GDB 33.0: STAYING IN THE RACE

Jason Gregor
March 28 2013 12:49PM

According to sportsclubstats.com the Oilers have an 8% chance of making the playoffs. Before the St. Louis game it was 4%, so the good news for Oilers fans is that your chances of watching a playoff game at Rexall Place has improved in the last 48 hours. However, the site gives the Blue Jackets a 10% chance, even though the Jackets suck on the road (3-9-2) and play 10 of their remaining 15 games on the road. So use the % at your own discretion.

Either way, both teams are longshots to make the playoffs, but if the Oilers want to keep their faint hopes alive they must beat the Blue Jackets; one of the four teams between them and 8th place.

If there was ever a night you'd expect the Oilers to win it would be tonight. The Oilers are 17-4-1 at home vs. Columbus. and they've won the last four by a combined 19-8. The Blue Jackets didn't have Sergei Bobrovsky in the pipes the past two seasons, and right now he's the hottest goalie in the league.

Bobrovsky os 8-1-3 in his last 12 games. During this stretch he has 4 shutouts and he's only allowed 14 goals on 350 shots for a stellar .960 SV%. He blanked the Canucks on Tuesday, but lost in the SO.

The Jackets don't have a lot of skill, but they work incredibly hard and they allow lots of shots from the outside. The Oilers aren't great at going to the net for rebounds, so they have to avoid getting sucked into Columbus' game plan of allowing shots from the outside. The Oilers need to attack the defenders and take pucks to the net.

LINEUP

Hall/Nugent-Hopkins/Eberle
Jones/Horcoff/Yakupov
Paajarvi/Gagner/Hemsky
Brown/Smyth/Petrell

Smid/Petry
N.Schultz/J.Schultz
Whitney/Potter

Khabibulin

No changes after the 3-0 shutout in St. Louis, which isn't a surprise. Ralph Krueger said the Oilers will evaluate after tonight's game if they will recall anyone, likely Anton Lander, from OKC. Smyth is more effective as a winger in my view.  

QUICK HITS

  • With Jarome Iginla landing in Pittsburgh, not Boston like it was reported last night, you wonder if the Oilers/Bruins trade talks will continue. Two sources told me that nothing was imminent, but that some minor "tire-kicking" had gone on between the Oilers and Bruins. Ryan Whitney's name was involved, and then Boston reporter Joe Haggerty tweeted that he heard a forward was also involved. He mentioned Ales Hemsky in one tweet and then Magnus Paajarvi in another. A source from Edmonton suggested there has been no talk regarding a forward.
     
  • If Hemsky or Paajarvi is involved the Oilers would have to get a roster player in return. I don't see any scenario that has either of those two moving without the Oilers getting someone with NHL experience in return. The Oilers are aware they need to change the dynamics in their top-six, but they won't rush into any deal.
     
  • Here is what the Flames received from Pittsburgh for Jarome Iginla. The Penguins 1st rounder in 2013 & two college kids, Ben Hanowski (3rd round, 2009) and Ken Agostino (5th round, 2010). Agostino has 96 points in 97 games over three years at Yale University. Hanowski has played 4 years at St. Cloud State, and in his final two years he tallied 39 goals and 72 points in 73 games.
     
  • The one thing that surprises me the most in this deal is that there were no conditional picks involved. If Iginla re-signs in Pittsburgh, maybe another pick or if the Pens win the Cup, similar to what the Oilers got in the Pronger deal.
     
  • I see many suggesting Iginla will re-sign in Calgary. I don't see that happening. He'll get a taste of playoff hockey and success, and I seriously doubt he'd want to return to Calgary as part of their rebuild.
     
  • Solid work by Ray Shero for being able to acquire Iginla and Brendan Morrow without giving up Scott Harrington or Olli Maatta. The Penguins didn't give up any of their top-five prospects in those two deals.
     
  • As you get set for a long weekend, ask yourself if you know someone like this... Hilarious. When the girl asks the guy to go outside, his reaction is the best. 

