GDB 22.0: LINE JUGGLING

Jason Gregor
March 05 2013 01:23PM

After 21 games with an offence that scores less than a married guy after coming home late from an all-nighter, Ralph Krueger elected to switch up his line combinations. And he was smart enough to do it against the team the Oilers dominate like no other western division foe, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Oilers have won 28 of 45 games played vS. the Blue Jackets, a solid 62.2 winning percentage. Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Magnus Paajarvi and Ryan Smyth all average at least a point-per-game vS. the Blue Jackets, so juggling the lines should be easier to sort out against the Jackets than the Red Wings in two nights.

LINE UP

Hall/Nugent-Hopkins/Hemsky
Paajarvi/Gagner/Eberle
Jones/Belanger/Yakupov
Eager/Smyth/Brown

Nugent-Hopkins is very good defensively and Hall and Hemsky are the hardest wingers to defend, so that line should see, and be able to handle, the tougher minutes.

The 91-89-14 trio looked decent v. Minnesota, and if Paajarvi can stay as involved in the game as he was in Minnesota they should create some chances.

Jones/Belanger/Smyth had some very good shifts against the Wild where they created turnovers and hemmed the Wild in for a good 30-40 seconds. Yakupov could add the potential for outside shots, but he won't be as good as Smyth at cycling the puck. I'll be curious to see how this trio plays. If Horcoff was healthy this line would be much better.

Moving Smyth to centre isn't ideal, but considering Vande Velde adds little, I'd go with Smyth's experience even if he is out of position. If this line cycles like you'd expect them to, and can wear down the defenders on most shifts Krueger will be happy.

Smid-Petry
N.Schultz-J.Schultz
Peckham-Whitney

It seems like Whitney is starting to play the way Krueger and Steve Smith want him to. He jumped up into the rush much more in St.Louis and Minnesota, and by being more aggressive, and moving his feet when he had the puck, he wasn't caught standing still as often. He needs to play like he has the last two games to stay in the lineup.

Dubnyk

Dubnyk stole a game the last time the Oilers were in Columbus. The Jackets outshot them 40-14, so you'd expect a better effort tonight from the skaters in front of Dubnyk.

QUICK HITS

  • This is one of the greatest videos I've seen in a long time. Kudos to You Tube poster/artist "M A K A V E L I" for this hilarious compilation. He made this after Bruins head coach Claude Julien had the audacity to complain whine about the Montreal Canadiens and their embellishment. 

  • I know Oiler fans are talented so we might have to have a You Tube contest later this year.
     
  • After listening to Steve Tambellini yesterday I think it is fair to conclude that when the Oilers get healthy he'll have to make a minor trade or two to get guys back on the roster. Vande Velde will go down when Horcoff returns in a few weeks, and Hartikainen likely goes to minors when he comes of IR, but when they activate Mark Fistric from the IR he'll have to try and move someone rather than just lose them on waivers.
     
  • Right now the 8th place team is on pace for 54 points. If we conclude that 54 points is the cut off for the post-season, the Oilers need 34 points in their final 27 games. Meaning they need to go 16-9-2, 15-8-4 or 14-7-6 to make it. I think 8 OT/SO losses in 27 games is a stretch so I won't go lower than 14 wins. A loss tonight v. the lowly Blue Jackets makes the final 26 games even harder. 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers find a way to win and the 4/93/83 trio combine for six points in a 4-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Mike Brown fights Jared Boll. Fans who like scraps will love it, while the number crunchers will suggest Brown is an awful NHL player and that his intensity isn't necessary and that punching people doesn't help you win.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: While Ales Hemsky is serving a rare coincidental roughing penalty, Krueger gives Brown a shift with Hall and Nugent-Hopkins. Nugent- Hopkins finds himself all alone in the slot and releases a quick snapshot. The shot was going high and wide, not surprise since his aim seems a bit off this year, but it hits Brown in the moustache and deflects into the net. Brown's moustache is so thick it protects him from a cut. Within minutes @MBstache will be created on twitter and it will have 10,000 followers by the end of the game.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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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 Alsker
March 05 2013, 07:19PM
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Damn early games..what have I missed other than Col. has no goaltending 3 goals 12 shots

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#52 Alsker
March 05 2013, 07:27PM
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well from that PP attempt i see i havent missed much

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#53 WOW
March 05 2013, 07:29PM
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This is painful to watch. Are we really this bad? Columbus is dominating us.

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#54 tyler
March 05 2013, 07:36PM
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why am i not surprised the oilers have looked terrible again against the worst team in the league no energy at all its just disgraceful if steve mason didnt play like garbage the oilers wouldnt even be in the game

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#55 tyler
March 05 2013, 07:39PM
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when oilers played columbus last time they got badly outplayed and on oil change krueger said that they battled and it was a character win how is it a character win when the worst team in the league out shoots you 43 to 17 it sounds like the oilers got lucky to me just like they r tonite

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#56 Alsker
March 05 2013, 07:39PM
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I dont know why,but wish I would have worked late, but hey 2 shots on that last shift

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#57 Alsker
March 05 2013, 07:54PM
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Allright a bonus of 5 more minutes of this

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#58 WOW
March 05 2013, 07:54PM
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I guess we just have to rebuild the rebuild....f'n joke.

