Oilers vs. Coyotes Postgame: The Vindication of Barry Fraser

Phoenix Coyotes: 6

Edmonton Oilers: 1

It was a rough night for the Oilers, and especially Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers. There isn’t much more to it than that; this is a hard team to watch.


First Period


As the world’s third-biggest Marc Pouliot fan (behind his mother and Lowetide) I’m very excited about his elevation up the roster. Okay, ‘very’ is probably pushing it, but I have to find something to enjoy tonight and this is what I’ve settled on. I’ll also enjoy Ryan Potulny on the top line, and the potent rum and coke that will be my companion for at least the first part of the game, and of course Gene Principe, who is in rare form with a power tool.

Nilsson and Penner with a 2-on-1 but Nilsson hung on to the puck too long and then couldn’t get it past the sliding Phoenix defenceman (Michalek).

The checking line routine continues on the road, as Horcoff and company are matched against Shane Doan’s line.

The commentators are discussing Dave Tippett as a Jack Adams candidate, and I agree completely. If I were voting, he’d be my first choice this season. He’s always been a good coach; he did a fine job with special teams in Los Angeles and I was a little surprised when Joe Nieuwendyk fired him in Dallas.

Robert Lang just walked past Jason Strudwick; Strudwick had half a step on him but his lack of speed was exposed once again. He seems like a stand-up guy, but I’m hoping his contract isn’t renewed this summer.

Tom Gilbert with a brutal giveaway to Lang leads to some Phoenix pressure; Shawn Horcoff did a nice job getting the puck but then flipped it straight to a Coyotes defenceman standing on the blue line which, needless to say, undid that earlier work.

Phoenix goon Paul Bissonnette ran Jeff Deslauriers and tried to make it look unintentional; that’s just a boneheaded play by a guy on the fringe of the line-up any given day. Power play for the Oilers.

Ryan Potulny had a nice chance in front but it went high; a few moments later Robert Nilsson drew a holding penalty from Michalek, giving the Oilers a 5-on-3.

Comrie and Nilsson both had fine chances on either side of the net; Comrie’s in particular was very good but he couldn’t jam it in; then Visnovsky had a great shot from the high slot, but unfortunately the Oilers were unable to convert on the 5-on-3. After that penalty expired the Oilers couldn’t get much going on the 5-on-4.

The Oilers managed seven shots on those two power plays, shots are now 8-4.

Ed Jovanovski records his 10th goal of the season (he’s had a great rebound year) on a delayed penalty, a point shot through traffic. Shane Doan provided the screen in front of the net.

Matthew Lombardi with a great chance in close, but Jeff Deslauriers made a fine save.

Gilbert Brule made a great move and almost set O’Sullivan up with a goal; he went into the net hard after the play with a Phoenix defenceman on him.

Nilsson, Potulny and Penner buzzing in the Phoenix zone.

I could be wrong but I think Jeff Deslauriers’ puck-handling is getting better; he just made a good hard pass through a Phoenix fore-checker to Fernando Pisani.

Interference penalty to Adrian Aucoin; Patrick O’Sullivan did a good job to force the penalty by pushing into Aucoin.

Daniel Winnik has a reputation for being very effective on the penalty kill and he hasn’t disappointed at all tonight; a hard fore-check kept the Oilers out of the offensive zone, and in two full minutes the Oilers were never able to generate any real sustained pressure.

Matthew Lombardi scores with less than a minute left in the first period. Shane Doan had a beautiful no-look pass that landed right on his stick; Lombardi had snuck away from Horcoff who failed to cover him. 2-0 in a period that has been all Phoenix (aside from the 5-on-3).


Second Period


Looks like one of those nights for Deslauriers; Matthew Lombardi scored just over a minute in for his third point on the night. Steve Staios was in front of Lombardi but it didn’t look like he did anything wrong; Deslauriers was just slow.

4-0 Phoenix. Jim Vandermeer’s point shot bounced off a player in front of the net and blew by Deslauriers.

Staios with a solid shot off a Cogliano faceoff win (I haven’t been counting but I think he’s actually been pretty good on the dot). Bryzgalov’s been pretty sharp.

