GDB 17: some interesting line changes

Some interesting line up moves for tonight’s game. It looks like Craig MacTavish has decided to send two veterans a message, as Kyle Brodziak and Dustin Penner will be in the press box tonight, and Robert Nilsson is back on the second line. Thanks to Ryan Rishaug from TSN, here are the lines.

Moreau – Gagner – Hemsky
Nilsson – Horcoff – Pisani
Reddox – Cogliano – Cole
Pouliot – Boulerice – Stortini

And it looks like Roloson will start.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The Penner benching is no surprise. He has shown virtually no emotion in any game this season. Penner has to learn to use his 240-pound frame to his advantage. Sure, he will never be a mean power forward, but he can’t be afraid to lean on an opposing player from time-to-time.

Brodziak benching can be explained by his lack of wanting to get involved physically against the Leafs. Twice in that game there were scrums that Matt Stajan and then Hagman both put a glove in his face and he didn’t react. I don’t think they expect him to be an agitator, but he can’t get pushed around by those types of players. Yesterday MacTavish said, “If a guy has zero across the scoresheet, he has to find a way to get involved. Rarely do other teams get annoyed playing us.”

Clearly that was a shot at both Penner and Brodziak.

Expect some fireworks tonight vs the Avs. With Tucker, Laperriere, Mcleod and McCormick in the lineup, you can bet that the message will be loud and clear, and the Oilers will play with some emotion and some sort of physical presence.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

—Listen to Gregor weekdays from 3 to 6pm on TEAM 1260 Edmonton Sports Radio or online at

  • chaz

    Kudos to Mac T for making tough decisions like this. Put everyone on their toes and remind them that playing in the show isn't a right, they have to earn it. This is the type of thing I think he could have done 5-6 games ago, but better late than never. I'm not sure why Pouliot seems to avoid Mac T's wrath, but I really see no reason why he couldn't sit out a game to give someone else a chance. Robbie seems to be playing well in Springfield. Doesn't he deserve a shot?

  • dave

    great chaz, 'remind them that playing in the show isn't a right, that they have to earn it' and then put in your unwarranted vote for shremp for the all star game… nice

  • Bruthah

    "If a guy has zero across the scoresheet, he has to find a way to get involved. Rarely do other teams get annoyed playing us.”"

    Is that a good poke at Horcoff? I'm betting his ears perked up for that one. Wonder how long it will take him to get his ass in gear.

  • Vic Ferrari

    What were the PK pairings, Jason?

    MacTavish will want a right shooting centre on one of the units for sure. With Brodziak sitting Pouliot seems like the obvious choice, but MacTavish has been pushing Gagner along with PK work, so I'm guessing it will be his gig tonight.

  • Dennis

    Vic: MacT had been getting both 27-89 away from the PK in the last couple of games and that was a good move IMO but in looking at the numbers at BTN, 51 Hasn't been a problem on the PK.

    Not sure if he takes draws in the "A" but Pendergast has a quote in a Springfield paper today about Reddox being called up to help out the PK unit so we can imagine he'll be on that unit.

    For my money, I would've kicked 27 to the pressbox and brought in Reddox to help on the PK OR more likely I would've sat out 46 and brought in Reddox to help the PK and I would've bumped 27 down to play with 51-Reddox and just cut his TOI and see how he liked those apples. That's not me saying that 27 is beyond being asked to sit out, it's just me saying that 51 could've probably helped out on the PK according to the numbers.

    Regarding the new lines, I still don't see two lines that can handle tough matchups. Sakic is out tonight, he is having a rough year at EV though, and overall the Avs don't have two lines to worry about at EV. So we might get off with this alignment vs Colorado.

    12 showed some nice things with 10-83 in that loss at Nsh so he has that going for him; the 13-26 pairing plus Reddox is an absolute unknown and 78 gets saddled on the 4th line.

