GDB 61: San Fernando es muy bueno!


The Oilers will get a lift tonight when Fernando Pisani returns to the ice for the first time since Nov 17th, a span of 42 games. He will skate with Moreau and Cogliano, while Stortini returns to his usual spot on the fourth line with Reddox and Brodziak.

His teammates wasted no time trying to make him feel part of the team again.

Moreau said jokingly, “It’s easier for him to come back compared to a skilled player.”

When Mark Connolly and I asked Pisani about that he replied, “He should know. Have you seen the puck after he handles it? It’s chipped up badly,” laughed Pisani.

Pisani is well-liked in the room, and Moreau went on to say how much of a boost it should be for the team.

Pisani does play a simple game, and since he doesn’t play very physical his conditioning shouldn’t be an issue.

Grebeshkov will not play tonight, but thinks he might be able to go on Saturday.

The last time the Blue Jackets were in town, it was the Ales Hemsky show. He scored twice, had two assists and basically beat the Blue Jackets himself. Hemsky has been okay of late, but he needs to amp up his game again. The Blue Jackets have been a good match up for the Oilers offensively this year, and they sounded like a confident bunch at the skate today.

Of course that doesn’t guarantee a solid effort, but for unexplained reasons this team has been able to ramp their game up at this time of the year before, excluding 2007.

Spotlight on coaches

Ken Hitchcock goes for win #501 tonight. He became only the 12th coach to win 500 games when the Jackets beat the Leafs last Thursday.

Pat Burns is next in line with 501.

Here is the top ten.

  1. Scotty Bowman: 1244-574-323
  2. Al Arbour: 782-577-248
  3. Dick Irvin: 692-527-230
  4. Mike Keenan: 660-539-163
  5. Pat Quinn: 657-481-180
  6. Bryan Murray: 620-465-154
  7. Billy Reay: 542-385-175
  8. Ron Wilson: 539-452-158
  9. Jacques Lemaire: 528-405-172
  10. Jacques Martin: 517-406-175

Pretty exclusive company for Hitchcock, but the Oilers are hoping he waits to tie Burns for at least another two days.

But wait, there’s more!

And what were the Penguins thinking? Why not just sign Ryan Malone to the $4.5 million contract in the summer. Is Chris Kunitz better? Of course not. Ray Shero must have something else up his sleeve or Ryan Whitney has completely lost his game. I’m betting on the former.

  • Ender the Dragon

    JFJ's time with the Oil has come and gone, just like Schremp. He's just waiting for someone to pull the trigger on his next chance. Barring a big trade, Reddox is going to be on the Oilers fourth line for a long time.

  • shakey

    @ Rick:
    Rick, I'm usually on the 'what the f**k is Reddox doing here' bandwagon but I thought he played pretty well last game. He did something positive every shift and made a great shot block near the end of the game.
    I do agree that we need to see if JFJ is part of the future for the Oilers at some point.

  • Rick

    In the past Hitchcock would preach to his players that if they played the body against the Oilers, the Oilers would wilt away.

    I don't want to turn this into Reddox bashing because he is clearly the safest option but damn, this seems like the perfect game to get Jacques back into the line up to see what kind of hunger the kid has in saving his career.

    Stortini back down to the 4th line with Jacques on the opposite wing and the 4th line actually looks physically intimidating against a team that isn't exactly the broadstreet bullies when it comes to accountability.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Could this game be a turning point in the buyers/sellers at the deadline debate? If we can't win a home game against Columbus with huge playoff implications it may be time to pack it in.

    I predict Oil will win 3-2, and I base that on absolutely nothing.

  • Ender the Dragon

    Glad to hear Wanye's goat is close; he's the piece that I was really worried the Oil would miss down the stretch if he didn't heal fast enough. Obviously Lubo's loss hurt the team, but if we can keep it to just him, we still have the depth to put on the run we need.