GDB 4.0: LOOKING TO END A STREAK

After a convincing 4-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on opening night, the Oilers have played two consecutive unemotional, unable-to-complete-a-pass and soft-on-the-forecheck type of games. Whether they can complete consecutive passes tonight is still a mystery, but there should be no lack of emotion or grit when they drop the puck on the second installment of the Battle of Alberta.

The Oilers couldn’t end a 13-game losing streak in Minnesota on Thursday, and tonight they play at the Saddledome where they have lost five straight and haven’t won since Oct 17th, 2008. When you’ve missed the playoffs for four straight years, there’s a good chance the Oilers could end some sort of losing streak every week, but tonight is a great test to see if these Oilers are ready to compete physically.

The Flames aren’t going to out-skill many teams; two shutouts in three games has the Flames shooting more blanks than any fighting scene in The Other Guys. The Flames first line of Jarome Iginla/Olli Jokinen/Alex Tanguay has combined for zero points. Maybe Tom Renney was on to something when he kept putting Jim Vandermeer and Theo Peckham out against Iginla and company after an Oiler PP in game one?..I keed I keed. But they way they are playing, I don’t think Renney will be too nervous if his 3rd pairing sees a few shifts v. Iginla tonight.
 
Some were wondering if Tom Renney would juggle his lines tonight, but it looks like he’ll start with the same lines as the frist three games, but if they struggle to produce some offensive chances, look for Renney to move some guys around. It sounds like he will dress Steve MacIntyre tonight, which shows me Renney wants to make sure the Flames don’t get too stupid or try to intimidate the young kids on the road.
 

OILERS LINEUP

 
Penner-Gagner-Hemsky
Hall-Horcoff-Eberle
Paajarvi-Cogliano-Brule
MacIntyre-Fraser-Jones(Stortini)
 
Whitney-Foster
Smid-Gilbert
Vandermeer-Peckham
 
Khabibulin 

FLAMES LINEUP

 
Brent Sutter will tweak his lineup tonight, as he should, with only three goals in three games.
 
Tanguay-Stajan-Iginla
Hagman-Jokinen-Morrison
Glencross-Backlund-Jackman
Conroy-Meyer-Sutter
 
He will also sit out rookie TJ Brodie and play Cory Sarich for the first time.
 
Giordano-Sarich
Bouwmeester-Staios
Regehr-White
 
Kiprusoff 

QUICK NOTES

  • It is early, but the Oilers have been getting great production from their backend. They nine points from their blueliners so far, although only Gilbert has a goal. The Flames don’t have one point from their backend so far.
     
  • Foster hasn’t gotten comfortable yet. He needs to shoot more. So far he seems more content looking for the slap pass, rather than just letting it fly. He has a great shot, and he needs to start using it.
     
  • MacIntyre needs to intimidate and set the tone with his shoulders, not his fists tonight. Jackman would fight him if he had to, but tonight MacIntyre and either Jones or Stortini need to keep the Flames on their toes. In the home opener the 4th line set the tone early with some big hits and will need to do the same tonight.
     
  • While the Flames can’t score, Kiprusoff hasn’t been great either with a .890 SV%. He was really good v. the Oilers, but he hasn’t been great in any game. The Oilers need to get traffic in front of him early.
     
  • Paajarvi needs to be better in the corners. His backchecking, skating and effort has been good except he hasn’t won many battles for pucks in the offensive zone.
     
  • Not to harp on the obvious, but "win some %^&*$&* faceoffs" is what Renney should be saying in the room tonight.
     
  • It must be the letter C. Cogliano has five goals v. Columbus, four v. Chicago and three v. Calgary and Colorado. He might show up offensively tonight.
     
  • Gagner also likes playing the Flames. He has five career goals v. Calgary. The only team he has scored more against is Colorado (9).
     
  • Khabibulin has dominated the Flames in his career going 23-7-3. Next closest is LA and St. Louis where he has 19 wins.

