GDB 15.0: A HEAVYWEIGHT MATINEE

Exciting Last Place hockey continues this morning with the Oilers wrapping up a five-game road trip with a stop at MSG to take on the Rangers. A win would give the Oilers five points on the trip, and "technically" a .500 record, so you’d hope they come out with the same vigor they had in New Jersey on Friday night. One thing you can be sure of is that Derek Boogaard and Steve MacIntyre will drop the gloves today.

After the Oilers home loss to the Canucks on November 2nd, I was walking back from the Canucks room to the media room and I ran into MacIntryre. He hadn’t practiced for a few days and I thought it was due to the flu, but it turned out he had tweaked his back doing some "light" 275 pound deadlifts.

I asked him how he felt and if he’d be ready for the five game road trip. "I’ll be fine. I have to be. I have a date in New York," he said with a smile. I’m not the brightest guy, but it didn’t take me long to figure out what he meant. MacIntyre wants to test himself against the biggest punchers in the league, and they don’t come much bigger than Boogaard; especially when the stage is MSG.

I can’t imagine what it would feel like for MacIntyre and Boogaard as they prepare for today’s game. Boogaard has watched the tape of Raitis Ivanans getting KO’ed by MacIntyre. The excitement, fear and trepidation that will be running through SmacIntyre will be flowing just as quickly through the Boogieman.

LEGENDARY FIGHTS

Before Don King and Bob Arum came along, MSG was known as the boxing mecca. Some of the greatest and most controversial fights have been staged in MSG. The epic battle and surprise ending of Ken Buchanan and Roberto Duran was fought there.

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And so was The Fight of The Century, between Ali and Frazier. –That’s what the first fight between the two was dubbed, and their third and final fight was the Thrilla in Manilla–.

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I’m not saying today’s tilt will go down in history as one of the greatest, but it will be one of the most anticipated in the NHL this year. Considering the rest of the Oiler team has shown little signs of grit or toughness in the past three games it might spark them to play with some semblance of energy and emotion.

LINEUPS…DOES IT REALLY MATTER

There was no morning skate this morning, and I wrote this last night prior to heading out to a family function, so I don’t know who is starting in goal for the Oilers. If I’m Tom Renney, I play Devan Dubnyk again after a solid outing in New Jersey, and then go with Nikolai Khabibulin at home v. Chicago, who he has already beaten twice this season.

Line combination don’t mean much at this juncture. There are lots of guys who need to play better, so I expect Renney to continue trying new combinations with the hope a few of them will find some chemistry.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers are 5-3-4-2 in New York since winning the Cup in 1990, with those four ties actually being ties. They won 3-2 in a shootout in their last visit to MSG with a strong performance from Jeff Deslauriers. Dubnyk matches that performance this afternoon and the Oilers pick up a surprising 3-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers broadcast will feature snippets from Boys on the Bus, specifically the Jari Kurri scene when he walks off the bus and looks around with that weird look of awe, bewilderment and confusion on his face. They will compare Kurri’s reaction to this year’s crop of kids when they visited Time Square.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS PREDICTION: After the anticipated superheavyweight bout occurs, and it will be a decent tilt, Theo Peckham and Brandon Prust steal the show with a light-heavyweight slobberknocker that sees Peckham win on the basis that his stache looks exactly like the older Julius in Remember the Titans at the funeral of Gerry Bertier.

  • Horcsky

    Should the Oilers respond to cheap shots with cheap shots?

    I have to say yes. The Oilers get no respect around the league. Teams purposely play them physical because they’ve developed a reputation over the last few years of being soft. Teams know that physical play will: A) come with little to no retribution and B) Will intimidate the Oilers away from making hard plays and they will turn away from contact, leaving more room for their opponents to make plays and carry the puck. Tortarella’s game plan sure looked like it hinged on physical play.

    Robyn Regher is an example of a player who has keyed on this, and makes a point of running Hemsky (and our other skilled players), sometimes outside the rules, knowing that nothing is going to happen to him, and guys not named Hemsky (who takes contact like a man and comes back for more) won’t be as likely to try and make plays the next shift.

    • DoubleJ

      Hemsky’s part of this. He’s a primary member of the absentee leadership on this team. I agree with the trade idea though; I suspect he’s become pretty accustomed to losing and is always a clean body check away from a long stint on the IR.

  • DoubleJ

    Who’s call is it to call players up? Is it Tambi or Renney? I don’t understand how they can continue to play these guys on Defense.

