Gimme a break

If there’s such thing as good news with how the Edmonton Oilers are staggering toward the halfway mark of their schedule like pie-eyed tourists toting a cupful of quarters at 2 a.m. in Las Vegas, it came this morning.

All-star defenceman Sheldon Souray, who left the game with an unspecified injury during the second period of Friday’s 4-1 loss to San Jose and didn’t return, was back on the ice at Rexall Place for practice today. It turns out Souray tweaked his left shoulder in a collision with Tomas Plihal, but aside from some numbness and tingling, he’s fine and will be good to go against the St. Louis Blues Sunday.

And tough guy Zack Stortini, who fell awkwardly during a scrap with Brad Staubitz — many feared he’d suffered a badly broken leg — has escaped what looked like a season-ending injury with a sprained knee. With the Oilers going nowhere fast in Western Conference standings as they hit the 41-game mark against St. Louis, a silver lining is better than a swift size 13 in the groin.

GETTING LUCKY

“I just gave my shoulder a little tweak. It was a pretty innocent play,” Souray said. “It was more of a precautionary thing at that point. I wanted to make sure I was ready for the next game.” When Souray, limited to 26 games last season, left the ice shaking his left arm, there was reason to fear the worst. He’s had surgery on both his left shoulder and wrist, so it didn’t look good. Souray expects he’ll be good to go against the Blues and doesn’t see any long-term effects. He said today he’ll keep his date in Montreal for the all-star game. “It’s not going to be an issue,” he said.

Stortini didn’t get off as easily and will be out for an unspecified length of time, but he’s not nearly as badly off as he could have been. The play with Staubitz had spiral fracture written all over it. “He’s got rubber legs, obviously,” MacTavish said of Stortini. “When we looked at the replay, it looks like something’s got to break, but it didn’t. That’s good news. “It still strained a bunch of (ligaments). I’m shocked, absolutely shocked that it wasn’t so much worse. It’s going to be awhile, but . . .”

AND . . .

— Sam Gagner has been battling a nagging ankle injury and it forced him to leave practice early today. He’s been playing through a fair bit of discomfort, and it flared up again against the Sharks. “It’s just precautionary,” Gagner said. “My skating is fine. Going into battles, I’m not really worry about it. “During a hard battle, I’ll tweak it and the pain will last for five or 10 seconds and go away. It’s nagging and something I have to stay on top of.”

— Robert Nilsson, who sustained one mild concussion already this season, got buzzed Friday when he fell into the end boards. He skated today but is less than 100 per cent. With Stortini out and Gagner and Nilsson hurting, expect the Oilers to call-up a player from Springfield of the AHL.

— MacTavish had Gilbert Brule skating with Kyle Brodziak and Steve MacIntryre in Stortini’s absence. Liam Reddox was on right wing with Dustin Penner and Shawn Horcoff.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

  • Enough is enough here. How long will the new ownership allow this run of mediocrity continue? When will a coach or someone in management be held accountable for the perpetual lack of success? How long will the media in this town continue to be apologists for this organization? No plan, no direction, no leadership: the Oilers.

  • R-DAWG

    @ RobinB:
    Sorry, I though if you had a one way you had to clear waivers to go back down, but if you had a two way you could go up or down however many times???

  • R-DAWG

    hockeysmack wrote:

    How long will the media in this town continue to be apologists for this organization?

    I don't hear to much apologizing from the media do you? I think they don't have a lot to work with when everything and everyone they talk to has the same boring things to say. What are they supposed to do…go into the dressing room and demand Mac-T resign??

  • Brumelda

    How long do the fans have to suffer, do you think any UFA's would ever want to sign here again? The only Hossa we will get will be Marcel. This whole organization has to be blown up and start from scratch with another 8 years of rebuilding , it is just sick, Time to cheer for a decent organization, one that does not live in the past where the coach still thinks defence wins games. If Ruff and Carbinaue(montreal) can coach offence we thought MacTavich could? This is his first and only head coach job he will ever get. The Oilers are the JOKE of the NHL, everyone is laughing at them. so pathetic…. So this is how Rexal is run?