    I expect we'll see 10 forwards running through three lines and at the very least maybe 13-26 can spark. Cogs had three great chances at MSG and looked ready to pop so maybe it will happen for him tonight; 26 hasn't been getting a whole lot done lately so maybe this will un-funk him.

  • Kai

    Yes, lets bench our +/- leader. Lets bench our Lets take away his PP time, complain about his lack of points and then harp about the non-physical nature of his play that he has ALWAYS exhibited even BEFORE we traded for him. Look, if you trade for Cranberry juice, dont complain when its a little bitter…just be happy its clearing out your colon a bit…id love to clear out my colon on MacT right about now.

    How about benching non-physical players that havent produced points DESPITE getting first line ice time, first line PP time, and are defensively suspect despite playing shielded minutes with first defensive pairings like Sam Gagner…thats right, I said it, I said it. Lets bench the golden boy and leave reliable two way nonphysical 3rd line wingers ALONE

  • Vic Ferrari

    How are the scoring chance rates looking for the individual PKers, Dennis? Do you have the totals for those guys?

    To my eye Penner and Gagner have been as bad as you would have expected, and Brodziak hasn't been any hell. And I agree with Brodz's comments in the Gregor article below, those shots from the blue line, but right down the middle, are dangerous and have been a problem for the Oil. If a shot bounces off of someone … there is a lot more mesh visible to the eye from straight on. And the rebounds tend to come right back into the low slot, like Brodziak says, it's a crapshoot then, you hope to hell they come to an Oiler instead of a bad guy, and 'hope' is never a good plan.

    And how has Reddox looked on the dot in Springfield, anyone know? I can't even remember if he draws to the right side, but 51's replacement will have to.

  • milli

    I'm done with MacT. I love how he'll only send a message to certain players. I love how he loves his favorites (what do you think Garon is thinking???? Well, I was the number one till I had two so so games, can't wait to sign somewhere else). I love how the team is never prepared to play a full 60. I can't hardly wait til june, when MacT is promoted to assistant executive GM…..I can only hope that they don't bring Simmer in as the head coach….

  • Rindog

    Emotion or not – Penner and Brodziak are playing exactly the way the coach is coaching – passionless.

    MacT says to never let your highs get to high or your lows get to low.

    Is it because he knows that when he coaches there will be far more lows than highs???

    When is our coach going to show some consistency? Gagner plays like crap all season and gets rewarded with 1st line duty. Nilsson has a couple of bad games and is demoted to the 4th line. Our worst forward might possibly be Horcoff and yet he continues to lead to the team in icetime. Is Pisani showing our young role players how to be physical and get involved??? A guy like Brodziak is just following the lead of our veteran leaders….

    Rather than bench a player that you have set up for failure this season (Penner) or a 4th line role player – why not send a message to you highest paid forward??

    And as for Roli starting…

    Do I really need to comment???

    It took MacT 40+ games to let Roli try to prove he was #1 last year. He then decides in 5 games that Garon isn't good enough? I'm sorry but without Garon our team is 1-7-1 to start the season.

    Consistency MacT, consistency!!!!

  • R-DAWG

    With it being this early in the season, realizing that 2 points is valuable, why don't the oilers management bring in several ahl players. Sit Horcoff for 1 or 2, sit Gagner, sit Penner, sit or just plain send down Pouliot, sit Brodziak, and let someone who just might possibly want to play here. Ya we might give up 2 points, but what is the difference than what is happening now. Like it was said here a couple days ago, who are the players scared of. Nobody will take their place. Aside from Hemsky, who shows any skill really. We have 11, 3rd or 4th liners. I say give J.D another shot and if he craps the bed then put Roli or Garon in. Boy, this coaching thing is easy!!

  • R-DAWG

    When I hear "we need to play our game and we will be successful" what game is that exactly. The play well in the first 20 then once we build up that comfortable 1 goal lead, piss away the next 40. Or is it the play like crap while our goalie of choice keeps us in the game, get down 2 goals and in the final 5 mins try to pull out the regulation tie and hope to win in the shootout.