UPDATED: WHITNEY OUT TWO MONTHS??

Back on December 3rd I wrote that the the Oilers were ready to put ELPH in the rearview mirror, and would not finish in the bottom five. Shows how much I know, although I did state the only way they would stay in the hunt for a lottery pick would be if the injury bug hit. The injury bug bit Ales Hemsky for 13 games, Shawn Horcoff has been out since December 7th and now Ryan Whitney will be out at least a few weeks.

Most teams would struggle losing arguably their three best players, but when you are a young team the impact hits even harder.

UPDATE

Whitney’s ankle has been bugging him for a few weeks, but last night he really aggravated it and it sounds like he’ll be out at least two months now, according to Bob McKenzie. McKenzie tweeted that it looks like Whitney’s injury is more long term than short term. That will definitely impact the Oilers draft standings. Losing Whitney is the worst possible injury for the team on the ice, but the best injury for the scouting staff.

Welcome to the NHL, Jeff Petry. I wrote yesterday that the only way Petry would stay here for any length of time would be if he played incredibly well (he was minus three last night) or there was an injury, and with Whitney going down, Petry will get ample time to learn the NHL game.

Petry will get a lot of PP time with Whitney on the shelf, and he’ll probably get more ice time than he is ready for, but getting put in the fire for a brief period should help him longterm.

QUICK HITS

  • Gilbert Brule skated today with Ryan O’Marra and Magnus Paajarvi and he’ll be activated tomorrow and dress v. Colorado.
     
  • Linus Omark wasn’t on a line at practice today, and it looks like he will take a seat in the pressbox after another giveaway resulted in a goal. His giveaway led to Buffalo’s 2nd goal last night, and Tom Renney wasn’t pleased about it. Omark was benched in the 3rd and will take a seat on popcorn alley tomorrow. I’m sure he’ll get another chance to play, but he needs to learn to make smarter plays with the puck in the neutral and defensive zones.
     
  • JF Jacques will also be sitting out. Last night he crushes Craig Rivet with a big hit, but when Rivet challenged him to drop the gloves Jacques skated away. How he does that when his team is trailing boggles my mind, and that might have finally sealed his fate with the organization. If he doesn’t play with an edge and show a willingness to play tough and drop the gloves now and then he has no value to the team. I guarantee you Renney was fuming after watching that sequence last night.
     
  • Ryan O’Marra has to show more grit. He isn’t a scorer, and if he doesn’t start hitting someone or becoming great defensively I’m not sure where he fits down the road. He has a great opportunity, but he needs to grab hold of it.
     
  • Under the caption of OBVIOUS, the Oilers don’t shoot the puck enough. Last night they looked for the cute pass way too often. Renney has harped on it a few times this year, but clearly the message isn’t getting through. I wonder if it is time for some tough love from Renney. He has been incredibly patient in a lot of areas, but 35 games in some habits aren’t being broken, and he needs to change them.
     
  • Too bad for Martin Marincin. He was suspended for four games, which is essentially the rest of the WJC for his blatant elbow v. the USA. The kid has had a great year, and it would have been nice to watch him on the junior stage, but the more I watch him the more I like him. Right now it looks like the Riley Nash trade was a hell of a deal, and if he keeps progressing as fast as he has this season, that trade might go down as one of the key parts of the Oilers rebuild. 
  • Quicksilver ballet

    We’re cookin now boys, plenty to whine about in the coming weeks. The loss of Whitney will hurt this club more than the absence of Hemsky or Horcoff. Two weeks would be rushing him back, he’d probably be better off taking 3-4 weeks considering he’s been playing on it like that for most of the last 2 weeks.

  • MJM

    I think what really bothers me about JFJ not dropping the gloves is that he is a fourth line player, and with his team trailing, had a chance to take out one of the other team’s best defenseman for five minutes. If your hand hurts, whatever, just throw off the mitts, seatbelt him and go sit in the box.

    It’s not even like he had to go after the guy and goat him into it. He was handed a gift. Not just a gift for himself, in a fight to help show his value, but one for the team in taking off one of the opponent’s more useful players.

    • D-Man

      I’ve been a JFJ supporter for awhile; but I’m starting to wane on my support.. The hit on Rivet was awesome; and getting an opportunity to scrap the other team’s captain (especially when he’s a top minute player) should not be missed…

      Just when I thought JFJ ‘got it’…

      *peeling second number two from Oilers jersey, replacing name bar with Vandermeer; then realizing that mistake and changing name bar to Fogolin*

  • The Hall Way

    What are the chances of Omark getting sent down again? i know hes done alot of good so far, but does these kind of mistakes become so costly that the demote him?