Vernon Fiddler, who would have been a nice addition to the Oilers this summer, is taking a beating; first Cogliano laid into him and the Strudwick nailed him.

Dustin Penner gets four minutes for high-sticking Martin Hanzal and making him bleed. I’m not sure Penner even knew his stick was up.

Surprisingly effective penalty kill so far.

The Oilers kill all four minutes, and Penner gets sprung on a breakaway coming out of the box, putting a dangerous shot just high.

Great chance for the second line, again generated by Gilbert Brule with a smart pass, but Bryzgalov came up big. The line sustained the pressure, with Pouliot crashing the net shortly thereafter.

Dustin Penner with nice hit on Jovanovski.

Andrew Cogliano dodged a big hit from Petr Prucha, who has been feisty, and then comes around and starts working him over along the boards.

Pouliot smacked into Bissonnette along the boards, knocking his face into the glass. Pouliot’s getting brave.

Penner with a nice job on the fore check again, setting up Robert Nilsson, whose stick snapped. Every time I go to write Penner off he starts playing a little better.


Third Period


Brilliant shift for the top line, as both Penner and Potulny did a great job forechecking. Bryzgalov robbed Potulny at the side of the net; the one-sidedness of this game shouldn’t distract from his incredible performance.

That gutless coward Patrick O’Sullivan just held off Paul Bissonnette and took a body slam into the boards to make a pass.

Pouliot was dragged down in the slot; his shot rang off the post and the Oilers will go on the power play. Lang was the guy pushing on Pouliot, and he’s actually a pretty big guy; Pouliot did a great job to get the shot away.

Lots of Oilers jerseys in the crowd. I hope they didn’t travel to attend this game.

Radim Vrbata got a breakaway as the penalty ended. Denis Grebeshkov was the guy behind him, but Steve Staios was the guy who jumped forward to try and play the puck rather than backtracking with two Coyotes trying to move out of the zone. 5-0 Phoenix.

I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve decided on a new performance predictor for Jeff Deslauriers. No matter how good he’s been of late, the moment Robin writes a post talking about him in a remotely positive light, I’m going to expect an utter collapse. That’s twice so far this season Deslauriers has responded to a positive article with a stinker of a game.

Whoa, a shot of Bryan Pitton sitting on the bench. Pat Quinn really ought to stick him in net with the game out of reach; given Pitton’s track record this might be his best shot at NHL minutes.

Gilbert Brule just crushed Joel Perreault against the boards. Huge hit.

Louie DeBrusk is talking about how a guy like Pitton might be able to step up. The way he says it makes me wonder if he even believes it.

Fight between Strudwick and Bissonnette; Bissonnette dominated early but Strudwick got some good shots in at the end.

Perreault, Winnik and Doan have all left the bench in pain.

Matthew Lombardi’s a joy to watch right now. I wonder if he gets a special thrill out of playing Edmonton, given his history with the franchise. I know in his shoes I’d take a special pleasure in pushing the blade in a little.

Robert Lang scores on a backhand from the high slot to make it 6-0, breaking his 20-game goal slump. Jeff Deslauriers absolutely has to make that save. Maybe another ugly goal will convince Quinn to put Pitton between the pipes.

Five points on the night for Lombardi.

Shawn Horcoff takes a hooking penalty.

Great stuff! On the delayed call, Mike Comrie drilled Petr Prucha and then the two of them dropped the gloves; Comrie got the best of it and landed on top of Prucha.

Ryan Potulny does a nice job tipping a Robert Lang pass down the ice.

Horcoff’s digging away at the side of the net and once again looks visibly frustrated.

Wow. Sportsnet’s Right Player For Today’s Game is Lombardi. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a non-Oiler.

Dustin Penner scores off a give-and-go with Robert Nilsson; Penner bowled over the defender and then finished it off at the side of the net. 6-1 Phoenix.

A nice pass from Brule to Pouliot, who spun and got a shot away despite being covered in the slot.

Great shot by Nilsson off a behind the back Penner pass.

