Bum fights: the Oilers KTFO by the Blues

What we gave up to get here (hat tip to David S)

Relatively speaking, Devan Dubnyk is making progress when it comes to the tricky business of getting the hang of the goaltending game, even if he got lit up like a cheap cigar as the Edmonton Oilers took a 7-2 butt-kicking from the St. Louis Blues Monday.

As sieve-like as Dubnyk was in his first NHL start, fishing those seven pucks out of his net on 26 shots, his Andre Racicot impression pales in comparison to his first game as a goaltender — a 13-1 loss in minor hockey after his dad coughed up all that money for pads. He got past that. He’ll get past this.

Dubnyk wasn’t very good against the Blues, and he didn’t get much help, as the 15th-place Oilers embarrassed themselves good and plenty in a meeting of have-not bottom-feeders in the Western Conference.

That said, let’s not get carried away writing Dubnyk off, as some people no doubt will after a regrettable debut. Doing that, based on one bad night and hideous numbers after just two NHL appearances, is as ridiculous a stance as suggesting before this debacle Dubnyk was somehow a better prospect than Jeff Deslauriers, with no NHL experience as evidence to back it up.

But, yes, it was truly ugly.

Look Ma, no hands

Dubnyk, stuck behind Nikolai Khabibulin and Deslauriers in the Oilers crease pecking order, isn’t nearly as bad as his teammates helped him look against the Blues and their juggernaut power play. That’s obvious. Of course, that isn’t much solace to frustrated Oilers fans, who’ve seen their team win once in their last eight tries at home.

"Devan will remember this game for a long time, I’m sure," coach Pat Quinn said of Dubnyk, who had his parents in the sell-out crowd. "He was kind of left out to hang by his teammates."

Kind of? Counting a relief appearance in a 7-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, Dubnyk has now allowed 10 goals on 50 shots, which will play hell with his saves-percentage and put a dent in his confidence.

After all, it’s not like he’s going to get a lot of chances to redeem himself, even with Khabibulin out. Deslauriers made 14 straight starts before the Blues came calling and he’ll carry the load until Khabibulin gets back.

Dubnyk might get a start against either Toronto Dec. 30 or Calgary the next night. A little more help might be an idea if he does.

Exasperated

You know things are in the sh*thouse when the coach sounds like a beaten man 36 games into the season and the housemen and fart catchers, those charged with finding silver linings in the septic tank, are carving ass.

Quinn was running a quart low on piss and vinegar compared to past games during his post-game availability with reporters last night, leaving most of the zingers to those who are usually sunshine and light.

Props, then, to Dan Tencer of 630 CHED, who didn’t play patty-cake on his post-game show. Milhouse got all revved up and ripped the Oilers good and plenty. Red his cheeks were. Furnace red.

"The most embarrassing loss of the season for the Oilers," began Tencer, just getting started after the Oilers made it four straight losses at Rexall Place. "They were just flat-out embarrassed on this homestand… You cannot lose 7-2 to the St. Louis Blues." Apparently you can, Dan. Apparently you can.

Given all the above, I can only wonder if owner Daryl Katz has seen enough and is taking notes and names — GM Steve Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, for starters. How long will Katz sit silent paying the bills while this franchise spirals into nothingness?

And…

— Captain Ethan Moreau keeps digging himself deeper in the estimation of fans, and his tantrum late in the game, when he tripped and then cross-checked T.J. Oshie to the ice after a clean hit, just adds ammunition to those arguing No. 18 should have the "C" ripped off his chest.

"I don’t like to get hit when it’s 6-2," Moreau said. "I’m not going to allow that to happen."

What, Moreau is frustrated? He didn’t pay 100 bucks to get into the rink and inhale this stink.

— If I’m Tambellini or Lowe, assuming they still have jobs when the Christmas roster freeze is lifted, I’m picking up the phone and calling old pal Scott Howson in Columbus to see if there’s room to make a deal that can shake up both teams. Problem for a problem? Fine. Spare parts for spare parts? OK. Both outfits are dead in the water right now.

— The good news is that after they lose in Minnesota Wednesday, the Oilers play six of their first nine games after the Christmas break at home. The bad news is they’re 8-9-2 at Rexall Place.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

  • Ahhh… just imagine… the Oil could have a top line of Getzlaf-Perry-Penner.

    ~I wonder if they would be any good together~

    *oh, nevermind, the horse is dead; no reason to keep beating it*

    **kicks & punches dead horse four more times**

  • Anyone think Penner-Horcoff-Brule are capable of playing top line minutes in a PvP role… I mean, more so than any other combination they could currently choose from. Or is that asking too much of Brule? Clearly him & Penner have some chemistry, and clearly Penner is their best forward (at this point in time).

    • Dan the Man

      I was thinking the exact same thing after JW wrote about how we didn't really have an option to go up against the other teams top units while protecting a lead.

      We already know that Horcoff is reliable defensively and Penner has proven to be one of the Oilers top defensive forwards. I'd be concerned about Brule though as well but maybe based on the game (are we protecting a lead or attempting a comeback)you could swap out Brule for ……do the Oilers have another forward that is good defensively?

