GDB LXVI: SENS AND OIL

The unending roller coaster of emotion takes another twist tonight, as the Oilers go looking for their third consecutive win against the Ottawa Senators. Every win of late elevates the level of concern amongst fans that the Oilers might finish 29th, lose the lottery and end up drafting 3rd and miss out on Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall.

It has been a very, very strange season that has gotten Oilers Fans to the point where the last thing anyone wants is a win. It goes against every natural instinct of being a fan, yet here at the Nation the interest level hasn’t wavered. Visitors to the site have actually increased in this season of futility and that just re-enforces how good of a hockey city Edmonton is.

In a season where the Oilers leadership has been questioned, and rightfully so, I find it interesting that the Nation’s supposed leader amongst the fans has become invisible. The 100 different Ogdens still show up on an hourly basis, Archaeologuy, Nate, Pokey Reddick, BS and JS, David S and all the readers who never post, still find a way to drag their beaten-down carcass to their computer screen, yet Wanye has become as rare as a hot-girl at Rexall on a Sunday home game.

WHERE’S WANYE?

Before I continue to call out Wanye, I should mention that I actually phoned him up a few days ago to yell at him in person. I originally thought he had become one of the bandwagon jumpers he gets so mad about and had just stopped caring about the team.

It was an even funnier surprise to find out he is just so dejected and furious at the team that he claims to have a case of writers block. I asked him if he still watches the team play and he replied that he still watches every second of every game, but is just too "emotional" to be able to write anything funny these days. He actually sounded like he needed an intervention of some sort, truth be told.

I’ll start by calling BS.

Hey Wanye? What happened to the three BL’s you’d drink every game? What about the grade one caliber artwork? Or how about calling out the other team, or rambling on about how Robert Nilsson will become a productive force?

Wanye: you have abandoned your flock of lambs at a time they needed your kool-aid filled glasses of Oilers juice more than ever.

You’d think that the trading of your goat, Denis Grebeshkov, would have produced an epic article filled with anecdotes that indeed March 1st was the day the Oilers became a winner again. But the only time you appear is with a half-ass post in the comments section.

Grebeshkov even takes a shot in the nards that required surgery and still you said nothing. You must really be suffering. Has this season finally worn you down? If so, suck it up and show up. You ask the Oiler players to produce; shouldn’t the OilersNation expect the same from you?

TONIGHT’S TILT

Back to the action on the ice. Can the Oilers actually win three straight? They might win five considering their next three games are against Northeast opponents. The Oil is 2-2-1 v. the NE, beating the Habs and Leafs at home, losing to the Bruins and Sabres on the road, and they picked up a point in Ottawa with a shootout loss on November 10th. The Oilers are 7-7-1 v. the East, compared to an ugly 14-31-5 record v. the west.

If the Oilers have a good week against Ott, Mont and Tor, don’t fret, after Saturday their remaining 14 games are against the west, so they should remain in the hunt for Seguin or Hall. There will be no lineup changes for the Oilers, because they only have 18 healthy skaters.

Ryan Jones is out for the year and Ethan Moreau is still out with a sore neck. Expect the Oilers to recall a player when they head out east. Chris Minard seems like a likely candidate. Daniel Alfredsson will return tonight after missing a game due to the flu, and Brian Elliot will start in goal for the Sens. The Horcoff/Penner/Pisani line should see a lot of the Michalek/Spezza/Alfredsson combo tonight.

KHABIBULIN APPEARS

Nikolai Khabibulin made an appearance today, but he didn’t talk much about his impending court case in Phoenix for drunk driving. “I have been advised by legal counsel that until everything is resolved I can’t talk about it, sorry,” said Khabibulin.

No surprise that Khabibulin didn’t elaborate on the charge, but he did say his back is feeling better and he hopes to get on the ice before the season ends to work on some technical parts of his game. He won’t get into any game action, but the doctors are happy with his progress and he is confident he’ll be ready for next season.

  • Bucknuck

    Yeah, I think it's important to stick to your guns if you are a professional who has been trusted with any information that if released can cause problems

    however, to be someone who is trusted among his peers as someone who has more insight/access to the Oilers, or sport, or whatever commonality it may be, shouldn't even begin to bring it up, or risk sounding arrogant

  • I think it was Benjamin over at Copper and Blue that said it the best: "You play the game to win".

    I'll continue to cheer for the guys to win (much to the chagrin of Dakin, who I'm sure will kill me in the very near future). If they bust their butts and lose their way to a pick, so be it. But nothing bugs me more than to see so much obvious intent to throw the season by management. Yeah, I suppose its part of getting paid gajillions but I can tell you pro athletes are hard-wired to try to win. When they can't, they die a little bit inside.

    I'd hate to see the negative effects of managerial strategy affect guys like Sam Gagner, who I think will be something special very soon. And people want Eberle to come into the middle of this? Sheesh!

    • Travis Dakin

      4 points. That's it. 4 points between having the pick of either SEGUIN!!!! of Hall and being stuck with Fowler. You know damn well that if they finish 29th, the 28th place team will win the lottery. Will you be happy then? Will you be glad for your precious wins then?!?!?!?!?

