That title is certainly wrong when it comes to the grand scheme of things, but it’s a little nuts to toss Nikolai Khabibulin and the Oilers penalty-kill under the bus one game in.

Let’s start with Nikolai Khabibulin’s gaffe. After a lackluster preseason, Khabibulin’s season opener could hardly have gone worse. In a game where the Oilers outshot the Flames 34-to-21, Miikka Kiprusoff made 31 saves and Khabibulin made only 17. The last goal against was particularly brutal, with Kiprusoff gift-wrapping the puck for Flames forward David Moss with less than a minute left in a 3-3 hockey game.

As everyone here knows, I’m not a believer in Khabibulin; his track record in three of the last four years, along with his propensity towards lower body injuries are the two biggest reasons I’d hoped the Oielrs had pursued someone else.

That said, if you are one of those who believe in the Bulin wall, one game shouldn’t change your mind. After one game, for example, Martin Brodeur has a GAA in excess of 5.00 and a .815 SV% (I know because he’s on my fantasy team). Players have good games and bad games, and while I’m still not a believer in Khabibulin I can honestly say that a 50-save effort in a 1-0 win wouldn’t have changed my mind on him either. Give it ten games, then we’ll talk about what he’s done.

Similarly, I don’t believe in the penalty kill, which went two-for-four on the night, but again it’s too early to change anyone’s mind either way. I maintain that this team needed to bring somebody in, and I don’t think Kelly Buchberger has the coaching chops to propel this unit to even averagish results with the current personnel.

But my message today is that one game is essentially meaningless in evaluating these trends. The evaluation of both the Oilers’ goaltender and special teams will take some time, and if you were a believer during the offseason there’s no reason to change your stripes now.

  • Librarian Mike

    Give it a couple of weeks, and everything will be sorted out. I have to say, I'm impressed that the site has been running really stable so far. Huzzah to the Shopkeep.

  • Ender

    Rigger wrote:

    Oooh I think I know how to make a paragraph now….hopefully.

    …guess not! ARGH, it looked that way before I posted.

    It can be done; just takes some getting used to.

    Now that I know there's an edit button on the way, I am happier than a pig in mud.


      • Ender

        For paragraph spacing, use the same idea as bolding and italics, only use p and /p ant the beginning and end of the paragraph.

        Also, put me down for 50 comments per page. Easier to follow a thread conversation without having to switch pages 10 times.

        @ Wanye

        A single name may be more gangster if it's uncommon, but just plain Wanye is so generic . . . bring back Wanye Gretz. You're not a generic kind of guy, and if someone can pull off wearing #99, it's you.

  • Suntory Hanzo

    what a sucky game i know My comment is a little late but I picked Khabbi as my goat, nice way to prove my point. Ugh I was hoping they'd have a much better start. Up until that point the only thing I was dissappointed with was the PK. But really the second goal was a total fluke ricochet off Smid.

  • Suntory Hanzo

    Speaking of noodles…anyone remember Fantasia Noodle House on Jasper? They had some wicked soups. SPicy enough so it felt like a cylone flung house fell on you.

  • Sandra B.

    Now that Khabby has done the gaffe, we will see what he is made of in the next few games. If he chokes it's time for Desjalais to take the reigns. Dubnyk is 2 years away at best. IF J.S Gigure goes on the market he will be picked up before Khabby.

  • Austin Ayala

    Dear Ryan Stone and JF Jaacques,

    A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.

    – Wayne Gretzky

  • Austin Ayala

    Dear Ethan Moreau,

    Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision. Please find this in yourself.
    – Muhammad Ali, American Boxer

      • brian glynn

        I had no idea he was an American boxer!

        Cable guy didn't show up so I had to hook up a crappy antenna to my beautiful new LCD TV. I'll never understand how you Edmontonians put up with all that snow in RX1.

        Apparently Shaw has no access to my building's leasing office to remove the filters that block the signal to my suite. I won't have internet or cable until the beginning of next week.

  • Librarian Mike

    Does anyone know what happened to Comrie in the third?

    I was at the game and didn't notice him have a shift in the third, was he benched, hurt, or did Hilary call and ask him to go pick up eggs?

