In yet another kick to the groin, the Edmonton Oilers shafted themselves — or is it bladed themselves? — in Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks when coach Craig MacTavish guessed wrong on Teemu Selanne’s stick.

MacTavish thought he had it right when he asked the referees to measure the blade of Selanne’s stick with 2:11 to play, thinking it was too wide, but he got it wrong because he got bad information.

It was just another blunder to add to the misery of Oiler fans who’ve now packed Rexall Place for 151 straight games and in return have been treated to expensive beer, too many half-assed efforts, a grand total of 16 wins in 37 home games and untold heartache this season.

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I’m wondering if whoever it was that was eye-balling Anaheim’s stick rack is the same guy who looked over the Oilers roster in pre-season and whispered in MacTavish’s ear he’d bet his job this team would contend for a Northwest Division title. Or did MacT act alone?

Either way, somebody’s going to pay after April 11.


Selanne shrugged off suggestions in the post-game scrum the blade of his stick was too wide or that he’d made a quick change of twigs. The Finnish Flash instead took a bit of a poke at MacTavish.

“No, not really,” shrugged Selanne, asked if he’d swapped sticks or if it was common to replace illegal sticks with legal ones late in games. “I try to have it as wide as I can because the ice is so bad in a lot of buildings. “It’s right on the borderline, but I knew it was going to be good, so I didn’t really have to worry about it. There’s not much curve at all, but it looks pretty wide.”

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Wide enough, obviously, that MacTavish, likely convinced by his stick rack spy, gambled in the hope of going on the power play after Zack Stortini cut Anaheim’s lead to 4-3 at 17:49. “I don’t know who it was,” smiled Selanne, asked if he thought that it was MacTavish who’d been casting suspicious glances toward his stick. “Maybe I should sign the stick for him, though.”


No way Dwayne Roloson deserves to be thrown under the bus with the record-setting 33-game stretch he’s played, but he’s looked tired the last two games and it only makes sense he’s finally out of gas.

As much as he’s battled, Roloson gave up three goals on 21 shots, including a softy by Martin Skoula, in the 3-2 loss to Minnesota and there’s no way he should get beat high on the short side by Rob Niedermayer to put the Ducks up 4-1 late in the second period.

So, what do the Oilers do now? Lock Roloson’s 39-year-old bones in a hyperbaric chamber until Thursday or toss Jeff Deslauriers between the pipes when he hasn’t played a minute since Feb. 7 and hasn’t made a start since Nov. 30? That’s not an option.

As dubious as the Selanne stick measurement was, the decision not to give Deslauriers a start or two in the last 33 games, especially with three sets of back-to-back games since Feb. 16, might prove to be more costly.

For me, that’s a more damning indictment of MacTavish’s judgment than the bad call on Selanne’s lumber.

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— Not to leave former GM and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and his scouting staff out of all the fun, Ryan Getzlaf, selected 19th overall by the Ducks in the 2003 Entry Draft, had two assists Tuesday and has 88-174-262 in 292 games.

Marc Pouliot, taken 22nd by the Oilers in 2003, was a healthy scratch for the eighth time in the last nine games. He’s scored 14-25-39 in 140 games.

— Stortini has scored five goals in the last 18 games he’s played. Shawn Horcoff has two goals in his last 18 and Ales Hemsky has three in his last 18. Who’s been the ham-handed plumber when it’s mattered?

— How many games have the Oilers lost in the second period? They have been outscored 90-74 in the middle frame this season, including 3-0 last night.

— At 16-15-6 the Oilers need to run the table in their final four games at Rexall Place just to hit 20 wins at home this season. There isn’t a team in a playoff position today with a home record nearly as lame.

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

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  • Robin Brownlee

    @ Tyler:
    Dennis gets back what he dishes out, and you as much as anybody know what that is when it comes to his crusade for truth in the MSM.

    I recognize there's some great stuff out there that's produced by people well outside the MSM. I'm not the one who'd have ZERO to write about if I didn't spend half my time taking cheapshots at bloggers.
    Dennis, on the other hand, doesn't have much to say (at least not when he posts here) that doesn't involve taking shots at the MSM when he's done with his numbers.

    So, when he trots out his well-established disdain for the MSM and I choose to fire back, you may catch some if it, too.

  • Dennis

    RB: what did I side-step? That folks have to follow different rules when they cover the team for a living? Sure, everyone knows that. The difference in Edm and other markets is that everyone in Edm seems either too dull to see the truth or they just don't care enough to point it out. I can say this with confidence because we have scene how they act in times when the team isn't successful. Obviously, if the Oilers were successful, it would be somewhat easier to tolerate the all the can-kissing. But they're not so why does that attitude prevail?

    Ty: You know the drill, here. RB gets final call and when you zing him, it ends up on the cutting-room floor. And I know this because of all the posts I've had deleted.

    All that being said, when it comes to not having "much to offer" I have all kinds to offer when I can use numbers to prove facts:) But I guess that if you don't talk to scouts, you're opinion means nothing:) I never come here and said "So and so sucks" without having something to back up that opinion. But RB keeps pushing that I do because he doesn't want to admit the alternative. If the Oilers were successful, I could come here and say so and so had a good contract because they're doing this and that for x amount of money and it was a good signing. But whereas the team is crap, most of the points will be about how and why it is crap.

    When in Rome, as Veronica Corningstone said.

    But, if that's the way RB wants to roll, that's certainly up to him.

    Getting back to one of my original points, I'll file him being under, "too comfortable to care."

  • Robin Brownlee

    Dennis wrote:

    Getting back to one of my original points, I’ll file him being under, “too comfortable to care.”

    And I'll file you where I was always do, under "insignificant and of no consequence."

    And why cut Tyler's remarks? There's way more meat in his arguments than anything you offer. Now, I know you've convinced yourself your comments get cut because I just have no answers for all the well-thought out and persuasive arguments you make, but, sadly, not so. It's just that I don't have to put up with you being an asshole and attacking me whenever the mood strikes you, so I don't.

  • Robin Brownlee

    Tyler wrote:

    can’t believe a guy who writes on the internet and in a free daily is taking shots at our sales

    Would you believe it more If I wrote for the Canadian Press, which distributes what I write to papers across the country and to websites like TSN, Sportsnet and NHL.com? Or if I wrote for the Globe and Mail or the Chicago Tribune?

    Mercy, Tyler, for a guy who works in a profession that relies on cherry picking facts and massaging the truth almost as much as the people in my business do, that was clumsy.

  • Tyler

    Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

    You guys bickering is awesome. BTW have you guys ever met each other?

    Dennis is just a character Robin has created to voice his disgust at being a part of the Oilers PR machine without endangering his standing therein.

    Kind of like how Darryl Katz isn't real – Stauffer actually owns the team and just pretends that Katz is texting him or leaking him information about the team. Bob wanted that job beside Rod and was willing to go to great lengths to get it.