After two snoozefests, let’s hope the Oilers at least make the game entertaining tonight. Regardless of the score I’d like to see a few tilts, big hits, nice goals and some animosity. The Flames should be pissed after a 35-minute closed-door meeting yesterday, followed by a 24 minute no-puck skate. The Oilers will need to match the Flames emotion/anger tonight.

SAY WHAT???

I’ve been reading all over twitter this morning, from MSM guys, that Joe Thornton could have gotten more than the three-year $21-million extension he signed with San Jose this morning had he waited until July 1st.

Are you kidding me?

Name the teams that would have lined up to pay a guy more than $7 million a year, who has never taken his team close to the Stanley Cup? Thornton is the posterboy for "can’t win the big one". He also doesn’t score enough goals to be a true impact player in my mind.

He has yet to prove he can carry he team on his back, or score the big goal in the playoffs. He should be pumped the Sharks gave him $21 million over three seasons.

Has Thornton made any of his teammates that much better? I can think of Jonathon Cheechoo for two years and that is it. Thornton is great regular season player, but has yet to be a true impact player in crunch time.  

SEE WHAT THE FLAMESNATION IS SAYING HERE

"The Auld Enemy make their first visit to the Moneypit this evening, fresh off a haphazard performance in St. Paul Thursday night that lead to their first loss of the season. The first meeting between these two clubs gave most folks that cheer for the Flames a bad case of agita, but from what I’ve seen of Edmonton since last week, it isn’t because they’re particularly good." – Robert Cleave flamesnation.ca

  • Milli

    I think Thorton could have gotten more, but I do not think he is worth it. The guy cannot get it done at crunch time.

    Hope this game is awesome, maybe 4 – 0 again!!! Some big tilts, let’s go boys!

  • Hemmertime

    Though props to Big Joe, he signed early. He probably enjoys the SJ weather, the lack of being lynched for playoff losses every year, and believes they have a chance at winning.

    He (probably) could have gotten more on UFA but he got all of that junk out of the way early in the season. Now we don’t have to listen to “Thornton for X” trade rumors near the deadline when he has no intention of going anywhere.

  • Rogue

    JG, whats the word on Brule? Ankles don’t heal quickly, he should be sitting out and getting healthy. This is another by product of keeping 3 goalies around. It limits you a 14th forward. And what benefit is this to DD and JDD, not playing does nothing for development and confidence.

  • Hemmertime

    “Has Thornton made any of his teammates that much better? I can think of Jonathon Cheechoo for two years and that is it. Thornton is great regular season player, but has yet to be a true impact player in crunch time. “

    Are you serious? Has he made anyone better? He is the prime example of making your teammates better, only other one that does so as much is Crosby. Thornton is the #1 scorer in the NHL since the lockout (still up 10 pts at start of this season on Ovechkin and Crosby). He definitely could have gotten more than 7. Well, GMs are starting to be smarter under the cap system – it might be slightly harder than 2-3 years ago but he could easily find 7.5-8.5. Especially if he is willing to accept a term of three years at 31 years old. Rick Nash never won anything and hes at 7.8 cap hit (side note: Thornton would look beautiful playing with Nash). Spezza, 7 mil, Drury, 7 mil (though I hate to use him as example). I dont see how “winning the cup” has a huge effect on salary, might make a 200-500k different but when Thornton cut himself shorts 1-1.5 mil I don’t think it was a factor.

    Big Joe is one of the top 3 C in the league. If people want to argue that point, he is unarguably in the top 6.

    *Edit, forgot about Drury’s cup in COL, if he was there at the time. But I dont think the fact “Drury won the cup being a peon to Sakic and Forsberg 12 years ago” factored into his retarded salary.

    • Jason Gregor

      My main point was which GMs would give him more than 7 million at his age. You didn’t come up with one.

      I don’t care how many points he has garnered in the regular season, in the playoffs he has yet to carry his team. That is what matters most.

      Sure he is a productive player, but why would anyone pay him more than 7 million?? Why?