The Oilers have now tied their record for consecutive road losses, with 10. Gregor’s game-day comments about this being a record-setting season were bang on.


Oilers Three Stars


1. Barry Fraser. For approving the selection of Matthew Lombardi in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Nice pick, Barry.

2. Dustin Penner. He looked slow at times, but was once again the Oilers most dangerous player, and scored the team’s only goal.

3. Gilbert Brule. Brule seemed determined to stay in the lineup tonight, generating chances single-handedly and throwing his body around. Honourable mention to Mike Comrie for his work with limited ice-time.

  • HottScarrison

    Horcoff -31………nuff said.

    &%&% it. Whats the point anymore. Nobody's trying anymore.

    Moreau -4 2nite. people who pay $$$ to watch these guys….1 question. Why aren't you pissed?(angry pissed) Good hard earned money to those effin retards.

    There… i said it. Prove me wrong.

  • Didn't watch the 2nd or 3rd period. Went and played hockey. Far better decision on my part by the looks of it.

    JDD looked awful from what I saw of the game plus the highlights of the 2nd and 3rd. His kung-fu was weak on that Lang goal.

    Oh well. Top pick chance still firmly in our grasp.

  • Victoria

    As someone who had better things to do tonight (eg. cleaning the bathroom), I sit here amazed that anyone was willing to endure the craptastic debacle that is the Oilers.

    You guys don't get paid enough to cover the Oilers in times like this.

  • HottScarrison

    My mom encouraged me to say this….

    this year is a %^*&^%^% disgrace.

    My 6-year daughter refuses to wear her oilers jersey to school because she gets made fun of. I can't think of a way to explain it to her. maybe she's right. This is sad.

    cries myself to sleep tonight…again.

  • Eric Johnson

    My four year old says to me, I skate better then these guys!!! Brule had a good game, should be able stay in the line up. Why doesn't Quinn sit Horcoff? Why does Horcoff still get PP minutes?

  • Jeff Carter needs to be sent a message with a long, long suspension before somebody gets killed. I don't care if that hit it "legal" by technical rules, it shows an utter disrespect for a fellow hockey player, not to mention for human life. It was possibly the only thing uglier in the NHL tonight than our beloved Oilers.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Clean hit and the NHL has no intent of getting rid of these hits. Why was Salmela playing with his head down like that? At some point we have to start looking at why these hits are happening. In such a fast game were split second decisions are made I start questioning the guy that skates with his head down for 10 seconds more then the guy that threw the hit.

      • Librarian Mike

        Why was Salmela playing with his head down like that?

        Seriously? He was skating in on the net getting ready to score a goal, and Carter came up from behind him. I don't really see how Salmela could have seen that hit coming, unless he had a rear view mirror perhaps.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          It's time that players don't put them into those positions from the start. Why wasn't anyone complaining when Stevens and Hatcher did this on a regular basis? It was because the player had his head down and should've known better.

        • Dyckster


          It was a crappy hit, MAYBE not an intentional cheap shot, but crappy none the less.

          Watch it a few times on You Tube, Carter knew darn well he was gonna hit the guy in the head.

          EDIT: Players should be able to have some confidence/trust that every time they put their head down for even a couple of seconds they're not at risk of being decapitated. The respect factor among players is suspect, watch how many guys skate away after the hit, one Flyer has to lift his leg to avoid Samela as he's sprawled on the ice. No remorse/concern there at all.

  • No odd-man rush goals for the Oilers again? No wonder they get pinned in their own zone often, the attacking defense can cheat because the Oilers, for whatever reason cannot score on 2-1, 3-1, breakaways etc. brutal. I sure would like to see a stat on this (goals scored per # of odd-man rushes).

  • Skidplate

    JW said "I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve decided on a new performance predictor for Jeff Deslauriers. No matter how good he’s been of late, the moment Robin writes a post talking about him in a remotely positive light, I’m going to expect an utter collapse. That’s twice so far this season Deslauriers has responded to a positive article with a stinker of a game."