  • R-DAWG wrote:

    hockeysmack wrote:
    How long will the media in this town continue to be apologists for this organization?
    I don’t hear to much apologizing from the media do you? I think they don’t have a lot to work with when everything and everyone they talk to has the same boring things to say. What are they supposed to do…go into the dressing room and demand Mac-T resign??

    Not exactly, but when was the last time you saw an article in print breaking down the futility of the last 8 years, or even the post-lockout record? I'm not suggesting a bunch of reporters start picketing at the office, nor am I suggesting that they don't ask "hard" questions, other than perhaps asking why the club appears to have the same freaking problems every year. I'm just saying that as a dude who reads the paper, listens to sports radio, and hits fan sites, the critical analysis of this management's tenure is few and far between. You do it, some bloggers do it, but other than that, not much.

  • Chris

    hockeysmack wrote:

    Enough is enough here. How long will the new ownership allow this run of mediocrity continue? When will a coach or someone in management be held accountable for the perpetual lack of success? How long will the media in this town continue to be apologists for this organization? No plan, no direction, no leadership: the Oilers

    Spring of 1992. Kevin Lowe was captain of the Oilers. Vincent Damphousse and Joe Murphey led the Oilers in scoring. There was no internet, or e-mail…businessmen carried bagphones….

    A person who was concieved that spring is just now legally able to the bars on Wyte Avenue. That person may well have been concieved on the very night the Oilers opened up the first round of the playoffs against the LA Kings… Concieved by a horney fan who witnessed a home playoff win in game 1.

    THAT WAS THE LAST TIME THE OILERS OPENED THE PLAYOFFS WITH HOME ICE!

  • R-DAWG

    I\d like to know the answer if someone asked "Kevin Lowe…your team has been mediocre at bestsince the 1990's. with the exception of the 06 cup run,what do you have to do to suck less!!" Mac-T looks like he's about given up and Tambellini has been just as invisible as the players he's supposed to direct. Oh well who else are you supposed to cheer for…

  • Pokie Reddik wrote:

    Potulny would have to clear re-entry waiver, he has a one way contract and was put on waivers to be sent down at the begining of the year

    Like Robin said, it's nothing to do with the one/two way status of the contract. One way just means he gets paid the same, whether he's riding the pine in Edmonton or the bus in Springfield. It's everything to do with number of NHL games played and age. Have a look here.

  • RobinB

    UPDATE: While there's no word from the Oilers yet, the Springfield website shows Potulny as "not active" with the team, even though he was pencilled in to play against Portland tonight.
    Unless I'm misinterpreting this, it looks like Potulny has been called up.

  • humantorch

    hockeysmack wrote:

    Enough is enough here. How long will the new ownership allow this run of mediocrity continue? When will a coach or someone in management be held accountable for the perpetual lack of success?

    Dude, this is the Oilers we're talking about. Accountability isn't even in their dictionary.

  • Matt N

    For all of you clamoring for a Schremp return.

    Before call up

    GP/G/A/P/+-/shotspergame/PPG
    18/1/11/12/+2/1.5/.66

    not bad, not great, got the call up where he played well the first two games, got 3 points and then was invisible for 2, got demoted.

    Since call up

    GP/G/A/P/+-/shotspergame/PPG
    12/2/3/5/-9/2.16/.41

    All this against weaker AHL opponents according to Jonathon

    http://www.oilersnation.com/2008/12/springfield-falcons-quality-of-opposition/

    I am pretty much done with this guy.

  • Chris

    Schremp to too slow to be a top six forward with the Oilers and is too small/ weak to be a third or fourth liner. He is a marginal player at best. A prospect is someone like Gagner, or JF Jacques: both have all the tools to fill their respective roles in the NHL… We have seen glimpses of greatness in Gagner. Jacques has done nothing with his opportunities, but at least has the necessary ingredients to fill a role in the bottom six with his size and speed. It might be worth giving him another look next year. Schremp, however, has done everything right, but simply lacks the ability. I know Schremp has totally sick skills with the puck and he set up Pouliot, and so on… I just don't see him being fast enough or gritty enough to produce regularly against strong competition at the NHL level. I may be wrong, and Robbie may become a solid NHL'er, but the Oilers already have too many smallish non physical forwards as it is…

  • Jay

    @ hockeysmack & Robin B:

    Personally I would like to dip into the top 10, this team is very capable with it's current personel moves and coaching to fall flat on their face enough to look at a top 7 pick. I believe in them. (Worse they believe in themselves??)

