GDB XXXI: Striking the Lightning

Tonight the Oilers will try to do something they haven’t done since November of 1988; win four straight games on the road in the same trip. That year they beat Pittsburgh 7-3 on Nov 8th, won 3-2 in OT the next night in New Jersey, crushed Toronto 6-2 on Nov 12th and then squeaked by Buffalo 5-4 in OT on the 13th.

So far the Oilers have won two games in a shootout, which is similar to the four consecutive road wins 21 years ago. In November of 2002 the Oilers won four straight road games, but they were mixed in between home games.

In their 30-year history, the Oilers have only had five seasons where they didn’t register at least one four-game winning streak. 1981 they had two three-game winning streaks, in 1994 they had won three straight three times, in the lockout season of 1995 they won three consecutive games twice, in 1996 they did it three times and the last time they didn’t register at least four straight wins was in 2000.

The Oilers have fared well at St. Pete Times Forum going 6-4-2. Ironically enough they lost the first two games they played there back in 1993, and they lost their last two trips into Tampa. Up until their loss in 2002 they went nine years without losing in Tampa.

Lightning strikes

Tonight the Bolts should be fired up. Rick Tocchet benched his top two lines in Washington two nights ago, and yesterday they had a spirited practice that involved lots of contact and some intense special teams play. Tocchet ripped his team’s effort in the loss to Washington, specifically his top guys, so expect Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone, Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis to be amped up tonight.

Stamkos scored 17 goals in the first 24 games, but he hasn’t scored in his last five. After a slow start, Lecavalier has 14 points in his last 15 games, but he only has six goals on 102 shots. He has a woeful 5.8 SH%, while St. Louis is worse at 5.4% with five goals on 92 shots. Both players will eventually break out and the Oilers are hoping it isn’t tonight.

Striking Oil

Dustin Penner continues to produce, but no one is hotter than Lubomir Visnovsky. Visnovsky has eleven points in his last ten games, and he is on pace for his first 20-goal season. His seven goals have him tied for second amongst defenceman, but he has scored those on only 39 shots. Visnovsky has a great shot and he needs to start using it more.

For the second straight game the Oilers have the advantage on special teams, at least statistically. The Oilers are 11th on the PP and 23rd on the PK. The Lightning despite their top-end forwards are only 19th on the PP and their PK is brutal sitting 28th.

The Oilers should be able to cash in on the PP tonight because the Lighting has been shorthanded 125 times, 8th most in the NHL. The Oilers have only had to kill off 104 attempts, 7th fewest in the league. If the Oilers use their speed, the Lightning will take a lot of penalties.

Injury update

Fernando Pisani took a light skate on Monday and is feeling better. He is still at least a month away, but he’s shooting for a mid to late January return. This was the first time in three years that he has felt run down, so he doesn’t expect this to be a re-occurring problem.

Marc Pouliot has been skating for a few weeks and is about ten days away. You have to think that he will get a brief conditioning stint in Sprinfield before joining the Oilers. The Falcons play three straight next weekend, and I’ll bet if Pouliot is cleared he will suit up for all three from the 18th-20th.

The Pint

If you don’t want to watch the game on your computer the Pint has the TV feed and will be showing it tonight. They are at 10125 109th street and it is wing Wednesday as well.

  • misfit

    Glad to hear there's at least a timetable for Pouliot and Pisani. Despite the general view of most Oiler fans, I think we're a better team with these guys in the lineup than without. Of course, there's no denying Pisani hasn't been as effective since he was diagnosed with colitis a few years back, and Pouliot always seems to take forever to get going, so how much better remains to be seen.

  • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

    The bright side is I don't have to listen to the Dynamic Duo of Quinn and Lebrusk. I might actually stay awake for a full game this time….

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Game Day Prediction: I agree with Dakin. We are screwed. We have a number of things going against us 1) we are on a winning streak 2) The bolts got TOLD last game. 6-2 Tampa Bay. Sigh, our goals coming from Horcoff and Brule.

    Obvious Game Day Prediction: The internet feed will crash before the puck is even dropped. The Oilers organization will be forced to contact Citizen Alpha to learn how to handle such a flood of viewers.

    Not So Obvious Game Day Prediction: Following Detroit's lead with the octopus, the fan in Tampa will start to throw chunks of deliciously endangered manatee (sea cow) on the ice after each goal. He will get escorted out of the building.

