis to this theory is that fans in Edmonton and Boston don’t need the first overall pick to appease their fans, while Carolina needs help.

That's not necessarily the case. Some wondered why the Canes drew a measly 6,896 fans with Chicago in town on Friday. The Hawks are one of the most exciting teams in the league, yet the Canes had their lowest crowd of the season. Prior to Friday’s game their lowest crowd was just over 12,000. It doesn’t make sense that with the Hawks in town and the Canes on a three-game winning streak that only 6,896 people show up.

It's because they had six inches of snow. They actually sold 17,000 tickets and were expecting a sell out, but the weather forced many people to stay home. Even though they had 17,000 sold seats they announced the number of fans in the building. You wonder if down the stretch that will happen in Edmonton. Anyone who has been at Rexall Place knows the seats haven't been full, and you wonder if all of those are paid seats that didn't show up. I'd guess probably not.

I’d bet Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini will have a valid argument that they need the first overall pick more than Carolina does. Oiler fans have had four seasons without the playoffs, and the masses are pissed.

Also...

Interesting to note that Eric Staal spent lots of time at the end of practice working on his shot and joking around with his teammates. Great players put in the extra work and while some of you don't think it is necessary for Ales Hemsky to be any better, I'd argue he does. I see too many of the elite players in the league staying late after practice or at morning skates, and that extra work definitely doesn't hurt their game.

And it seems that TSN. ca jumped the gun on the Rangers/Flames trade. I remember back in the summer when Bob McKenzie and others on TSN were ripping the Edmonton media for jumping the gun on the Heatley story. I noticed he didn't use the same choice of words when talking about how this deal is now on hold. We all make mistakes, and I laugh when those who have ripped on someone about a mistake or jumping the gun have the exact thing happen to them. The deal might still go through, but if it doesn't I doubt they will be ripping their own site.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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
Avatar
#251 David S
February 01 2010, 10:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
jeanshorts wrote:

Oilers.........win?

It's like 2006 all over again!!!!!!

*starts burning everything in reach*

Ssshhhhh!!!

The cops are still looking for you Whyte Ave guys from 06.

Avatar
#252 Rigger
February 01 2010, 10:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

I'm not sure what to do with myself, it's been so long since we won a game. *feels lightheaded*

Avatar
#253 Dan the Man
February 01 2010, 10:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

While watching this game I pretended it was game 7 in 2006 ....it was much more entertaining that way AND the Oilers won the Cup this time.

Avatar
#254 Archaeologuy
February 01 2010, 10:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Wow.

So do...I...feel...happy? Is that what this is? Happiness?

This feels like there's a party in my heart and Taylor Hall isnt invited.*

*Hall is still invited

Avatar
#255 Heavyd
February 01 2010, 10:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Riots on whyte have tonight.

Its like we just won the stanley cup. This feels so good, how sad is this.

Avatar
#256 jeanshorts
February 01 2010, 10:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Archaeologuy

The Oilers just need to win enough games to keep pace with the Leafs and Hurricanes, while not letting themselves get out of the top 2 draft spots.

Nothing to it!

Avatar
#257 Archaeologuy
February 01 2010, 10:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@jeanshorts

I justified the 13 losses in a row so well in my head that it's having trouble adjusting to the win.

Avatar
#258 risto
February 01 2010, 10:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Dan the Man

Sweet. parade on Jasper!

Avatar
#259 Nick Dynasty
February 01 2010, 10:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

feels good to finally get a win again, but let's not make a habit of this...DFF!

Avatar
#260 jeanshorts
February 01 2010, 10:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Archaeologuy

I guarantee some poor Oilers fan from Newfoundland is going to wake up tomorrow morning, look at the score and start screaming "WHAT YEAR IS THIS???".

Avatar
#261 Archaeologuy
February 01 2010, 10:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@jeanshorts

Oh really? I didnt know Pat Quinn was from Newfoundland...

Avatar
#262 Aleslav Smidsky
February 01 2010, 10:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

WoW Jacques and Pouliot both with two points. Did that line play good enough to deserve those or was it just blind (squirels)? luck?

English is my third language, if you guys would mind corecting my spelling, it would help a brother a lot. Thanks.

Avatar
#265 Frankels
February 01 2010, 10:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

I have to say I agree with Jason Gregor - what is so bad about asking that a good player show some initiative and do the work to develop his talent? The fact that people are so upset about this suggestion just goes to show how we - as a society - do not demand responsibility from anyone anymore. Who cares what he has to play with, you would think that if you had all that talent, you would want to be able to be the best you could be and do whatever it took to get there. I think maybe the fact that Hemsky doesn't have a great talent pool to work with perhaps gives him an excuse to not excel.

Avatar
#266 Archaeologuy
February 01 2010, 11:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Jason Gregor

JG, I wasnt even referring to what you wrote at that point. The topic elicits all kinds of responses from people, many people seem to think that Hemsky is reading the latest issue of Maxim on the bench while everyone else is in a bag-skate during practices for some reason. You brought up a point, others did the ripping.

