Winning games… step by step

One of Wanye’s favourite songs growing up was Step By Step by New Kids on the Block back in the ’80s and early ’90s. He especially loved the opening motorcycle scene, because the NKOTB thought it made them somehow look tougher.

Seriously, Wanye has been bugging Brownlee, Willis, bingofuel and I to come up with some sort of Nation Boy Band/Sports Band concept. At first I thought he only mentioned it because he was on one of his BL benders, but he’ll send me a random email every few weeks to see if I’ve come up with something. Thankfully for all of you I haven’t yet, nor while I anytime soon, even consider that an option. Although it would be awesome to see Brownlee, with cigar in hand tapping his toes, and spinning around to some dance music. But I don’t see it materializing.

While you try to rid yourself of the awful visual of us five in any sort of musical endeavour, let’s focus on the Oilers.

Right now the Oilers seem stuck in the “one step forward-one step backwards” mode. They get Sheldon Souray back, but lose Denis Grebeshkov. Shawn Horcoff returns and now Fernando Pisani is out because his colitis has flared up again. 

Grebeshkov has an MCL tear, and depending on the severity of it, could be lost anywhere from two to six weeks, if not longer. Pisani is harder to evaluate because there really isn’t a time table on how quickly he can recuperate from colitis.

Since his magical playoff run in 2006, Pisani has been plagued by injuries and illness and you wonder if he’ll ever be able to stay healthy. He is one of the true gentlemen in the game, and being a father of three I just hope he gets healthy enough that he can life a normal life, regardless of hockey.

It seems Horcoff suffered a slight shoulder separation and now that the pain has subsided he is ready to go. He was back on a line with Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner at practice this morning, and it looks like Pat Quinn will give this trio another chance to get going.

Sam Gagner skated with Patrick O’Sullivan and Mike Comrie. With injuries to Ryan Stone and J.F Jacques, Quinn has been forced to go away from his original plan to have a physical presence on every line, because right now he doesn’t have enough guys who can play that way.

Andrew Cogliano remained with Ethan Moreau and Zack Stortini, while Robert Nilsson, Gilbert Brule and Ryan Potulny made up the fourth line. The surprise there is that Brule was on the wing.

I don’t understand what Brule has done to deserve being on the wing and on the fourth line. He should at least be playing ahead of Stortini and Moreau, but it seems that Quinn is taking a cautious approach with him.

Liam Reddox did skate with the team, and has a cut on his face and a bruised wrist, but if they need him he will go on Sunday.

JACQUES BACK ON ICE

Jacques will skate for the first time tomorrow since his back flared up. The good news is that the MRI showed no damage from his previous back surgery. Jacques thinks it might be a mix of back spasms and maybe a case of whiplash from the tilt with Andy Sutton.

If you watch the fight, Sutton cross-checked him right before the fight started, and then during the tussle, Jacques really had to extend himself to try and hit the taller Sutton.

If he feels good tomorrow and Sunday, he might be ready to go when Colorado invades Rexall on Wedneday the 18th.

NEWSFLASH: OILERS NEED TO START WINNING 

The Oilers will be at the quarter pole of the season after games in Atlanta and Columbus, and right now they are on the outside of the playoff picture. They currently sit in 11th, but with Nashville, St. Louis and Anaheim all having games in hand, the Oilers could easily find themselves in 13th or worse when they return home.

They need to string together some wins, otherwise they will be in chase mode in December, and considering how many injuries they’ve already had, I don’t know if they will be able to make up ground in January, February and March if they are still banged up.

They have scored 19 goals in their last ten games, but ten of those have come in wins over Detroit and Colorado. They only have ten EV strength goals in their past ten games, and while their PP is good, it doesn’t score at key times often enough.

Sam Gagner doesn’t have a goal in ten games, O’Sullivan has one in his last eleven, Cogliano has one in 13 games, Stortini hasn’t scored in 14 games, while Gilbert and Grebeshkov have combined to score one goal in the past 26 games.

After a quick start, the Oilers’ offence has dried up. The past two games they have finally outshot the opposition, but they only have four goals. They still don’t have enough guys who will go to the tough areas often enough. They aren’t skilled enough to score from the outside, and if Quinn can’t convince them to get their noses dirty on a nightly basis they will find themselves battling for last place rather than the past playoff spot rather quickly.