    That's too small a sample size, isn't it? jk 🙂

  • HottScarrison, I have a sad story about by oldest boy who it not even four yet. He watched part of the Colorado game on Sat with me, he went to bed after the first period then when he got up in the morning, asked if the Oilers scored. I had to say no they didn;t, they lost 3-0 then he says to me and I quote "The Oilers are not very good?". It almost broke my heart!

    Then last night we're watching the first period before his bed time and the I was in the other room when Pheonix score at the end of the 1st period and he calls out to me "Daddy Pheonix keeps scoring again!" I hope this thing gets turned around soon so he isn't forced to change teams (we live in Calgary – gasp!).

    Go Oilers Go (for the top pick)

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    So when they were talking about Staios's mouthguard I got the feeling that he never really wore a mouthguard until now, maybe it's time for teams to take control and make their players wear them.

    Yet another reason I'd like to see Comrie stay. Shows that veteran leadership that guys like Gagner and Cogliano need. Not a vet like Moreau who plays a different game then those two.

    And yes poor Vern fiddler, man was he getting hit in the second.

  • Zamboni Driver

    The "it's not $7 million, it's only 5, and besides he's an elite 2nd line centre"-crowd have grown eerily quiet.

    Though there's a pretty good chance no one is watching the traveling sh*tshow anymore.

    I'm pretty much now a "If I have nothing better to do, or nothing better is on the tube"-watcher. And c'mon…House was on!

      • Zamboni Driver

        Yeah, the sad part is you'll get to next year…and the year after that…and the year after that…. – though I'm guessing people will start saying "Elite 3rd line" center.

          • Zamboni Driver

            You're absolutely right, though..

            …continuing your thought for you..

            …signed over a year before necessary credentials being workout buddies with the boss, thereby crippling the organization for 5 years.

            Happy to help.

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

            I love these "crippling the organization" posts. Really? is 2-3 million in cap space going to be the difference for this team over the next 5 years? Is the cap going to be stagnent for the rest of that contract? Is there not 3 (and probably more like 5/6)guys coming to the team in the next two years on rookie contracts? Is there not 3-5 more that will be on cheap RFA contracts?

            Honestly, the "crippling" statements are just empty comments.

          • Which of these aspects do you blame Horc for? taking money that was offered? Slagging the guy for taking the money doesn't make sense. For all o fthe guys that say we should boo him because of the contract please wake up. Boo Lowe for the contract not Horc.

            Do you think that because he signed for more money that he should somehow magically become more talented and improve vastly.

            I'm a Horc supporter and I'll admit that. He has stunk up the joint this year. I think he's hurt although I can't prove it. he may not recover and the contract may be a stinker into the future but let's be honest. One contract doesn't kill the team. It is the plethora of contracts that makes things hard (Staios, Pisani, Moreau, Khabbi, Nilsson). Even contracts that everyone thinks of as good don't look so promising when the guy goes down for the year (Hemsky).

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I'm not a Horcoff fan but I agree with your statement. What's the point in booing him or any other Oiler? What you think is going to happen when/if they turn their game around? They will want out.

            And note to the people that phone into Gregor's show, we know Horcoff is a bad contract. Do these people not have anything else to talk about? Everyday someone phones to complain about Horcoff or O'Sullivan. Yet are these the same people that said Schremp should be here for the 3 point he put up in 4 games, because guess what O'Sullivan is third in scoring for the Oilers. Yes his defense sucks but he isn't completly useless.

  • Bob Cobb

    The best thing about the Oilers these days is the fact that the play by play on Sportsnet is not done by Peter Loubardias, man that guy blows goats. He sounds like Mickey Mouse on Helium. I bet the pitch of his voice, when excited, is equal to that of a dog whistle.

    As for the game, the Oilers played just well enough not to look like they are losing on purpose and playing for the draft pick.

  • Librarian Mike wrote:

    Seriously? He was skating in on the net getting ready to score a goal, and Carter came up from behind him. I don't really see how Salmela could have seen that hit coming, unless he had a rear view mirror perhaps.


  • JorgeR

    Hey on a completely unrelated note, does anyone know how much longer either Nathan Horton or Niklas Kronwall will be out for? My hockey pool is doing a redraft for one player and I'm not sure who to replace. Also I've thought about replacing Setoguchi since he hasn't produced much. Anyone have any out there suggestions of players that might still be available that might have been under the radar?