  • Travis Dakin

    Nice…. Players looking to break out of a slump? The Oilers are the cure for what ails them. Wasn't it the bolts that stopped the Oilers nine game win streak back in 01?

    Yup this has all the makings of a guaranteed success.

    Bolts 5- Oilers 3

    • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

      If you're in a slump play the Oilers. Haven't won in 10 games? Play the Oilers. Looking for your first goal of the year, career, or life? Play the Oilers.

      I'm calling Lecavalier and St. Louis to each have 3 point nights….

      And with all this negativity, I am still cheering for the Oilers….it's a very abusive relationship.

  • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

    Why doesnt Fernando just do as a favour and pack it in? Its over. He wasnt much to begin with, so its not like he will develop much after the injuries. Waste of cap space and obligation.

    • Dyckster

      Why don't you do us a favour and grow up.
      Waste of an obligation? You rip him now but back in the Cup run you probably would have blown him if you could.

      Ripping on guys for not performing is one things, to rip on a guy for an illness he has no control over is immature and ignorant.

      Not needed or welcomed at this site.

      Grow up.

      • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

        why dont i grow up ? why dont you grow up ?

        fernando sucks and so do you. i wouldnt have blown him. you two sucks can go blow eachother.

        its not my fault pisani is fragile, dont get mad at me. i have opinions just like you do, and i think you two sucks would make a good couple. very sensitive you are.

          • Isn't that what you're doing? You're saying he's not a great player, and that because of his disease he's a waste of cap space. You said as much here:

            "Why doesnt Fernando just do as a favour and pack it in? Its over. He wasnt much to begin with, so its not like he will develop much after the injuries. Waste of cap space and obligation."

            If you think you're not being a prick by saying he's a waste of obligation, then you're speaking a language I'm not familiar with.

          • Hemmertime

            I kinda agree with Hans. If Pisani cant play 20-30 games this year he should do the right thing and retire giving us our cap. Thank god this is his last year of his deal though. It isnt his fault, but hockey is a business. We could give him a scouting position or something. However, since it is his last year Im fine with him riding it out LTIR then we have most of the space anyway.

          • Jason Gregor

            Why would be retire? Be honest with yourself, you don't just quit. He will try to recover, and the team wouldn't let him retire mid-season just to save some money. He is getting better and feels he will be able to play.

            Hockey is a business, but there is a thing called compassion, and while Pisani was overpaid his last contract, he has been a loyal Oiler and was one of the main guys that gave all of you the biggest thrill in the last 20 years. They wouldn't push him aside when he was sick.

            IT is sad state that some of you are so willing to dump someone. But since it doesn't affect you personally I can see why.

            Ask yourself in this case…would you ask an employee to just quit, or would you stand by them and hope they recover?

          • Hemmertime

            Ya, I hit submit before going for smoke. I edited to finish my train of thought. If he feels he can play sometime this year sure np, hes injured. But if hes unlikely to again, then moving to a spot in the organization since hes a local boy who has done well would be the way to go. That way the money he WOULD have made as a player gets paid to him still plus has experience in an organizational standpoint. Win – Win.

            Im of the mind if he feels strong come the off-season and will sign a realistic conttract (1 mil?) I'd give him a 1 year to prove himself. He will only be 34 and he plays a smart game that's not so physical so probably could play till 37-38. However, that is provided he will play again…

            But It is just one year left on deal.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Because of all his injuries I wonder if he is eligible for one of those contracts that allows players to get bonuses because they are injury prone?

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Ask yourself in this case…would you ask an employee to just quit, or would you stand by them and hope they recover?

            If it was effecting their job they would go on disability and come back when they are healthy.

            As for "IT is sad state", it is a business and guess what in the business world if you can't do your job for medical reasons you are pushed away. You're in an industry where guys get pushed to the side all the time this shouldn't be uncommon for you.

            I feel for the guy, but at the same time he has been compensated quite well and if he can't contribute on a daily basis it is time to move on.

          • Jason Gregor

            IF someone in the media was sick they wouldn't get fired. Like you said the company would stick behind them until they are healthy. I see guys get fired all the time, so it isn't about letting someone go. It is letting them go or asking them to retire when they aren't healthy. And Pisani is on the road to recovery, so the team won't kick him to the curb right now.

            WHere is Pisani now? He is on IR. He is rehabbing.

            The money he has made is not the issue at all. You don't force him out because of an illness. No one does it in real life so why would you expect them to.