  • Gregors dirty 'stash

    The whole organization is a joke at this point it will take years before anything can get better, I hate to say it people we are the flames of the mid 90's early 2000's

  • Kevin Lowe didn't identify the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim or the amount as $2.5 million, but the Edmonton Oilers GM confirmed yesterday the pay-as-you-go scheme he pitched to Mike Comrie and agent Ritch Winter.

    "I think we're fairly close with a team," Lowe said, not naming the Mighty Ducks. "In our minds, it's not fair market value, so we asked Mike Comrie to top up the deal.

    "This particular deal. Not all deals or any deals, but this particular deal so we could get to a point where we felt we had something that addresses our needs this year and in the future."

    With Anaheim GM Bryan Murray and Lowe closing in on a trade sending Comrie to the Ducks for top prospect Corey Perry and a first-round draft pick, Lowe gave Winter approval to work out a contract for Comrie with the team involved – with a stipulation the parties would talk before the deal was finalized. Winter says he did that, negotiating a new contract with Murray, before Lowe asked for the payment as a condition of completing the trade.

    So… it wasn't fair market value? Corey Perry (a top prospect) AND a 1st round pick (that turned out to be Ladislav Smid if I'm not mistaken) for Mike Comrie was not enough. "We need 2.5 mil".

    As the almighty Minister Towel Boy likes to say… "Yea, that should do it".

    ~At least Jeff Woywitka worked out~

    And the 1st round pick from Philli? Rob Schremp?

    Karma's a b!tch, Kevin.

  • Shaun Doe

    I heard a pretty interesting take on the Phoenix turn around that I thought could have applied to the Oilers a couple years back. Bob Mckenzie said that when Tippet took over as head coach he told management that he didn't want so many kids on the team. So he had them ship all those rookies and sophmores that didn't need to clear waivers back to the AHL etc. With the extra roster spots they GM picked up stable veterans to round out the roster. I can't remember if it was Tippet, Mckenzie or someone else who explained that the NHL is not where young players go to learn to play in the pro's. So it shouldn't be used as a training grounds. Rather, young players should become seasoned in the AHL and come to the NHL when they are ready since they are often not ready to face a full NHL season as evident by the collapse the Coyotes faced in the second half of last season. Just thought that was some food for thought.

    • If by "food for thought" you mean "that's how its supposed to be done", I would agree with you 110%. Our team is running in so many newbies its plain ridiculous. And you know what? Its such a bad strategy that I have to believe they're doing it on purpose for some reason beyond our knowledge.

      After last night, I'm really starting to wonder if the plan is to position the team as being crappy because they don't play in a spanky new hi-tech arena. Another seemingly strange occurance is that anybody can see the ice is garbage night after night. I have to believe that its not rocket science to fix it up, so there's got to be a reason they don't.

      Its not like this team got bad overnight. Its been heading this way for a while. Not having Khabby is only the straw that broke the camel's back. That literally nothing has been done despite the fact casual fans have seen this coming (not to mention the countless articles by guys who actually have the inside track like Brownlee) absolutely slays me. Either our management is really, really dumb or something else is going on here.

  • highexplosive

    Horcoff = Crap
    Moreau = Lousy Captain & Washed Up
    Staios = Washed Up
    Pisani = See above
    Poliuot = Thank god MacT still isnt here.

    Minus these 5 from the roster….maybe then the team can rebuild. The top three listed havent done much the last few years and we dont need a Buchburger style captain anymore.

  • Cleetis

    Hey Brownlee,

    In Barnes' articcle yesterday he had this paragraph about about hiding big contracts in the minors:

    "They were so completely awful and outclassed by the end of it that if general manager Steve Tambellini really had the green light from owner Daryl Katz to stash big, fat contracts in the minors — as we were led to believe — the punitive airlift should start as soon as the roster freeze is lifted."

    Was there recent indication that Katz has said to Tambellini he can start waiveing some of the big tickets?

  • rindog

    I don't think we wwere debating how many penalities Souray takes. I think we were discussing how many times Copperhead said (15-20) that Souray punches a guy in the face at the blueline.

    I believe that Souray has to play on the edge to be effective. If you are going to be on the edge – you are going to take penalties.

    • Hemmertime

      Do not forget management neutered Souray, telling him he cannot fight since his injury. Souray has a lil too much honor to be extremely rough when he cant back himself up.

  • " So either stop commenting on your articles to prove that you're only in it for the $7.65 per article or do not insult our intelligence."

    Thats all you guys make? I would have thought it would be more.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    "What, Moreau is frustrated? He didn't pay 100 bucks to get into the rink and inhale this stink."

    Yeah I paid 1000$ for 2 seats in a 3 pack and they went from good to worse. Montreal, NYR and now this crap show against STL. No more tickets being bought by my hard earned cash. After the Montreal game I was dead set on getting some more tickets this season but not anymore. No more 1000$ going into Katz' pocket. I feel sick that I paid 1000$ for one good game. I remember my dad taking me to games in the Doug Weight era and paying like 60$ and feeling like he was breaking the bank to see a bad team give it all they had.

    Merry Xmas by the way everyone.