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#59 Justin
March 05 2013, 07:54PM
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Oilers look great Tambo and Lowe have done a fine job.

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#60 Alsker
March 05 2013, 08:01PM
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was that the horn I heard on the post shot.lol

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#61 OILERSORDEATH
March 05 2013, 08:04PM
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WOW wrote:

This is painful to watch. Are we really this bad? Columbus is dominating us.

Yes as painful as it is the say and watch, Oilers are really that bad.

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#62 TonyT
March 05 2013, 08:07PM
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Why is Yak never in OT lately?

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#63 bleedingoil
March 05 2013, 08:08PM
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embarrassing. what a joke.

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#64 The Soup Fascist
March 05 2013, 08:11PM
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Could we trade Eberle and the rights to Omark for Kevin Martin?

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#65 Daryl K
March 05 2013, 08:11PM
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Tambo and Lowe should be proud of the team they built. Columbus is one of the best teams in the league, and Edmonton took them to a shoot-out.

Next year there is no stopping the Oilers.

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#66 6 ring circus
March 05 2013, 08:11PM
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The Oiler's are going no were again!!!! Is this ELPHA episode 4 directed by Tambellini and Lowe?

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#67 MarcusBillius
March 05 2013, 08:15PM
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Well, this was just disappointing.

I'm normally the more positive, look-on-the-bright-side type. Yet I find myself realizing I can't handle another season of abysmal failure.

Too bad, I just started posting here, too.

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#68 Alsker
March 05 2013, 08:16PM
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another point closer to meaningless games...its actually getting hard to get pissed off at this

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#69 Daryl K
March 05 2013, 08:17PM
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Tambellinni was hired in 2008, he has had very little time to make this team look like a good AHL team. Give him a break. He has had only 3 # 1 picks and add Justin Schultz . What can you expect. Give him 10 more years, we just need to wait 5- 10 yrs and Edmonton will be competitive.

C-mon

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#70 Sanaa Montana
March 05 2013, 08:19PM
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^

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#71 Jay
March 05 2013, 08:20PM
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I'm gonna pretend the lockout's still on and stop watching hockey. I don't like being this angry and depressed

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#72 mo
March 05 2013, 08:20PM
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Fire Ralph he is the worst coach ever. He is probably saying ......Character loss there guys . He's a piece of sh!t.

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#73 MAC962
March 05 2013, 08:24PM
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Been asleep for 2 weeks- i see nothing has changed. Way to Go Brownie.

Oilers Management u suck. Sick of this rebuild crap.

one more CBJ Win and we are dead last in the west is that right ? or a hair away. Kevin and Steve , quit please !!!

Kruger im sorry , u were the wrong choice, Tom Renney V2

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#74 MOE
March 05 2013, 08:24PM
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We are clearly worse than last year. We get owned by the Jackets twice . Are you f*ckI*NG kidding me. What does Ralph have to do to get fired. If i don't see big move soon the oilers just lost another money spending devoted fan.

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#75 Reg Dunlop
March 05 2013, 08:24PM
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Not sure Hall should be playing, he is clearly injured. Funniest play of the night was when the creaky old man Aucoin made Magnus look like a feather in the wind. Man, the oil are bad. Any chance Seth Jones will help? If so, this will be the year we lose the lottery and select another munchkin 2nd overall.

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#76 Bob Cob
March 05 2013, 08:26PM
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They need a heart and soul captain like Smid, at least the guy doesn't take a shift off. This team has no work ethic and will not succeed until they learn how work. The PP tonight was pathetic, either Tambellini or Krueger has to go. Absolutely pathetic!

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#77 K
March 05 2013, 08:26PM
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What has happened to this team? Since the Dallas game the team hasn't been the same - what has happened on this road trip?

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#78 The Other Ron Burgundy
March 05 2013, 08:27PM
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Vinnie Prospal in the post game- Let's be realistic here, we not going to overpower anybody with our offence or our cuteness or not willingness to battle... For us it's shoot the puck in, go, capitalize on our power plays and don't give the teams any freebies.

Vinnie for coach! Oh, and he's wrong on one thing, you apparently can overpower the Oil with all of those things...

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#79 Daryl K
March 05 2013, 08:27PM
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1 more small winger in the draft and the Oilers will win the cup.

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#80 Joel
March 05 2013, 08:31PM
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Just imagine Oilers playing in the playoffs with less ice and more clutch and grabbing, they will dominate .

