GDB XXXVI: Blues on the Winter Solstice

I wonder what Steve Tambellini would like for Christmas… Wins? Consistency? A healthy team? Another forward in double digits in goals?

The big question for Tambellini is will he want wins, or sacrifice that and take player development at this point; because right now it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to have both this season.

The Oilers find themselves 15th in the west this morning, seven points out of the playoffs. It’s stunning how quickly things can change in Oilerville in the span of a week. After five straight road wins the Oilers were back in the playoff hunt, three points out with a four-game home stand on the horizon, but three consecutive losses have them closer to Taylor Hall than Lord Stanley.

They lost to LA, Nashville and Washington — all top-seven teams. So it’s not like they’re losing to dogs, but it also shows that this team isn’t ready for prime time.

The biggest challenge that Tambellini, Quinn and company face is trying to separate which of these young players will continue to develop and which ones don’t have the ability to elevate their game to the next level.

The players in the dressing room still feel they can win and get to the playoffs, so don’t expect them to roll over and play dead. But from my stand point, this team is a few players away from being a contender. I don’t expect the team to lose on purpose, because players aren’t wired that way, but within a month the landscape should be very clear in what direction Tambellini should go.

Do you remember the first time?

Quinn has elected to give Devan Dubnyk his first NHL start tonight. According to Quinn, he had this game penciled in as a Dubnyk’s a few weeks ago, but didn’t tell him until this morning.

Dubnyk was obviously excited, but he joked about the pressure of the first NHL start compared to his first NHL game when he came off the bench in Vancouver.

"You always have time to be nervous. The difference about today is that I have all day to think about it, rather than getting nervous when I put on my mask in Vancouver. Trust me; the nerves will be there either way."

Dubnyk won’t be the only change tonight. JF Jacques has recovered from the flu and is ready to go and Quinn wants to play him, but he liked Jason Strudwick’s game on Saturday and hinted that 43 might not be the guy coming out.

He likes the intangibles that Strudwick brings. He talked about his mental toughness, his strength and you got the feeling that Quinn wants guys he knows will compete every play regardless of their ability.

Line shuffle

 Quinn also juggled his lines this morning, which shouldn’t surprise anyone considering they’ve lost three in a row.

Penner — Horcoff — Nilsson
Cogliano — Gagner — Stone
Moreau — Potulny — Brule
Jacques — Stortini — O’Sullivan

This is how they looked at practice, but they could change depending on who Quinn sits out tonight.

Considering the players still feel they can make the playoffs, tonight is a must-win. The Blues are one point ahead of the Oilers, but the Oilers have owned them, winning eight straight.

The Blues don’t have a player with more than 22 points (Brad Boyes), but they have eight players with 18 or more points.

David Backes is hot all of a sudden, with five goals and seven points in his last five games. He had four goals in the first 29 games. The Blues spread out their scoring and David Perron and TJ Oshie each have 18 points playing on the third line.

  • Dan the Man

    I didn't have a huge issue with Moreau going after Oshie. It was a clean hit by Oshie but it was already 6-2, no one likes to be kicked when they're down. Game was already over, the extra PP goal meant nothing.

  • Oilman

    Dan, answer me some questions, You keeo saying rebuild through the draft. Have the Oilers been the youngest, or top 5 youngest in the league for the past 5 years? Isn't that rebuild mode? So we were rebuilt wrong. Are the Oilers waiting for Eberle? With Horcoffs contract, we can't rebuild for 4 years. His contract is not the only one. A cap team, last place in its conference. Just fustrating. Now "Fred Flintstone" is making up excuses with Hemsky out. Hemsky is no super star either.

  • Jodes

    "Wow Moreau, seriously? Going after Oshie like that? You just made a complete a$$ of yourself! This team (right from the leadership) is just awful. How does Moreau get ice time with this club. Maybe start with stripping the "C" of his jersey, and do the "Ballsy" thing and demote a veteran to the minors thru waivers. How come Quinn does not ever specifically call out Moreau but rather call out the "Veterans" in general. He seems to have no problems with calling out Nilsson or POS. Moreau costs us more in his selfish/stupid play than Nilsson/POS ever have. Time to make a move, dump this load of garbage they call a team. They are in 15th place in the west and are losing to the team in 14th 7-2!"

    Funny how people are calling Moreau out, yet no one mentions Souray who basically did the same thing… only when the game was on the line. And seemed generally more interested in Winchester then the win the whole night.

    • Eric Johnson

      Moreau's antics at the end of the game put the "ass" in "classless".

      Souray and Winchester had a thing going on since the last game in St; Louis and Winchester fights.

      Darryl Sydor? Really Moreau? Why not sucker punch Paul Kariya while you're at it. He's a joke of a Captain and a goat of a player. Put him in the pressbox or nail him to the bench. He's useless.

