GDB LXXIII: Dubs out, Deslauriers in

I didn’t make it to the morning skate today, because I had the honour of being a judge at W. D Cuts Junior High. Nine grade nine boys and girls presented their essays in a speech forum today on a variety of topics (more on that later).

I put in a few calls to Rishaug and Brownlee and found out I didn’t miss much this morning, other than Pat Quinn lucking out.

Quinn didn’t have to make a decision to stick with his “win and you keep playing” strategy with his goalies because Devan Dubnyk is sick and won’t be able to start tonight. Dubnyk might be forced to sit on the bench, because the Golden Bears are on their way to the CIS championship and Torrie Jung left the city once the Oil Kings’ season wrapped up March 13th.

They have yet to find a suitable back up. No word yet if he’ll get to borrow Wanye and bingofuel’s puke bucket from Sunday evening’s rendezvous with Rubbertrout.

For the record, if Dubnyk was healthy Quinn should have started him because a coach should never waver on a decision. We’ll never know what Quinn would have done, so we can assume he would have done the right thing, kept his word, and let Dubnyk start.

Patrick O’Sullivan was the last forward on the ice, going through some extra skating drills so it looks like the only changes will be Jeff Deslauriers in goal and Dean Arsene on the blueline in place of the injured Theo Peckham.

The Oilers have been outscored 18-7 in five games v. the Canucks this year, and have lost four straight since winning the first meeting on Oct 19. The Canucks lead the western conference with 236 goals, they have six 20-goal scorers and Mason Raymond needs two points to give them six forwards with 50+points.

The Washington Capitals have four forwards with 50+ points, (plus D-man Mike Green’s 70 points) and should finish with six forwards above 50 as Tomas Fleischmann and Mike Knuble sit at 48 and 46 respectively.

The Canucks have two bona fide scoring lines, or at least they will when Mikael Samuelsson returns next week, and they will be a handful for the Oilers tonight.

The Sedin sisters have owned the Oilers the past four years and it will be interesting to see how Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney fare against them. Tom Renney will try to have that pairing on the ice as much as he can against the Sedins.

PPV

With back-to-back wins over the Wings and Sharks, the Oilers PR staff is breathing a bit easier because people will actually purchase the PPV tonight. A meager two-game winning streak has given Oiler fans a little bounce in their step, and with the hated Canucks in town tonight, the PPV numbers will probably be okay.

Going out with a bang

The Canucks have a lot of guys who like to stir the pot, and the Oilers have shown a bit more grit in their game lately, so we might get to see some emotion tonight.

The Canucks are five points behind Chicago and Phoenix for first place in the conference and five points up on the Avalanche in the Northwest division, so this game isn’t life and death for them, but a win could move them within three of second in the conference with Phoenix playing in Chicago tonight.

The Oilers are firmly in 30th place, but they want to keep rolling so hopefully we see some animosity tonight.

True competitors

Like I said I wasn’t at the morning skate today, instead I was judging some grade nine boys and girls on their essay presentations.

I really enjoy going to the schools and listening to the speeches. It’s a bit weird being called Mr. Gregor so much though. Yet it’s cool to know that junior high kids are into sports radio. I grew up listening to John Short and it is nice to know that kids aren’t too cool for "terrestrial radio."

Today’s topics ranged from music, best slasher villain, superstitions, laughter, nightmares vs. night terrors (I had no clue there was a difference), bullying, women’s rights, human genetic engineering and divorce.

Kids in junior high have way more to worry about than I did when I was in school. We didn’t have the Internet, Facebook, texting and there wasn’t a lot of talk about teen pregnancy or drugs.

Did any of you know about the “Honesty Box” feature on Facebook? Easily the stupidest function they could put on there. It allows kids to post anonymous comments on other kid’s profiles about their classmates. Imagine being in junior high and clicking on your profile page and reading insults or jokes said in your direction. (Most adults can’t handle hearing that never mind being an adolescent) The inventors of Facebook should re-think some of their features.

I was really impressed with Katie, Josh, Andrea, Arman, Megan, Tyler, Ashley, Sarah and Ryker. They touched on some mature subjects and were all solid with their delivery. I’d make the worst teacher, because I had a hard time picking the top-three.

I saw great courage and poise from all of them and it was a nice break from the usual sports routine that I do. Thanks for having me back for the second year and I look forward to next year. A sports related topic might win you first place – just sayin’.

>> Read what the enemy has to say about tonight’s game.