            WHen his contract is done, of course he won't get close to the same salary, but if he comes back and is healthy for the final 30 games then the Oilers or another team will sign him this summer.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            My biggest thing with Pisani is there is a lot of "ifs", I probably wouldn't push him out this year, but to me he needs to show he can play more so then some of the younger players.

          • Jason Gregor

            I never said they have to hand him a spot, I just said he was back skating and shooting for mid to late Jan return.

            There is no way they'd ask him to retire this year, nor would he. He is an UFA this summer, and I suggest someone will sign him to a one-year deal.

          • Bucknuck

            With the amount of people we have on Long term leave etc cap space isn't so much of a problem anymoe is it? For instance, does hemsky count against our cap for the rest of the year?

            Even if not, there have been a grand total of three trades in the NHL this season. It's not like Tambo can make any moves even if he had the cap space, so why on earth would you make one of your best defensive players retire.

            There is no point to having Pisani retire even if you are the type of cold hearted businessman that would do such a thing.

          • Hemmertime

            I believe the way it works is Hemsky's contract does not count against the cap, however we need to keep enough money available to bring him back at any time. But the time he is hurt is money towards our cap, like lets say hes hurt 3 months, we would get 3 months of his salary as cap space. Cap space is exponential (right word? meh) too, lets say there is only 25% of the season left, you would only need 2 mil cap space to take on an 8 mil cap hit player.

            So for arguments sake lets say Hemmer is back at game 62 of the season and missed 35 games, we would have 1.75 mil more in cap space (4.1mil/82 x 35). But since there is only 20 games left that cap space could be used to land a 6+ mil player.

          • Jason Gregor

            Not that simple.

            The Oilers are currently at $61 millionish..but with Hemsky and Pisani on LTIR they don't count TECHNICALLY, but it isn't just free money.

            What LTIR does is it allows a team to go over the cap, but if they have 56.8 million on the team, not including Hemsky, then they don't just get to replace his money. His salary is off the books, but since they are so tight to the cap, his total salary will not just be free money to replace.

            IF that makes any sense.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I'm more leaning to him retiring at season ends not this year. Again if he wants to play fine, but I wouldn't re-sign him unless it is for the league min.

            I really don't know how much he has left in him, but one thing is for sure he won't let us know.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            This was my reasoning behind making him my goat. People were posting as recently as yesterday about how Horcoff should take the shoulder surgery because it would be better for the team in the long run. Are Pisani's apologists making the same argument in that case, that it's his passion for hockey that keeps him out on the ice despite it being a detriment to the team?

            I'm not looking to stir the pot here. I haven't been flaunting the fact that I chose Pisani as my goat out of respect for him as a person. I never like to see something like this come up.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            Heh, I can't listen to Gregor's show.

            I know people have been mentioning it for awhile, but I just meant that it came up yesterday (or the day before) in response to an article here.

          • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

            i think since 2006 fernando has become very fragile.(i never said nothing about his disease) just like ethan moreau has.

            he wasnt much to begin with.(i think his highest point production was just over 30)

            its not like he will develop much. (no one in their right hockey mind can say, that they can see pisani coming back and getting back to his 100% game(30+ points) or better)

            i think his hockey career has passed him and he should pack it in.

            i didnt say nothing about his disease.

    • Dyckster

      Ba humbug dude.

      Like many of the other Oilers who are slammed on a regular basis, Fernie definately plays (played?) an integral role in any success this team may have had in the past few years. So many forget that a GOOD team isn't made up entirely of 50 goal scorers and smooth skating, puck moving defensemen. There are other ingredients that must be filled as well for a winning recipe.

      Sincerely,

      The Anti-Scrooge

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        There hasn't been any success in the last few years unless you count the 2 wins in the last 20 games which netted us Gagner, but even that was a loss because if we would've loss that last game we would've been in Chicago's spot for the lottery.

        • I'm a Scientist!

          Why does everyone always say this…this is an incorrect statement…the only way the Oilers would have had Chicago's spot in the draft would have been to lose that last game in OT…The Oilers finished tied with Chicago and one single point ahead of Washington. Had they lost that game in regulation time they would NOT have finished in Chicago's spot…they would have dropped two spots to number 4 and Washington would have been in Chicago's spot…so people please stop saying had the Oilers lost that game that they would have been in Chicago's spot cuz it simply isn't true..