  • Shaun Doe

    Again I ask, are we going to see this team turn it around before we lose any of the players that have some actual talent value left in them? Hemsky, Gagner, Visnovsky and possibly Penner (yet to be determined) could all be gone before we really start to see a turn around in team structure. Perhaps that is for the best as we haven't been able to accomplish anything with this current crop outside of 1 cup appearance. But with the way free agents tend to shy away it seems likely that our best chance to win is with some of the pieces we already have under contract. Its true, however, that if we draft well and produce our own core of talent that those players raised in this system might show loyalty to the team that drafted them as others have shown in the past. Can we wait that long though, and will the blueprint ever be constructed?

  • Jodes

    As it says on my other sig on the OMB..

    "Rexall Place Playoffs Free Since 2007"

    Speaking of flushing..

    Ladies and Gentlemen.. Welcome to Toilet Country, Home of your Edmonton Coilers!

    Man did they ever drop a quadruple coiler on the ice tonight..

    I'm glad my dad isn't around to see this farce.

  • Puritania

    Yeah I guess he should have not given a sh*t and wandered around aimlessly. At least one Oiler got pissed at getting shelled. If we are going to lose constantly at least play with some piss and vinegar. (Did I miss something here? some of you people act like he stomped on his neck and shat in the gaping wound.)

  • Puritania

    "Moreau's antics at the end of the game put the "ass" in "classless".

    Souray and Winchester had a thing going on since the last game in St; Louis and Winchester fights.

    Darryl Sydor? Really Moreau? Why not sucker punch Paul Kariya while you're at it. He's a joke of a Captain and a goat of a player. Put him in the pressbox or nail him to the bench. He's useless."

    Big deal, the guy showed some aggression on a soft team. I'm glad to see someone stand up for himself.

  • PattQuinn'sChesthair

    PS:

    Willis please post a post game already to relight the righteous anger of the Nation faithful. Confirm for us with some clever stat that the Oilers are very low on "Give a sh1t" and chock full of "Don't give a fcuk"

  • PattQuinn'sChesthair

    I would kill to have a job where even if I sucked at it and did not seem to care, that I would still get gazillions of $$$. I wonder what guys like Horc/POS think when they open their pay stubs. Do they feel guilt? Do they think that Katz and the management are suckers? I fell the most for Pat Quinn. He can hardly muster up enough thought to put on a post game breakdown. I would be drinking myself to sleep with a bottle of Chiante every night if I was him. Katz must be thinking that this is a worst investment than the Bre-Ex scandle of the late 90's!

  • You know, if the Oil had scored 6 more goals, everyone here would be happy. That's just how fickle you all are. I mean, that was very nearly a 7-3 game. A couple of bounces here and there, could have been a TOTALLY different story. Maybe even 6-3.

  • Sammy D

    HA HA HA HA HAAAAA This is toooooo funny

    signed,

    Drunk oiler fan who doesn't really know what to make of said season

    p.s. thanks to spell check for making this happen

  • Well, I guess the silver lining in this whole thing is that Dubynk's NHL career can only go up from here!

    And, I didn't have to sit through this crapfest.

    AND I didn't die in a fiery plane crash.

    Win, win, win.

    On a more serious note, how hot is this new chick on Sportscenter!

  • Puritania

    Too bad nobody here is looking at the big picture.

    You guys are being too hard on Darryl. He can't do it all. Right now Mr. Katz is concentrating his energies on building a media savvy group to get the public behind funding of his new Rexall Palace.

    Once we become a "destination" because of our downtown facilities, hockey superstars will be begging to play here.

    All is well. Be patient. You might be too old to see the television screen clearly by the time this transpires but trust me, it will be worth it.

    -30-

  • Puritania

    Too bad the NHL has a trade freeze over the Christmas break because the only way the Oilers turn this around is if Tambelline throws a Christmas party and gets all the other GMs completely hammered.

    ~Oh ya, Tom Gilbert would look great on your team ….~

  • The best word to describe how I feel the morning after attending a game is "depressed". Sure, some of that emotion is from the after effects of consuming too many heroin beers; but the remorse I feel for spending 60 bucks on cab fare, $107 on the ticket and the 6 "8 dollar beers" I consumed (not including tip)…how can I justify this?
    Once again, my friends and I sat in the concourse area and watched the begining of the 3rd, finished up our drinks, then beat the rush for a cab…what's even sadder is that with 10 min left in the game, we still had to deal with a steady exodus of loyal fans.

    I for one am not far from just passing up on games all together and that's tough for me to say…

    • Jodes

      Thorn, I hear yeah, but I'm one step ahead of you allready. After I calculated that I'm spending nearly $300 a game (and that NOT on booze lol) that I simply can't afford it.

      I'll let someone else go out and enjoy themselves (or put themselves deeper into depression) I simply can't afford to drop 1500-2000 a season on this team anymore.

  • Jodes

    When you drive 4 franchises into the basement of their leagues (if Oil Kings continue to slide ) then it's obvious to all upper management is inadequate and needs expediant replacement. The teams are a mirror image of those that built those clubs -losers !! The more they tinker the worse things get – replace upper management first and then maybe we will finally be headed in a better direction , and start getting a new direction and philosophy . Until we change upper management we are not going to see positive effective change.