  • "This is an unbelievable four-point game. If we want to remain in the playoff hunt, we need a win," Ralph Krueger said this morning. Even when a scenario like tonight is obvious to everyone coaches rarely say it publicly. Krueger also stated the Blue Jackets have been the hardest working team in the west conference the last month and the Oilers need to match that work ethic if they hope to win. We'll see if the player's understanding of the situation is as clear as their coach.
     
  • The Penguins have $53.6 million committed to16 players for next season. Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Doug Murray will all be UFAs at the end of the season, along with Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy and Pacal Dupuis. If they re-sign Iginla for $5 million they would only have $5 million to sign 6 players. Which isn't great, but not impossible. Then they'd have to hope the Cap goes up for 2013/2014 when Malkin will get a slight raise on his $8.7 cap hit and Kris Letang will need a bump on his $3.5 cap number.
     
  • This morning in the dressing room Jim Matheson and I were discussing the cap situation of the Penguins, when two Oilers players mentioned that Iginla should sign here if Pittsburgh can't afford him. "Get it started," they said with a slight laugh, but both were serious. I doubt it would happen, but wow that would sure ignite some fire into the Battle of Alberta.
     
  • Do you want some of the stylish Nation gear? The Nation on-line store has opened and you can get one of the limited editions hoodies here. Wanye isn't very organized so he only orders a few at a time. If you want one before they sell out click here. As always portion of proceeds go to charity.

LEAP FROG...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers continue their home dominance over the Blue Jackets with a 3-1 victory and leap frog the Blue Jackets into 11th place.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ales Hemsky ends his 12-game goal scoring drought in the first period. Hemsky has 13 goals vs. the Blue Jackets (most against an opposing team) and he pots his 14th on a nice pass cross-ice feed from Sam Gagner.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Late in the 2nd period Ryan Whitney leaves the bench and heads to the dressing room. No replay can show him suffering any sort of injury, so during the intermission twitter erupts in speculation that he has been traded. Even the panel on Sportsnet suggests this is very likely. Two minutes into the 3rd period Whitney is back on the ice, and the speculation appears to be false. After the game Whitney explains that the strap on his jock broke. "I'm single it's too risky to play with no can. I have to protect my boys," he says. As I'm walking away he adds, "Make sure everyone knows I didn't veto any trades," he says with a laugh. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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
#101 Clyde Frog
March 28 2013, 09:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Thank god Horcoff can still Jeberle when he wants to!

Avatar
#102 DSF
March 28 2013, 09:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
NewAgeSys wrote:

Send a d-man right at the net when you get them spread out on the PP laterally like you are, as soon as you spread their defense out sned a d-man blasting right to the net. We need to bring some of those pucks from the perimeter in on the PP they are trying to use the same defense on the PK as they do 5 on 5, they are allowing us to have the perimeter game by collapseing early, so we need to move it around just enough to spread them out and then STRIKE, by driving right to the net, this is tailormade for J. Schultz, just make sure communication is good and he is supported.

Shut up.

Now.

Avatar
#103 Poolanov
March 28 2013, 09:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

DSF???? Are you trying to compile stats to prove me wrong, yet coming up with overwhelming proof in my favor??? Worry nay; I'm sure you'll get me back some day.........some day

Avatar
#104 DSF
March 28 2013, 09:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Poolanov wrote:

DSF???? Are you trying to compile stats to prove me wrong, yet coming up with overwhelming proof in my favor??? Worry nay; I'm sure you'll get me back some day.........some day

You've obviously mistaken me for someone who cares what you think.

Avatar
#105 NewAgeSys
March 28 2013, 09:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Lets try the give and go once we breach the blueline, lets try to finish it from someplace they dont expect, lets finish the give and go with a onetime /scoop shot from the side of the net that forces the goalie to move laterally, and just aim for his elbows, not roof daddy just his elbows. The key is to finish with s ccoop shot/deflection to spped up the playactio we need a faster shot, so lets mske it so, and lets catch this guy moving sideways.