  • Lego

    If the oil lose 3 in a row…. the pressure will be on the same team as last year excluding Khabi and MC…. the canucks hired a nutrionist to evaluate diet and fatigue as the canucks are on the road for after the Olymipics, oil have similar problems due to Meow of the Rings and CFR……. points lost in October and November have the same value as March April.

    Note to the coaching dream team….3 point games are your enemy…. cant play catchup after February.

    Ohh… by the way….in the case of the arena land options… why did Rexall let the Baccarat option slide and allow WAM to flip it back to Rexall for 6 million dollars more …. the land docs are going to come out showing that Rexall cant even manage a land option. But I guess when you implode a house for a skating rink, 6 million dollars is not problem for this legal mistake, right Patrick

  • Site looks sharp fellas!

    I am disgusted by the final minute on Saturday night. Khabi lost the game for us – at least he manned up & sort of admitted that he misplayed the puck.

    Out of the gates quickly to an early lead in the ON goat race is Khabibulin.

  • Shannon

    Love the new site! It looks great!

    I was at the game Saturday and had the MOST annoying Flames fan sitting behind me. People were thisclose to hitting her on the head. It actually ruined the game a bit for me. Put the drink down, watch the game, and really – shut up.

    Otherwise, the energy was good, they played well, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.

    • Ender

      Did she have a British accent? I know there were thousands of people there, but loud, drunk female Flames fan reminds me very much of someone I know who was at the game. I'll tell her you send your best.

      As an aside to that story, losing the bet to her room-mate that night has me posting a Flamers logo this week on Facebook. I think I got the last laugh, though; I posted that hideous horse head with the flaming snot. Not only will most normal people not recognize it, but the ones that do will hang their head.

      That doesn't make it right, Khabibulin. I've got my eye on you.

  • BarryS

    Checked the replay on the last flame goal. Noticed a d-man whose number ends in 77 was coasting instead of racing towards the puck after being beaten by the flame on the dump in. Wonder if Khabibulin would have changed his decision if 77 had been skating hard after the flame?


    50 comments work or an option to select who many you want per page.

    i was impressed with the team as a whole and i have an increased Optimism this season

  • Ender

    I watched the game and if Calgary is supposed to have the best D in the NHL I see good things for the Oil. Calgary shouldn't even have been in the game, the Oil went thew that team like a knife threw hot butter. There breake out was very good and we just dominated that game, Kipper didn't have a horse shoe stuck up his ass he had the whole horse. That's the first time in years that Calgary didn't have to much of a cycle game going against us or any sustained prssure for a great amount of time. Plus they got 3 lucky goals, the first one Vish just missed the 3rd one was a total fluke as was the last one. We have a very good team (if they keep playing like that)sorry RB this is a playoff team.

  • Ender

    There was more NHL/Winnipeg speculation on Saturday night's Hockey Night in Canada's Satellite Hotstove.

    On the season's opening weekend, the captivated nation was told that big money from Toronto has done plenty of work already to buy the Atlanta Thrashers and move them to Winnipeg. Is it just another episode of wishful thinking or a real indicator of what's afoot?


    • Ender

      Never going to happen. Aside from the problems with playing in the Winnipeg market, The Thrashers are bound by two 'no-relocation' contracts; one with their current arena and another with the league. It'll be at least four years before they can even think about leaving Atlanta, let alone moving to a Canadian city.

      • Ender

        If Oilers fans can be optimistic about the playoffs, I can be optimistic about Winnipeg.

        The exhibition game against Tampa was the first Oilers game I've seen since I was about 8 years old. My only other option is to drive to Minneapolis (to the tune of about 14 hours and 4 tanks of gas, round trip) to watch whomever they're playing.

  • Ender

    Swany wrote:

    . . . the Oil went thew that team like a knife threw hot butter . . . we just dominated that game . . . We have a very good team . . . sorry RB this is a playoff team.

    While I admire your enthusiasm, I think Jon's comments above can go both ways. I too am cautiously optimistic that the Oil can find a way to squeak into the playoffs, but I think it's a wee bit too soon to refer to the Oilers 'in front of the word 'dominated'. Let's wait until we're not on pace for an 0-82 season, yes?

  • Visnovski omark staios nillison and a 1st round pick to atlanta for a long term signed kovachuk would help edm lots and put them in a nice place in the playoffs.
    We have too many offencive D and not enough high scoring first line players