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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#51 Jasmine
February 08 2010, 05:40PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

I'm watching Kovalchuk, Elias and Parise right now on TSN. Is there a scarier line in the NHL?

Is that why they lost their last game against the NY Rangers?

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#52 Gunner
February 08 2010, 05:54PM
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Umm I don't know? You don't think that is a scary line?

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#53 Tha Legion
February 08 2010, 06:03PM
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question... is @nhlsourcessay a real twitter rumor thing from hendricks hockey or another eklund? cause if it is real they are stating that moreau is a pen

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#54 Reagan
February 08 2010, 06:23PM
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Jeff Carter just delivered another head shot after a Devil goal! Someone should lynch this kid. No penalty, unbelievable... I think it was a head shot, because the guy couldn't escape trying to score, actually he did score...

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#55 Pajamah
February 08 2010, 06:32PM
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Jasmine wrote:

Is that why they lost their last game against the NY Rangers?

~I agree with Jasmine, no "scary top line" can ever lose a hockey game~

comment filters need not apply

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#56 Reagan
February 08 2010, 06:32PM
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Mueller for Cogliano?

Jim Matheson shares this in todays paper...

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Oilers+Gagner+flies+home+knee+examined/2537736/story.html

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#57 Tha Legion
February 08 2010, 06:55PM
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@Reagan

slightly better face off percentage than cogs... I'd prolly go for it however I think he'd cost more than cogs next year

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#58 Gunner
February 08 2010, 07:28PM
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Dunno if I'd call Carters hit a head shot. It looked like he hit him shoulder on shoulder. The guy is cutting to the middle in the slot.. Needs to get his head up.

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#59 Poo Czar
February 08 2010, 07:33PM
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WOOOO!!!! OILERS HOCKEY!!! GENE PRINCIPE!!!!

*programs Suicide Hotline into speed dial, loads shotgun*

WOOOOOOO!!!!!

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#60 Tha Legion
February 08 2010, 07:33PM
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Gunner wrote:

Dunno if I'd call Carters hit a head shot. It looked like he hit him shoulder on shoulder. The guy is cutting to the middle in the slot.. Needs to get his head up.

completely agree, he dropped the shoulder with no intent on face shot

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#61 David S
February 08 2010, 07:34PM
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Anybody know Czech? Sounds like Lubo isn't having alot of fun lately...

http://tv.sme.sk/v/13939/lubomir-visnovsky-je-smutny-zo-situacie-v-edmontone.html

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#62 Tha Legion
February 08 2010, 07:37PM
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What the blood clot, Raffi Torres has 17 goals this season

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#63 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 08 2010, 07:57PM
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Reagan wrote:

Jeff Carter just delivered another head shot after a Devil goal! Someone should lynch this kid. No penalty, unbelievable... I think it was a head shot, because the guy couldn't escape trying to score, actually he did score...

I'm assuming when you say "another" you are reffering to the Booth hit? That one was Richards.

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#64 Jay Gray
February 08 2010, 07:59PM
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Did anyone else Pat Quinns very discolored hand?....it's like he's got hypothermia. Dammit, they just scored....oh well, can one be surprised at that?

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#65 David S
February 08 2010, 08:15PM
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Lombardi making Horcoff look like a fifth grader.

*facepalm*

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#66 David S
February 08 2010, 08:17PM
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Man are we going to get dusted tonight.

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#67 Gunner
February 08 2010, 08:17PM
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Pathetic d-zone.

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#68 DoubleJ
February 08 2010, 08:19PM
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Why doesn't Quinn gets some balls and sit Horcoff for a game? He's not even trying anymore.

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#69 David S
February 08 2010, 08:21PM
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DoubleJ wrote:

Why doesn't Quinn gets some balls and sit Horcoff for a game? He's not even trying anymore.

Problem is, there's not enough room in the PB for all the guys who aren't even trying now.

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#70 Archaeologuy
February 08 2010, 08:22PM
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@Reagan

Im lookin at the hit on YouTube and it looks like it was mostly shoulder to shoulder to me. It was a touch late but Salmela hit his head on the ice not on Carter's shoulder.

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#71 Reagan
February 08 2010, 08:27PM
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Regardless of who it was it was close to being another headshot. My mistake, it was Richards. There was a defenceman already challenging him defensively? Why hit him after the shot? I call it a unfortunate head shot, shoulder to head. One question to ask is why was his elbow swinging backwards after contact?

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#72 DoubleJ
February 08 2010, 08:30PM
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@David S

Well Horcoff sitting out sends more of a message then Brule or Stortini.

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#73 DoubleJ
February 08 2010, 08:31PM
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Reagan wrote:

Mueller for Cogliano?

Jim Matheson shares this in todays paper...