      Here is a little secret. On Saturday, April 7th 2007, I was in Calgary and attended the Oilers last game of the regular season. Do you remember that game David? It was at the end of a 1-17 stretch. The Oilers were in lottery position going into that game. Do you know what they did? They WON!!!! Which put a little team called the CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS into their 5th seed postion. The Hawks then promptly won the lottery and took some guy named PATRICK KANE!!!!! first over all.

      Do you think I was happy about that win? Yes I was for about 26 mintues. 3 years later and that 1 win still chaps my ass. So I'll thank you kindly good sir to not cheer for any more wins in this season. EVERY WIN MATTERS!!!!!!

      And Baggedmilk, please go back to Thailand. I can't handle these wins anymore.

      • First let me begin this little post by saying I want that guaranteed top 2 pick which means finishing last…

        Ok, I've brought this up before and now I'm doing it again…back on that fateful night when the Oilers knocked off Calgary it gave the Oilers 71 pts…the same number of pts as Chicago. They placed just ahead of Chicago based on more wins….

        The common misconception around here is if the Oilers lose that game they fall to 5th last and win the lottery and pick 1st but this simply isn't true because Washington finished 4th last with 70 pts…had the Oilers lost that game to Calgary they would have finished 4th last and Washington would have been 5th last.

        The Oilers would have had the 5th pick in that draft and more than likely would have taken the exact same player that they took (Gagner)…the ONLY way the Oilers would have finished 5th last that year would have been to lose that last game in OT…

        • Travis Dakin

          Agreed, we should have tanked it, especially knowing that 25 th would pick 1st and we would have got Pat Kane

          too bad Barry Fraser thought he could get Parise in the 2nd round to compliment Pouliot too

          And what if Kevin Lowe was offered a strong power forward for Mike Comrie in 2001

          if it weren't for hindsight, we'd have won 7 straight cups

        • Travis Dakin

          I remember that last time we discussed this and I knew you would say something again. I was even going to put a little * note telling you not to bother hahaha

          Let me say this though. Did the Oilers win bump them out of the lottery all together?

          I'll answer it for you. Yes it did. Therefore my point still stands. EVERY WIN COUNTS! haha

          • Travis Dakin

            LOL, ok…actually the Oil were still in the lottery as all teams that miss the playoffs are in it….finishing 6th last means you can still move to the number 2 spot if you win it 🙂

            But make no mistake about it….I want the Oil to be guaranteed HALL or Seguin in June's draft

  • Helmethead

    @ Jason Gregor

    "Every win of late elevates the level of concern amongst fans that the Oilers might finish 29th, lose the lottery and end up drafting 3rd and miss out on Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall…."

    Even if they do end up in 29th, the lottery still determines which place they pick in. Hypothetically, they can still move into the #2 spot leap frogging Boston who then drops to #3. Should they finish the season in 29th, after the first pick has been established by the lottery, their odds increase to something like 55% of capturing #2.

    Leap frogging has happened 5 other times since they started the lottery so the odds are in the Oilers favour despite the 29th seed ranking.

    Just some friendly FYI.. Cheers!

    • Jason Gregor

      If the Oilers finish 30th, it GUARANTEES they pick first or second, and get one of Hall of Seguin. If they finish 29th, there is no guarantee.

      And you hypothetical situation makes no sense.

      If they finish 29th, they don't leap frog to 2nd, they are in 2nd. THey could leap frog to first or drop to 3rd.

      The point is if they are in 29th there is a decent chance they can drop out of top two. If they are 30th, there is zero chance. Ask any Oiler fan if they want to take a chance on losing out on Hall or Seguin??? The answer will be ZERO.

      Anything that could go wrong has for this organization, so why would you even want to risk it. That was my point. I understand how the lottery works, since I've written numerous articles on it.

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        I understand how the lottery works, since I've written numerous articles on it.

        c'mon now, writing alot about something doesnt always mean you know or understand the topic..

        • Jason Gregor

          The lottery isn't that hard to figure out…14 teams go in…last place has best chance to win…team that finished 17th in league has least chance to win.

          Only one team can win lottery, and the team that wins can only move up a maximum of four spots, and the most spots any team can drop is one.

          Not much else to it is there?

          Finishing 30th GUARANTEES you will pick first or second. And that's why it is a must that the Oilers don't catch the Leafs, finish 29th and have around a 40% chance of dropping to the 3rd pick. I'll take the top two guarantee every time.

        • Jason Gregor

          Yes it has been for a few years. It gives conspiracy theorists a chance to believe it is rigged.

          I would argue that if you think it might be rigged it could favour the Oilers. They have missed playoffs four years in a row, they want a new rink…a first overall pick could help that.

  • Helmethead

    Gregor I'd like to know if you're a PR rep for Gilbert Brule cause near the end of the streaks piece you wrote a couple of days back, you talked about him and his ice time quite a bit.

