A fine mess

Was Ethan Moreau doing what a captain had to do against the Dallas Stars Thursday, or did the E-Train look like he’d come off the rails by taking selfish, boneheaded penalties that led to a costly 4-2 loss at the American Airlines Center?

In a melee sparked by Steve Ott’s blindside of Tom Gilbert — a hit that prompted Moreau to, first, pile on Ott after Dwayne Roloson and Laddy Smid had already responded, and, second, to flail away at Dallas defenceman Nicklas Grossman — my vote is for the latter.

Five minutes to Moreau for losing it, none to Grossman for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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As far as Moreau’s double-minor, one for tripping and another for roughing, that led to the eventual winning goal by Fabian Brunnstrom early in the second period, same thing.

Tripping? OK. A headlock and the stinky glove? Not so much. Not at all, in fact. Stupid penalties. Selfish penalties. Nothing to do with playing tough. Nothing to do with leadership. And nothing to do with the tough, honest hockey Moreau has made a career on.


Of course, not everybody sees it the way I do. Long-time Oiler fan and journalist David Staples, at the Cult of Hockey at The Journal, saw Moreau’s ill-timed fits of temper as some sort of Messier Moment:

“Whatever the Oilers did wrong in the past, they responded properly this time, first with goalie feisty Dwayne Roloson coming in to give Ott a bash, then with snarly Ladislav Smid jumping on the guy, and finally with the fierce captain, Ethan Moreau, piling on and punching Ott in the head.

It did my heart well, I tell you. For once, the Oilers looked like a team, as opposed to a collection of paycheque men.”

As you’d expect, Craig MacTavish didn’t take issue with Moreau’s response, either. Said MacTavish: “There’s nobody that does it better than Steve Ott. He picks his spots. He’s an effective player. We did have the right response on the hit on Gibby, but it was a Steve Ott-type game.”

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Sorry, coach, no sale. The right response? Throwing punches at Grossman, who kept his gloves on (yet managed to end up on top of Moreau) and taking the extra five?

It’s not the first time Moreau has taken ill-timed, costly penalties this season, so he doesn’t get a pass for a one-off. While I’m not in the camp of people yelling for Moreau to be stripped of the captaincy, let’s get real here. Moreau lost his temper. He took stupid penalties on two different occasions that led to the Oilers losing a game they had to win.

Correct me if I’m wrong

  • Shouldn’t fans who think it would be a great move for the Oilers to acquire Alexei Kovalev from Montreal at least find out why the Habs chose to sit their best player at a critical point in the season before they jump to conclusions? Arguments about whether Kovalev would help in the stretch drive aside — he certainly would, if he felt like it — it would seem prudent to find out what the issues are before clamouring for Steve Tambellini to pull the trigger on anything, no?
  • While Dwayne Roloson has performed better than I thought he could or would since Mathieu Garon was traded, MacTavish is now in the position of having to ride the 39-year-old all the way to the finish line. It’s 14 straight starts and counting. The wheels have to fall off Roli, don’t they?
  • Saturday’s game against Calgary will get the obligatory hype we’ve come to expect, but the Oilers aren’t catching the Flames for the Northwest Division title. Not a chance. I agree with what MacTavish suggested several weeks ago: I see the Oilers playoff hopes hinging on the three games they have remaining against the Minnesota Wild. If I’m the Oilers, I’m more worried about the Wild, who have two games in hand, than Anaheim.
  • While there’s been the suggestion Tambellini will wait until closer to the trade deadline to make any moves, I believe the return of Fernando Pisani next week could set things in motion. Just a gut feeling on that front.

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

  • Zamboni Driver

    Tyler wrote:

    Robin B wrote:

    @ Dennis:
    Life ain’t fair, Dennis, or you’d have the press pass you’d have given your left nut for by now. Pity.

    That hardly makes him unique. Most of the local media gave ‘em both to the Oilers in exchange for a press pass.

    No disrespect to our in-house media dudes, but I gotta say that was pretty good.

  • Redness

    @ Robin:

    I agree with you. Ethan Moreau simply lost his temper out there. And yes, his actions did likely cost the Oilers the game. But as much as he looked like a lunatic out there last night, in my opinion, IT WAS NECESSARY! Not the hooking or the lazy penalties. But the "I'm going to rip your head off" penalties. It is well documented that this team lacks emotion on the ice. But last night Moreau brought it. Reminds me of the time you gave it to Warrior on Team 1260! Sometimes it is just necessary…right Robin?