  • Ender

    re: Carter/Salmela

    While I definitely feel bad for Salmela and admit there wasn't much he could have done to avoid that hit (other than abandon his attempt to score in order to look around and see if he was about to get crushed) the fact remains that Carter did what he was supposed to do. 9 out of 10 times when Carter hits that guy, the guy driving the net would bounce off, maybe fall down, and the only damage done would be to his scoring opportunity. This simply looks awful because of the result, but if we watched the exact same hit only where Salmela doesn't get hurt, we're all admiring the sound defensive play of Carter instead.

    The reality is that if you remove that hit from the game, you're removing a lot of other 'important' hits from hockey as well. If you can't interfere with a guy who's driving to the net, we might just as well implement basketball rules right now and be done with it.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Point of hitting, to remove the player from the puck. Once again result is what people are looking at. How about Fiddler I see he was hit from behind close to the boards, no one complaining about that is there? Another 6 inches towards the boards and he is hurt.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        Cmon, my guess is you've probably played some hockey in your life…there's more to just using hitting to remove the player from the puck and as I stated and Rob Brown stated, you also finish your check to prevent any second chances or third chances by the player shooting on goal….

        Another reason hitting has been done since the inception of hitting in hockey is a way of intimidation….this notion that hitting is just to remove someone from the puck is nonsense…

        Whether bleeding hearts realize it or not hitting is a way to try to scare some players away from entering corners or going to dirty areas or to get players to shy away from playing the puck. Hitting goes a lot further than just to remove someone from the puck.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          Oh I agree but the orginal intent of hitting was to do just what Carter tried to do so why are people getting excited about this one? The clearest form of the intent of hitting and people are up in arms.

    • X2

      I agree as does Rob Brown who makes a good point. The game happens at a fast speed. Carter was rushing back to try to prevent a scoring chance and had begun his hit before the goal is scored. Carter has no way of knowing in that split second that Salmela is going to score…what if his shot gets stopped and Salmela bangs in the rebound because Carter didn't finish his check….he stepped into him with his shoulder and because Salmela was leaning forward he took the blunt of the hit to his face…unfortunate but it happens…if Carter doesn't finish his check and Salmela scores on a rebound Carter may find himself stapled to the end of the bench..

      Those are the words or Rob Brown

      The game is a game of contact….there are going to be some injuries on clean hits, there's no preventing it.

  • Ender

    re: Pitton

    Why bother bringing the kid up? While I have no argument that he's a far cry from an NHL goaltender at this point, it was quite obvious last night that the only way that kid sees action is if JDD leaves in an ambulance. Six goals on the starter, some of them brutal, and Quinn still thinks that guy is better in net than Pitton. Possibly even true, but are you thinking there's a comeback in the works at that point? Probably not? Then why continue to destroy what shreds remain of JDD's stats on the year along with his dignity? Heck, throw some pads on one of the trainers at that point and tell him to try and get in the way of the puck; it couldn't possibly make any difference on the game outcome at that point and at least JDD wouldn't continue to have his nose pushed down into the game like a bad dog. There is such thing as a mercy hook, Quinn. Pitton might not be your guy, but he was the guy you brought.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      I think Pitton is just up so that Dubnyk can get some playing time. I could be wrong but that is what seems to be happening. Although if Pitton is that bad why bother calling him up? Why not just sign some vet to play the role of backup when Dubnyk is down in the minors.

      The only thing positive I see for Pitton is his pay cheque and him practicing with NHLers. The guy has made over half his AHL salary in 11 days in the NHL this year.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        Dubnyk was getting playing time with the big club…I think the reason Dubnyk was sent down was because he had to be playing a certain amount of time on the farm in order for him to be eligible to keep playing there during the Olympic break. If he stayed with the big club he wouldn't have been allowed to keep playing during the Olympics….my guess is he gets recalled after the Olympics are over

  • Dan the Man

    How many times last night did Kevin Quinn mention Pouliot's size?

