ONE IN THE BOOKS: EVERYTHING ALIGNS

Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle flies through the air after scoring his first career goal on the Calgary Flames during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Edmonton October 7, 2010.  REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

I’m not going to throw a wet blanket on the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 waxing of the Calgary Flames because there’s plenty of wannabe deep-thinkers doing it already, cautioning, "It’s only one game" and "Ooh, don’t get carried away." One game constitutes a "short sample size." Derrrrr, the Oilers aren’t going to go 82-0?

Whatever, Poindexter. I’m with Jason Gregor when he says "Soak it in." Chances for Oilers fans to yell their faces off have been few and far between the past four seasons, so there’s nothing wrong with a fist-pump here and hell ya there after what we saw at Rexall Place. Why not?

With Nikolai Khabibulin ridiculously good in his first game in 11 months, the Oilers speed exposing the slow-footed Flames, Jordan Eberle scoring a highlight reel goal and Steve MacIntyre sending a big-time message with his KO of Raitis Ivanans, it was a bit of a perfect storm.

It’s not something that’ll be repeated more than a handful of times by Tom Renney’s outfit this season — only elite teams have all the pieces and put them together like this with any consistency — but what we saw was more dimensions to the Oilers than we have in a long, long time.

We saw possibilities.

WAYS TO WIN

No, this was not a flawless effort. Far from it. Allow 37 shots against a team with more offensive skill than the Flames (just about everybody else in the NHL) and you’ll get a different result most nights. There were too many defensive lapses, even for opening night.

That said, the Oilers showed us some promise in areas that have been woefully wanting in recent seasons.

— Khabibulin’s back might yet become a factor, but rust from his layoff obviously isn’t. His bad contract and all the "KhabbyBoozin" distractions aside, the man can stop pucks.

It doesn’t look like he’ll need 10 or 15 games to re-find his game, and that’ll be critical in getting off to a decent start. Getting out of the gate didn’t do a damn thing for this team last season, but this is a different group. A little success early won’t hurt.

— The Oilers can attack and pressure the puck with more overall speed than they’ve had in a very long time. And there’s some hands attached to that speed. This isn’t a pack of Todd Marchant clones. Eberle’s goal? Ridiculous. Taylor Hall had his chances. He didn’t look the least bit overwhelmed. Some nights he will, as will Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi, but, mercy, they bring some speed and dangle-factor.

— The lines with change as they always do, but it looks to me like the addition of Eberle, Hall and Paajarvi provide Renney some options in his top nine. And who is this No. 10? Who’s that kid? I see some depth.

— The Oilers will be tough enough to protect the kids and dictate how the game is played. MacIntyre’s KO of Ivanans was a jaw-dropping bit of face-breaking, but it happens, as MacIntyre will tell you. What impressed me most was the Oilers willingness to engage and throw down as a team. They didn’t even dress Zack Stortini.

SETTING THE BAR

Teams with reliable goaltending, speed, depth and toughness have a chance to get something done. That’s not a news bulletin. Teams that consistently draw on all those aspects are special teams.

The Oilers remain a long way from being one of those teams. They won’t always get goaltending like that from Khabibulin. Eberle won’t wow ’em with highlight reel goals every night. MacIntyre won’t win every fight, at least not like he did against Ivanans.

My sense, though, is this edition of the Oilers might be capable of putting together those aspects more often and sooner than long-suffering fans and over-cautious tall foreheads-in-training might have thought. That’s just what my old hockey writer’s gut tells me.

Yes, it was only one game, but it was a helluva game that produced two points and the kind of energy and buzz that’s going to sell like hotcakes with a fan base that’s more than willing to buy.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • book¡e

    To those who dont know the TSN segment on the oilers response to eberle’s goal was SATIRE. (a joke) I think it was hilarious and shows a team that’s having a lot of fun playing hockey, which we haven’t seen in Edmonton in years

  • Robin

    I could not agree with you more!!!

    I think that the new Oilers can score 400 goals.

    I think that we can achieve 95 points as a team.

    I think we can win the Northwest.

    I think eberle can get 25 goals and 30 assists.

    I think that Ryan Whitney can be a plus 75

    I think that MPS can be a 60 point man and a plus 20

    I also think that this is a VERY young team and it’s youth and inexperience will really show 20 times a year

    Still think we are in the low 80’s in terms of total points but pray I am wrong. Robin….. Seriously is your head up your ass optimism internally generated or is it as a result of major arm twisting by the Oil??

    Now I want the Oil to win…..always…..but I would also like to be a porn star. Not sure my wishing it is going to make it happen.

    Will say our young guys attacked Calgary first, last and always BUT …..

    • You are considerably more optimistic than I am if you think this team is going to improve by 33 points, which is what 95 represents.

      Like I said in an earlier item, I can see them improving by 20 points or so to get to 82-85, but that’s the top end for 2010-11.

      And I’m not wishing anything. Win or lose, I write the story. Was picking them to finish 12th wildly optimistic?

  • Skidplate

    I hope this group of young men replicates all that was done in 1980-1990.

    I sincerely hope they do it!! Just think we have to wait 3-4 years for it to have realistic possibility.

    Suspect I am a cynic and most Oiler fans are romantics. Often wish I was more of a believer

  • @Dennis

    Cableguy’s shorts are in a knot because you totally missed the point of a tongue in cheek piece… Or you were being tongue in cheek and I missed it.

