GDB 38.0: A RED WING OR A RED OX?

Jason Gregor
January 04 2011 11:50AM

You thought the ratings for last night's WJC semi-final with Canada and the USA was big, wait until the we see the numbers for the return of the RED OX tonight for the Oilers. When Liam Reddox was sent to OKC in favour of Ryan Jones, many questioned the decision. 

As the Oilers PK sunk lower than the Miami Dolphins home record, fans were pleading for the return of Edmonton's favourite Ginger, so I can only imagine that when #85 steps onto the ice tonight the little Ox will receive a hearty applause.

I understand why many cheer for Reddox. He is undersized, isn't blessed with the a lot of natural skill, works his ass off every shift, fearlessly blocks shots and he's a ginger. The good news for Reddox is that he doesn't have to be the saviour for the PK. The Oilers are a respectable 86% on the PK in their last 13 games, so Reddox won't be asked to block every shot by himself.

But the Oilers will need to be on their toes because the Red Wings possess the 2nd best road PP in the league at a stellar 24.2%.

Tom Renney must have the same faith in Reddox, because he and Linus Omark didn't arrive in Edmonton in time for the morning skate today, but as long as their flight arrives at noon, they will both slot into the lineup.

Paajarvi/Gagner/Hemsky
Hall/Cogliano/Penner
Omark/Brule/Jones
Jacques/Fraser/Reddox

***You might see Omark and Reddox play with Brule and keep Jones/Fraser/Jacques line together.***

Peckham/Gilbert
Smid/Foster
Petry/Vandermeer

Khabibulin

I'm still struggling to understand what Renney sees in Jacques to keep playing him ahead of Zack Stortini. I've asked Renney and outside of saying Stortini's skating isn't great and is a tough scratch, Renney hasn't given much insight into what he doesn't like about his game right now.

Note 1: I wish Reddox would have been at my house this morning, when I had to change my tire at eight in the morning. I bet he wouldn't even of had to use a jack...

DAVID V. GOLIATH

Tonight's tilt v. the Red Wings is a classis David versus Goliath. The Oilers are without Ryan Whitney, Jordan Eberle and Shawn Horcoff. The Wings aren't a 100% healthy either with Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary and Patrick Eaves out, while Brad Stuart is a game time decision. Despite the injuries on both sides, the Wings are still heavy favourites.

Let's look at the stats:

                   DET              EDM
Wins          24                   12
Losses     10                   18
PTS           53                    31
G/G           3.41                2.54
GA/G         2.80                3.24
PP%         23 (5th)          15 (26th)
PK%         81.4 (17th)    73.3 (30th)
SOG/G     33.3 (2nd)      25.8 (29th)
SA/G         29.5 (12th)     33.8 (26th)
FO%         52.2 (5th)       45 (29th)

Combine those stats with a Wings' modest two-game losing streak and you know Mike Babcock will have his Wings flying tonight.

OZZIE TO THE HALL?

Chris Osgood became only the 10th goalie to win 400 career games last month, and there has been lots of debate whether he should go into the Hall when his career is over.  He has played the fewest games of any of the guys in the top ten at 742. Only Martin Brodeur has a better winning %, and only Brodeur and Jacques Plante have a better GAA, than Osgood's 2.49.

He also 74 playoff wins and three Stanley Cups, two of which he was the starter. His numbers are definitely hall of fame worthy, but I wonder if the the fact he played mostly for the Wings will hurt him. Osgood did win 84 games for the Islanders and Blues over three seasons. 400 wins and two Cups as a starter should get the Alberta-born goalie in the Hall.

What do you think? 

NEW YEAR, SAME CRYSTAL BALL

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Despite Jimmy Howard's recent struggles, he still leads the league in wins but he won't get the start tonight. The Wings will go with the 400 win man.  He will get 401 tonight and the Wings will win 5-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: With Nick Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and the other good Swedes on the Wings in the house, Omark and Paajarvi will play inspired hockey. Paajarvi will pot a pair playing with Hemsky and Gagner and afterwards he will talk about how cool it was to score with Lidstrom on the ice.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Lebron James stupidly referred to his team as the Heatles, because of their ability to sell out road games, and after the Wings victory and another sell out at Rexall, Lidstrom is asked who he would compare the Wings to.

