Deep Thoughts XVI: Don’t say I don’t care

NHL 2010 - Anaheim Ducks vs Edmonton Oilers

With the Edmonton Oilers winning two straight games to move within four points of the Toronto Maple Leafs atop the Dive For Five, it’s time for me to write about how well Jeff Deslauriers has been playing.

Didn’t I put it out there a long time ago, to a cacophony of braying by the naysayers, that my considerable gut told me Deslauriers had the stuff to be the Oilers starter for years to come? Well, didn’t I?

Now, after his last two starts, a 22-save performance in a 2-0 shutout over New Jersey Sunday and a 28-save gem in a 2-1 shootout win over Minnesota Friday, can there be any question that JDD is the real goods? No. None. He’s put doubt so far up the chute we’ll need a flashlight and map to find it. I was right. Not the first time.

There. That should pretty much guarantee Deslauriers falls out of his groove and into a clown suit in time to stickhandle his way into all kinds of grief against the Ottawa Senators at Rexall Place Tuesday.

That leaves Devan Dubnyk to get blitzed in Montreal Thursday to kick-off a four-game road trip before Deslauriers returns to the crease to be embarrassed by the Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday.

That’s a three-game toot that should just about lock down 30th place and no worse than second pick in the 2010 Entry Draft for the Oilers, which is the whole point of the last 17 games, no?

Don’t say I don’t care.


As anybody paying attention knows, I’m no frontrunner when it comes to Deslauriers. I’ve been lauding him as being a capable NHL starter, be it with the Oilers or elsewhere, for a long time — prematurely, many have argued, and they’d probably have a point.

That said, there’s no question in my mind he’s shown the ability to be that guy when he’s on top of his game. Likewise, Deslauriers has shown an uncanny knack of soiling the sheets every time I sing his praises. It’s like clockwork.

Consistency is what eludes Deslauriers, and that’s no small matter. Regardless how good JDD is at the top end, he’s had too many off-nights to convince those making the decisions he can be the guy. The challenge for him in these final 17 games is to eliminate the huge swings in his performance.

"Consistency is the big thing," Oilers goaltending coach Frederic Chabot said today, stating the obvious. "That’s what makes you a No. 1 in this league and in any league."

With a 14-22-3 record, a 3.06 goals-against average and a .903 saves percentage, Deslauriers has been all over the map. Three shutouts in 39 games is pretty good on a team with 21 wins. So was the five-game winning streak he put together in December. The last two games? Looks like a No. 1 to me.

But Deslauriers has also had a six-game losing streak and a pair of four-game skids. Too many bad goals. His worst night, allowing four goals on 11 shots in a 7-3 loss to Vancouver, came in the game before he started his five-game winning streak.

If — I say when — Deslauriers consistently tightens up the difference between his best and worst performances, he’ll be on to something. Having a handful of nights  stopping pucks at a clip of .940 mirrored by as many nights at .840 keeps everybody guessing.  If he can be around .910 most games for the rest of the season, he’ll be fine.


The item I wrote about the possibility of Ryan Whitney needing surgery on his right foot at some point to correct the defect he already had repaired in his left foot didn’t sit well with some fans.

The item sparked all kinds of name-calling and poop-throwing over at HF Boards, where somebody calling themselves "hockeyaddict101" made a point of being an ass-wipe, even though I was careful with the wording I used.

If I’m not mistaken, this person posted here a few times, but hasn’t visited lately. Maybe I was rude. That’s a good bet, I suppose. Anyway, maybe that’s what prompted this person to go on endlessly about yellow journalism, irresponsible speculation, what a freakin’ hack I am and blah, blah, blah. Whatever.

While I doubt Whitney will require surgery before the end of the season, I’m thinking hockeyaddict101 will be eating crow by the end of April. Let’s wait and see.


  • I didn’t see Nik Khabibulin at the rink this morning, but at the start of practice there was a table of jerseys and photos laid out for him to sign. By the time reporters wandered down to the dressing room after the skate, the stuff was autographed. And there’s no truth to the rumour Khabibulin is changing his jersey number from 35 to .16.
  • Am I reaching for positives, or have Tom Gilbert and Marc Pouliot been playing their best hockey since the Olympic break? I’ve especially liked Gilbert alongside Whitney, which I didn’t see as a match on paper before Pat Quinn put them together.
  • The oddest item I saw left out for a player to sign today was one of the bags the Oilers use to carry their equipment on the road. The well-worn bag in question was that of captain Ethan Moreau.
  • I don’t know about the rest of you, but if Fernando Pisani is willing to take a haircut and re-sign here for $750,000, I wouldn’t be against Steve Tambellini re-signing him. Not one penny more.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • I don't know about the rest of you, but if Fernando Pisani is willing to take a haircut and re-sign here for $750,000, I wouldn't be against Steve Tambellini re-signing him. Not one penny more.


    I'm not much of a sentimentalist, but as long as Pisani's being paid like a fourth liner I see absolutely no reason for the Oilers to send him down the road.

