Oilers vs. Flames Postgame: Slowly Pulling Away From 28th In The NHL

Calgary Flames: 4

Edmonton Oilers: 1

With yet another home ice loss, the Oilers have managed to put a little distance between themselves and 28th in the NHL; they now have a three point cushion on the third-worst team in the NHL. Carolina won tonight too, reducing their firm grip on dead last in the league to seven points. Dare to dream.

Oilers Three Stars, According To Me

1. Ryan Potulny. Scored the Oilers’ only goal, and now has eight on the season. The only forward in Springfield last season who managed to overachieve, Potulny knows a thing or two about playing for a miserable team.

2. Ryan Stone. Another member of the Oilers’ AHL brigade, Stone had a solid game that included a third period fight with Aaron Johnson – one of the few things the Oilers’ won on the night.

T3. Patrick O’Sullivan. Signs of life from O’Sullivan, who was unfairly victimized on his cross-checking penalty. Sure, he would have been smarter not to make the little push he did, but if what Dion Phaneuf did after the "hit" wasn’t a dive, than I’ve never seen one.

T3. Ladislav Smid. The fight with Iginla was frosting on the cake, as Smid finally got a proper bite for his little post-whistle shenanigans. Played a solid if unspectacular game.

Random Thoughts

Despite the lop-sided totals on the shot clock (the Oilers out-shot the Flames 35-23) and the goal clock (as per above) this was a fairly even game territory-wise. The Oilers were far more effective at shot blocking (creditted with 23 to the Flames 11) and were led in that department by Shawn Horcoff and Tom Gilbert (four each) and followed closely by Ethan Moreau (with three).

Speaking of Horcoff, the high hit on Conroy was unnecessary and somewhat reminscient of Moreau snapping on T.J. Oshie a few games back. The constant appeals for "emotion" from the team are interesting, given that emotion can be positive and negative and right now this team reaks of frustration.

The referees made the right call on Glencross’ deflection; the stick seemed pretty clearly over the crossbar.

A comedy of errors led to Calgary’s first goal. Moreau was probably the least to blame; he let the puck past him on the boards and got caught watching as the goal went in. Gagner never caught up to Rene Bourque and didn’t really seem to try. The real culprits though were the defenceman – Staios lost the battle behind the net and Strudwick in particular looked bad on the play, watching the puck and despite being the closest player failing to take either man around him or block the pass out front. Pat Quinn called them both on it after the game. I wonder about Strudwick’s level of rust; on Calgary’s power play goal he was unable to handle Bourque again in front of the net and was really the only guy obviously to blame on that goal.

A rare mistake by Visnovsky led to the Flames’ short-handed goal and the finishing touch of Bourque’s hattrick; the fact that neither Visnovsky nor Gilbert could block the cross-crease pass to Bourque was also a little irritating.

More irritating though was the lack of urgency from Visnovsky on the next power play; he made a soft, soft pass to Penner (who didn’t seem all that fired up either) and cost the team precious seconds; towards the end of the game the power play (which I thought looked quite good on its first attempt) couldn’t seem to clear its own end.

On the Giordano goal, Brule probably deserves a little blame for turning the puck over with two forwards deep, but the real culprit was Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, who can’t let goals in from that angle without any kind of traffic. Ugly goal against and his only really atrocious goal on the night.

Strong first period notwithstanding, it’s getting really hard to watch this sort of garbage. 

  • Hard to watch? JW, I'll have to disagree. I want to carbon copy that game and replay it 42 more times (though maybe with another goal or two)

    Fast paced game with lots of hits, lots of chances and lots of fights… and the icing on the cake is 2 points closer to Taylor Hall.

    The cherry on top of the icing goes to Eric Staal, looks like he's heating up with a 5 point night… hopefully he can continue to dominate for a couple of weeks to put the Oil into 30th where they belong.

    • Intellectually I grasp the desire for a low pick, but I have trouble watching the team lose.

      Give me a full season of this, though and I'll be far closer to being completely impartial, as the fan in me will have been beaten to an unrecognizable pulp.

  • Costanza

    Hey Jonathan what is JDD record with those horrible looking pads? Reminds me of Fleury when he had those yellow things and he was getting lit up. If we want that first pick maybe he should wheer them all the time.

  • Travis Dakin

    I just won money at the casino. I partied (I'm so drunk that I don't know if i spelled that right) with jeanshorts and hoodlum and Librarian Mike. It's been a good god damn night.

    Did the Oilers win? uh…..

  • Gerald R. Ford

    It smells like 1993 in here.

