Pardon me while I slip on my copper and blue PJs, but the Edmonton Oilers have two more points in the standings than I thought they’d get through the first two games of their road trip, even with their 4-3 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators.
I was thinking in terms of a 1-3-1 record going out, but their 5-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche to open the trip has them in reasonable shape going into Buffalo, Atlanta and Columbus.
Even two more points in one of those three stops makes it at worst a .500 trip. While that’s nothing to write home about, it’s reasonable given that Pat Quinn had to dress a handful of AHLers against the Senators because of injuries.
While I’m not liking the Oilers chances in Buffalo Wednesday or Columbus on Monday to end the swing — then again, I was totally out to lunch about their prospects in Denver — there’s a deuce waiting in Georgia.
At 8-8-2, the Oilers are doing a pretty decent job treading water when you consider they’ve been without Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky for awhile and Sheldon Souray since the third game of the season.
I was betting the Oilers would have stumbled far worse by now, but they’ve been more resilient than I thought they’d be and they’re not far from getting healthy again.
ON THE TUBE
It’s their product, so the Oilers are free to package and sell it anyway they want, but if they’re going to keeping expecting fans to cough up for pay-per-view, at $16 a pop for the HD version, they need to provide more bang for the buck — not to be confused with telling fans to grab their ankles.
Even if you’re willing to accept the insistence by the team that more PPV dates this season isn’t a cash grab, as Sportsnet play-by-play man Kevin Quinn dutifully explained today on Oilers Lunch with Bob Stauffer — not sure I’m buying it — I’m guessing some fans are feeling stiffed.
What added value are fans getting for their money? Is there any real behind the scenes content? If the Oilers are going to ask for $16 bucks each time out, shouldn’t the content change?
While I can appreciate where he’s coming from, how many times have we seen Sam Gagner point out that bad drivers are a pet peeve of his? At least twice, probably more, in what’s supposed to pass as added content. Giving fans old stuff that’s been in the can for weeks is nothing more than cutting corners
And, please, if Quinn is going to pique my interest during a stoppage in play with, "Now, an update," it should be an update, not another Crystal Leriger spot flogging tickets for the Oil Kings or a repeat spot on moustache growing contests — yes, I know it’s for charity.
That’s not an update, it’s an infomercial. Finding out Souray is ready to play or that Steve Staios slipped in the shower and suffered another concussion, well, that’s what I’m talking about.
— PPV or not, I’ve got to admit former tough guy Louie DeBrusk is growing on me as the colour analyst. Ray Ferraro he’s not, at least not yet, but DeBrusk has a decent eye for the game.
— Please enough of the interviews with coaches on the bench during the game. There’s no insight there. None. It’s an imposition on the coaches in the heat of the battle. The last thing they’re thinking about is providing an answer with any depth to one of Gene Principe’s penetrating questions. It’s like watching somebody interrogate a guy who has to take a crap really bad.
— Again, the lack of real value-added content. Don’t feed fans hamburger with spots that are nothing more than in-house cross-promotion and tell them they’re getting steak. I don’t consider Dan Tencer in his brown suit (again) standing in front of his 630 CHED backdrop talking about the Dany Heatley trade a bargain for the money.
— Horcoff and Hemsky arrived in Ottawa with Ryan O’Marra before the game, so there’s a pretty good chance one or both of them will play on this trip, and sooner rather than later.
If you saw Horcoff toting his own equipment bag into the dressing room on the PPV, you’d have to think he’s close to being ready to go. The question is whether Quinn decides to put them in against Buffalo or give them three more days off before the Atlanta game Sunday.
— While Stauffer has suggested Souray might be eight or nine days away from returning from a concussion, which would take him past the end of the trip, I have a sneaking suspicion he’ll play in Atlanta.
— What is it about Gilbert Brule that Quinn doesn’t like? Brule scored the 3-3 goal on a night he got just 10 shifts for 8:10 in ice time. Ryan Potulny, meanwhile, played 18:17. Lucy, somebody ‘splain.
— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.