Goose eggs dog the Mighty Oil

The Oilers’ offence is hurting more than the players in bed sick right now, after consecutive goose eggs against Vancouver and Colorado.

Pat Quinn continues to tinker with his lineup as he switched JF Jacques and Mike Comrie hoping for some more offence. Lubomir Visnovksy didn’t practice today, after leaving last night’s game early because of the flu. Theo Peckham skated in his place, and if Visnovsky can’t go, he will draw in tomorrow. With only Visnovsky not practicing, that could be a sign that the flu is slowly vacating the lockerroom, but we’ll see.

The coaches have seen enough giveaways from Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov and they too were split up this morning. Gilbert was paired with Jason Strudwick, while Taylor Chorney and Grebeshkov skated together. Fernando Pisani and Steve MacIntyre were the extras, and while Pisani could play tomorrow if needed, he’d be better served to get a few more practices under his belt. A return Saturday morning in Boston seems the most likely.

Watching practice, it’s clear the Oilers need to work on their passing. That’s what killed them v. Colorado. The Oilers couldn’t string together consecutives in the neutral zone all night. Passes went off legs, sticks, missed the target or in many cases they just turned it over.

Tom Renney and Wayne Fleming were very vocal this morning on the ice. They were frequently stopping practice and pointing out positional mistakes, bad decisions and reinforced what they wanted guys to do on the forecheck and the backcheck.

When you haven’t scored in over 140 minutes, it’s obvious every aspect of their offence is struggling, but their PP has also been brutal the past three games. They’ve missed the net too much, or had shots blocked and they haven’t had any urgency on the man advantage. If Visnovsky can’t go tomorrow night, then expect their PP struggles to continue.

Money doesn’t matter

Evaluating a player based on their salary is a fruitless effort in my mind. Ice time and opportunity is a big key to many players’ success. It’s obvious Shawn Horcoff is struggling right now, and if it continues Quinn will have no choice but to switch him with Cogliano or Brule.

Quinn admits he is satisfied with Horcoff’s effort, but he needs his $5.5 million dollar center to produce more with the minutes he is getting. Horcoff clearly has no offensive confidence right now and it will be interesting to see how Quinn deals with him.

Does he take him off the PP? If they send the second unit out in the offensive zone, Horcoff gives them the best chance to win the draw, but if they change on the fly would Quinn be better served to let Brule or Cogliano take a twirl?

Injury update

Steve Staios and Sheldon Souray continue to struggle with post-concussion syndrome. They have a good day, and then a bad day. They have yet to make enough progress to even consider skating, and the longer they are out the more the Oilers will struggle in their own zone.

  • Man. This Souray / Staios business is getting scary. Not even skating yet?

    I figured Souray would be out for a while, but I would've pegged Staios to be back on skates.

    I guess that's the "who knows" nature of concussions.

      • BarryS

        BingBong wrote:
        Anybody else terrified at seeing the Gilbert/Strudwick pairing??! Obviously the coaches haven't "seen enough givaways" if they actually think this pairing will be efficient.

        Jonathan Willis wrote:
        I'm not sure which is more terrifying:

        Strudwick/Gilbert or Grebeshkov/Chorney

        Actually Smid/Peckham ranks up there as well. One good thing is having slower defencemen with the other two means at least someone will still be in the Oiler end when the puck is coughed up at the blueline. It also means someone will be the corner trying to get the puck. If Visnoksy was healthy then we could have replaced Smid for Chorney, giving one decent defencemen to each pair. Yes I know Strudwick is a seventh defenceman but at the moment of the available defenceman (assuming Visnoksy is out) is the third most decent defenceman.

  • Hemmercules

    Money doesn't matter

    Evaluating a player based on their salary is a fruitless effort in my mind. Ice time and opportunity is a big key to many players

    Thank goodness someone else said it, its so tyring having every hockey convo turn into a contract debate. Sure, it's important to get (roughly) what you pay for. But the name of the object of the game is to ice the best team that you can, not the best deals that you can.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    @ Jason Gregor

    Go figure the media continue to just say Horcoff is "struggling" he has been struggling for a season and a half now. He should be our 3rd or 4th line defensive specialist playing 9-10 min night TOTAL all on the PK and taknig faceoffs then quickly changing.

    The probem is anyone who you play with Horcoff begin to slump ( comrie,o'sullivan, and before that hemsky) IT is time to see Quinn grow a set and put Horcoff on the 3rd or 4 th line.

  • Milli

    The concussions are so scary, and having no idea when a player will be close to being back…I thought that Staios was close, and, I still cannot believe I am saying it, I cannot wait until he is back in the line up. Missing the double SS, we are freaky SOFT on D. If Vish cannot go on thursday, OUCH. It's crazy how a team can go from Crusty with tons of scoring to soft and no scoring. I'm still thinking that the Flu bug kicked the crap outta most of them, and we will start to see some energy return.

  • BarryS

    Each time I hear an update on Souray (they never seem to be positive), I start thinking of someone crushing Iginla (yeah the play not intentional but Calgary rolls and rolls along). And the 2 hits from behind last night where both times Oilers had to go to the bench/room don't help.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Are you serious? Khabibulin is the only reason our loses were not all blow outs. Check out his save percentage. As an example, his save percentage last night was .939. I hate to dissagree but goaltending is not our problem.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    So… let me get this straight. The Coaches have seen enough giveaways so they're putting Gilbert with Strudwick and Grebs with Chorney? Ummm LoL?