    JW, I agree—my inner fan is curled up in the fetal position, sucking his thumb, thinking of a warm, happy place, a la Jim Carrey in 'Dumb and Dumber', as Sea Bass is trying to kick down the bathroom stall door.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    The first period the Oilers were the victims of bad hockey god bounces. God how many times we gonna hear that line? This team looks like a crazy person trying to catch water with a strainer. The hits and passion are there for bits and pieces during the night. But when it comes down to it there are just too many floaters and not enough go getters. Worst play of the night goes to O'Sulli-Suck when the Oilers were deep in Calgary's end and the puck skipped up in the air and landed two feet in front of him. It didn't lead to a goal but the worst thing was he didn't try to go after it.

    Let them tank the season, give Horcoff the rest of the season to rest his arm. Trade away some of the disinterested veterans and start our journey to Taylor Hall day. And I don't want this team to start winning games and just miss a playoff spot. I want them to suck so badly that they get the best shot at Hall.

  • Travis Dakin

    The lower we go in the standings, the better MacTavish is looking.

    He wasn't as terrible as some have made him out to be but it's becoming clear that the problem is not the coaching, it's the group of hockey people that Daryl Katz has running the club.

    If Mr. Katz was putting as much effort into making the club better as he is in assembling a team to sell the new downtown hockey arena to taxpayers, I wouldn't be reluctant to see tax dollars subsidize it.

    I am praying that we don't go on a twenty game winning streak and end up in lottery pick hell yet again.


  • Haven't seen any mention of it here yet (if there was I apologize), but the Edmonton Oil Kings have added an Oiler prospect.

    The Oil Kings dealt F Clayton Cumiskey to the Everett Silvertips for '09 3rd rounder Cameron Abney.

    Jonathan Willis had
    on Abney this past summer just days after the draft where he had this to say:

    If everything goes right for Cameron Abney (a player not even ranked by Central Scouting), he may some day round out into an NHL pugilist similar to Steve MacIntyre – a part time player who handles policeman duties and not much else. Given that MacIntyre (and others like him) are available via the waiver wire or for a low draft pick every single year, I wonder about drafting a guy like this with a third round pick – especially with higher caliber guys still available.

    This is almost certainly the Oilers’ worst selection, and I wasn’t against their work on the whole, but before I get to praising some picks I thought I’d get the negative stuff out of the way.

    Guy Flaming had
    yesterday, complete with a link to the Oil Kings press release.

  • Glad I wasn't @ the game last night. I was @ the two losses to Calgary @ the beginning of the season. My blood pressure went through the roof on those two occasions; last night I could be more detached. I am finally coming around to hoping for a first or second overall pick, but I still do hate losing to Calgary.

    Good for Laddy and Cogs. Nice to see Iggy get a bit of a bruising. Who is going to take the beating on Thursday when they dress McGratton and we don't have Big Mac?

    McT is looking better??? I don't agree. I think we are missing Huddy. I don't recall our D looking so much like the Keystone Cops when Huddy was coaching them.

    I agree with Barnes' column in the Journal today. Time for some major restructuring of the roster … and, if Khabibulin needs surgery, get on with it and sign someone to share the duties with J.D. Is there any way we can get Patrick Sharp after the season is over?

    Have a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year everyone.

    • I'm not sure I can see the Flames wasting a roster spot on Brian McGrattan Thursday. There is no one for him to fight really. They have enough toughness and willing combatants without him that I just don't see the purpose of dressing him for his 1:28 of ice time.

      I agree the Oil seem to miss Huddy. I was one of many stating that he should've been the only coach retained. Unfortunately, he doesn't work out with Katz.

      I agree its about time they brought in (any) veteran goalie to help carry the load with Deslauriers. Its nice to get him into a bunch of games, but I think they still need a solid journeyman (Leighton, Boucher, Valiquette or someone of that ilk would do) to give him a break. If Dubnyk is just going to sit on the bench, they're wasting another year of development on another goalie. Let the kid play on the farm (although I wonder if he gets one of the next two starts with back-to-backs).

  • Ender

    Oilers all-time record for consecutive losses in a single season: 11, set in 1993.

    Oilers next four games: Toronto, Calgary, San Jose, and Phoenix.

    The last three of those should be locks, so the only one we're in danger of winning is the game tomorrow. If we can manage to make the Leafs look good, Woot! Record books, here we come!

  • JW wrote: 'The Oilers were far more effective at shot blocking (creditted with 23 to the Flames 11) and were led in that department by Shawn Horcoff and Tom Gilbert (four each) and followed closely by Ethan Moreau (with three).'

    and it seems to me that's all they are doing on defense.

    it's like a competition out there: let's just stand still and see who can block more shots.

    what a huge difference between calgary pk (all skating around and being aggressive) and the oilers one (all watching the puck and flames move around and hope for a steal or a block shot)

    do you think this is the 'new system' or just a team that doesn't have the drive to fight back anymore?

  • Milli

    Wow, I'm glad I only watsed an hour and a half on that one. I'm slowly doing it, it's getting easier to quit. I have to thank Katz for all the money he will save me next year, no long drives to Etown, no center ice package, no oilers mini pack. I'm sure he don't care, but I am refusing to spend my money to watch a BAD hockey team anymore.