  • shakey

    @ Ender the Dragon:
    In the long run isn't the lottery draft pick better for the Oilers?
    Unlike most of my old first dates…in the first-round version, someone from Edmonton will most likely be getting f**ked.

  • Robin B

    @ Zamboni Driver:
    It was. But part of the reason I can smile when Tyler does it is because there's not only some truth to it, he brings more to the comments section than an agenda.

  • Bob Cob

    Rick wrote:

    Assuming that you are talking about the Ott incident (if not, stop reading), the hit was on Gilbert not Smid. Smid actually jumped Ott before Moreau piled on.

    My bad, I didn't see the hit that started the whole thing, good thing Gilbert wasn't hurt, cant afford to lose him.
    I still think Smid has to do a better job keeping his head up, he still seems to get ran over more than anyone else.

  • Ender the Dragon

    @ shakey:

    Depends on your perspective. If you're a long-term, accounting-type guy, then I'd say yeah, once sixth place is out of reach, tank 'em all and take next year's star.

    I'm not that patient, though; waiting another 3 seasons for the new crop to mature and hoping that things will all be better then just isn't in my blood. The year we almost won it all, we squeaked into eighth-place that year too; it almost worked out. I'd rather build my playoff draft with the (admittedly, usually silly) option of selecting Oilers rather than waiting for us to become the 'Juggernaut that is Shark' or the next incarnation of the Red Wings. Get the ticket to the dance is how I roll. Once you're there, anything can happen.

  • Robin B

    Peter Pan wrote:

    Kovalev to E-town? Why? Don’t we have enough floaters around here?

    I'm on the record as not being a big Kovalev fan, but he's been pretty good in playoffs. The problem is getting in if he does one of his five-game disappearing acts.

  • shakey

    @ Ender the Dragon:
    I see your point Ender but what if you get that ticket to the dance and before you get to 'Stairway to Heaven' so you can grind some sweet thing on the dance floor, you take an upper-cut to the chin from the star Quarterback and it's all over for you.
    Was it worth it then?
    Will it be worth it 2 months after when you're supposed to pick up your door prize from the dance and instead of a chance at the top 5 prizes, you get to pick the 9th best prize and you have a history having a hard time picking quality door prizes?

  • Milli wrote:

    I have always thought Moreau was a great choice for the C. At the time, he was the guy, there was no doubt. From what I see today, Souray is the leader. But, does that mean he should get the C, I say no. Moreau was a team leader long before he had the C. If Moreau is dealt, then yes, it seems like the natural choice. More of a concern is the lack of scoring on this team, and with the dmen who are injured, a real problem.

    Moreau was not the best choice at the time. He was given the C was because Jason Smith told MacT that he should be captain. Ryan Smyth was a way better choice at that time. Heck, even Jarrett Stoll was a better choice. You can't argue that!

  • Fiveandagame

    @ Robin B:
    Robin B wrote:

    David Staples wrote:
    @Tyler. I suspect you even had Robin laughing at that Oscar Wilde of a shot.

    Yes, and, however briefly, I thought of you . . .

    Now THAT was funny!

    HA HA HA!

    Great Post Mr. Brownlee. Moreau owed the entire team an apology after last nights game.

    Darren Dreger Reports that the Avs are looking to dump salary and cited Smyth as being on the block despite his no movement clause.

    Due to Kevin Lowe's sellers remorse after the whole Smyth debacle was done, could you see the Oilers making a pitch for the Mullet man and his 6.25 mil cap hit? ( Cole would have to go, but if we took picks in return we add no salary)

  • Ender the Dragon

    shakey wrote:

    . . . what if you get that ticket to the dance and . . . you take an upper-cut to the chin from the star Quarterback . . . Was it worth it then?

    Everyone will have different answers to this, but if you're asking me, then 'yes'.

    If a genie offered me this deal;

    You can have the Oil in the playoffs 9 out of the next 10 years, but they'll never seed higher than seventh; how they do in those post-seasons is a secret;


    You can have then finish last or second-last in the conference for the coming five years, followed by 5 years of seeding first or second in the playoffs. Again, playoff results are a secret.

    The catch? You have to be a fan and watch all of the games every year, not just the years in which we are winning; that's bandwagon, man, and we don't do bandwagon at the Nation.

    What's my choice?