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#81 Jay
March 05 2013, 08:31PM
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You can teach a lot of things, will and determination isn't one of them

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#82 Wax Man Riley
March 05 2013, 08:32PM
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Ohhhhhh!!!!!!!

I get it!

I watched the overtime and shootout, and I am finally starting to realize why DSF is like he is.

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#83 Jay
March 05 2013, 08:39PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Ohhhhhh!!!!!!!

I get it!

I watched the overtime and shootout, and I am finally starting to realize why DSF is like he is.

Congratulations, it only took you 5 years

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#84 Mikey
March 05 2013, 08:41PM
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Can I trade in my oilersnation hoodie for a edmonton nation hoodie?

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#85 Gilmore Tuttle
March 05 2013, 08:43PM
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@Daryl K

Let me take a shot in the dark here Daryl and guess that you are a lawyer, have a fuzzy haired kid named Chumley and live in a penthouse in downtown Vancouver.

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#86 Daryl K
March 05 2013, 08:49PM
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@Gilmore Tuttle

No my name is Adrian Dater .

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#87 vetinari
March 05 2013, 08:50PM
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Thank goodness we traded for Brown... that made ALL the difference in your game, Oilers... if the worst team in the league outshoots us almost 2 to 1, outhits us, wins more faceoffs than us, and beats us on the scoreboard, doesn't this make us kinda the worst team in hockey now? Where's your "championship" attitude now, Tambellini?

To commemorate the last three and a half years of ELPH, could we all just agree to rename it "the Oilerllini Era" of hockey?

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#88 Zed
March 05 2013, 08:52PM
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Hockey god #1: Hey want to see something funny?

Hockey god #2: Well.... Yeah!

Hockey god #1: OK this one's an easy one. Look at all of those Oiler fans.

Both: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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#89 DSF
March 05 2013, 08:55PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Ohhhhhh!!!!!!!

I get it!

I watched the overtime and shootout, and I am finally starting to realize why DSF is like he is.

Two decades of crap will curl your hair.

And no end in sight.

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#90 dawgtoy
March 05 2013, 08:55PM
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Well ... if I owned this team, the management would all be fired immediately. This group should not be allowed to do anything else with this team, with the exception of cleaning out their offices.

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#91 Wax Man Riley
March 05 2013, 08:58PM
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Jay wrote:

Congratulations, it only took you 5 years

Sad part is that it took a loooooooot longer than 5 years.

sigh

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#92 Wax Man Riley
March 05 2013, 08:59PM
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DSF wrote:

Two decades of crap will curl your hair.

And no end in sight.

But with Eberle and Hall, Tambellini and Lowe can still...

awww screw it

Time to pick a new team. how are the Chiefs doing this year?

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#93 mr_nihilism
March 05 2013, 09:04PM
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This team has a pathological unwillingness to forecheck like full grown men of NHL caliber. If they're not trying to be too cute for their own good and passing up the puck when they should be shooting at the net, they're playing lazy uninspired boring "Oilers Hockey".

I don't know why this team is plagued with a lack of will to win, but the solution better come soon. It's starting to look like the natives (fans) are getting restless. Being in a rebuild is no excuse for lack of passion that's been on display for years now.

This team played better and harder back in the 90's.

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#94 Jakethesnake
March 05 2013, 09:11PM
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What a joke. Need a goalie and a heart transplant for the entire team. This is junk hockey. At least we won't have to worry about play offs

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#95 DrunkGuyTy
March 05 2013, 09:28PM
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Missed the game. Sounds like a good thing.

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#96 The Soup Fascist
March 05 2013, 09:30PM
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On a positive note, that 3rd rounder in 2014 looks like it will remain with the Oil!

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#97 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 05 2013, 09:44PM
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Another gutless,leaderless heartless example of our 2013 Oilers.

A 1 goal game and no Yakupov when it mattered most. 100% of the time he learns nothing seated on the bench. That game's over if Yak is out there on that 4v3 OT powerplay. One night it's a player letting his teammates down, the next it's the coaching letting the team down.

Seen enough of this low pressure puckmoving system Krueger wants incorporated. Fragg his arse along with this gong show management group.

Thanks, i feel better now. I can actually see why Katz lives in Vancouver now to distance himself from this sh!t.

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#98 Chuckpuck5000
March 05 2013, 09:55PM
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UGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH once again we lose. to the worst team in the league. Just still being patient i guess. still here...... just waiting around.

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#99 Hayek
March 05 2013, 09:55PM
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Maybe now we can start trading for players, or playing players we have that outshoot the opposition

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#100 Harlie
March 05 2013, 10:10PM
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Well at least I can curl up in the fetal position and suck my thumb and cuddle my new game used and auto'd Hall stick that I won in the charity auction tonight. Got it for cheaper than a meal, a night at the Rex and a flat of heroin beers.

At least I am WINNING....wish I could say the same for our damn team tho!

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