Oilers Vs. Stars Postgame: Dubnyk Should Try Centre

Oilers: 3

Stars:: 6

There was a point, as the second period drew to a close, that I was really glad I was watching this game.  The Stars had come out strong in the first, thumping on the Oilers and controlling every aspect of the game, but the Oilers had shown some fire by coming back in the second and dominating in their own right.  Then the third period happened, and the Oilers went back to getting stomped on.

Oilers Three Stars, According To Me

1. Dustin Penner.  Penner took over the game in the second period, scoring one goal, assisting on another and looking dangerous every step of the way.  He’s set career highs in points and assists already, but watching him creep up to the 30-goal mark is one of the remaining storylines worth following. 

2. Ryan Whitney.  I can’t recall Whitney looking so dangerous offensively, and I winced a little when he rang a howitzer off the post.  He was credited with three shots in the game (though I’d have sworn he had more) and every time he fired the puck he put everything he had into it.  In the third period he coughed the puck up but then pursued it all the way back to the defensive zone and took it right back.

3. Zack Stortini.  There are nights where I watch Stortini play and marvel at how good a hockey player the guy has turned into.  Tonight, for instance, Stortini’s forechecking drew a penalty (the Stars defenceman was scared of the hit and threw the puck over the glass) a couple of giveaways, and one big shiny hit.  He was his usual nasty self in the scrums, and for an energy forward can play hockey a little bit too.  Took a two minute minor on a bizarre call to end the game; he made some kind of comment and ended up in the box.

The Sunshine Jason Strudwick Report

Everybody here knows how I feel about Jason Strudwick, and he had a fairly typical game tonight.  However, in the interests of doing something different I present the first sunshine report, where I ignore any errors and focus entirely on the positive.  Strudwick had a great fight with Brian Sutherby fairly early in the game, and he was throwing punches with gusto and ended up winning the bout.  Also, at one point in the second period he chased Mike Ribeiro all the way out of the Oilers end and across the red line.

The Never Ending Injury Saga

There were a few contestants tonight on the Oilers’ quest to end the season with the entire lineup from the Stockton Thunder.  Ryan Jones went into the boards after being hit from behind by Mark Fistric (in Fistric’s defence, Jones turned at the last minute) but got up and looked okay.  Andrew Cogliano went down awkwardly while skating full tilt, but returned to the game looking none the worse for wear.  But the winning contestant was Gilbert Brule, who was perhaps overdue; so far this year the forward, whose career has been heavily impacted by injury, has tiptoed through the season-ending injury minefield, but that ended tonight.

Brule was knocked into the net by Brian Sutherby in the first and appeared to twist his ankle after lodging his skate in Kari Lehtonen’s pad; he left favouring his right leg and did not return to the game.

Odds And Ends

Andrew Cogliano continues to confuse me.  The assortment of physical skills, starting with his skating, are obvious, as is his gumption, but for whatever reason he’s always a bit of a question mark on the ice, oscillating between good and bad and looking lost defensively.  He was no different tonight, at times looking incredibly bullish with the puck and dangerous offensively, and at other times gift-wrapping the puck for the opposition or going flying off incidental looking hits.  If he was Russian, we’d be using the word "enigmatic" a lot.

Tom Gilbert might have had the biggest hit I’ve ever seen him throw tonight; unfortunately a moment later Dallas scored, rendering what had been a nice moment sort of pointless.

Interesting to here Penner admit that on his goal he’d missed an assignment and been bailed out by a nice play by Ryan Potulny.  Penner’s easily the best interview on a team with some good ones; he combines self-awareness with the willingness to say things other players might be hesitant to.

801 career assists for Mike Modano, too many of which have come against the Oilers.  I’ve got nothing against the player personally, but the late-90’s/early-00’s have left me thinking that the sooner his retirement comes, the better.  He’s as pure an Oiler-killer as there is.

The way Devan Dubnyk played tonight, the Oilers might have been better off starting him at centre.  In some ways, this is a good thing: he will almost certainly clear waivers next year, and while he’s got some upside he looks raw enough that another AHL season won’t hurt.