  • Lubomir Visnovsky was named to
    Slovakia's team
    today. Only two current Slovak NHLers were left off the team – Marek Svatos & Boris Valabik.

    One more note on last night's game…

    … I actually saw Robert Nilsson block a shot live in person. Give the man a raise!

    • Harlie

      I've been impressed with Bobbie's play this season. The way Patio is playing this season is exactly how Bobby played last year. We know that both these guys have the skills, it's just a matter of confidence. .

      • I've been an O'Sullivan supporter & Nilsson basher, but I will say Nilsson has been the better of the two since his return to the lineup. I just don't trust Nilsson. Any time he's played good, the Oil have been str8 up trash, and when they look half decent, he's no where to be found. I see him as the type who'll score 2 goals in a 7-2 loss, or even a 7-2 win for that matter. Where is he in the 3-2 & 2-1 games??

        "Can Not Play With Him, Can Not Win With Him, Can Not Coach With Him, Can't Do It!" would be my take on Soft-as-toffee Bobby.

        • Harlie

          yeah but Soft as Toffee has been finishing his checks this year and has been getting his hands dirty and his passes have been crisp and on the tape – for the most part. Last year he was non committal and he would float in the neutral zone and would button hook and stop each time he reached the offensive zone on a rush. Basically exactly the way Patio is playing this year. I like Patio's hands and he has good foot speed but he may need more 4th line time to get some toughness and urgency back in his game. He is playing like a big WIMP right now. Everything on the outside is Patio lantern stylez.

  • Mouse

    Just a note to all you whiners. If you want Hall the team has to suck. Stop posting about how disappointed you are when they win, and then bash them when they lose.

    Of course they need to clean house, but this isn't the NFL, they won't be able to unload all those contracts. If Tambi can trade 1 or 2 players with contracts that run into next year by the end of the year, he has done a good job.

  • @Milli

    Though I totally agree with your frustration level, most people who make announcements like that are just venting, and they go back for more next season.

    I would love nothing more than to see the stands empty for a while.

    Milli…. cut "length – wise", not across, or it's just a cry for attention 🙂

  • I understand conflicting emotions here.

    I never want to see a loss when I'm watching the game.

    At the same time, it's in the long-term interests of this team to lose a ton of games this season; both for the draft pick and the subsequent dismissal of good chunks of the management team.

    Ideally, I'd hibernate for a year, and come out to see a rebuilt team and a high-end prospect.

  • Chris.

    Taylor Hall this… Taylor Hall that. Finishing in the lottery doesn't guarantee that the Oilers will pick 1st, 2nd, 3rd or even 4th. Finishing last doesn't guarantee that Tambellini won't do something stupid like trade away his first round pick for a so called "big fish". Finishing last doesn't guarantee that Stu the "magnificent bastard" won't go off the map and grab someone stupid with that pick.

    Finishing last only guarantees one thing: difficulty signing/resigning true NHL players. There will be no bargains. There will be no home-town discounts. There will be no value contracts. The Manny Malhotra's of the world who are so willing to play for under $1M in San Jose would require at least twice that to endure the sh!tshow that is the Oilers. One propspect; Taylor Hall or otherwise; is not adequate compensation for the beating this once proud franchise is taking. The NHL offers higher picks to losers… much like the government in Canada has income tax brackets. Peolpe living below the poverty line should not be bragging to their friends about their tax savings… it's pathetic.

    BTW: Brett Connolly, Tyler Seguin, or even the ~great~ Taylor Hall are not even close to the likes of Crosby or Ovechkin. These guys may eventually become impact players, but they are NOT to be considered generational talent. I'm sick of losing.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Finishing last does guarantee the team picks 1/2 (though I guess they could trade it).

      Their will be no hometown discounts here, regardless of where the team finishes. Following game 7 of the SCF we seen one of the biggest exoduses of talent since the 80's, the ones that stuck around held a gun to managements head. Hell, even after the Penguins went to the finals the first time their were players leaving to non-playoff teams for an extra million.

      I believe most feel Hall is similar caliber to Kane/Tavares/Stamkos, that might not be Crosby good… but it's good enough for me.

      • Chris.

        Please note the first sentence. Finishing in the "basement". The following two sentences used the term finishing last. I may have played it too cute. Will edit to read: finishing in the lottery.

        IMO one guy isn't worth this. The only good side effect may be the total dismissal of the entire managemnt team… You know the team including Tambellini that among other things didn't know that Khabibulin had that "hydration issue"… These guys put the Dumb, Uninformed, Edmonton in DUE Dilegence.

      • Chris.

        Discounts aside. There will be no ability to sign real NHL grade players (who really care about winning) at any price; unless these players have absolutely no other options. Picking one man first at the draft table is poor compensation for picking last from every single other available player stream. Nobody wants to play on the last place team. Nobody.

        • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

          Far to sweeping of a generalization. TB/NYI/Thrashers/BJ's/Leafs have all made resonable (for the UFA period) signings the last few years.

          • Chris.

            Edmonton has to overcome both geography and a terrible record.

            Players first choice: winning organization. I believe this. Detroit is a good example.

            Players second choice: nice Eastern Conference location. Preferably warm and with beaches; but ANY Eastern location will do thanks to the easier travel schedule. (like most of your cited examples)

            Third choice: Nice Western Conference locations.

            Fourth choice: Edmonton.

            Fifth choice: Europe. Retirement. Wait.

            You will never convince me that finishing last is a good thing for Edmonton.

          • Chris.

            And you actually think by finishing in 9th or 10th in the west is going to cause the UFA's to flock to Edmonton?

            Of course finishing last is a good thing…if it lands you a possible superstar in the near future….

            My belief is that Hall or Seguin stand a better than even chance of being that…especially Hall

            I don't think the Oil would be that far off having Hall, Eberle, Svensson, Hemsky, Penner, Gagner to build around. A couple of trades and one or two grinder UFA's that play with edge and I think they are back in the game.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I agree the Oilers are basically the last (or at least in the last couple) of desireable destinations for players, I just don't see a winning record changing that.

            Det is a good example, sure they've got a few players that take a little less to play their, but they also pay a pretty penny for a bunch of guys.

            Some individual players will take small pay cuts to play in certain places (Edmonton might even luck out and be "that place" for some guy, some year). But this idea that a consistant parade of players will flock to certain cities at far less then what they will make elsewhere is a myth.

  • Librarian Mike

    Good read as always JW, Time for Oilers to clean house by Dan Barnes is right on the money.

    I miss Hemsky. Although, if he was in the line up, would the Oilers fair any better?

  • TooCold

    I am thankful that it's an Olympic Year and we have the World Juniors to watch. It hurts my head to watch the Oilers but I need my hockey fix during our long, cold winters…..Go Canada!

  • Slapshot

    Some thoughts as 2009 comes to an end.

    Will the Oilers lower season ticket prices in 2010-2011?

    Will Steve Tamballini hold another press confernce, telling us Oiler fans what the problems are with this team and that changes are coming,only to watch him do nothing.

    Are we going to get a real kick in the balls and finish last in the NHL, only to lose the lotery and the first over all pick and end up picking 5TH over all?

    When will someone in the Oilers organization get some balls and do something,anything?

  • Chris.

    When you sign with a young team that finished a few points out of the playoffs… it is easy to imagine that you can make a difference. You can be sold on the notion that the team is on the rise….

    There is a grand chasm between 20th and 29th. No player wants to waste their prime playing years rebuilding a last place team. No player in their thirties wants to spend their last precious playing years exclusively as a mentor for youth… Furthermore, I don't believe that there is enough good young talent in the organization by which a Taylor Hall can become the catalyst to catapult this franchise back to respectability. Finishing last is a disaster. Period. Hall is not enough compensation for the black eye that is last place. Edmonton cannot recover (for years and years) from being both the league's worst destination in combination with having the league's worst roster… There is no doubt that the rebuild will be on. Just expect it to take several years just to climb back into the mediocre range.

    You guys are fooling yourselves if you think a first overall pick will reverse the negative momentum of this season. How does having Taylor Hall help us get further ahead when Penner refuse to resign? When Gagner signs an RFA sheet to play somewhere else? When Hemsky demands a trade? These are dangerous times for the Oilers. I think it's terrible to cheer for losses; because horrific seasons have consequences that extend beyond just aquiring a good draft pick.

    You and I can glibly talk about high draft picks and watch games in fast forward in PVR… These guys have to live this season… and players talk.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Mark Striet

      Those are all competent players that signed with Lottery teams over the last couple of years.

      It isn't losing keeping players from here/driving them away.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      So what's the answer then? Trade some picks/prospects and try to finish 10th?

      I agree that this isn't the team to take another strike against, but at this point we don't have much choice.

      • Chris.

        Look this team is a lottery team whether or not it sheds vetrans for draft picks or attempts to make a "hockey" trade…

        I'm just saying that this is a a bad thing. It rings hollow to pretend otherwise.

        Sure, the Oilers could use another top six forward. Hall could be that guy. But this team also needs a slew of mature, capable NHlers to fix the PK, win faceoffs, reduce the horrific number of turnovers, and help defend down low… Taylor Hall is NOT going to do all these things. In fact, scoring isn't the principal issue; it's goals against… Finishing last will seriously hinder managements ability to add these elements. You think it was hard to lure people here last season..?.. Just wait till next year.

        I will NOT be celebrating every loss. To do so is both pitiful and stupid.