Remember take two of the shots they are giving us from the middle and high then drive to the net or make the hard wrister pass to the side for the onetime deflection into the backdoor at elbow height. Mix it up, and dont forget the wraparound once in a while, and if you find yourself out to the side and really deep and get the pass from the middle and high try to shoot the puck into the back of the goalies legs because he comes out really far to challenge the perimeter shots and he likes to pushback and slide in the butterfly position from way out, he is cheating, and if we can fire the puck hard and deep to the side and instead of trying to thread the needle into the net from a bad angle we simply shhot from deeper but pop it into his back anywhere because it will get funneled by his butterflied legs into the net as he cheats and slides backwards after challenging the perimeter threat, so like maybe a fake slapper that is turned into a superhard wrister that goes way to the side and at least to the red line so the man can shoot for the goalies back which is a bigger target than the net from there. Let the Bobbsy Twin drag the goals in for us.

Avatar
#106 NewAgeSys
March 28 2013, 09:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
DSF wrote:

Shut up.

Now.

You suck man.

Windbag.

You dont belong on a hockey site.

Avatar
#107 NewAgeSys
March 28 2013, 09:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

This game may end up being decided by special teams so lets be extra carefull they dont catch us go for a shorty themselves when we are on the PP we were messing around on the blueline to much a bit earlier.

If they bring the same offense they finished the 2nd with we need to just stand them up on the blueline, but lets be careful because now they are likely to go back to 1st period execution.

Avatar
#108 Poolanov
March 28 2013, 09:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

OK DSF.. Find a western conf team that has played less games against teams on back to back second night. Then you can tell me how that doesn't matter.

Avatar
#109 DSF
March 28 2013, 09:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Poolanov wrote:

OK DSF.. Find a western conf team that has played less games against teams on back to back second night. Then you can tell me how that doesn't matter.

Who cares?

Avatar
#110 NewAgeSys
March 28 2013, 09:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Noooooo, jesus christ that was a fluke but the play they are useing is a Dubby killer, the mid-range wrister, its all they can get from us , put Khabby back in ASAP,NOOOOOO.

They are going to burn us man, we are funneling them into Dubbys weakness with our system, get Dubby out of there, he will be going down to soon and they will roof it on him sooner than later from that mid-range area.

Avatar
#111 NewAgeSys
March 28 2013, 10:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

We better make sure we take that mid-range wrister away from them for Dubnyk or we are in trouble, or score more goals, but we need to know they are going to keep taking that shot because we are giving it to them consistantly.

What a great effort tonight, no give-up at all out there.

Avatar
#112 The Soup Fascist
March 28 2013, 10:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

This reminds me of the days of Red Light Racicot and Hardy Aastrom. Feel free to mix in a save, fellas.

Avatar
#113 Poolanov
March 28 2013, 10:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Lame response DSF

Avatar
#114 NewAgeSys
March 28 2013, 10:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Yakupov needs to turn those rushes that are being challenged into dumpins, and he needs to chase them down, he is stout and needs to use his size and stop giving up on plays so early, dump it in and chase it, dont squirt it out to the middle, just dump it in and keep charging, and darn it stop lollygagging to the bench onlinechanges, this is an important game so wake up. We need to see Yakupov recieving the puck at the blueline not carrying it through the n-zone.

Avatar
#115 Poolanov
March 28 2013, 10:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
DSF wrote:

Who cares?

Oiler fans

Avatar
#116 The Soup Fascist
March 28 2013, 10:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

You Lollygag onto the ice. You Lollygag off the ice. Do you know what that makes you? That's right ....... A Lollygagger.

Avatar
#117 Butters
March 28 2013, 10:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Hemmmer!!!!!

Avatar
#118 NewAgeSys
March 28 2013, 10:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

If we get possesion we need to skate that puck down and score no long shots drive it in seriously and seal the deal,NO PASSES.

Avatar
#119 oldhippy
March 28 2013, 10:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Poolanov wrote:

Lame response DSF

You'll have to forgive the DSF PMS. He's in mourning. Iginla traded and the return was magic beans. He has finally showed his true coluors. Just a Cow town troll.

Avatar
#120 outdoorzguy
March 28 2013, 10:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Did Khabibulin get pulled at the beginning of the third because he may have been traded between periods? Or was it because he's asleep at the wheel for the first couple minutes of each period?

