GDB 52: Moving in Different Directions

NHL/

With Lubomir Visnovsky already injured, and Tom Gilbert likely out after getting hurt against St. Louis, the Oilers have recalled their best AHL prospect, defenseman Theo Peckham. Peckham has two NHL games to his credit, one against Columbus at the tail end of last season, and one against Pittsburgh earlier this year.

J-F Jacques is once again ready to play, so he takes up a roster spot while on his two-week conditioning stint with Springfield. His activation and the recall of Peckham necessitated sending down Ryan Potulny.

Also injured for the game against Detroit this afternoon is Shawn Horcoff, the only centre on the team with more than two seasons of NHL experience. With him out, the top line spot between Penner and Hemsky needed filling, something Kyle Brodziak did for the end of the St. Louis game. Craig MacTavish’s comments before the game indicated that he was likely to leave Brodziak in that spot, at least to begin with.

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It’s an opportunity for Brodziak (the first words out of Brodziak’s mouth when asked were “It’s a big opportunity for me”). I’ve commented before on how he’s been used this season, but it’s worth repeating. For the vast majority of the year, he’s been saddled with inferior linemates (MacIntyre, Stortini, etc.) but that’s only part of the problem. Brodziak’s been starting in the defensive zone more than any other player on the team. Of his 314 non-neutral zone draws, 219 of them have been in the defensive end. That means that he’s had 124 more defensive zone draws than offensive zone draws; the next nearest Oiler is Shawn Horcoff with 86. No other player on the team has more than 40.

It’s a measure of the trust that MacTavish has in those two players that they are his go-to guys for defensive zone faceoffs.

Checking in on the other end of the blender, Marc Pouliot will centre Steve MacIntyre (asked about MacIntyre playing against Detroit, MacTavish said “we don’t have anyone else”) and Zach Stortini on the fourth line tonight, and MacTavish hinted that he didn’t trust them to play much at all against Detroit, saying that they’d likely sub in on other lines. After saying that he didn’t like Pouliot at centre, MacTavish expanded that he felt Pouliot, for all his improvements ‘needed something he can provide every night, whether it be a better defensive game, a more physical game, or more consistent offensive contribution’. He summed up by saying that while Pouliot was improving, but that his game on a whole was “vanilla”.

The bottom line though is that this Edmonton Oilers team isn’t at nearly the same level of the Red Wings when healthy, and they aren’t close to that tonight.

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On the Red Wings front, significant players in Tomas Holmstron (groin) and Brad Stuart (ribs) won’t be playing this afternoon. Marian Hossa, who turned down a massive contract from the Oilers this off-season, is leading the Red Wings in goals (28) and comes to town amid rumours that he and fellow pending unrestricted free agent Johan Franzen are negotiating extensions with the Wings. The real news is that the Red Wings are hoping to sign the two “for a package price of around US$10-million per season.” The other thing worth noting is that Albertan Chris Osgood, suffering through a poor season, is not expected to start tonight, making room for ex-Oiler Ty Conklin, who has been very good over the past two seasons.

Because I’m incapable of predicting an Oilers loss, I’m going to call it a 3-2 win with Kyle Brodziak leading the way offensively and Dwayne Roloson making 436 saves (give or take 5). Chime in with your predictions below.


  • Hippy

    Not only does the management have to be called into question, the leadership on this team does as well.

    There's days where I think Moreau gets what it means to be a Captain. Then there's other days where I can't believe he even has a letter on his jersey.

  • Hippy

    Gene's pubes wrote:

    The red wings stroked it for a period and half, and are now showing they can manhandle a team, at their leisure.

    Yup.

    If they wanted 10, it wouldn't have been a problem. Classy team.

  • Hippy

    Wej wrote:

    There’s days where I think Moreau gets what it means to be a Captain. Then there’s other days where I can’t believe he even has a NUMBER on his jersey.

    Fixed.

  • Hippy

    David S wrote:

    Good on Zack. 3rd star – first of his career.

    Molson Cup though. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that he wasn't a star at the game.

    He played a good third though.