"I've won three more championships than Lebron, none of my teammates have shagged my mom and Todd Bertuzzi would kick Chris Bosh's ass. Lebron is a poser and nothing more, don't try to find a comparison between the Heat and the Wings, because there ain't one boyeeee."

Immediately after these comments ESPN is running them at the top of the next hour, and suddenly Americans are interested in hockey, because unless you are in Miami you hate the Heat and Lebron.

Note 2: I know Lidstrom would never say this, but it would be FREAKIN awesome if he did.

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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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#152 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
January 04 2011, 10:02PM
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What a lovely evening, does the air feel a little fresher this evening to you guys?

How much smaller/shorter than Sam was the d'man who knocked Gagner off the puck on his breakaway....anyone know?

....just sayin.

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#154 thebiggestmanintheworld
January 04 2011, 10:04PM
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@Oilcruzer-10th ALLTIME in wins(he will move up that list to) and 8th ALLTIME in playoff wins. 3 stanley cups(2 as a starter). Winning that much as a GOALIE is a lot different than a winger like Semenko. What more does a guy have to do?

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#155 Shaun Doe
January 04 2011, 10:07PM
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The 'Real' Ron Burgundy wrote:

Is there an own-goal stat? If so was that Smid's 5th? What to do with our horrible PP? On the positive side of things, Omark and Reddox looked pretty good out there, despite the travel fiasco!

I'm all for this ELPH, and then drafting top 3, but at some point we're gonna have to trade some picks/prospects for some actual hockey talent, or its gonna be a never ending circle.

Is it just me or does it appear that Cogs' linemates try to avoid giving him the puck?

Or is it that the puck avoids giving itself to Cogliano?

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#156 Dave
January 04 2011, 10:22PM
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That officiating in the final 15 minutes was offensive. Why the f@$k didn't Franzen get called for the Brule takedown or Lidstrom chopping Hall's stick out or Salei's elbow and later a takedown on Hall. I could see on or two of those missed but even wih a tie game in the third one of those has to be called. Dubious.

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#157 thebiggestmanintheworld
January 04 2011, 10:35PM
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@Oilcruzer- just to add too, Osgood was never considered for any national teams because Roy,Brodeur,Belfour were available. He shouldn't get punished for that. It's tough living in the shadows of the best but you can't discount what he has done. The numbers don't lie. IF Cujo would have won a cup, he would be a shoe-in. Ozzy has 3. Nuff said.

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#158 forestscooter
January 04 2011, 10:51PM
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I don't know if it was Gregor's post, or the game tonight, but I don't remember the last time I read a post with so many ST/Rebuild haters... this was a hard one to read.

ELPH. We're getting it. We're also getting a top five draft pick, and an early second round draft pick. With Stu picking them. Things are good. Maybe it's the easy way out with ST.. maybe not.

Only thing I am tired about Oilers hockey is the .. "Please come to Edmonton" slogan some management seems to have (and some fans). When I read, "It sucks, lots of travel and cold winters, please come to play here" it makes me sick.

Time to look these players (UFA or NTC) in the eye and say... We're a hockey city, we're a winner, cup-bound in a few years, come center a line a line between Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle and step into the circle owned by Gretzky and Mess.

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#159 robinrussia
January 04 2011, 11:29PM
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Piss poor referees! That elbow to Halls face was a deliberate head shot. Renny should send it to Colin Campbell for review.

Play McIntyre. Elbow our star, Stevie Mac elbows someone on their team! Put him out with directions to staple a D Man to the boards. Set someone up for a hit! 1 monumental hit and game on! If were not gonna play him, send him down or trade him for considerations for a 6-7th rounder.

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#160 Ryan14
January 04 2011, 11:30PM
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@Jason Gregor

Do you think Hall, when he puts on weight, could become more of a physical player? You can see the edgy in him every once in a while. Would experience + size make him more comfortable in playing with a bit more of an edge?

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#161 Sorensenator
January 04 2011, 11:39PM
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Yeah Smid is having a rough go this year in my estimation. I thought that was number 4 on the year who knows. However history shows many players struggle to find their game returning from injury.

ie: Shawn Horcoff, Jarret Stoll

When your out that long like smid was, it may take an entire season to get back to where he was.