          • No worries, it's just that I read that alot on here and usually it's people ripping on Gagner…my belief is that Gagner will prove in a couple of years and many years after that to be an excellent pick up…

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            You know for some reason I never actually even checked that stat, either way I really have no problems with Gagner except the fact that he came into the NHL too soon which isn't his fault.

        • Dyckster

          Sweet, for sure, successful? Not so sure, but would definately be entertaining either way (win or lose).

          Now if all 30 teams were cut from the same cloth……

  • Bar Qu

    This was the first time in three years that he has felt run down, so he doesn’t expect this to be a re-occurring problem.

    ~Really. Did he suddenly get cured of this chronic condition?

    It is more likely to assume he is damaged goods and may play 10 more games this season (on the limp).

    • Jason Gregor

      Are you a doctor? Or just assuming you know what you are talking about. I spoke with him at length about many things and this was the first time since he was diagnosed that he felt this run down. Which is what I said.

      Did I say he was cured? No. He has dealt with it the previous two years and he didn't ever feel this run down.

      • Bar Qu

        More like, the guy has a chronic condition that gets worse when his body is stressed (like in a high level athletic league). And every athlete hides what's wrong with them, even from the trainer.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          I have a couple friends who deal with colitis. Certainly, it's not pleasant and there's ups and downs associated with it, but it's manageable most of the time. They deal with flare-ups from time to time, but they still live their lives, do their jobs, etc.

          I assume that Pisani will be the same. He has to deal with the illness, but it doesn't mean he's automatically incapable of ever being healthy enough to play in the NHL. And if he's healthy enough (and really, it is HIS decision) then he should play while he can.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        He says he doesn't feel run down but at the sametime it took the other players to tell the medical staff what was happening.

        Don't really want to get into an arguement as I don't have much against the guy, but is he 100% or does he just not feel run down? If he comes back and is only playing at 80 or 90% what good is that?

        • Jason Gregor

          He is still a month away and won't return until he is close to healthy. No player is 100% during the season, most are playing with some nagging ailment.

          I agree that when he comes back he will have to play better, but if his energy isn't an issue then he should be better than he was before being sidelined.

          As I stated, I'm not saying they just open the door and let him play, because he has to be better than the guys. But in January there might be other injuries. My point was that he is recovering. His absence is different than a guy recovering from a broken bone, because normally you assume he will be fine. In Pisani's case there was some concern about his health.

          It is a health issue and it is good news the guy is feeling better. Regardless of whether he plays or not.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I don't see Pisani playing much more. Maybe he plays next year if he takes min salary, but I kinda doubt it. Do you see the organization giving him a job, even something with the Oil Kings which would keep him close to his doctors?

          • Jason Gregor

            Based on what? He had a set back. When healthy Pisani is a solid player. Of course he will take a pay cut, but someone will pay him $1 million a year next year. I'd guess he will only get a one-year deal because teams might be worried about his health.

            But he is still a decent NHL player. If his contract was one million no one would be bitching.

            I never understand why fans rip a guy for his contract. If he is overpaid rip the GM who offered him too much money.

            Everyone wants to make more money and if your boss offered you a raise, you wouldn't say, "No sir, I'm not worth that much."

            I don't think Pisani is done.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            33 years old, has a disease that flares up at any given time that keeps him out for long stretches of time. If Mike Peca who is 2 years older can't find a team I can't see Pisani finding too many offers. Blair Betts who was considered the best PK player in the game (which I have no idea why) didn't sign until the last minute and signed for peanuts.

            Fact is there are a lot of these guys available Pisani won't even be close to a top 5 choice of any team. Edmonton maybe.

  • How does The Pint have the TV feed!?! What sort of sorcery is involved here??

    …it's CenterIce isn't it.

    No regional blackout on Center Ice for this game?

    I call the score to be 13 to ® for the Oilers. Yeah. That should do it.

    GOILERS!!!1!

  • Ender

    HansBaurMesserschmittWatson wrote:

    it would appear to me that most of these oilers fans on this website are douchebag hipocrytes . . .

    HansBaurMesserschmittWatson wrote:

    as soon as you say anything that does not sit with their little brains . . .

    HansBaurMesserschmittWatson wrote:

    no one in their right hockey mind can say . . .

    Typing on a public forum without good grammar or manners is kind of like walking down a public street without clothes; you can do it, but realize that everyone will assume you're a retard.

  • Evil Ginger

    comparing guys who were unable to play due to a disease or sickness that is the same. I personally don't think pisani helps us at all i just think you need to tell your brain that lunch ended at one