Of course it wouldnt hinder his game to practice longer. I never said it would. I'm not a fortune teller, so I cant guess as to how Hemsky would be practicing if he were still around. He doesnt even get a chance to respond to questions regarding his practice habits though since he doesnt have the chance to even be playing right now.

Different players prepare differently, but what could it hurt to take a few more practice shots. Which active player on the Oiler roster do you think should elevate his practice habits?

Avatar
#267 Aleslav Smidsky
February 01 2010, 11:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Frankels

Who is asking him? You? Me? Gregor? Coach? Ofcourse it matters who he plays with, thats why trades happen. To improve a hockey club. Look at Calgary, Iginla wasnt performing, so they are trading and looking for trades to compliemnt and make him better. All Hemsky has ever had was a 2nd line center and a 2nd line LW at best.

Do you think Hemsky would have more points if Iginla was his center instead of Horcoff?

I dont think Hemsky makes excuses for his perfomrances or why he doesnt stay late after practice.

You must admit. Since Hemsky came around, the management has been saying they are building a team around him. They havent gave him anything to be excited about. What exactly do you expect from him?

Your society comment is out to a late dinner.

Avatar
#268 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 01 2010, 11:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Archaeologuy wrote:

I wont go back and watch those games from last year, but Whifcoff earned his nickname that year for a reason.

Ya, because guys like you get on something and never get off.

Avatar
#269 Aleslav Smidsky
February 01 2010, 11:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Like Horcoff on the 1st line for the last few seasons.

You're right. Horcoff dont miss/whiff, we just blame him for the passes Hemsky cant put in the net.

Avatar
#270 Crash
February 02 2010, 12:47AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Ya, because guys like you get on something and never get off.

Archaeologuy wrote: I wont go back and watch those games from last year, but Whifcoff earned his nickname that year for a reason.

Now there's a pot calling a kettle black big time.

Avatar
#271 papaburgundy
February 02 2010, 08:38AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Well, even a blind squirrel finds a nut eventually! The Oilers were lucky to run into a tired hockey team that had just won 4 in a row and didn't quite get the goaltending they needed to win the game. Carolina, you should be ashamed of yourselves for losing to the worst team in the league! You can beat Chicago, but not Edmonton! My thinking is they felt sorry for the Oilers and decided to GIVE them a win because if Carolina did want a win last night, they would have simply took it from the Oilers. Hopefully, the Oilers get back to their losing ways when they play Philly tommorrow. 14 straight losses is one thing that is definitely attainable by this bunch of clowns!

Avatar
#272 Archaeologuy
February 02 2010, 09:07AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Crash

Ok, you guys are right. Horcoff never once missed on great opportunities provided by Hemsky last season.

In fact. Horc is the greatest 1st line centre of all time.

Avatar
#273 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 02 2010, 09:40AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Crash wrote:

Archaeologuy wrote: I wont go back and watch those games from last year, but Whifcoff earned his nickname that year for a reason.

Now there's a pot calling a kettle black big time.

Same to you.

Avatar
#274 Aleslav Smidsky
February 02 2010, 09:55AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Watching Horcoff whiff is more painful then pissing drunk with gonorrhea in the caribbean.

Avatar
#275 Aleslav Smidsky
February 02 2010, 10:12AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Jason Gregor

Practice makes perfect. I know Hemsky could step his game up and could practice more. On that same note, so could most of the Oilers team, they could all use a whole lot more practice time.

I appreciate Hemskys game and the things he provides for the fans and the organization. I am simply defending him due to the fact, that not many other Oilers stay extra after practice and the ones that due are asked by the coaches for specific reasons.

The veterans on this team that need to stay and step their game up, dont even attend optionals.

One more quick question Gregor. If you were the coach/advisor of Hemskys, what extras would you have him perfecting for his craft? What would you like him to do in the extra practice time?

Its bad to make an issue of something that isnt there, especially when we are talking about our only superstar on the team. Its planting bad seeds, and its not necessary.

Avatar
#276 Crash
February 02 2010, 01:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Archaeologuy wrote:

Ok, you guys are right. Horcoff never once missed on great opportunities provided by Hemsky last season.

In fact. Horc is the greatest 1st line centre of all time.

LOL, I was actually in agreement with you and calling Ogden know it all the pot calling the kettle black...not the other way around....

Avatar
#278 Chris.
February 02 2010, 08:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Who is asking him? You? Me? Gregor? Coach? Ofcourse it matters who he plays with, thats why trades happen. To improve a hockey club. Look at Calgary, Iginla wasnt performing, so they are trading and looking for trades to compliemnt and make him better. All Hemsky has ever had was a 2nd line center and a 2nd line LW at best.

Do you think Hemsky would have more points if Iginla was his center instead of Horcoff?

I dont think Hemsky makes excuses for his perfomrances or why he doesnt stay late after practice.

You must admit. Since Hemsky came around, the management has been saying they are building a team around him. They havent gave him anything to be excited about. What exactly do you expect from him?

Your society comment is out to a late dinner.

Iginla is a winger.

Comments are closed for this article.