    Renney continues to say this is a learning year. BS. The defense and goaltending is the problem not the rookies. The defense is learning how to play? What the f are the young guys supposed to learn from playing with these guys?

    Last time I checked Gilbert, Strudwick and Vandermeer have been in the NHL for a while. I’d rather have some young guys actually learning from their mistakes then these A-holes standing around.

  • So, uhhhh, there was a game today??? What the?

    Looks like it was a good one to miss, although I’m just now seeing the line brawl/Sean Avery ass**lery. I honestly hope he gets cross checked in the throat. What a waste of skin.

  • It’s also hilarious how many of you are bitching and complaining and mashing on the panic button. “FIREY RENNEY! FIRE TAMBO! FIRE THE ENTIRE BLUE LINE!” Is it too much to ask for some common sense? (Actually who am I kidding, of course it is).

    Every single one of us knew this team was finishing in the bottom five. Sure a string of games where the team gives up 6+ goals a night makes things look way worse, but if they were only losing 4-1 they’d still count in the L column.

    Every needs to settle the hell down and just let it happen. Although the starting Khabby AGAIN, to let in 8 goals AGAIN!!! is a bit of a head scratcher and is making me question a lot of things.

      • I’ve been making the same joke for the last couple days that Katz has a bounty on the head of anyone connected to the organization that says anything bad about him. But at this point I’m getting a horribly eery feeling that I might be right………

        *preemptively takes out his tinfoil hat making kit*

        • Horcsky

          Also, I try not to be too much one of the bipolars, but even I had some pretty good rage after this game. You really should check it out if you can. It really angries up the blood. Just like a good sarsaparilla

          • Like I said, I picked the correct day to have no idea there was a game on. My apartment was thoroughly trashed last season and it’s just now getting back to livable conditions.
            And besides, my Sunday’s have already been crappy enough this year thanks to those god forsaken Cowboys.

    • Zamboni Driver

      I would you should watch the gongshow first, then guzzle your koolaid not criticize those who watched and are more than rightly concerned.

      Btw do not recall anyone saying fire Renney. And sorry but the whole blueline SHOULD be fired.

      • I’m not sure what that entire first sentence means, but I’ll try.

        I think an 8-2 boxscore is more than enough for me to figure out it was a crappy game for the SS Oil. I’m not saying no one should criticize the team. I’ll be the first one to say this is a terrible, terrible hockey team. But that doesn’t change the fact that we all knew this was a terrible, terrible hockey team before the season even started. So sorry if I’m having a hard time understanding why people are freaking out over something they knew was going to happen.

        It’s like me asking you if I can punch you in the face, you saying yes, and then getting mad at me for punching you in the face.

        Criticize the team all you want but don’t act so surprised/angry when our crappy defense goes out and plays like a crappy defense.

        • Zamboni Driver

          Now that I agree with (and bad first sentence = iphone fingers)….the team IS as bad as it was going to be from the beginning.

          I’m just sick of being okay with it.

          This is 4000 years in a row we’ve had to ‘be patient’, ‘this is a process’…this ‘braintrust’ brought us an immovable pu$$y Gilbert contract (worse now than Horcoff IMO), signed Strudwick again (why, why why?) and made mad puppy love with the whole Souray situation.

          And today was rock bottom.

          I should tell you…..’we’ were up 2-1.
          Seriously.

          • And that’s a fair enough point. I think we’re all sick of it, but again we knew there was going to be growing pains to deal with, just maybe not this many in a row.

            The bi-polarness of the fan base is what I’m frustrated with the most and it’s on days like this that it just comes to a head. I don’t fault anyone for being mad after another blow out. What is that like 3 in the last 5 games? But I just wish people would keep in mind that this team was always destined to suck, and there’s really not a whole lot that can be done about it this year. I hope they start moving guys back and forth between the farm and the big club, because clearly there’s guys on the NHL squad that probably shouldn’t even be in the AHL. But unless they do something hasty and sell off some of the future this year to move up, what, 3 spots in the standings, we’re just going to have to deal with the cards we’re dealt, as crappy as they may be.

            And today was not rock bottom. This team hit rock bottom like a year ago.

            I say we just all take a breath, and just ride this wave out until the draft.

            EDIT: And also, I think we should all keep in mind that we’re only 16 god damn games into the season. There is still PLENTY of time for this team to dust itself off and finish the season in a respectable manner. Fist things fist, they need to start shifting personnel around. And if someone just happened to ice the crap out of Khabby’s side walk, well I’m sure we’d be okay with that too.

