GDB LVII: Coyote Ugly

Jason Gregor
February 08 2010 01:02PM

Whoever said that the 2009-10 Oilers season wouldn't be record setting, think again. Last week the Oilers tied the franchise record with a 13-game winless streak, and tonight they have a shot at setting a dubious record: longest road losing streak. The Oilers have lost nine straight on the road, all in regulation, and haven’t won away from Rexall Place since December 11th v. the Blues.

They’ve scored a paltry nine goals in the last nine road games, getting shut out twice, while scoring once five times and twice they managed two goals. They’ve given up 36 goals during this losing streak. They’ve been outscored 36 to freaking nine! At least try and compete is what Pat Quinn should be saying prior to tonight’s tilt in Phoenix . The Oil will be hard-pressed to avoid setting the record when they face the NHL’s biggest surprise, the 35-19-5 Coyotes.

The Desert Dogs are 21-8-2 at home, and only Washington and Vancouver have more home wins. You wonder if they actually had some fans come watch them, how dominant they’d be at home. The biggest key for the Coyotes has been their ability to score first. They are 26-2-2 when scoring first, a league-best .867 winning %, while the Oilers are a woeful 6-25-3 when giving up the first goal. If the Oilers don’t score first tonight there’s a great chance they will set a new mark for road futility.

COYOTES UGLY: BUT THEY WIN

The Coyotes won’t scare anyone with their offence. Scottie Upshall led them in goals, with 18 before ripping up his ACL over a week ago. Radim Vrbata is now tied with Upshall with 18, while Shane Doan leads them with 43 points including 17 goals. The Coyotes are great at winning close games. Twelve of their 19 home wins have been by a goal. Dave Tippett has them playing good defence, but their numbers aren’t stellar. In fact, when you look at them at face value, they aren’t great. Of the eight teams currently in the playoffs in the west, only the Flames have scored fewer goals than the Coyotes, 157. Yet, the Dogs have surrendered more goals than all of them except Nashville and LA.

The Coyotes rarely lose the tight games. Twenty of their wins are one-goal wins, and they’ve lost by three four times, got blown out by four goals three times and lost by five once. Their PP is 27th in the league and their PK is 10th. The Coyotes don’t wow you with anything, although Ilya Bryzgalov has a very respectable 2.33 GAA and .919 SV%. His numbers are good, but are on par with the other top-ten goalies in the game. The fact is, the Coyotes don’t draw big crowds, they don’t have a 20-goal scorer, they aren’t the toughest team but they win which is the most important stat.

D WILL GET A BOOST

The Oilers are 1-0-1 v. the Dog this year, and they will get a boost on the backend as both Ladislav Smid and Steve Staios will play tonight. If Staios can stay healthy up to the deadline, can Steve Tambellini find a trading partner for him? He has one more year at $2.7 million and that will make it tough to move him, but if Ales Kotalik and his $3 million can be moved, then Tambellini should be able to find a taker for Staios.

GAGNER ON WAY HOME

The injuries keep mounting for the Oilers, as Sam Gagner will return to Edmonton to have his knee looked at. Gagner was hurt in Denver and has been the Oilers best player in 2010. The Oilers sit comfortably in 30th place, with a seven-point lead on Toronto and Carolina , so they didn’t really need Gagner to miss games to ensure their 48.1% chance of drafting first. Gagner needs to play, and the Oilers are hoping there is no major damage and that he’ll be able to return after the Olympic break.

With Gagner going down, Marc Pouliot will get a shot on the first line.

Pouliot has played better the last few games along side Jacques and Stortini. They’ve played a simple game and won lots of one-on-one battles. I’ll give Pouliot credit, he has used his size more recently and that has helped him. We’ll see if he plays the same way alongside Penner tonight. And it looks like Gilbert Brule and Robert Nilsson will draw back in with Gagner and Mike Comrie coming out. Not entirely sure on Brule, but that’s what it looked like to the boys watching the skate this morning in Phoenix .

NEEDS TO HELP OUT GM

Everyone is expecting Ethan Moreau to be moved before the deadline, and while he has played a bit better of late, he could help his GM by actually registering a point. He’s gone 33 games since scoring a goal, and he has two assists in 31 games. He’s never been a big scorer, but he needs to produce more than that. GAINEY GONE Interesting to hear that at 2 p.m. MST Bob Gainey will step down as GM of the Canadiens.

The rumours are already flying out of Montreal that Gainey was told to either trade Carey Price or step down. That seems like a stretch to me, but it will be interesting to see what the Canadiens do moving forward with their goaltending. It seems obvious that one of Price or Halak will be dealt. But, the Habs have to answer the million dollar question and pick the right one to trade.

I’m guessing Interim GM, Pierre Gauthier’s phone will be ringing of the hook once the press conference is over.

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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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#151 Archaeologuy
February 08 2010, 10:32PM
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puckbag wrote:

I wonder if we can fit a giant paper bag over Rexall Place?

That sounds like a job for PhotoShop. I'll wear that T-Shirt as soon as ON gets it in stock.

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#152 puckbag
February 08 2010, 10:32PM
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I wonder if we can fit a giant paper bag over Rexall Place?

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#153 6 ring circus
February 08 2010, 10:36PM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

Almost, probably after next year's training camp...

You are talking about the 2011-2012 camp right? I think he needs more time,lets not rush him.

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#154 puckbag
February 08 2010, 10:38PM
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Sorry about the triple post...still figuring out this blackberry. (Hides in attic due to brain fart)

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#155 Heavyd
February 08 2010, 10:39PM
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I have a feeling that some how we are going to get screwed on the draft pick. They will probably pick some real douche from Europe.