Avatar
#121 Bucknuck
March 28 2013, 10:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
outdoorzguy wrote:

Did Khabibulin get pulled at the beginning of the third because he may have been traded between periods? Or was it because he's asleep at the wheel for the first couple minutes of each period?

he got pulled because he's a fossil and was letting in all the shots aimed at him.

Avatar
#122 James
March 28 2013, 10:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@northof51

Nevermind the kid that got 4 points and wasn't a star either. Sheesh!

Avatar
#123 outdoorzguy
March 28 2013, 11:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Bucknuck wrote:

I am not drinking kool-aid. I will me AMAZED if this team makes the playoffs. However. I am a fan and I can enjoy the win without being a big bag of crap.

As far as the coach goes. He's turned a crappy PK into a top ten PK and a mediocre PP into a top ten PP and has gotten the team to playing meaningful games in April. He also pulled Khabibulin tonight. That makes him kind of awesome in my books.

Lay off Kreuger. If you need to complain, then complain about Tambellini. I can support that any day of the week. The Oil are winning in spite of him, not because of him.

Krueger at best will be an assistant coach next year in the NHL or a head coach in the KHL. He has proven all season long that he is not capable of handling NHL calibre players. Changing the lineup on a nightly basis is not effective. So he pulled Khabibulin. Big deal. That makes him a good coach? Even his post game comments recently show he doesn't understand the game.

Avatar
#124 Poolanov
March 29 2013, 12:08AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Avatar
#125 NewAgeSys
March 29 2013, 09:53AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Rod from Viking Great comments, I agree wholeheartedly.

Avatar
#126 Quicksilver ballet
March 29 2013, 12:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Great play by Yakupov to set up Horcoff for an empty netter. Can't help but think Krueger isn't using him as much as he should, almost as though the Oilers are unprepared to handle a kid of his caliber.

After what the Oiler faithful have been through these last 7 years it's good to beat anyone, even if it was just the lowly Bluejackets.

Avatar
#127 NewAgeSys
March 29 2013, 07:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Great play by Yakupov to set up Horcoff for an empty netter. Can't help but think Krueger isn't using him as much as he should, almost as though the Oilers are unprepared to handle a kid of his caliber.

After what the Oiler faithful have been through these last 7 years it's good to beat anyone, even if it was just the lowly Bluejackets.

I agree with your comments , Ralphs had his opportunity to trust Yakupov and to stick with him , but he didnt take it, he made a conscious decision to bounce Yakupov around from linemate to linemate preventing chemistry form developing, to his credit he has kept him playing but I believe he made an error and should have solidified Nails 2nd line spot with mPS and Gagner and indirectly asked Nail to shoulder more respinsibility not less.

It has been a lot longer than ten years since Oilers fans could hold their heads up higher than everyone else, we have had no reason to carry ourselves like champions for decades.

Nail looks like he is ready to be much more nvolved in the playaction and I believe we will see more of this in the games to come, but it has been our system that has held him back, his creativity has been harnessed by a complicated set of system responsibilitys tht often leave him seemingly stranded alone and pulling on an invisible chain that holds him back, this is what we should be seeing because nail is recognising the times his offensive side wants to jump in but he is holding back to support the syste, this must be hard to do for a player like him, he reminds me of Nuge that way he will do anything he is asked to do and do it as well as he can.

I do believe we need to let him freelance and learn to pursue the puck after he loses it more so he can learn NHL finer points as fast as he can he needs to learn how to make more than one NHL level player react during the playaction to really learn properly, as it is he wont be fully indoctrinated next year unless we up his minutes and ask him to follow the playaction longer and turn into a checker who looks for takebacks after plays die on his stick. Right now he is darting back to system safety immediatly as asked and its hurting his development now, he knows the gamespeeds now and he is ready to be asked to provide more goals. he has gotten better at finishing and recovering first from his checks and he has also gotten better at going into and out of hotspots to stretch defenses. Ralphs doing a good job ,a very cautious one, overly cautious maybe.

Comments are closed for this article.