    @Other John

    Like your last post better than the previous two. I am definitely a romantic when it comes to the Oilers but Brownlee’s picks, although higher than all the others, was still not far off the average of all the other picks save for a differential of 5 points. Although many of the other “teams” had at least seven oilers reaching 40 points, when the players are looked at individually none of them are being projected to score more than they are capable of. When taken as a whole the likelihood of all of them scoring in that range is not likely but that does not mean that Brownlee will be farther off in the average of the average differential than the other predictions.

    • GSC

      I must ask for forgiveness! Not only are these guys good young hockey players but they also pulled the wool over my eyes! I guess being new to this stuff,means I have a lot to learn! I’m SORRY Taylor and Horcs and go Eberle go! I should have watched and read more sports clips.

      Ps ; I still don’t care about perfect grammar,especially on the web!

      • O.C.

        Ps ; I still don’t care about perfect grammar,especially on the web!

        ——

        K, not just to you, but anyone. If you don’t care what the spelling is like, or forgot how to start a new paragraph, that’s all good if you are posting just to read your own thoughts. May I suggest you get out your favorite colour of crayon, scribble your thoughts on a napkin and stick it on the wall across from you, while you are on the throne, dropping a deuce.

        That way we don’t have to endure your scrawl, and you still get to admire your wonderful thoughts.

        But if anyone on here is trying to share a thought for others to (hopefully) decipher, how about a little less “I don’t care” so that rest of us can read it.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Exsqueeze me:

    “Average of the differential than the other predictions” is what I should have wrote. I am new too and still do not know how to edit after posting

  • Oh my god! I hate Taylor Hall and Horcoff.. and Whitney. They are just jealous of Jordan Eberle who, without a doubt, has already won the NHL scoring race. With goals like that, I’m pretty sure he’ll finish with somewhere around 164 goals on the season. Horcoff even displayed jealousy in the game by kneeing Jordan’s second shot in the net. He knew full well what he was doing there, and wanted to steal Jordan’s thunder. Also, MacIntyre showed jealousy too when he knocked out Ivanans. Really, a simple love-tap of a punch would do… but no, he has to go and knock the guy out. That was a very selfish play. Run on sentence. Big giant paragraph. Continuing to talk with no end in sight. Verbal diarrhea.

  • Hemmertime

    The TSN Video is one of the best I’ve seen this year. Absolutely hilarious. And anyone who took it seriously… well, wow. Had me for a few seconds, had the gf fooled till Hall spoke. So used to the old depressing “we lost for the 14th time this month” interviews.

    I really loved seeing it, I prefer this type of comradery to a naked Souray magazine. Only wish they had something from Magnus too, but Horc cracked me up – Hall too. Horcs having fun right now. We need a Greene-Penner combination thing again

  • Slapshot

    As a long time season seat holder, the game last night was awesome!!!.I was tired of Calgary coming into our building these past few years and giving it the the Oilers,if the Oilers play half the year like they did last night,Oilers fans are getting their moneys worth and then some.keep up the great effort. Go Oilers GO!!!

  • WOW – what a game or highlights rather. Gave strict instructions to my son to PVR the game as I was @ Cirque du Soleil (another story and another lost debate with my better half). Got home PVR was full!

    my bb buzzing the entire show 1-0, 2-0 . . .4-0 FINAL!!! What!!!

    The mantra of this week “soak it in” enjoy – I will.

    Next 30 weeks our mantra will be “hold on tight” we’re in for a wild ride!

    GOILERS

  • Wax Man Riley

    Great game, great move….i was stunned and sitting on the couch giggling for 10 minutes after (also through the Hemsky goal).

    I have to say, and please comment if you noticed, after Eberle’s “second goal” (that went off of Horcoff), how awesome was it to see Taylor Hall skate over to be the first one to bear-hug him in celebration. Hall was sincerely happy for him. No actual animosity at all. It’s great to see the sense of camaraderie already.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Funniest segment I’ve seen on TSN in a long time…what an awesome night!

    Love my Oilers, whether we finish 82-0 or we finish dead last in the league again. Man, are they fun to watch again! 😀

  • Stone Hands McOsta

    “That was supposed to be my debut….I don’t even know what he got drafted, like 22nd 4 years ago??”

    LOL! Brilliant story done up by Rishaug and TSN!!

    Think we would have seen a lighter sided story like this within the last 4 years? Not a chance.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    …thx skidplate much appreciated…

    this IS hijinx like no other…the stuff ‘the boys’ did back in the day was pretty good but THIS? was priceless!!!

    10 & 4 with the deadpan faces?… wow!

    Rishaug… nominated for an ESPY …

    a sage in our midst might say “well played”

    methinks yes

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      Taylor Hall may be a better actor than a hockey player, he looked genuinely upset.

      Best thing I’ve seen on TSN in years!

      If the Oilers can keep having this much fun success will follow!

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    The next guy from Calgary who should be Ko.D is Robin Regeahr. He needs to know that when he hits Hemsky, he should be looking in the rerar view mirror.

  • Sounds like you are sheep to the “number” guys who drink each other’s bathwater. And Staples is far from an MSM guy…

    You don’t like MSM guys, that is fine, so then why bother posting on here. And Tyler is a whiny guy, who rips Brownlee for his picks and then doesn’t even put up any to counter it. How lame.

  • Heavyd

    Wow good for you.

    But do we have your picks yet?

    No I guess your scared to get judged on your picks.

    I would hate for you to be my lawyer, Cause if you are like this in a courtroom no way you ever win a case.