    • Jason Gregor

      It is a learning process for him. The fact he doesn’t have to clear waivers to get sent down makes it easy to send him down, and yes those types of turnovers are glaring and have cost him a spot in the lineup. Ultimately it probably will be the reason he gets sent back down, if he doesn’t cut them out of his game.

  • Emvee

    Last nights game was hard too watch(and I don’t mean in the. Nail biting fashion).I agree 100% about being to cute with the puck.we’ve watched our beloved team try to skate the puck past the opposing blue line and fail miserably.the same goes for the powerplay!! Kurtis was taking good shots but that came after about a minute of wasted powerplay time due to trying to dangle into the zone.

    On the defensive zone I thought petry made some good defensive plays.most noteworthy was his success in breaking up the break away.

    I know it’s been said before but we need horcs back sooner.I don’t feel comfortable watching gags between the kids because he can’t clean up the mess.

  • Horcsky

    Interesting observation about the Jacques hit Gregor. Now that you point it out, he really should have tried to lay the beatdown on Rivet after that. We all know Stortini would have. Hopefully this gets Zack some more playing time.

  • On a side note, is it just me or do the Oil not know how to enter the offensive zone? I see Hallsy constantly trying to enter the zone by himself and for some strange reason that just doesn’t work (I wonder why?). I think we need to be a dump and chase team, especially with the speed this team has – cough, Cogliano, cough. If we dump it, Cogs chases after it, plays physically enough to keep it along the boards until Penner decides to come and help then that could lead to more offensive chances. But then again we’d still have to shoot the puck.

    But maybe I’m just a Big Dumb Oilers Fan.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The 4% of the population thing, is she a gold digger looking for someone in the top 4% income bracket?

    Don’t like her chances of finding a life partner ….unless she would make everyones top 4% of the eligible women list, have to wonder if this woman is worth the price of admission herself.

  • D-Man

    Petry should be a -1, but since he skated off the ice when he set-up up the Jones goal, he wasn’t credited with the PLUS. The the empty-netter, which was a fluke goal, anyhow.

  • DK0

    It was an off night for most guys. Notice how many passes Hall whiffed on or passed behind the player? Thats not normal for him. When your down a couple of your top players, and your top rookie is having an off night, even the struggling Sabres can squeeze out an easy win.

  • D-Man

    @ Robin, writers are notorious for having awful grammar. Most of them write like English was their second language.

    You’ve seen Matheson’s raw copy, it’s atrocious.

    Matty may be a hall of fame hockey reporter but there’s no way he could ever teach English and not get fired. LOL

    -30-

    • Jason Gregor

      That Matty remark is a bit cheap of you, being a desker at The Journal and all.

      After all, most deskers are guys who couldn’t hack it as writers, no?

  • Jason Gregor

    Hold on, we wanted Jacques to fight? We are chastising a guy for not responding to a cross-check and getting a retaliation penalty? If Jacques drops the gloves, they both get the box for 5, and that cross-checking penalty does not get called, guaranteed. The fight would have been the retribution for the cross-check in the referee’s mind and he would not have felt the need to give the Oilers an powerplay. Whether that’s the right way to call it or not doesn’t matter, I think we’ve all seen enough even-up calls and such to know that’s how NHL refs work. Good on Jacques for keeping control and getting his team a powerplay.

    As for the folks that think Rivet is a ‘big-minute defenceman’ and ‘one of the other teams best’, he’s their Strudwick, #6/#7. He’s around for the leadership and nothing more. He’s been healthy scratched 13 times this season already.

    • Jason Gregor

      Why would the penalty not have been called? That is a complete guess on your part, and I doubt it wouldn’t have been called.

      The fact his own coach didn’t have him on a line in practice today pretty much shows that Renney didn’t agree with the decision.

      • longbottom/P.Biglow

        So are the Oilers finally done with JFJ? I have been waiting years for this guy to get it at the NHL level and really he has brought nothing that we couldn’t get from Stortini (which is a bad thing) , except Stotini plays a much harder game.