  • I think JDD is already on par with goalies like Theodore, Huet and Khabibulin who are either in that neighborhood naturally or due to age and such…

    JDD just doesn't have the good team behind him to make him look like a star on his bad nights.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    somewhere out in the interweb, "tyler" just had a seizure at the thought of another JDD article..

    that, or he is so enthralled with his collection of dirty midget porn, he hasnt noticed yet…..

  • I have no problems bringing Pisani back, like Willis said if he is being paid like a 13th forward. He is one of the smartest players on team, a good penalty killer & capable of playing with far more talented players.

    As long as his guts don't act up I think he would be a great mentor for some of our younger players. The problem the last few seasons is the black aces have to play way too much because of injuries. Hopefully that's not the case next year.

    Jimmy Howard has taken the same kind of bumpy road JDD has. Second round pick that was inconsistent playing in the NHL & he has been a huge surprise this year. I'm sure that JDD is capable of it too in the future.

  • Travis Dakin

    Robin, signing Pisani at 750,000 is a risk that really doesn't need to happen. Sure by NHL standards it may not be a lot of money but considering his health issue, WHY? The Oilers would be far better off giving that money to a prospect with a future than an aging player with health issues who plays the game soft. If your going to blow up this team then blow it up and start again. Pisani has made his money and then some (see Kevin Lowe), shake his hand, let him walk and let's move on already!

    • Bucknuck

      I keep Pisani as well, provided it is for fourth line money. If he is well respected and liked and feels lucky to be able to play how is that bad for our developing kids. I would like to see him retire as an Oiler, especially since he is a hometown boy, a playoff hero, and can grow a wicked (red) beard.

      Plus there is an ABBA song that they made JUST FOR HIM. that is cool. 😉

  • Was Pisani actually complaining about ice time or was he just stating that he'd like to be ABLE to play a bigger role on the team? There's a big difference and bitching just doesn't seem like his style. He's always been a positive "team first" guy.

      • Helmethead

        Thanks Robin. I never heard the quotes either but I've seen how Oiler fans can take one sound bite out of context and suddenly have an in-depth knowledge of someone's personality, attitude, work ethic, etc. It's frustrating at best. I agree with your assessment of JDD but I don't think DD is really that far behind and the Khabby contract length looks worse and worse all the time.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Does Pisani fall into that category of vets or injuried players that qualifies for bonuses? If so give him the league min and give him all kinds of bonus money.

  • OilFan

    Robin you really need to get over JDD. He is a half ass tender at best. So he gets a shut out in a game that he had only two good saves. I like Pisani but I don't see them resigning him unless they can get rid of Moreau for sure.

    • Bucknuck

      Everyone goes on about Roli, but he only had seven shutouts the whole time he was here. Don't discount shutouts.

      The oilers only scored three goals (1.5 avg per game) in regulation in those two games. That leaves NO room for error. If you still manage to win, you owe thanks to the Goaltender. I don't care how many shots there were.

    • I don't think that anyone on here is thinking that JDD is the going to turn into an elite goaltender. I believe that JDD is in some pretty elite company when it comes to shutting out the Devils when Brodeur is playing. He could be an answer to a trivia question.

      • OilFan

        i don't want to throw JDD under the bus. He is young and I hope he gets better, but in my opinion I don't see him as a starting goalie. Elite would be a far stretch. His play has been better but if Habby isn't playing next season ( I think he will be ready ) the Oilers will need a better tender.With the rebuild I think a good proven young tender is key. I'm not sure the plan the oilers have if any.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        A guy at work was saying that he heard on Oilers lunch that Comrie expects a contract offer. Now I never heard this, but if it's true would it be too far fetched to think they aren't talking?

        I make the offer right now regardless of what could happen in the months to come. If you can sign him cheap then why not? I rather have more players then not enough and if it comes down to space next October then you look at dealing him.

      • Travis Dakin

        For some reason it seems like Quinn doesn't really like Comrie. I sure hope they give him a contract. If you're going to have small guys playing on the team, he is a good example of showing how to get it done.

  • DoubleJ

    Is Moreau done for the year? I really doubt he'd be day to day if would have been traded. I think his ego is hurt more then he is hurt physically. He's been talking about his chances of being traded for awhile and seems like he was excited for it, the fact no one wanted him must be a real kick to his dangling ego.

    • Bucknuck

      Weather we want him gone or not, DoubleJ, speculating that a player of Moreau's calibre might be faking an injury because he was "excited" to be traded and now sits at home because of ego, is pretty low.

      I agree Moreau's time here is done, but we quickly forget about the guy nearly losing an eye last year and coming back early. Yes Moreau is often a liability on the ice, but there's no need to attack a guy with crap you're "speculating" about. That guy's career nearly ended a couple times while grinding it out for our team. Root for him to leave the Oil, fine, but show some respect.

  • Helmethead

    Although I can admit I haven't been watching the team with any regularity, I do like JDD's game this year. Yes he's been inconsistant but isn't that part of the growing pains of developing a young netminder? Having him step in like he did last year with spot duty didn't give the Oil brass much of an opportunity to see if he can be a potential #1.