They get a rare advantage on the road when they play Atlanta on Sunday. The Thrashers played last night in New York, and host the LA Kings tonight. That means they will play three games in three and a half days, so the Oilers should get a weary opponent Sunday afternoon.

That is a game they need to win, to get some confidence, ensure a .500 road trip and to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. I don’t think this team is deep enough to make up ground in Jan, Feb or March.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    They get a rare advantage on the road when they play Atlanta on Sunday. The Thrashers played last night in New York, and host the LA Kings tonight. That means they will play three games in three and a half days, so the Oilers should get a weary opponent Sunday afternoon.

    Nothing like paying $16 to watch a tired team play an injured/ill team on a Sunday afternoon. Should be one hell of an exciting match-up.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Brule needs to be playing center come Sunday. He is slowly taking more faceoffs and is at 51.8%, why play him on the wing?

    If Pisani is out for a month or two I won't be suprised to see him call it quits and get some sort of job with the organization.

    Also good interview with Ferguson yesterday, like hearing that guys like him that busted their buns just to make the NHL are still involved in the game.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    oh was horcoff out?? i was just reading the scoring summaries and figured he was still playing!!! but yes it's all those little things he does to help this team out !!!!!

  • Bob Loblaw

    I needed a laugh and that photo and video did it…although I only could watch 30 seconds of it.

    Great to hear Souray is back. Gregor don't you think he can make an impact that can get this team turned around. And when do we play the Flames next? I'd love to see if anything goes down with him and Iginla.

    • Jason Gregor

      Souray could make an impact, because at least he will shoot the puck. He is good, but it's not like he is a game-changer every game.

      If he and Horcoff both can play up to their capabilities this team will be better, but that is a big if.

      And the Oilers play the Flames on Dec 28th and then again on the 31st of Dec.

  • I am just speechless after seeing that picture and forgot what I was going to say – does it have a sister?
    Maybe if you threatened the oilers with a date with that if they don't play hard & fast they may just get the job done!
    oh yeah great news about Souray and man that sucks for Pisani, poor guy and not good for grebs – man I thought we had enough bad voodoo injury luck the past couple of years to last a decade – guess not -when will it end?
    but really does it have a sister?

  • Dan the Man

    Glad to hear jaques should be back soon however it's kind of scary that a guy who needs to play a physical game to stay in this league has a back as fragile as his seems to be.

  • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

    line combos and line changes are killing this team.

    WTF is cogliano stil doing with moreau aand stortini ?

    another thing thats been killing this team for a while, Kevin Lowe's Pride.

    different coaches, same lines. hmm ?????????
    when is tambs going to do something to change the outlook of this team ? not anytime soon, well not until k lowe makes a deal and lets him announce it.

  • Librarian Mike

    "while their PP is good, it doesn’t score at key times often enough"

    Key thing. Down by 1 with 6 minutes left, 5min powerplay and you get one shot? (correct me if 1 shot wrong – thought they mentioned this post game). There is simply no excuse for this to happen, none, IMO.

  • Dyckster

    This team was projected to struggle to make the playoffs BEFORE all the injuries/illnesses struck without warning or provication. Can we seriously expect the team we've been icing the last 10 games or so to exceed those expectations?

    I'll continue to be an optimisitic Oiler lover, but at some point in time optimism needs to become realism. If we can struggle through the next few games and win as many as we lose, I for one still hold out hope that we'll be watching the Oil play well into April.

  • I don't know what Gregor is angling for, or trying to trick me into preemptively supporting – but I can assure everyone I have no idea what he is talking about. Boy band indeed. The only Boy Band I have ever followed is the Hot Boyz and believe me JG is no BG.

      • Librarian Mike

        My mama taught me to type, remember her? She passed away many moons ago due to liver complications and alcohol but not before she'd tuck me in every night and curse that drunken encounter long ago when she met a promising internet mogul smelling of BL and whispering sweet nothings in her ear… i was born hungover thanks to your seed and i am still hungover to this day… my liver curses you papa!