      • hamzinoilcntry

        Yes, it’s a guess on my part, but it’s a fairly logical one. Watch the replay, you see Rivet facing Jacques for a second or two, then he crosschecks Jacques. It’s fairly logical to think that Rivet is not standing there silent and then cross checks him. Most likely, Rivet is yapping at Jacques trying to get him to drop, Jacques starts skating away and Rivet cross checks him. If Jacques drops when asked, the cross check doesnt even happen. That’s one reason why it wouldn’t have called and I don’t think you can disagree with that.

        Secondly, just based on how refs call penalties, seeing that it wasn’t a very vicious crosscheck, I would think it doesn’t get called even if both the crosscheck and fight happened. But we can agree to disagree on that reasoning, I guess.

        Unless you asked Renney as to why, you are just guessing as well on why he was scratched. Like another poster mentioned, there are a plenty of reasons to scratch Jacques.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Well, I’m not an English professor, but I hope I still qualify to write on this sporting site. It appears the Crash for Couturier is back in vogue. We are competing with Los Calgary Flamers for the distinguished award of being worst overall. Let the games begin my friend…

    • Jason Gregor

      Oilers more battling with Islanders and Devils…They need those teams to play a bit better, although losing Whitney for what sounds like two months now will help them move down the standings.

  • Ethan Kortbeek

    Le Oilers are number one…in the lotto sweepstakes! Party hard mon freres. On the bright side, I’ve been excited to see petry up here for more then a game.

    Also were still better looking then the leafs…what a sexy group in the city of champs.

  • After #44’s comments I’m sure players have the green light to rehab 110% this year and that’s AOK by moi.

    It’s too bad the Oilers will compete for #1 at the expense of Whitney getting hurt.

    My fear is the lack of depth on defense could cloud Tambi’s vision at the draft.

    If Sean Couturier’s an option don’t blow it.

    (don’t let the coattailer’s catch wind of the plan)

    • Caveat Emptor

      I have mixed feelings about Marincin doing this as revenge (if indeed that was the motivation).

      On one hand, you have to like that he stood up for his team and sent a message.

      On the other hand, the original hit was clean IMO and a good, hard, hockey play that didn’t really need to be “paid back”, unless such recompense was in the form of a similar hard and clean hockey hit.

  • Cervantes

    So, does this mean we’ll also recall someone like Belle, Petiot or Plante? With Whitney out our defense is sure to have a hard time, no need to make it embarrassing by keeping Strudwick in the lineup too. I’d love to see either Belle or Petiot show how they’ve matured into useful defensemen, or Plante get some time in the bigs.

    Actually, I just really don’t want to see Strudwick playing a regular shift.

  • callighenfan

    I’m no fan of JFJ, and think it’s absurd that Renney is giving him run over Stortini, but I turned to my dad and gave Jacques props after he turned down that bout. Before skating away, he looked up ice and saw that the Oilers were closing in on the Sabres’ net. Dropping the gloves then could have negated a scoring chance, and those were pretty rare last night.

    Also, the fact that Renney didn’t have Jacques on a line is hardly evidence that he was punishing him for that one event. Maybe he just finally figured out that Jacques isn’t so good at the hockey.

    • longbottom/P.Biglow

      The Oilers were nowhere near the Sabres net (the puck went in and Stortini was 15 feet offside so they had to wait), but JFJ did suck Rivet into a cross checking penalty to put the Oilers up a man.

      Seems to me he made the right play. Threw a hit and drew a penalty. I’ll take that from my 4th line any day.

      • longbottom/P.Biglow

        But would it not have been even better to take away one of the best d-men on the Sabers team for 5+ minutes , hype the team up through a fight , and change the momentum of the game?

        JFJ’s game is not to be a pest but rather a guy that hits , fights occasionally and makes this team hard to play against.

        Message from that sequence? The Oilers won’t fight back.

        • hamzinoilcntry

          Is there any indication that fighting “hypes a team up” or “changes momentum”?

          A team who wins a fight isn’t any more likely to score in the next 10 minutes of playing time than a team who goes offside. There’s almost nothing that suggests fighting changes a game.

          Personally speaking, I’d rather take the 5 on 4 advantage (even if the Oilers PP does suck) rather than a potential hype up or change of momentum (which, if we follow hockey logic, should have happened with the hit).

          JFJ’s game should be (like all hockey players) to help contribute to winning. All that other stuff is secondary and rather useless if he’s not doing the former. Hitting is useful if you are getting the puck back. Fighting is useful if you are protecting a team mate. Making your team hard to play agaisnt should mean exactly how it sounds. Puck possession and chances not coming easy to your opposition, which doesn’t necessarily have to do with fighting or hitting.