    • O.C.

      Thanks Jeanshorts. Try to forget the only reason they had to embrace the rebuild in the first place is because the current management group couldn’t put together a competitive roster and then tell me with a straight face you think Tambo is the guy to lead them out of it.

      The danger is not in getting another early draft pick; the danger is in demoralizing the three rooks by surrounding them with a bunch of gutless, compete-free veterans who have been conditioned to accept losing.

      There’s more than one way to rebuild; throwing your future out there with a group of borderline NHLers, convicted felons and paycheque players is probably not the best way to do it. But I’ll just tow the party line if it’s easier.

      • I think it’s pretty cute that even though I’ve said numerous times that this is a horrible hockey team, and that Khabby’s been a joke of goalie, Gilbert is a p*ssy, our D is atrocious, there’s at least 3 guys if not more wasting roster spots on the big club, etc, etc, etc, that I’m still “towing the company line” or “drinking the kool-aid” somehow.

        I don’t know if Tambo is the guy to turn this ship around, and as the season progresses he looks less and less likely to have a job within the next two seasons or less. But I do know that we’re only 16 games into the season, a season that, me personally anyway, knew was going to be a wash before training camp started, and these kinds of horrible games are to be expected.

        If you think that a losing season is somehow going to ruin the careers or stunt the development of the young kids then I honestly have no idea what I’m supposed to say. You’re a lost cause.

        And last time I checked a DUI wasn’t a felony.

        • In fairness to you, I think my “party line” reference reflects my frustration with the daily barrage of “fans are onside with the rebuild” on local sports radio. I guess I am. Kind of. Because there is no alternative.

          Dude, there’s a reason some teams are terrible for extended periods of time. Losing often begets more losing. If it becomes a conditioned part of the team culture, it’s pretty hard to shake off. It’s not just losing, it’s how you lose. There’s a reason the phrase “the Clipper stink” has been applied to a player like Blake Griffin in his rookie season. I don’t want to see the kids have the “oiler stink” we’ve seen the last few seasons, namely a lack of effort and compete.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      you are so sexy when you are right.

      everyone with half a brain knew this team was going to be bad this year. Now 15 games in and people are calling for firings? Scotty bowman could be behind the bench this year and the Oilers dont do much better.

      My theory is this: let tambo and the crew run the team into the ground, get a few top 3 picks. Fire tambo and the crew and bring in someone that can actually do the job.

      Let the oilers be the suckiest sucks that ever sucked. I WILL watch every game this year, blow out or not, knowing that short term pain will be worth it when this team is (hopefully) a contender in a few years.

      Now, that said, if things are still like this in another 3 years, i will be pissed….and need a new liver

      • A lot of people seem to have forgotten that while the team has been piss poor for so long, it wasn’t until last year that the management FINALLY figured out that going after high priced free agents and trying to fill holes with cheese cloth wasn’t working and that they should probably look at going about things in a new direction. Last year was year 0. It’s going to take a little time.

        But I can’t completely fault people for having some of the sentiment that they do though. This team has shown that they can compete and can play really exciting hockey. So when they do lose this badly it stings that much more.

        I just think it’s ridiculous to cry over spilled milk, especially 16 games in.

  • Ryan14

    The Oilers are one #1 d-man away from not having the problems on the back end.
    In 3-4 years, they could have

    _______*-Whitney

    Peckham-Gilbert/Marancin

    Smid-Foster (plus all the others in the system that could come up)

    Not amazing, but could be respectable.

    *What rhymes with Larsson?

      • When I was watching the highlights of the post-Avery shenanigans I wasn’t sure weather to laugh or vomit when I saw everyone getting into it, and then here comes Gilbert watching from a safe distance. I know he’s a soft player but that’s ridiculous. Fraser was taking on like half the Rangers bench for Wanye’s sake! At least grab someone and make it look like you give a crap.

        • a lg dubl dubl

          If you think thats bad check out what he does when the pucks in the oilers zone OMFG!! lol. All i’d like the defence to do in front of the net is what Pronger does, I hate the guy i really do, but at least he knew how to clear the front of the net when opposing players/puck is there

      • Ryan14

        Well he signed a 6 year contract extension that took effect in 2008-09, so being here in 3 years is not that unrealistic., especially if his play makes him un-tradable.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I just read that Canadiens Dman Markov might be gone for 3 months, i wonder if the Oilers try to send Gilbert there.