    • BarryS

      Well, Atlanta won 7-0 tonight so will likely have sore arm muscles. So much for any fantasy points from L.A. As they played at home they won't even have jet lag.

      Good thing, i think, the Oilers have three days rest. Bad thing it gives them more time to get sick or injured.

      Maybe the Atlanta players will all be having home troubles of one sort or another, you know teething kids, nagging girlfriends, nagging wives, broken plumbing, etc.

  • Slapshot

    I hope that Pisani can recover from this latest set back,he is a class act.It has really been a rough road for him after the 06 play offs,If he does not recover from this in a short period of time he may have to retire.

  • Skidplate

    Number: 29 Pos.: D Shoots: L

    Height: 6-2 Weight: 210 Birthdate: 1980-07-20 Birthplace: Abbotsford, BC,

    2009-10 Season: Named team captain on 10-2-03. Collected one assist on 10-3-09 against Portland.

    2008-09 Season: Won his second Calder Cup Championship with Hershey.

    Career Notes: Dean spent the previous six seasons with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, helping lead the Bears to Calder Cup Championships in 2005-06 and 2008-09. In 267 career games with Hershey, he totaled seven goals and 36 assists for 43 points and 674 penalty minutes.DRAFTED: Not drafted.

    ACQUIRED: Signed as a free agent by the Edmonton Oilers on July 14, 2009.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      I saw Arsene play with Hershey in the couple games they played here in the 'Peg in the finals last year. He definitely won't make an impact offensively, but it'll be nice to have someone that can make a smart move to clear the zone.

    • Skidplate

      I got the first bit of info from the AHL website, but the Oiler website is stating he is from Murrayville. Hope thats close enough to still make it interesting.

    • Librarian Mike

      *removes Peckham as my star*

      I really thought he was going to break through this year and become a fan favorite. I guess there's still lots of season left, but I wonder if he'll get another shot.

  • Bar Qu

    Soooo, halfway through a saturday and nothing new up on this site? This is becoming less and less somewhere to look for news and information. Lots of pointless bravado and macho nonsense (ie pictures of girls) but not so much on what is happening right now.

  • Bar Qu

    I posted to express my irritation that what has been a great place to read about the latest information about the Oilers has slowly been lapsing in its coverage. That on a saturday (generally the busiest day in the league) there is nothing new from the stable of writers here.

    That I call you touchy is 'cause you are taking offense on behalf of the ON crew for a simple criticism. If I can't express that, then this is simply a fan-boy site and not the place I have enjoyed visiting for the last year and a bit.

    I think that fits the definition of touchy.

    • Eric Johnson

      Dude the Oilers have 3 days in between games. How much more info can you get? More injury updates stating nothing has changed? "Souray is questionable for sunday? Horcoff is skating, Pisani is down again"

      You want non Oilers news go to TSN.

      You're acting like you pay for this site or something.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      what is the definition of a whining douchebag who PAYS NOTHING for something, yet has expectations that needs to be filled?

      hint: look in the mirror

    • Telling you to piss off has nothing to do with taking offense or being touchy. I can't be touchy about something that has zero importance to me, like your opinion about anything.

      It's as simple as this: You felt the need to tell us all about how worthless the site is. I responded by telling you to go elsewhere.

      What part of that indicates any offense or hurt feelings? It's indicative of a preference that you leave if you don't like it. Nothing more.

      If you think you wasted your time being here then don't come here. Trust me, nobody will be offended.

      On another note: Why is it always the most sensitive who constantly think they have offended people?

  • @Bar Qu
    This site is OilersNation, and despite it being a busy day for the league, the OILERS have the day off.

    I don't have anything to back this up, but I would guess that most of the readership here don't have an issue with looking at a picture of a woman once a week either.

  • Librarian Mike

    So, here's a poll for everyone:

    The Flames and Leafs are playing tonight. Who are you cheering for?

    A. The Flames

    B. The Leafs

    C. The meteor hurtling towards the ACC

    (I choose C)

  • Milli

    I woulda said the laughs till I read C….now I go with C. Although, I have never liked ron wilson, but when he asked Kane if he needed some spare change the other night, I laughed my @ss off.