  • Moop

    I watched an ESPN produced show called 30 for 30 with the title Kings Ransom. Its about the Gretzky trade and includes interveiws and coverage I had never seen before. It was really well done and recommend finding it on isohunt or whatever your torrent site of choice is.

  • Must say I heard a captain in the making last night. If you have not heard Whitney's comments on the performance they had, it gave me goosebumps. Another positive to look forward to next year, lets just hope that his foot isnt anything serious.

  • Whitney maybe next years playing coach the way he is ripping the Oilers apart ? Did not take him long to express and assess the Oilers . I guess going with Lillyputs(smurfs ) and AHL'ers experiment may be coming to a close ? On the chopping block may be all the smurfs including Gags , Cogs , Nilsson, Brule , etc. – for none are that good either offensively or defensively . Eberle and O'Mark will be given their shot to see if he can do better than last ones in making enough of an impression to crack top six offensively or defensively . Then again ,who i am kidding , the Oilers will continue this failed experiment and try and build around the underachieving smurfdom , adding even more . I wonder if Oilers will promote the entire AHL team to the NHL squad next season so as they can build a winning team in Oklahoma next season ? Then maybe Katz could move team south while we have team already to go to AHL ? O.O. (Oklahoma Oilers ) has a nice ring to it .

  • Pajamah

    You know, I hear Facebook has a tremendous Oiler fan group where you can post all sorts of inane crap and atleast have some people find it fascinating.

    Props are all well and good, but we need negatives to throw out too, and monthly, the person with the lowest total gets ridiculed beyond belief

    *instantly realized I may qualify*

  • @ madjam

    Just goes to show, opinions are like a$$holes. Everybody's got one, and most of them stink on closer inspection. You, my friend, need a long soak in a pool far away from here!

    Take this season for what it is, cheer your team on every game (now that 30th is locked up), and hope and pray that Tambo and Co. make some good decisions going forward!

    And yes, I realize there is thus far little reason to expect good decisions based on the evidence so far…..

    *firmly places rose-colored glasses on face and goes back to solving all the Oils woes on NHL 10*

    Goilers!!

  • KatzKidsJewFro

    Why does everybody constantly talk about getting rid of Gagner like he is some failed project. Look at the people he was drafted with excluding Patrick Kane. Turris can't crack a team that although is having a good season has few offensive stars. Van Riemsdyk is sitting at around 35 pts in his rookie season even though he is 2 yrs older than Gagner was when he made the jump. Voracek and Sutter have both had decent success. Other than that pretty much nothing. Im just sick of people who want to give up on a kid who is so young.

  • Moop

    I was on the highway last night so I didn't get to see the game. Did anyone notice how LInglet played? Or would JWs lack of mentioning him be a good indicator that he was invisible?

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I missed the game as well but watching the highlights one thing really stood out to me, did anyone else notice that at the end of the fight Strudwick cradled the guys head as the were going down so he didn't crack it on the ice?

    And on a sad note for me, i'm on my way to Calgary tomorrow for the first time…

    *cradles knees to chest and rocks back and forth*

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Are the vaunted Flames looking like they are trying to pull an Oiler cinderella season to the Cup , out of the hat ? Not that i would say anything contraversial or against the status quo . Does anyone out there feel the Oilers won't gut the Oiler smurfdom ?

    • I like the way you think. I bet if the Oilers dump Cogliano, Gagner, and Brule and replace them with MacIntyre, Laraque, and Boogard we will be a much better team!

      I hate small players. Why do they even let players under 6 feet in the league? The NHL would be so much better without Crosby, Parise, St. Louis, Kane, and Zetterberg!

      Drop the smurf talk. The team isnt screwed because it has small players. It's screwed because of the AHL defense, the AHL goaltending, and the lack of any kind of leadership. Having more players over 6 feet wont help any of those issue. It certainly wont hurt to get larger bodied players with skill, but why should adding those players be coupled with dumping the small guys who also have skill?

      You're throwing out names like Gagner, Cogliano and Brule as the guys we need to drop. Why not O'Sullivan, Nilsson, and Comrie? You know, the guys without bright futures.