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#162 pelhem grenville
January 05 2011, 05:18AM
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robinrussia wrote:

Piss poor referees! That elbow to Halls face was a deliberate head shot. Renny should send it to Colin Campbell for review.

Play McIntyre. Elbow our star, Stevie Mac elbows someone on their team! Put him out with directions to staple a D Man to the boards. Set someone up for a hit! 1 monumental hit and game on! If were not gonna play him, send him down or trade him for considerations for a 6-7th rounder.

Robinrussia...mmmm nice Dayna cheerer avatar...she's got a BritneySpears thingy / look about her ...yumyum...

to your point... i'm not convinced Smac can really do much more than stand toe to toe with other teams' goons and slugfest it out 9 minutes into any given game ...asking him to actually skate fast and accurately position himself to elbow an opposing player as a retaliatory action (eye4aneye) may be too much to ask... i used to be a fan of the big guy but now?

...not so much.

Ryan14 ...IMHO...someday Hall+20pounds = Messier

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#163 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 05 2011, 07:16AM
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Dave wrote:

That officiating in the final 15 minutes was offensive. Why the f@$k didn't Franzen get called for the Brule takedown or Lidstrom chopping Hall's stick out or Salei's elbow and later a takedown on Hall. I could see on or two of those missed but even wih a tie game in the third one of those has to be called. Dubious.

~common sense would suggest the officials knew how horrid the oilers powerplay can be, and felt the oilers had a better chance 5 on 5 to score~

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#164 dawgbone
January 05 2011, 07:47AM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

What a lovely evening, does the air feel a little fresher this evening to you guys?

How much smaller/shorter than Sam was the d'man who knocked Gagner off the puck on his breakaway....anyone know?

....just sayin.

The one who took the penalty on him was about the same size (same height, about 4 lbs heavier).

No on knocked him off the puck though, he got a pretty good shot off after drawing the penalty.

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#165 dawgbone
January 05 2011, 07:59AM
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thebiggestmanintheworld wrote:

@Oilcruzer- just to add too, Osgood was never considered for any national teams because Roy,Brodeur,Belfour were available. He shouldn't get punished for that. It's tough living in the shadows of the best but you can't discount what he has done. The numbers don't lie. IF Cujo would have won a cup, he would be a shoe-in. Ozzy has 3. Nuff said.

So you've already established that he's not one of the top 3 goalies of his generation.

It's not about punishment it's about whether or not he deserves to be in the HHOF. Does the 7th or 8th best player of his generation get in simply because he was fortunate enough to be on a Cup Winning team?

If so there are guys with a lot more than 3 cups who should be in the HHOF already, namely everyone (who already isn't) on the 70's Habs teams, the early 80 Islanders teams and the Oilers teams.

Stanley Cups and wins are team stats and it's insane that a goaltender can somehow get the majority of the credit for that (which is exactly what you do when you say x goaltender won y number of cups).

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#166 ubermiguel
January 05 2011, 09:20AM
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RE: Osgood; Goalie wins are an imperfect stat to measure individual performance but you don't get to 400 by accident. You don't get chosen by the Detroit Red Wings (twice) to be on their team because you're average.

Like it or not Cup wins are a measure of greatness. That's why guys like Sittler, Gartner, Dionne, and Park will always be known as good-players-that-never-won. Winners find a way to win, losers don't.

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#169 Boris
January 05 2011, 10:51AM
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I'm a little late coming in on this but one of the things that Management wanted was a team identity this year, We have Big Mac, Storts, JFJ in the lineup to deter any fowl play against our young and smaller guys......Well, what do we have? guys stapled to the bench or just not protecting.

Last night was another example, just like on Sat night with CS#6 of the Flames. Two cross checks on Hall in the corner, then pushing him face down while on the ice and bending his left arm back. WHERE THE HELL WAS THE TEAM IDENTITY THEN. Someone, anyone should have taken Sarich out. Every other NHL team in now in the act, " take out their kids because there will be no comeback"

Same old team idenity, just a different year.