    Mason in Columbus has since plummeted back to earth this season after an incredible first year so I'm willing to accept the highs and lows with JDD in favour of his long term development.

    As for Pisani, I wouldn't resign him. Even with a "hometown" discount. I can understand a certain level of loyalty to the guy who has clearly had a disasterous 3 seasons, but he's jsut not the same player anymore. Much like Jarret Stoll after his concusions. Best for the Oil to just part ways and hope Pisani can land on his feet somewhere. He's probably in need of a change too.

    Just a little note to Brownlee…being the messenger sometimes warrants the shots. Having been in the business as long as you have, I'd like to think you'd be used to the odd jerk-off critic. Dust off and get back in there.

  • Helmethead

    Crap, forgot to mention that even if the Oil secure 30th overall, there's still no guarantee they can get the first round pick.
    I've been doing some research and on five different occasions, since the NHL introduced the loterry back in '95, higher seeded teams have leap-frogged into the #1 spot. The worst they can get is 2nd as Brownlee mentioned based on percentages.

    Now if the Oil can make a deal with Boston and steal that #2 slot, they'd have the top 2 picks. They've only managed a top a top five pick once in their history with the #4 pick. If fans remember him, Jason "B" (Bonsignor) was chosen before Ryan Smyth. Interestingly enough, the Oilers have averaged the #15 pick in their history so this goes without saying, is a HUGE draft year for them.

      • Helmethead

        Oh absolutely it's fantastic but I'm just trying to keep this thing in a bit of perspective. Even with a last place overall finish, there is a remote 'possibility" of them not getting the number 1 which most people think is a lock should they finish dead last.

        As I mentioned, should they be able to swing a deal with Boston to get that #2 pick, this just increases the odds of securing the #1. Tossing around ideas is all.

        • OilFan

          I really don't think we have anything worth that pick. But if I was guessing maybe Hemsky and Eberle. Its like Oiler fans think Hall and Seguin are the next Crosby ( Which they aren't). They will both be really good players but I'm not convinced they are ever going to be superstar players.

  • Just how good is JDD ? Consider todays stats from Journal and check out the horrific +- of the players around him – scary is it not ? Check out the players ( on going trend over last few seasons ) that have left the Oilers the last couple of seasons up till latest trade deadline . Almost all are carrying the same old poor +- on their new teams despite the goalies being good or bad . The trend of Oiler personnel having poor +- over last few years is an eye opener even after they have left here . Given those stats, how indicative of JDD's assessment are they ? I think he is better than what he is given little credit for , and improving a lot over this season .

  • Stonedole

    If Pisani wants to play for less than a million it would be a good signing. And hey, you never know what can happen if we make the playoffs in a couple years.

  • Harlie

    I know it's from WIKI but I thought this was a little interesting in light of what Robin brought up..

    "Whitney's offensive production dropped in 2007–08, posting 40 points in 76 games. However, the Penguins finished second in the Eastern Conference and Whitney contributed 6 points in the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as Pittsburgh made it to the Finals against the Detroit Red Wings. Despite staving off elimination in game five, Pittsburgh was defeated the following game.

    In the subsequent off-season, it was revealed that Whitney was suffering from a chronic foot injury throughout the season. Although correction was attempted with orthopedic inserts in his skates, he underwent surgery on August 15, 2008 to realign his left foot.

    On February 26, 2009, Whitney was traded to the Anaheim Ducks for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi.[2] He scored a goal to go with five assists during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Ducks made it to Game 7 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals, losing to the Detroit Red Wings."

  • Harlie

    just went to HF to see what the fuss was about and I see this post from hockeyaddict101

    "Originally Posted by hockeyaddict101
    In his comments he takes shots at this board"

    then I see this response

    "Originally Posted by Bryanbryoil
    Please feel free to post a link, because if he talked **** about the whole board I will not read anything from ON from here on out (what a huge change that would be ) and others should do the same and he can fall even farther down the media totem pole until he's delivering newspapers for scratch."

    and then hockeyaddict101's response as she probably noticed that in fact there was no smearing of HFboards by Robin on this article or comment section

    "Originally Posted by hockeyaddict101
    I would have to go through every Brownlee article and the comments and I don't have the stomach for it and I noticed already that some comments made last night insulting this board are not there anymore.

    My IQ points go down every time I read his immature responses to anyone that deigns to actually disagree with him.

    His response to me was mellow compared to how he talks to people in his comments!"

    It looks to me that the asswipe can't read or comprehend very well as she is now implying stuff that isn't true. Good work at discrediting yourself HA!

  • Harlie

    "I didn't see Nik Khabibulin at the rink this morning, but at the start of practice there was a table of jerseys and photos laid out for him to sign. By the time reporters wandered down to the dressing room after the skate, the stuff was autographed."

    ~ When Nik was asked later how he finished all the autographing so quickly and without anyone seeing him he replied with a one word response. "Speed". ~