    But, other than Schroeder I'd be happy with anyone currently named in ISS top 10. Although it's evident that this team could use a wHLer or two to toughen things up and up the leadership level. I'd take Cowen if we got low enough or Schenn if we were back enough. Kane would be a fall back position if Panik were still available.

    Late 1st rounder? If Stauffer is right? Maybe package my 2nd rounder with the 1st to get Taylor Doherty or Scott Glennie. Or look at Carter Ashton late 1st or early second and follow up with Tatar with the other pick. Having said that the Oilers will draft some safe checking no upside forward or overrated "big" defenseman who's stats have been proped up by his d partner.

  • Jay

    Jack Bauer wrote:

    I agree with rindog. The coaching decisions by this moron are hard to believe. Unless he intentionally sabotaging his own team, I cant imagine why he thinks the way he does. Why didnt he call up a top scoring forward from the A to replace Hemsky. You could have kept the Cole Gagner Nillson line rolling because they were finally producing. Then you could have kept the Pouliott Cogs Moreau line rolling cause they were finally making something happen semi regularly.
    Instead what do we have? The Macblender at every opportunity with 6th line ECHL players playing with Horcoff and Penner. No wonder Horcoff’s back is killing him.
    This team sucks. The decisions this team make suck. The people making those decisions….suck.

    You get no arguement from me… except that you think Horcoff and Penner are being dragged down? Neither are quality top 6 forwards, neither create, neither generally have anything special in their game, neither show they can lead or be leaders, they fit right in with Reddox (who, unintentionally, I can't stop calling Toby Peterson and I can't stop it). BOth are greatly overpaid, that they do well together.

  • I would really like to see them make the effort to see what they have in the minors. With Hemsky gone with a concussion they won't be hurrying him into the line-up. The Brule thing is not surprising, but aggravating to us peons.

    I think the year is very close to being a write off, but I would like to see them dismantle the team & get some new players in here. Too long with the same cast of Veterans. I think the coach is gone at the end of the year any how, I think the players have more to do with the season than the coach.

  • Jay wrote:

    you think Horcoff and Penner are being dragged down? Neither are quality top 6 forwards, neither create, neither generally have anything special in their game, neither show they can lead or be leaders, they fit right in with Reddox

    Wow, that's an incredibly stupid thought. Liam Reddox has four points in 19 NHL games. Shawn Horcoff has topped 50 points every season since the lockout, and in Penner's worst season to date (last year) he scored 23 goals.

    Yes, those three are identical. Makes perfect sense to me.

  • r59

    Jay wrote:

    You get no arguement from me… except that you think Horcoff and Penner are being dragged down? Neither are quality top 6 forwards

    I'll save you the reading of a detailed explanation and can assure you that both Penner and Horcoff are on pace for seasons that would put them in the top 6 of the vast majority of the league.

  • RobinB

    @ CurtisS:
    You're sounding a bit "entitled" here. Wanye doesn't fall out of the rack or climb out of the gutter until after noon.

    Ask nicely and maybe there'll be a GDB and even an update. As for confirmation, the Nilsson tidbit comes from Rishaug at the morning skate. Any reason to doubt it?

  • Zamboni Driver

    The saddest thing next to the fact that the 'brain trust' played both Stortini (not an NHL player) and Macintyre (seems like a nice guy, but c'mon)….to solve the injury dilemma, the best guy to call up is someone named Potulny.

    Deep organization, eh?

  • RobinB

    @ Zamboni Driver:
    Just feel like bitching?
    Have some class and don't take swipes at a player like Stortini, who just suffered a bad knee injury doing the best he can.
    Same with MacIntyre. He's fine as a five minute a night player in selected games. He works his bag off and how he gets used isn't up to him.