      I dont understand your facination with gutting the team of what little talent there actually is.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      I'm having trouble figuring out where one topic ends and the other begins or is it all just one topic about the flames getting bigger and winning the Stanley cup or maybe since the oilers won't gut the oilers smurfdom maybe they could smurf the flames kingdoms while simultaneously winning the stanley cup and naming Devan Dubnyk conn smythe winner for defeating papa smurf in a smurf off after smurfing his smurf while then going against status quo and watching a care bears marathon

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      after running this through my handy croatian to english translator during my attempt to figure out wtf you are going on about, the result is copy/pasted below.

      if madjam type lots of words, madjam look smart. if madjam cant spell any words, madjam look smarter. madjam has no point, madjam has no clue

      everything has suddenly become clear.

      thanks madjam!!!

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      Are you an imbecile or is this an act? Either way, I grow weary of your 750-word paragraphs. Punctuation aside, it takes far fewer words than that to say nothing, which is what you do post after post after post after post after post . . .

      As my friend Melvin once said: "Where do they teach you to talk like this? In some Panama City "Sailor wanna hump-hump" bar, or is it getaway day and your last shot at his whiskey? Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here."

  • i agree with that guy the- oilers, looking to get better wont until everyone on the team? is over 15 feet tall. skill doesn't do anything in this league not with $katz$ owning the team new arena bad fix potholes ASAp

  • Lofty

    Smurfdom isn't the problem… the style of the players is.

    I wouldn't be worried about the height and weight of the players if they played the game differently.

    For example Brule is small, skilled and undersized by NHL standards but he still gets the job done physically. He doesn’t lay people out or go head hunting but he does play the body and make the opposition move the puck. By no means am I saying that he's the be all and end all of the Oilers but he is the lightest guy on the team at 180lbs. Guys like O'Sullivan, Nilsson, Pisani, Gagner, Cogliano and Hemsky are what make the roster ineffective and seem very small.

    These guys can put points up and look good with the puck but they don’t help the team gain possession, create turnovers and win games in bunches. I'm not saying guys like Hemsky or Gagner are the problem but you can’t have so many non physical players in the lineup no mater what there height and weight is.

    Mike Richards is 5'11" and less than 200 lbs but nobody accuses him of being a smurf.

    • Wanyes bastard child

      Ha ha. Hit the beer early? The repeat paragraph had me completely screwed up.

      There's no doubt that a players height and weight don't necessarily translate into how they play. I think the biggest thing for the oilers is balancing which of their forwards they are willing to carry on with and which are expendable. They also need to balance that with which players will give them the best return when they are moved. It's pretty simple, right? Right?!?

      And then of course balance that with a rabid fan base that expects them to be a contender next year solely by adding a high draft pick and moving out as many small forwards as possible. I'm glad I'm not Steve tambellini. He's in a tough spot no matter what he does. If he moves three or four young, small players- and they turn out to be more effective on another team than the players he keeps- then people will be calling for his job.

      • Lofty

        I'm in Augusta, GA (big week coming up!) so yeah by 7:00est I'v had a couple and by now its more than that… The edit button was a hell of an addition!

        Thats exactly whats gonna happen when Cogs is moved. He's gonna do good things wherever he ends up, sadly.

        My goat to start the season was Moreau and eventhough his suck level has been high the crap from POS is even more impressive. He can float with the best of'em. In my opinion he's exaclty what the team doesnt need and what they need to get rid of.

        Now if Tambo could trade POS for M. Richards straight up he might get the key to the city (or a nice corner office in the new building.)

        Fingers crossed!

  • RE: Linglet

    I wasn't all that impressed with what he did on the ice. Good on him for being a trooper on another lousy Falcons team, and getting some NHL gametime, but his debut was less impressive than some of the other callups we've seen (McDonald, O'Marra, Plante).

    • Jodes

      Actually I thought O'Marra's callup was pretty much similar, a warm body in the lineup that really doesn't belong, but due to injuries is in the lineup "to see what they've got".

      I guess the chances of us seeing Eberle are pretty much gone now eh Jon?