The Oilers woke up this morning in 14th place in the West, one point ahead of the Wild with a five-game road trip on the horizon. As frustrated as this organization and their fans must be today, it could always be worse: you could be a Rider fan or player.
For the past few weeks fans have been demanding the Oilers tank it and position themselves for a lottery pick. News flash people: They are in 27th spot today, Ales Hemsky is done for the season, Nikolai Khabibulin still isn’t practicing and their top-two centres didn’t skate today.
If you wanted the Oilers to get a top-five pick, then be prepared for a long 55 games. But don’t expect them to trade away all of their veterans for prospects or picks. Steve Tambellini will make a move or two as the trade deadline nears if they’re out of it, but don’t expect him to completely gut this team. I’m guessing they will try to mirror more of a Carolina rebuild, compared to the lengthy rebuilds of teams like Chicago and Pittsburgh.
Right now this team is bringing a water gun to a gun fight. Their goaltenders have combined for 15 NHL starts, they have one forward who has scored more than 25 goals in a season, and only Carolina and Columbus have given up more goals so far.
Sam Gagner and Shawn Horcoff didn’t skate, while Robert Nilsson and Ryan Stone were on the ice, and Stone took part in every drill. Both have been cleared to play and should be in the lineup on Thursday. Horcoff is resting his shoulder, while Gagner had a non-hockey related meeting that he couldn’t get out of. Both will be ready for Thursday.
Khabibulin isn’t close to returning so the JDD and DD tandem will start the trip. Mike Comrie and Denis Grebeshkov aren’t even in the conversation as far as returning.
The Oilers had a fast-paced practice, filled with lots of line rushes, a big hit from Dean Arsene on J.F. Jacques and it ended with some four-on-four time. The problem was in the entire four-on-four scrimmage there was only one goal; a top-shelf slapper by Ethan Moreau on Devan Dubnyk. Then they practiced their shoot-outs. Andrew Cogliano and Lubomir Visnovsky were the best scoring three straight.
I suggest we here at OilersNation try to maintain a level head the remainder of the season. Please don’t waste anyone’s time by posting or linking to ridiculous trade rumours. I know you all want Shawn Horcoff traded, but it won’t happen this season, and it probably won’t happen for a few more years.
If you read that Eric Staal is coming here, make sure you count to 50 and ask yourself, “Will I look like a complete fool if I even mention this?” If you reach 50 and still are tempted to bring it up, then be prepared to be mocked. Staal is not being traded.
I am all for suggesting fair or realistic trades, or scenarios that you would like to see the Oilers take. The next few months might be painful for the Oilers and their fans, but let’s not make it anymore painful by being subjected to asinine and ridiculous rumours.
Speaking of rumours, I got a text from Wanye today. He is alive, but rattled by Hemsky’s injury, stunned at the Riders gag job and frustrated because they have no BLs in his travels. No truth to the rumour that he was in jail. He got a slap on the wrist and ten lashes on his ass, but no criminal record.