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Oilers+Gagner+flies+home+knee+examined/2537736/story.html

I suggested this to Lowetide a week ago. I'd love that trade. Fresh start for both guys.

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#74 Reagan
February 08 2010, 08:32PM
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Just watched it again. The Shoulder and the upper back of Carters arm then a swing backwards. Salmela was out cold before he even hit the ice.

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#75 DoubleJ
February 08 2010, 08:33PM
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I hate this team right now, I can't wait for the Olympics. It's so hard cheering for this team right now.

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#76 The Real Scuba Steve
February 08 2010, 08:35PM
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Here we go again...

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#77 Gunner
February 08 2010, 08:37PM
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Don't be scared to get off the goal line and challenge Jdd..

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#78 Dan the Man
February 08 2010, 08:38PM
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Thank GAWD it's an Olympic Year, I forgot what it's like to cheer for a team that has a chance to win.

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#79 Reagan
February 08 2010, 08:39PM
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Time to try Pitton? LOL

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#80 DoubleJ
February 08 2010, 08:40PM
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Do you guys think we'll get 56 points this year? The Flyers got that couple years ago.

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#81 Reagan
February 08 2010, 08:42PM
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Pitton TIME?

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#82 Gunner
February 08 2010, 08:42PM
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We want 10. We want 10. We want 10.

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#83 David S
February 08 2010, 08:43PM
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Put the AHL kid in. Not much difference any more.

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#84 The Real Scuba Steve
February 08 2010, 08:44PM
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Take JDD out of there, I know it won't make a difference but come on...

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#85 Ender
February 08 2010, 08:46PM
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At least Pitton's stats don't matter so much. Let JDD retain at least some of his save% on the year. Guy'll be down to .800 by the third period at this rate.

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#86 GSC
February 08 2010, 08:47PM
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Horcoff with yet another fantastic game...as Stauffer mentioned earlier today, he's in the running for the NHL's Green Jacket.

As of right now, he's -30. I don't care what form of analysis anyone uses or how much someone discredits standard +/-, that's an atrocious stat.

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#87 Gunner
February 08 2010, 08:50PM
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@ GSC

Our great "shutdown" center.

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#88 Gunner
February 08 2010, 08:51PM
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@ GSC

Its ok. He brings the intangibles...

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#89 Reagan
February 08 2010, 08:53PM
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Just as pathetic as the Oilers, I am going to bed. :)

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#90 GSC
February 08 2010, 08:54PM
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@Gunner

To slightly alter a Billy Madison quote: "Any attempt to justify Horcoff's play, especially with the injury excuse, which is a dirty, dirty lie, and I will probably just snap."

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#91 Ender
February 08 2010, 08:56PM
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Nice goin', Penner.

You know, the guy's my goat and I should be happy when he's being goatish, but . . .

Ah, it's hard to care about who's hot and who's not with the revolving door on this squad.

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#92 Gunner
February 08 2010, 08:56PM
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@ GSC

You need to provide a link...

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#93 GSC
February 08 2010, 08:59PM
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Gunner wrote:

@ GSC

You need to provide a link...

Is there a uniform code or manual for internet forum-posting/blogging citation?

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#94 MattL
February 08 2010, 09:09PM
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Hmm, Coyote Ugly indeed.

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#95 Alan
February 08 2010, 09:09PM
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This game is hard to watch. Gregor was right when he said some of us might be tempted to watch the Bachelor with the lady, because the Oil will be that bad. Damn you Gregor, I'm thinking about going to watch TV with the wife....oh please Oilers do something to maintain my interest.

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#96 Harlie
February 08 2010, 09:10PM
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why the F did they sit Brule?

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#97 Bingofuel
February 08 2010, 09:12PM
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Live from jobing.com arena. This game is brutal. Coyotes fans are loud and awesome and I feel shame

that is all.

Bingofuel

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#99 Harlie
February 08 2010, 09:19PM
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Bingofuel wrote:

Live from jobing.com arena. This game is brutal. Coyotes fans are loud and awesome and I feel shame

that is all.

Bingofuel

are tickets harder to get?

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#100 Serious gord
February 08 2010, 09:23PM
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I have an idea. Carrying on an idea written about by peter puck, how about the oil trading the entire team - players, management, pucks, tape - to Phoenix for everything they have. Plus Katz can kick in fifty mill. The NHL owns/runs the coyotes so the money actually would be a (temporary) bailout for the other 28 onwers - something that would be welcomed by them.

For Katz it would be a great deal because he gets an instant good young team with good management and that is in the playoffs. The playoff revenues will help offset some of the cost (the coyotes won't draw flies with or without playoff games) and it will take a couple of seasons at least before this current team gets even a sniff at contention - and a couple of hundred mill in salaries between then and now.

I'm serious BTW. Surprised some other profitable franchise hasn't tried it by now.

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