    Pouliot had another fine game but Quinn made it sound like he's a beast…he's 6'1" , 195 lbs.

    I guess in comparison to some of other forwards he's bigger but seriously it's not like he's Rick Nash big.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Because both players did the correct things on the ice, the question becomes incredibly simple: Are we willing to accept the occasional horrifying injury in exchange for allowing players to hit each other in the head? It’s going to happen, as the hit last night showed – is it an acceptable price?

      Shoulder not shoulder to head, if it were shoulder to head then maybe this is an issue, but according to Lamoriello it was a clean hit which should mean a lot here.

      Like the above poster said if Carter doesn't make the play then good chance he gets sat for not playing the game the way it was designed.

  • RE: Horcoff

    As a charter member of the Horcoff booster society, I'll admit he's been brutal – and moreso of late. I strongly suspect he's playing through injury, because he's playing far worse than he ever has before, but I can't prove it.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      I don't even know what to think anymore about Horcoff, he can't even bring those intangibles that he use to. If he is injuried why even play the guy? We have extra forwards right now why not use them? It's not like we gain anything by showcasing Horcoff.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        Exactly…it's not like we need Horcoff for a playoff push…we have a ton of guys who are or have been injured this year….if Horcoff is injured then sit his ass out until he is healthy…especially now that we have an extra body or two sitting out every night.

        No more excuses for Horcoff…There are many who don't care what his salary is..he is a whole lot of suck out there and isn't playing like he's worth the minimum salary nevermind his 5.5 mil cap hit.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          I think your last parapgraph is probably pretty close. I see that there are fewer people complaining about him being overpaid and realize he will be overpaid, but there is a big difference between being overpaid 2mil then 5mil.

  • The biggest problem with Horc as an asset isnt even his bloated 5.5 cap hit. It's his actual paycheck of 7 million. It makes it infinitely harder to trade him for the next 2 years before it goes down and it makes it that much harder to consider the only other option which is sending him to the AHL and wiping him from the Oiler's Cap.

    Once his actual take home pay starts to slide there might be someone willing to take him to make the league minimum cap spending or the Oilers wont mind spending 3 million on an AHL player. Until then, we can only hope that a) he magicly gets better, b) the Oilers find someone dense enough to take him, or c) the Oil are willing to bury him.

    If he really is injured then the team ought to be finding a way to get him on LTIR so that they can sell the available cap space to teams that need to get rid of underperforming contracts before the trade deadline, at the price of prospects and picks of course.

    • Drinkin' the Oilaid

      Horc-awful's contract doesn't make it infinitely harder to deal him over the next 2 years, but the next 4. His actual dollars remains over his cap hit until the final two years, when gets 4 mill followed by 3 mill (thanks, capgeek.com).
      The only chance the oilers have to move his contract is if he were to somehow catch fire in a season before the 2013-14 season (=fat chance!). If not, some team needing to reach the cap floor might consider his 35-year-old carcass.
      In other words, look forward to another 3 seasons of number 10 suckin' cap space and whiffin' on tape-to-tape passes.

  • papaburgundy

    To quote SNL Celebrity Jeopardy,"And the show has reached an all new low!" Watching the Oilers play hockey is like watching a small child reach to the top cupboard from the kitchen floor. You just know he isn't going to reach that shelf. The futile effort the Oilers put forth is somewhat comical as the other team, regardless of who they play, skates circles around the Oilers and makes them look like a bantam tier 6 team. C'mon Oiler fans, are you gonna put up with this heartbreak year after year after year? Management will not make the neccessary changes to make this club successful and they will stick with the same old thing that's out on the ice right now. The ancient Oiler Empire has long since collapsed and WILL NEVER RISE AGAIN!

  • Reggie Dunlop

    Why does the TV camera always pan on Pat Quinn when the Oilers are getting the boots put to them? It's always the same dumb founded look like he doesn't know where he is. It's exactly the same look Don Matthews had when he coached the Argos. Stunned, old coaches who are waaay past their bedtime. What does Quinn have on Tambo that he's still around? At least Matthews retired after 8 straight loses.