With Shawn Horcoff out for at least two months with a sprained MCL in his right knee and Ales Hemsky gone for a month with the tender groin, the Edmonton Oilers are again NHL draft lottery contenders.
This is a good thing and should end some of the angst that was circulating after the Oilers won four straight games before losing Horcoff in the first period of Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
All the "Oh no, we’re too good not to finish in the bottom five but not good enough to make the playoffs" consternation hit the wall on Tuesday when Horcoff and Corey Perry locked knees on the Captain’s third shift.
Factor in the inevitability that Nikolai Khabibulin’s bad back will bite him or that he’ll tweak his groin at some point, and fans can rest assured the Oilers will be bottom-feeders in the Western Conference yet again.
Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and the rest will do what they can. So will call-ups Linus Omark and Ryan O’Marra, summoned to fill the voids left by Hemsky and Horcoff.
We’re bound to see more of the jam the Oilers showed after the captain went down Tuesday. Try won’t win a lot of games the rest of the way, of course, but close-but-no-cigar is the object of this rebuilding exercise at this point, no?
With the second pick, the Oilers are proud to select . . .
THE MORNING AFTER
Omark and O’Marra are on their way after being called up from Oklahoma City and both are expected to be in the line-up against the Tampa Bay Lightning Friday.
Those fans who’ve been calling for another look at Omark will get their wish, just as fans wanting another lottery selection are also likely to get what they want. O’Marra. meanwhile, gets the nod over Liam Reddox because he’s a centre and a better fit as a replacement for Horcoff.
"You look for the silver lining, obviously," coach Tom Renney said. "As you know, I’m a glass half-full kind of guy.
"It does provide us an opportunity to look at the depth of our system. We do have options and that’s exciting. That does not change the fact that we’re going to miss two crucial pieces to our team.
"We’ve believed all along that we’re going to be a playoff team. That’s our objective and we want to continue to pursue that. It doesn’t matter what the adversity is, we have to accept that for what it is and do everything we can to overcome it. The depth that we have, the options that we have in the system, will serve us well over the next stretch."
OB1 – Team Hall December 08 2010: "So with a game tying and a game winning goal in the last few nights, are people still sticking to the "Penner doesn’t score important goals" theory?"
Yes. Yes, they are. And why wouldn’t they? Dustin Penner led the Oilers with 32 goals last season, which is 15 more than the next guy, Gilbert Brule, who had 17 goals.
Penner had one game-winner, leaving him behind Brule and Patrick O’ Sullivan (three game-winners each) and Ryan Potulny and Ethan Moreau (two game-winners). This season, Penner has nine goals and one game-winner. Taylor Hall and Andrew Cogliano have two game-winners.
Penner has 114 career goals and 17 of those have been game-winners. By comparison, Cogliano has 49 career goals and 12 game-winners. Horcoff has 140 career goals and 24 game-winners. Is Penner Mr. Clutch, based on the "last few nights?" Or will you be splitting hairs over what constitutes an "important" goal? We can do that, too.
By the way, Khabibulin has saves percentages of .938, .969 and 1.000 the "last few nights."
Does he get the Vezina?
AND . . .
— There’s a lot of good stuff the MSM guys can’t slide past their editors on the desk, most of it juvenile, but funny nonetheless. Here’s a line from Rob Tychkowski at The Sun regarding Sheldon Souray that’ll never see the light of day: "First the big defenceman tried to shove it up the Oilers ass, but it was Souray who ended up on the Hershey Highway."
— Might we see more of Jason Gregor Show producer Meg Morrison on television down the road? Morrison was job shadowing TSN reporter Ryan Rishaug at Rexall Place Tuesday. If TSN adds a local reporter here or needs fill-in help when Rishaug is out of town, I’m thinking Morrison might get a crack at a spot like that.
— Horcoff, who was at the rink this morning before an optional skate, is scheduled to have an MRI on his knee at 1 p.m. today.
— Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.