      That was my point. He didn’t make this huge sacrifice by taking only 7 million, because come July 1st I don’t see anyone paying him more. He sacrificied length, MAYBE, but not more money per season.

      Good on him for doing it, but if I’m starting an NHL team tomorrow, he isn’t in my top 15 players…and not worth more than 7 million.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        “My main point was which GMs would give him more than 7 million at his age. You didn’t come up with one.”

        Impossible to say, he never got to July 1.

        “Sure he is a productive player, but why would anyone pay him more than 7 million?? Why?”

        Why did Kovalchuck get 100 million? I haven’t checked out next years UFA crop, but I’d bet theirs not going to be a pile of high end offense available, so the couple of guys that are, will likely cash in.

        I think one thing for sure, high end guys are always going to get paid more then we think they should when they hit the open market.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Interestingly enough almost every player that came to the Pens (or left the Pens) put up almost the exact same numbers before and after Crosby.

  • SumOil

    The Oilers staff should make a montage of the 06 playoffs. Every Oiler on that roster came to play, hit everything that moved and made passes haha
    But in all seriousness who from the top 9 of the Oilers is physical enough and can change a game from a hit? Jones? who knows if he is good enough to play top 9, Brule? and hes hurt right now so he may not be hitting everything as hard as he can.
    Tamby addressed the touhgness situation this summer but I still do not believe they are tough enough up front to be a good playoff team

  • SumOil

    “It must be the letter C. Cogliano has five goals v. Columbus, four v. Chicago and three v. Calgary and Colorado. He might show up offensively tonight”

    make him captain!!

  • Dutchscooter

    You know, there are 6 Canadian teams in the league, or, as I like to call them, the “Original Six”. Don’t you think that’s a good nickname for our six Canadian teams, the “Original Six”? Anyone on board with me there? Any takers?
    Does anyone on here want a re-do on the Taylor Hall draft pick? Would you take Tyler Seguin yet? That would be a good poll to put up in a few more weeks. I’m keeping one evil eye on that boys progress for sure. Don’t judge me, just throwing that into the wind, just a topic of interest, not saying anything by that, just interesting, thats all.
    If we beat Calgary one more time this year I will be so happy. Don’t give them any confidence now, at this crucial point in their morale levels.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    how much intensity will you see sometimes when you have two poor teams playing against each other?

    The Flames Should be ready to spit nails given their start but they very well could be a poor team and there’s a better-than-average chance that the Oilers will be a very poor team.

    So, BOA or not, I’m unconvinced this is going to be a good game just because of geography.

    Sometimes a map has nothing to do with talent levels or lack of experience.

  • SumOil

    So the Oilers lose one game and we don’t throw all of our lines in a blender and Macblend them all to crap? How is a team supposed to develop chemistry that way?
    Sincerely, Craig MacT.
    Gonna go ahead and disagree with you on Jumbo Joe, off the top of my head, here’s a team that would have given him way more on July 1 – The Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, Van Canucks, TO Maple Leafs, and Montreal Canadiens. Are there anymore Canadian teams, did I miss any there? Didn’t think so.

    Sincerely, Reality

  • Horcsky

    @ gregor: But they way they are playing, I don’t think Renney will be too nervous if his 3rd pairing sees a few shifts v. Iginla tonight

    How would you characterize vandermeer’s play so far Jason? By my eye, he has been very suspect in his own end, and with his decision making.

    Peckham has been okay though.

    Edit: I must also disagree with your Joe Thornton comments. Dominant #1 centre that makes players around him better.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    “Has Thornton made any of his teammates that much better?”

    Thorton is one of the only players in the leauge that has actually made (some)his teammates better.

  • SumOil

    Good stuff on Gagner, hopefully he buries one. I’m pumped for the game cause it’s Boys night out.

    Gregor my wife and four of her single friends are going to the women’s show today. They are excited that you are in the bachelor auction…Good luck. Watch out.