  • Hippy

    Bob Stauffer

    "There were a couple of positives, so we'll focus on the positives"

    What happened to you Bob? You're just another shill now. That's too bad. I can't wait to see how the media handles this.

  • Hippy

    David S wrote:

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    Question: Does this game get grouped in to the 9-2 and 10-2 ass poundings?

    Nope. The Wings used lube.

    And gave the Oilers a reach-around.

  • Hippy

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    Question: Does this game get grouped in to the 9-2 and 10-2 ass poundings?

    I dont think it will. Nothing positive came out of those games, todays game had a few bright spots. JDD played okay, Penner was aggressive for a bit of the game. etc.

  • Hippy

    David S wrote:

    Travis Dakin wrote:
    Question: Does this game get grouped in to the 9-2 and 10-2 ass poundings?
    Nope. The Wings used lube.

    Because really, it was quite obvious that the Wings were taking it easy for the second and third. As soon as the Oilers got a couple they just said, "watch this" and potted two quick ones at will. It EASILY could have been 12 or 13 to nothing. Hell, they were using their fourth line on their last two PP's.

  • Hippy

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    Question: Does this game get grouped in to the 9-2 and 10-2 ass poundings?

    It should be. Wings took the foot of the pedal in second and half the third till Oil scored 3.

    How the bench boss keeps a job after one of those bad beats has me puzzled… but after three in what 2 months… there should be no more chances. He just can't get this team ready for a game.

  • Hippy

    Gene's pubes wrote:

    I dont think it will. Nothing positive came out of those games, todays game had a few bright spots. JDD played okay, Penner was aggressive for a bit of the game. etc.

    Nope, I don't buy it. Nothing Positive about scoring on a team that let's you.

  • Hippy

    @ Wej:
    Good job you were listening to Bob, because the TV shills just about made me puke.
    I think that guy who would never fight, whatever his name is, said "Deslauriers was outstanding".

    Yeah….3 goals against, 2 periods when the Wings were on cruise control.

    Meant, btw as a criticism of Debrusk, not Deslauriers.

  • Hippy

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    Gene’s pubes wrote:
    I dont think it will. Nothing positive came out of those games, todays game had a few bright spots. JDD played okay, Penner was aggressive for a bit of the game. etc.
    Nope, I don’t buy it. Nothing Positive about scoring on a team that let’s you.

    Personally I would group it in those disasters, but I dont think the team will spin it that way.

  • Hippy

    Gene's pubes wrote:

    Personally I would group it in those disasters, but I dont think the team will spin it that way.

    MacT will definately be spinning it after the game. No "debacle of monumental proportions" today. This team sucks hard and fast.

  • Hippy

    MacT seems surprisingly upbeat. Happy with the effort for the most part.

    Either he's finally snapped or the game plan is to write off today's game and go hard for the win tomorrow. With this team, I could buy that.

  • Hippy

    Who knew that you had to be awake for the 1st period when you play the Wings?

    Based on the 3rd MacT will probably have Stortini on the top line tomorrow. I'm so excited I won't even be able to sleep tonight.

  • Hippy

    Wej wrote:

    Bob Stauffer
    “There were a couple of positives, so we’ll focus on the positives”
    What happened to you Bob? You’re just another shill now. That’s too bad. I can’t wait to see how the media handles this.

    Bob knows who butters his loaf of toast every morning.

  • Hippy

    David S wrote:

    MacT seems surprisingly upbeat. Happy with the effort for the most part.
    Either he’s finally snapped or the game plan is to write off today’s game and go hard for the win tomorrow. With this team, I could buy that.

    I'd have bought it if they'd started Deslauriers to begin with.

    As for whether this game should be lumped in with Buffalo and Chicago, yes absolutely.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    I’d have bought it if they’d started Deslauriers to begin with.

    Yeah. Strange.

    However, this might have been strategy 1-A all along (start Roli, drop a few and switch to JDD). Roli seems to play well if he's kept warm – that way this game is like a practice for him. I wouldn't be surprised to see Roli start tomorrow.