    As for Potulny, he's done everything the Oilers could expect of him on lousy AHL team and deserves a look under the circumstances.

    Step back and separate your frustration with the way this team has underachieved from your assessments of players who can't be blamed for how disappointing this season has been. Otherwise, this becomes HF, and that just isn't happening.

  • Jay

    r59 wrote:

    Jay wrote:
    You get no arguement from me… except that you think Horcoff and Penner are being dragged down? Neither are quality top 6 forwards

    I’ll save you the reading of a detailed explanation and can assure you that both Penner and Horcoff are on pace for seasons that would put them in the top 6 of the vast majority of the league.

    Horcoff is 84th in overall scoring carried by Hemsky. Penner is 196th, and that is sadly an aided total. Wishing they are top 6 on any team in the league doesn't make it so, the fact is they are only top 6 on our team.

    Now to avoid a stat laiden explaination of top 6 versus top 3, both are playing top 3 here, neither are producion top 3. Only Horcoff is producing anything resembling a 2nd line total, and that's only with Hemsky around and he getting excessive ice time.

    I mean Horcoff is 9th in avg. TOI among forwards. 9th! 40th in PP time, 39th in points – thanks Hemmer (Penner 190th). 54th in ES time, 132nd for points in the league (Penner 144th).

    Yeah, they are really top 6 forwards in the league…

  • RobinB wrote:

    @ Jack Bauer:
    I’ve got no indication he’s fallen out of favour, but the immediate call-up would be for a guy to replace Stortini. Schremp doesn’t fit with that.
    Unless Nilsson can’t play or Gagner’s ankle gets bad enough to keep him out, I don’t see Schremp being the guy who gets the chance.

    Well after listening to Mactavish's presser today, I think its 100% RS has fallen well out of favor with Mactavish and the coaching staff. So there is your indication RB.

  • Zamboni Driver

    @ RobinB:
    It wasn't intended a swipe at these guys, rather at the org for coming up with the idea that these two guys should play in the same game, and frustration with the fact that the only solution is to bring up a guy no one has ever heard of.

    Well put, though on making the comment post-Stortini injury. Poor timing on my part.

  • Hockey Gods

    Jay wrote:

    Horcoff is 84th in overall scoring carried by Hemsky. Penner is 196th, and that is sadly an aided total. Wishing they are top 6 on any team in the league doesn’t make it so, the fact is they are only top 6 on our team.

    Hey Jay, I am no Willis but here is some math for you.

    30 Teams X 6 Top Forwards = 180 Top 6 Forwards in the league.

    That puts Horc middle of the pack as being a top six and Penner a little out of the mix. Don't forget people outside teams top 6 forwards score too. Careful how you manpulate numbers…

    I think you are trying to say Horc and Penner aren't world beaters, ya, you're right; but there are only so many Ovy's, Hossa's, Heatly's, Crosby's etc to go around.

  • Jay

    Hockey Gods wrote:

    Jay wrote:
    Horcoff is 84th in overall scoring carried by Hemsky. Penner is 196th, and that is sadly an aided total. Wishing they are top 6 on any team in the league doesn’t make it so, the fact is they are only top 6 on our team.
    Hey Jay, I am no Willis but here is some math for you.
    30 Teams X 6 Top Forwards = 180 Top 6 Forwards in the league.
    That puts Horc middle of the pack as being a top six and Penner a little out of the mix. Don’t forget people outside teams top 6 forwards score too. Careful how you manpulate numbers…
    I think you are trying to say Horc and Penner aren’t world beaters, ya, you’re right; but there are only so many Ovy’s, Hossa’s, Heatly’s, Crosby’s etc to go around.

    Yep, Horcoff and Penner play on the second line here? Or first? Now look at the top 90 scorers and tell me how many centers are in there a head of Horcoff.

    Yeah there aren't many Ov's or Sid's around. Typical cool aid drinker, we're good enough then. A non contending team looking for a 7-10 finish. Yeah that's good enough. Don't lower you standards, clearly they are low enough.