          And I don’t think the message from the sequence was that the Oilers won’t fight back. They Oilers (specifically JFJ) had nothing to fight back from. JFJ was the one who initiated the sequence and it was up to Rivet to respond. He did by taking a penalty and Jacques accomplished something tangible, he got his team a PP.

          • hamzinoilcntry

            Dawgbone. The trade off that could have been is Craig Rivet the sabres number one defenseman that night in the penalty box for 7 minutes. Could that have changed the momentum of the game? Could some of the younger Buffalo defenseman late in the game of back to back nights been exposed easier? We will never know. Mark my words though Tom Renney will have told JFJ what might have been had he engaged Rivet.

          • hamzinoilcntry

            In what world is Craig Rivet the Sabres #1 defenceman? Someone should tell the Sabres that because he’s only playing a shade over 15 minutes per game which puts him in the range of a #5/6 on the Sabres team.

            The other question is does Jacques end up drawing a penalty if he decides to drop the gloves? How many times have you seen a player take a shot at another guy (to initiate a fight) and not get a penalty when they both fight? It happens quite a bit. I can’t say for sure but I have doubts Rivet gets called for his cross check if they both fight.

            There’s more goals scored in the first 2 minutes following a PP than there are after a fight.

            If Ethan Moreau takes the penalty Rivet takes, he’s a selfish moron.

      • hamzinoilcntry

        Stortini was 15 feet offside casue he was sitting in the pressbox in favour of JFJ. JFJ needs to be released from this team. Pefect oppurtunity to take rivet off the ice for 7 minutes and he skates away from it. I wish Zack was dressed. he’d have been a willing partner( probably would have hugged him to death) but atleast the 5 for fighting and the original penalty would have been there. abnother missed opurtunity from JFJ. On a side note if he would have fought he would have to be placed on ir for the season. Tough to be a scrapper and a aggitator when you are made from glass.

        • hamzinoilcntry

          Sorry, it was Jacques who was 15 feet offside (no idea why I typed Stortini).

          The only reason Rivet got the penalty was because JFJ declined the fight and Rivet cross checked him.

          Don’t get me wrong, I think JFJ is a terrible player and doesn’t belong in the NHL, but this isn’t an example of why.

  • The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

    i love all the anger generated on these forums, i think the nerds call this back and forth bickering flaming. all i can say is cheap entertainment, but entertainment no less.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    This is your contribution? Did you make a concerted effort to be a knob or does it come naturally to you?

    By the way, your comment should read: “Dude, you guys need an editor, and badly . . .” If you’re going to play grammar cop, you come off as a buffoon — a stooge, an oaf or a tool, if you prefer — when you can’t get your punctuation straight.

  • The Hall Way

    Robin Brownlee layin’ the smack downlee!

    i agree if you can’t contribute something intelligent to the conversation, go to flamesnation or something.

  • Ethan Kortbeek

    Sweet Jesus. Is it possible to have a single goddamn column without some kind of dig? If you don’t enjoy the writing, go somewhere else. No one is forcing you to read this stuff.

  • Oilers4ever

    And English class is back in session… lol… I understand the guy maybe put commas in the wrong place but this is not English class. Seriously, people go to school if they needed to be corrected. Find something real to write about please.

    Anyways, just like I predicted before Xmas, if the Oilers faired badly on their trip through SJ, LA and Vancity, this time was done for playoffs. They were only able to get 1 of 6, played like crap last night, and this team is now done for the year. Let the injury express return yet again so they can just fire more therapists this summer as well.

    Seriously, this team is starting to turn into a joke with more players showing they don’t care much yet again.

    Should be fun watching the Avs whip their arses quite handily tomorrow night and then the Flames do the same on Saturday. Another 12 game losing streak is on the way.

  • Jason Gregor

    Why do you insult people using slang from the 1930’s?

    See here boy, if you really wanna be a soda jerk go down to the ol’ malte shop and you can stooge around there, see.

    Internet commentors are the best part of the internet so stop stressing when someone calls one of your buddies out.

  • longbottom/P.Biglow

    Awesome, thats the Brownlee we have come to love. There are enough guys online who like to think they are grade 5 teachers.

    Anyway to bad about Whitney, but what % do we have if we finish third to get number 1 pick?