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#156 David S
February 08 2010, 10:40PM
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Paper Bag night at RX1! Man that would be hilarious. Everybody could sneak the paper bags in under the MIB's noses, then at the face-off everybody puts 'em on at once. Holy crap would that be something to see.

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#157 Eddie Shore
February 08 2010, 10:43PM
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Heavyd wrote:

You better be getting laid tonight for wacthing that show.

Haha no doubt. I pvr'd the game though and am watching the third now so all is not lost.

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#158 Eddie Shore
February 08 2010, 10:44PM
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David S wrote:

Paper Bag night at RX1! Man that would be hilarious. Everybody could sneak the paper bags in under the MIB's noses, then at the face-off everybody puts 'em on at once. Holy crap would that be something to see.

That would be the highlight of the night on tsn!

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#159 Heavyd
February 08 2010, 10:44PM
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@David S

Facebook page?

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#160 Eddie Shore
February 08 2010, 10:46PM
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Yikes that 6th goal was disgusting.

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#161 David S
February 08 2010, 10:46PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Haha no doubt. I pvr'd the game though and am watching the third now so all is not lost.

Dooood!!!!! Don't do it. Things don't end well.

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#162 6 ring circus
February 08 2010, 10:48PM
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Heavyd wrote:

I have a feeling that some how we are going to get screwed on the draft pick. They will probably pick some real douche from Europe.

Word on the street is Tamballini and Lowe are in Russia scouting a 5'4 center by the name of scorealotov,He is not listed anywhere, but they think he is a safer bet than Hall or Seguin.

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#163 puckbag
February 08 2010, 10:48PM
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Think it would appropriate to have paper bag night the same game as fan appreciation night!??

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#164 Eddie Shore
February 08 2010, 10:48PM
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David S wrote:

Dooood!!!!! Don't do it. Things don't end well.

Haha Comrie just dropped Prucha. Take the wins wherever we can!

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#165 jeanshorts
February 08 2010, 10:48PM
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"Nilsson turns it over 5 times in a row"- Pat Quinn.

I'm not liking this kids chances of coming back next year, which is amazing. How many second chances has he had now?

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#166 Eddie Shore
February 08 2010, 10:50PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

"Nilsson turns it over 5 times in a row"- Pat Quinn.

I'm not liking this kids chances of coming back next year, which is amazing. How many second chances has he had now?

Off the top of my head..... 452,273,362,157.28. Give or take a couple.

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#167 Archaeologuy
February 08 2010, 10:53PM
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@jeanshorts

If we're wondering how much longer Tambi can go without doing anything, imagine what PQ is thinking these days. Does Tambi screen his calls in fear that he might have to explain to Pat Quinn why he hasnt accomplished anything?

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#168 jeanshorts
February 08 2010, 10:56PM
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@Archaeologuy

Screen his calls AKA throws his phone across the room in fear every time it rings.

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#169 Archaeologuy
February 08 2010, 10:59PM
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@jeanshorts

I just had this image of Tambi talking to PQ on the phone like Drew Barrymore in Scream.

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#170 David S
February 08 2010, 11:01PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

If we're wondering how much longer Tambi can go without doing anything, imagine what PQ is thinking these days. Does Tambi screen his calls in fear that he might have to explain to Pat Quinn why he hasnt accomplished anything?

Don't kid yourself man. Quinn knows the score.

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#171 David S
February 08 2010, 11:04PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

"Nilsson turns it over 5 times in a row"- Pat Quinn.

I'm not liking this kids chances of coming back next year, which is amazing. How many second chances has he had now?

Yet he was one of the few guys out there doing something and actually giving a crap. Led the team with 6 shots and a setup on the only goal. You get the good with the bad with Nilsson. He's a 50 point guy on a decent team.

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#172 Eddie Shore
February 08 2010, 11:13PM
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David S wrote:

Yet he was one of the few guys out there doing something and actually giving a crap. Led the team with 6 shots and a setup on the only goal. You get the good with the bad with Nilsson. He's a 50 point guy on a decent team.

Yeah I didn't think he was all that bad. That line was the only line that really created anything at all. He definately wasn't the worst of the bunch.

Actually Pouliot was decent again tonight.

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#173 fatso
February 08 2010, 11:48PM
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Nilson can set up goals and forces chancesto score, if he had puck support there would be less turn overs.

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#174 HottScarrison
February 09 2010, 12:12AM
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FTW!!!!

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#175 Bucknuck
February 09 2010, 08:38AM
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Bucknuck wrote:

5-2 oilers. Pouliot: 2 goals.

Oh man...

umm... is it too late to change my prediction?

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#176 DoubleJ
February 09 2010, 08:41AM
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David S wrote:

Yet he was one of the few guys out there doing something and actually giving a crap. Led the team with 6 shots and a setup on the only goal. You get the good with the bad with Nilsson. He's a 50 point guy on a decent team.

Quinn calls out Nilsson? How about Moreau and Staios? -4 for both of them. The vets are the guys who are supposed to get teams through these losing streaks. Bench one of the vets on that third line that isn't Pisani, i bet we get a win.

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#177 Jodes
February 09 2010, 10:17AM
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Dear God I hope Tambi does something before the Trade freeze.. even if it is for picks.. there needs to be a small shakeup before the break.

Moreau, Horcoff, Pisani, Staois, Nilsson, O Sullivan, Gilbert, Grebeshkov.. anyone not named Smid, Ganger, Penner or Vis!

Stortini better draw in soon.. at least he tries night in and night out!

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