    Also am I the only one that thinks that this team looks exactly like the garbage team we saw last year. Same crappy faceoff percentages, same turn overs, same inability to penetrate the opposition blue line, same abysmal special teams, same slow starts and same excuses after the games.

    I understand that the team can't win all their games but there is a good way to lose and a bad way to lose. When the Oilers lose they look like they don't even belong in the same league as their opposition.

  • The current Oilers slide didn't start until the flu started to run through the team. Sure there were defensive problems beginning to arise with Souray and Staios out but the team was playing well……..now all of a sudden they're the worst team in the league? I don't think so.

    No need to blow up the team 12 games in. People need to learn a little patience.

  • Hemmertime

    The only way we pick him up is if we could move Staios because it would be a replacement at 1/2 price for him who is currently healthy. Flip side of that is who would take Staios with Jones avail for nothing and cheaper? Unless it was a higher up team (11) I couldnt see it.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      That is the question.

      Jones is 8 years younger, a little bit bigger and has better offensive #'s over the last couple of years.

      I don't know, maybe Staiosis worse then Jones? For the little bit I've seen of him though, he seems to me to be better… but even if he's just his equal, getting the younger, bigger, cheaper guy would be benificial.

  • Hemmertime

    I dont even think he is better short term. But I dont like Staios being at 2.7 for 2 more years. Jones is only signed till the end of this year so even if doesnt live up to par hes gone and we have Staios 2.7 mil to help shovel on to the Cogliano/Gagner pile. Hell, if Comrie has a decent season this would allow us to pay him. Also, the extra 1.35 mil would help a up against the cap team like the Oil have the flexibility to make a trade, even more so later in the season. Smid looks ready to take over Staios minutes and frankly the last few seasons Staios vs Strudwick does not justify 2 million more cap space. This would give us a 6/7 D man in Jones who can fight for the spot and wiggle room. Jones is worse than Staios but not majorly.

    • Jason Gregor

      You are correct that as a #5 Staios' salary doesn't fit at $2.7, but unless you are suggesting they waive him to minors then how do they get rid of him. I don't see many teams lining up to take him now. I think next season, he is a guy that teams might think about because it is last year of his contract.

      And if they send Staios down and then he gets claimed on re-entry waivers the Oilers pay half and they are paying same money this year, but have Jones instead of Staios, which in my mind is a down grade.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      if all you want to do is save money, why not just dump staios and go with peckham?

      getting s*it on sale doesnt change the fact you are still getting s*it

  • Hemmertime

    Agreed. Thats why I dont see us getting Jones, because Katz has to be willing to eat 2.7 million in the minors to free up 1.35 on the big squad… for a player who is likely worse. You would be gambling 1.35 million dollars of your money on the fact that Staios would be claimed. I wouldn't call him up if he got sent down until the off-season so we'd have him for next year. It would be downgrading our D for the season, but that all depends on how badly we want cap room for a deal and how long Staios/Souray will be out. With Souray on LTIR we can pack in Pisani and 1.35 from Jones and try and find a deal that moves Staios or a FW that we could part with and then just dump Strudwick in the minors.

    We wont do it though on the off chance Staios does have to get sent to the minors and not dealt for a pick. Too much $ in the farm and Oiler GMs dont have the stomach for that stuff.

  • Hemmertime

    To be hones I thought Horc was looking alot better the last game out. His work on the pp especially. He's moving his legs more and his play with the puck wasn't on par with captain coughup. He'll find his way.

  • GSC

    "Evaluating a player based on their salary is a fruitless effort in my mind."

    How so?

    The salary cap world demands bang-for-buck, value contracts. An overpayment like Horcoff's puts the clamps on a team that's trying to improve and needs to make moves, like the Oilers.

    Not to mention, he's the highest paid forward on the team and he has all of 2 points. That's not good enough, simple as that. It's time for #10 to turn down the suck, big time.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      And that is typically balanced with under value contracts.

      Their is no one good left to sign, removing Shaun Horcoff and bringing in any of the available centers, no matter how cheap they are makes this team worse.

      It's not about having value contracts, it's about putting the best team together you can for 56.7 million or less.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Gregor

    Very good show last night, but I have one issue with what you and Brownlee kept saying.

    You guys kept saying that we can't grab anyone because of salary in the long term. While that is right, what is wrong with grabbing someone until Staios and Souray return? From what I gather both could and should be on LTIR, so that opens up alot of cash for the time being.

    Does it really hurt to grab someone like Jones if he is better then one of current d-men? And then when we start getting bodies back we waive the player that we picked up on waivers. If the goal is to make the playoffs this year I think we really need to look at guys like Jones and maybe guys like Yelle(not sure Yelle is any good anymore). Just seems that every year we do nothing while we have injuried players and then we wonder why we didn't make the playoffs.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Hmmm, Schremp hasn't played since Oct.22, which means he hasn't played the last 3 games. For his sake I hope he is sick, because otherwise that means that one of the worse teams in the NHL is sitting him.

    • From Chris Botta of islanderspointblank.com

      Oct.27 – With one assist in six games and his recent selection as a healthy scratch, the acquisition of Rob Schremp on waivers has not been a boon for the club. A decision has to be made on him soon.