    I'll take the guarenteed playoff seats, baby. Any number-1 seed can fall in the first round, injuries or no. Ask the Sharks or the Senators. To me, all I need is a seat on the ride and I define that as a successful season. Second round? Duking it out with the Flames for a chance at the Conference final? How could you pass up a shot at that?

    Was it worth it?

    Absolutely. Better to have loved and lost, Baby, than never to have loved at all.

  • So let me get this right. We are willing to deal our #2 line? (Cole and Nilsson) Then what for next year? Schremp? jk. Cogliano goes back to there? What is the plan, because even offering up a huge ransom to players won't guarantee that they will come. (eg:Hossa)

    But seriously… That's what, about 5 million we will send away? Then what is the plan here? I'm sure all Oilers fans want to know. Tambo? KLowe? Anyone?

  • Fiveandagame

    @ Robin B:

    Thats what I was thinking. His age and price are steep and make Horcoff look like a steal. The only plus side is Smyth has playoff experience with the Oilers. My worry is does nostalgia cloud the minds of the management on this team and make them think that for some reason Ryan Smyth and his 30 goals a year are worth 6.25 mil…. But nostaglia never influences these guys right?….Right?….oh dear god….

    It's worrisome, if it was the last year of the deal I could see it happening but he's locked up at this huge price for 4 more years I think.

  • shakey

    @ Ender the Dragon:
    Ender, I've been a fan since 99 was around and I was a fan during the Shane Corson days and I'm still a fan today so I can proudly say I am not a bandwagon fan. I've seen the best and I've seen the worst but this sneaking into the playoffs every 3rd year is not what I want from my team. I don't want them to finish last for draft picks but at some point there has to be more than just barely making it.

  • Peter Pan

    @ Robin:

    You are in the know, so answer this for me if you will:

    If the rumour of trading Cole may actually be true, what would the Oil be looking for in return? Latest rumours please.


  • Robin B

    @ Peter Pan:
    Sorry, can't help you. Won't be talking to Lowe or Tambellini or making any phone calls until at least tomorrow.

    As for rumours, from insane to amusing, they're out there for everybody to read. Unless they're written by a legit MSM beat guy or columnist (and sometimes even then) I don't put much stock in them.

  • Kid

    @ Robin B

    hey robin what do you think aboput what I posted earlyer? Would love to hear what you think about Van Reimsdyk and Jones as well as if you think there is any chance we might go after ktachuck.

    Big Fan of your work for alot of years and happy to see you writing here.

  • Chris

    I was very much against trading Ryan Smyth. While I still maintain Lowe made a mistake, I think it would be a bigger mistake to bring Smyth back. Why accept an older, more jaded Ryan Smyth at a 6.25mil cap hit when we could have had him all along for 5.5? As fan's we have already endured the twenty game losing streak; We have put up with repeatedly missing the playoffs; We watched Lowe pay through the nose to grab RFA Penner… There has already been too much water under the bridge. You can't undo a mistake…

  • Ender the Dragon

    @ shakey:

    Barely making it every third year and finishing out of the dance in between? I agree, that's unacceptable. But that would speak to issues far beyond the annual choice between deciding whether to enter the playoff race or rebuilding mode. I believe that any reasonably-run team should be able to consistently finish the regular season middle-of-the-pack, and in this era middle-of-the-pack gets you into the playoffs almost every year (with an occasional ninth saying 'Ooooo, really close, sorry try again.').

    Should the Oilers have been better than they are over the past 3.5 seasons since the lockout? Many would argue yes, that one year as unlikely conference champs doesn't buy the right to finish in 11th and 9th in the following seasons. Factoring in the (unbelievably horrible) injuries in 06-07, that alone begs extenuating circumstances. Adding in the hole we've been forced to dig out of by losing 'the spawn of Satan' to the Ducks in an unavoidable and unbalanced trade, improving to ninth last year was an accomplishment, if still dissapointing.

    With these bumps in the road behind us, is it reasonable to expect Oilers management to put together a team each season capable of beating half the teams in the league consistantly and getting us into the playoffs almost every year? I expect that. I've been patient for two years, and I understand why we finished where we did. I am not prepared to enter rebuilding mode at this point. Bring me my round-one opponent. That's not asking too much.

  • Robin B

    @ Kid:
    Van Riemsdyk hasn't worked out in Philly? He was drafted in 2007. Hasn't torn it up at UNH, but he's not even 20 yet. Too early to know. Might be another Hugh Jessiman, might be a keeper.
    Randy Jones? What does he bring that the Oilers need? Tkachuk? Not a chance.