What a week it has been for Edmonton fans! Your heart has been broken three times in the final minutes this week. Twice against your biggest rival, and to add some salt in the wound the Esks’ choked last night as well.
And to make things even more fun for those going to Rexall tonight you’ll be joined by the 9th most annoying fans in sports.
I graduated from J.H Picard, and I hated the Habs because of my classmates. Their singing in the hallways after a Canadiens’ win made me up-chuck my poutine, and when they lost they always had some lame excuse. For your sake, I hope you don’t have to endure one of their songs tonight.
Jarome Iginla, Sheldon Souray and Pat Quinn distracted most of you away from the fact the Oilers have already given up a goal in the final minute of a game; TWICE.
And another concern is why Quinn feels the need to hide his line combinations from the opposition. On Thursday morning’s skate, Quinn had juggled his lines.
He had Dustin Penner with 10 and 83. He’d moved Sam Gagner between 19 and 22, he put Gilbert Brule in the middle of 91 and 32, and he had Andrew Cogliano flanked by 18 and 46. Even during warm up, he had these lines doing rushes, until finally switching back to lines we saw on Thursday night.
What is the point of this?
Why have players practice together, but then not play together. Quinn has consistently rolled four lines so far this year, so why was he worried about trying to fool the Flames?
This morning the lines looked like this:
Jacques — Horcoff — Hemsky
Stone — Gagner — O’Sullivan
Penner — Brule — Comrie
Moreau — Cogliano — Stortini
It is refreshing to see Quinn so adamant that his players make the right play at key times. He has pointed out the mistakes of players from Hemsky to Smid, and that is great. But it’s time to show some faith in his players.
Trying to hide your line combinations from the opposition is ridiculous. Believe that whoever you put out there will succeed. I think it is great that none of the players are comfortable with their role on the team, but resorting to a Cloak and Dagger attitude with the lines makes no sense.
He wants his players to be tough and to stand up for one another; then he needs to be part of that as well.
I have no problem with the new combinations; in fact I’d take Jacques of the top line and put Penner there, because the first line hasn’t played well so far, but if you he wants his players to practice like they play, what is the point of practicing with players you won’t play with?
The Canadiens are reeling having surrendered eleven goals in their past two games. Their blueline isn’t very good with Markov out four months.
The Oilers need to stay aggressive and be physical. The Habs blueliners aren’t the greatest puck handlers, and they’ll be prone to giveaways if the Oilers stay on them.
Steve Staios will draw back in tonight. He’ll play with Ladislav Smid while the other pairings remain the same. Souray is listed as day-to-day, and I’d only be guessing on when he’ll return. Concussions, whether they are mild or serious, are tough to gauge. They hope he’ll be ready for Monday’s game in Nashville, but they won’t rush him back. He was pretty out of hit after the hit.