    The SNW crew then does a little follow up on him with an interview, then in todays Journal Brule was featured once again.

    Now admittedly, I have issued a few written jabs at you (when I've been a more regular contributor to the Nation) and Brownlee for the things you guys say because sometimes I feel you guys are too quick to chastise the opinions of fans and OilersNation followers alike.

    Having said that, I do appreciate (like most do) the efforts and extent you guys (yes even Brownlee) go to in order to bring the stories to the Nation.

    Nice Job!

  • Anyone notice Don Rickles kind of has the same look as the Sedin twins? The "I'm going to use your skin as a hat" look? Creepy.

    How sad is it that our starting goalie possibly feeling better is seen as bad news?

  • Shawn Cronin

    @ Jason Gregor

    Did you ever address your thing with "reporter/media member/blogger in ethical situations" From your Jan 14th post and mentioned again in your Jan 21st post "I referenced ethics last week in this spot and I haven’t forgot about it, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer before we can discuss it. I think I know what most of you would want, but I could be wrong. We will see."

    Also, there was supposed to be some big announcement earlier in the year from you, (I tried to find it but kept getting distracted by the ice girls of the week……)

    Were those addressed? My life is so pathetic because I have been watching this post and chewing my fingernails in anticipation of a response for so long now I have no nails left.

    • Jason Gregor

      I thought the story would have been out by now and we could have commented on it. I've said this many times, if I tell the story it goes against all ethics I have. I'm stunned the story hasn't been talked about, but at the same time I'm happy about it. Shows people do have more ethics than I thought.

      As for your big announcement claim, I have no idea what you are talking about there. I don't recall making that claim.

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        does the ethics thing have something to do with something that may or may not have possibly happened with a member(s) of the local NHL club?

      • Jason Gregor

        "I thought the story would have been out by now and we could have commented on it. I've said this many times, if I tell the story it goes against all ethics I have. I'm stunned the story hasn't been talked about, but at the same time I'm happy about it. Shows people do have more ethics than I thought. "

        Does it have anything to do with a coach/former coach?

      • So teasing everyone with "I have a big secret and I wish I could tell you but I can't but I am going to make references to it several times" is what passes for insider access?

        Riiiiiight.

        As for calling me out on writing I have a few thoughts:

        1) I can assure everyone that I spend every waking moment working on the Nations. Sometimes that actually includes what I like doing – writing articles – and some times it involves putting together what will be a very interesting 2010-11 season with some new partners.

        2) As for the Oilers, I don't know what to say anymore – you are right Gregor. When I watch games now all I want to do is smash my face against the wall screaming "WHY" until I pass out from blood loss. I don't want to come on here and rag on all the players, coaches, Oilers brass and the 245 General Managers of the team.

        I don't think negativity is the answer, but sometimes that is all I can come up with. What would people prefer? Respectful silence, or the hounds of hell that should be released when the team is this brutal?

        • Jason Gregor

          So you are saying you've become somewhat of a bandwagon fan. The team is crap, it bothers you so you don't watch as much nor comment.

          That makes you a bandwagon fan. You might not like it, but that's what it is.

          I'm sure once the season is over and June starts, and the draft gets closer you'll be writing again, because Hall or Seguin will give you faith. But, that makes you a bandwagon fan. I'm a little stunned.

          If you need help let me know.

          • Victoria

            Naw. A masochist keeps following the Oilers closely when they're this bad. A bandwagoner is those I keep seeing who are suddenly huge Blackhawks fans, or Caps fans. Just like the folks who were Pens fans 'all along' when they won the Cup.

  • Ender

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    Hey Wanye? . . . What about the grade one caliber artwork?

    Hear, hear!

    [pounds on the desk loudly]

    MS Paint won't turn itself on, you know. Edmonton's art fans are dying on the vine here.

  • Tracie

    So here's hoping that JDD read RB's article and his head is now too big to make great saves!

    wow i feel dirty now! Can the Oilers win but forfeit the two points? Bah! I'm so very conflicted!

    I know! Here's hoping Carrie Underwood is in the stands! YA!

  • Bucknuck

    I think wanye would have a hard time explaining why Grebs balls are so big they don't even fit into his cup… or did he have a cup failure.

    I can't imagine the pain of getting a nads hit so bad I needed surgery. I wonder if Brendan Witt would have needed surgery in the same situation.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    "but the doctors are happy with his progress and he is confident he’ll be ready for next season"

    He better be 100% and capable of playing 50 – 60 games or out indiffinitly, non of this Rick Dipietro non-sense.

  • VMR

    "The Oilers are 7-7-1 v. the East, compared to an ugly 14-31-5 record v. the west"

    Start a petition to move them to the East. We'll make the playoffs EVERY FRIGGIN YEAR!!!!

  • He won’t get into any game action, but the doctors are happy with his progress and he is confident he’ll be ready for next season.

    Worst news of the day, there goes our hopes of an unfortunate, early retirement.

    *starts pushing pins into the lower lumbar of a Khabibulin voodoo doll*