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#170 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
January 05 2011, 11:51AM
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Boris wrote:

I'm a little late coming in on this but one of the things that Management wanted was a team identity this year, We have Big Mac, Storts, JFJ in the lineup to deter any fowl play against our young and smaller guys......Well, what do we have? guys stapled to the bench or just not protecting.

Last night was another example, just like on Sat night with CS#6 of the Flames. Two cross checks on Hall in the corner, then pushing him face down while on the ice and bending his left arm back. WHERE THE HELL WAS THE TEAM IDENTITY THEN. Someone, anyone should have taken Sarich out. Every other NHL team in now in the act, " take out their kids because there will be no comeback"

Same old team idenity, just a different year.

They can't just jump off the bench and get involved when something happens, they have to be in the play, on the ice at the time these incidents occur. They'll never be able to do this job sufficiently playing 5-7 minutes a night. The problem with Stortini and MacIntyre is the more these two play, the more they can be exposed by other teams because their footspeed isn't up to par most nights. Taylor knows this is a mans game and he's not too upset by it.

The Oilers would benifit greatly if they had a policeman who can play 12-17 minutes a night without hurting the team, till then, we'll always be reacting to whats happened on the ice on the next shift after the damage has already been done. Our only hope is if MacIntyre gets knocked out in a fight and someone tells him his name is Mike Modano when he wakes up.

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#171 thebiggestmanintheworld
January 05 2011, 12:08PM
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@Dawgbone- 'Stanley Cups and wins are team stats'. So by that logic, Grant Fuhr shouldn't even have been considered.

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#172 Team Couturier
January 05 2011, 01:14PM
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I love Osgood, nice guy, but tonite was a good example of why he should not be in the hall. A mediocre goalie playing behind a great team who helps him get a win. 401 of those. Dwayne Rolo has been a better goalie with less opportunity. Boo-ya.

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#173 thebiggestmanintheworld
January 05 2011, 04:44PM
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This will be the last time I bring it up. Personal opinions of players are great. Everybody likes and dislikes players for all sorts of reasons. There are a lot of players that you can make arguments for and against because of those reasons. When a player reaches the point of being in the top ten Of ALL TIME in both regular season AND playoff wins, the numbers speak for themselves, and the other reasons become a little less valid. Roy and Brodeur both benefited from playing on some stacked teams. Circumstances like the team you play on is NOT a reason to keep someone out of the Hall. The greatest player of all time didn't win any Stanley Cups outside of Edmonton, so was it the team? Grant Fuhr's 'individual stats' like GAA and S% aren't that great, but he's in. Mediocre goalies don't win 74 playoff games. IMHO Osgood has moved past the point of personal opinions being his barometer of success. Look at the ALL TIME stats. He is on the same page as THE BEST GOALIES OF ALL TIME. Jari Kurri didn't get punished for playing with Gretzky so I don't know why Osgood would get punished for playing with Detroit.

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#174 Turnover
January 06 2011, 09:39AM
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The Oilers miss Horcoft much more than most people think. He is an on ice coach for the kids. And he was doing his job excellent. Someday he will coach in this league. If he wants.

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#175 Turnover
January 06 2011, 10:59AM
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This is part of what you wrote jason: "I can tell you that Smid's neck is still bothering him. His mobility is fine he says, but he has pain and it won't go away until early next year. The docs told him it would take 18 months to fully heal".

He is not hurting anywhere on his body near as much as he hurts the team. But he is one of "Renneys' Sweethearts". Remember on OIL CHANGE where he was asked if he could play the right side? He can't play either side. Stupid is a talent he was born with. And it's on display every game. We still have the buddy-buddy system here.

I think Stortini should ask for a trade out of here. He would be a great fit for a team that respects hard dedicated work. He can't play here. J F J is just way to good to sit(NOT) ...Renney is a joke. And a bad joke at that. Coaching record: And he's only had 2 in this league Fired mid-season in 1997–98 - Vancouver Fired AGAIN on February 23, 2009 - RANGERS Deserves the same here. The buddy system "does not work".

What was Delauries doing in the Spangler Cup? Looks like the OLD BOYS CLUB is still operating. They're like the mob.

Had to vent. This is continuing to be ridiculously stupid. No end in sight.

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