    *drops to knees and prays like never before*

    Gilbert & Cogs for Camellari…

  • DimebagDave

    I’d personally like to see the stats for teams like the Pens, Hawks and Caps from 2,3 or 4 years before they became dominant teams. How many blow outs did they have? Perhaps if someone could compile something like that it might help to slow down or completely stop the whining coming from some of the commenters on here. Jeanshorts is right, we all knew we were gonna suck, and if you weren’t aware of it then you really have no place in commenting on the current state of the team. Of course as a fan it would be nice to see some wins, but a true fan also knows what happens in a rebuild.

      • DimebagDave

        Looks like we are both assuming. It’s gonna be a wait and see kinda thing i suppose. Has there ever been a team that has picked first in the draft 2 years in a row? If so i wonder how they did? looks like its google time

        • From Woodguy’s post at Lowetide’s GDB…

          “You know drafting high is the ticket to success just look at this team:

          1999 – 1st overall
          2000 – 2nd overall
          2001 – 1st overall
          2002 – 2nd overall
          2003 – 8th overall
          2004 – 10th overall
          2005 – 16th overall
          2006 – 12th overall
          2007 – traded away for a rental on Tkachuk LOL
          2008 – 3rd overall
          2009 – 4th overall
          2010 – 8th overall

          Ladies and Gentlemen, your Atlanta Thrashers!!”

          • Yah and you cant even blame it on squid squisher incompetence cause Maclean hired em all in Columbus.
            Id take evander kane… kid gives a rats.. unlike some of these p*ssies in Oiler silks.

            Embarrasing stuff….. Is it possible to regress when you havent really done anything?
            wheres that glenlivet……. ahhhhhhhhh

            I note the following.

            After the Avery thing/fisticuffs,,, Stauffer on the radio… theres no one left on the rangers bench thats tough, this is the time for Penner to step up and make an example of one of these guys and show this organization that hes worth keeping going forward.

            hahahahahahahahaha! Good one Bob!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • DimebagDave

          In the modern era there has been 2 teams that have picked first overall twice in a row, the Nordiques who actually sucked so bad they picked first 3 times in a row which turned into a cup for the franchise 4 or 5 years later. Then theres ottawa that picked first overall 3 out of four years, and well nothing really became of them except a birth in the finals 10 years later. So looks like theres one for me, one for you JB.

        • DimebagDave

          It’s all great and stuff to finish last but we still have to win the hat lottery at the end for the top pick. Finishing last isn’t a guarantee to draft first.

  • In Gilbert’s defence because of the tv timeout the oilers had more players on the ice than the rangers, there wasn’t anyone for him to grab. Once Hemsky rushed t the bench to help Fraser Gilbert followed him and grabbed someone, I tink the guy Hemsky let go of.
    I’m not saying he’s not soft, it just wasn’t quite as bad as some people are describing it.

  • O.C.

    Hmmm…
    Seems Horcoff missing three previous games wasn’t the whole problem.

    Now, can someone please explain why Petiot and Belle were sent down, and why they are not here?

    I have a theory. We are purposely tanking one more year, to get more draft picks and teach the kids the NHL.

    Remember… Messier and Anderson were horrible their first half year. Scotty Bowman tried to trade for both when the fans were restless.

  • Eric Johnson

    @Jeanshorts

    Dude seriously the most unnerving thing about this whole conversation here is how you have been so coherent and haven’t said the words “Douche” “Balls” or “face raper” in any of your comments.

    I am worried because you used to be the voice of hilarity and now you have to be the voice of reason.

    Well played sir, you’re both eloquent and educated in you Oiler observations. Keep fighting the sane fight.

  • Cervantes

    The Hawks dumped Huet and his salary into the SEL, and he had much better numbers than Khabby hass.

    Can we agree he’s jumped the shark and just waive him, or move him, or something him, already? There has to be a pee-wee league somewhere that wants a back-to-back Remax Highlight Of The Night goalie. Or are we just intent on either (a) playing him every game till his back gives out, or (b) hanging him out to dry until he quits a la P. Roy?

    In other news, good thing we got rid of that Roloson guy. Boy he sucks. Also Gerber is stinking it up in the AHL and absolutely doesn’t deserve a shot. Or, actually, the opposite of all that.

    Bizarro Tambi? That would explain a lot.