GDB MINUS FIVE: HOME ICE

After last night’s gutsy and surprising win over the Canucks, Wanye woke up this morning and sent me his proposed parade route. It was filled with his typical bright colours, arrows, unique drawings and I noticed it was the longest parade route I’d ever seen. It started in Clareview, ripped through Beverly, came down Gretzky Drive, through downtown, had a pit stop at the Liquor on 109 and then finished at the Legislature grounds. Clearly he had designed it after downing his 17th BL after watching Gregory Stewart pot the game winner in Vancouver last night.

Tonight it is the official unveiling of Taylor Hall. You’ve seen him on the podium in June. You’ve seen him at the presser for his entry level deal. You’ve seen him bartending at Oil City. You’ve seen Kevin Lowe hand him #4. You’ve seen him in the rookie tournament, and Tuesday in the Joey Moss Cup, but you’ve never seen him lineup against another NHL team until tonight.

Wanye isn’t the only one with visions of parade routes, Shirts off for Horcoff signs, or Squee for Eberle banners. Admit it, this off-season and one pre-season win has you firmly in the driver seat of the bandwagon. And why not, the best part of being a fan is believing and having hope. There will be lots of time to ask for Tom Renney’s job, or why Horcoff can’t be shipped to Siberia, or that after Hall’s five game goal-scoring drought you claim you wanted Tyler instead.

Enjoy the victory, hell, it was over the supposed Northwest champions and possible Western Conference winners. Maybe the Oilers will be the surprise story in the NHL. Maybe they will have three rookies with 50 points. Maybe the person who possesses Nikolai Khabibulin’s voodoo doll passed away. Dare to dream…dare to dream.

Your expectations have been lower than Lindsay Lohan’s at last call, so with every win it is only natural to feel like the Oilers are winning back your love. And your love should grow a bit more tonight, because the Oilers are dressing a solid NHL lineup compared to Tampa Bay.

Sam Gagner will centre Hall and Ales Hemsky.
Dustin Penner will be on the left wing with Andrew Cogliano in the middle and Magnus Paajarvi on the right side.
Liam Reddox/Colin Fraser/Gilbert Brule will skate together, while Steve MacIntrye will play for the second straight night and make sure no one runs Tyler Pitlick of Linus Omark.

The defence will consist of Smid/Foster, Belle/Plante and Petiot/Gilbert.

Devan Dubnyk will start in goal, and JDD will back him up.

Tampa Bay will ice a lineup similar to the one the Oilers used to defeat the Canucks last night.

Harju/Persson/Purcell
Ashton/Wright/Connolly
Tryell/B. Jones/Hall
Malone/Pouliot/Downie

Ohlund/Clark
Vernace/R. Jones
Mihalik/Gudas

Ellis
Tokarski

 

It looks like Marc Pouliot continues his nine-lives routine as he’ll line up with Ryan Malone and Steve Downie. The rest of the forwards won’t be pushing Vinny Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos or Marty St. Louis for a job anytime soon.  Watch Gudas though. He likes to run guys in the neutral zone. It’s too bad we don’t get to see any of the big three, but that’s NHL exhibition hockey.

PARTING SHOTS

The harsh reality about last night’s win is that none of the three goal scorers have a hope of making the Oilers. It was a great thrill for hometown boy, Ben Ondrus, to score in his first game in an Oiler uniform, but he won’t crack the lineup coming out of camp.

Renney was satisfied with the effort last night. He felt they played his system rather effectively. Obviously he’d like Dubnyk to be able to catch shots from the blueline, and Horcoff to bury those open-net opportunities, but he left the rink content with the effort.

Tonight most of us will be watching Hall, Paajarvi and Omark rather closely, but Renney wants to see how his young veterans; Cogliano, Gagner and Brule perform.

While Wanye and Co. continue to map out the parade route and subsequent party stops, Renney is excited to see how his young guys react. When asked if he would say anything to Hall prior to his first NHL preseason game Renney replied, "I asked him if he had any questions. He said he was fine. It lasted 30 seconds. I just want him to play."

It sounds like the coach is like all the fans; he just wants to see the kid play.

  • BitchellMitchell

    Nice Read Gregor…

    I was on the Tyler Seguin side but once we picked Hall, that was over. Glad we have him and although he is not a center today, I now think he was the right pick. Does that make me a bandwaggon jumper? just asking.
    Wayne, why wasn’t the parade routed through St. Albert??

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    Dubnyk’s goal against from that far out is atrocious. a goalie of that size not cutting off angles properly from that far out = mind blowing. hopefully he was busy releasing feces into his breezers before the shot started and just couldnt put his focus anywhere else.

  • BitchellMitchell

    I picked Whitney as my star and Whifcoff as my goat! I was right, Whifcoff missed an open net that my 3 month old puppy copuld have knocked in with his wet nose and Whitney was a beast!! No more games needed to prove I was right put it in the history books.

    • BArmstrong

      Did you watch the same game everyone else did? Whitney was clumsy at times, and very good at others. Horcoff was the best player on the ice for either team – or perhaps I should say, played the best of all the players in the game. Yes he missed a nice opportunity, but it wasn’t the gimme your 3 month old wet nosed puppy thinks it was.

      **is it obvious that I picked Horcoff as my star this year?**

      • BitchellMitchell

        Come on be nice……from Calgary?? I would rather sacrifice my first born!

        Seeing as I picked Horcoff as my goat I beleive that I am entitled to blame him for everything! Those are the rules of star and goat are they not? If I choose to wear my Ryan Whitney colored glass and leave my Horcoff ones at home that is my right!

        Oh and leave my 3 month puppy out of this!

        Go Oilers!

    • Ender

      He also shut down one of the highest scoring duos in the NHL last night. So while he missed a screened pass from Eberle which was tipped off a defenders stick you are missing the fact that he played 2-way pretty well.

      LOVE that after one pre-season where Horc is playing with no experienced NHLers you’ve proudly placed yourself into your own history books… you must be from Calgary.

  • Action Jackson

    Last night was an incredible coming out party for Whitney. I was at the game and couldn’t take my eyes off him as he is so smooth and reliable…may have a new man crush. The star of the team last year in my mind was Visnovsky before he got traded and the star this year may just be the guy who came the other way in that deal.

    Hilarious about the voodoo doll Gregor! It feels like he is doomed as an Oilers fan watching him.

  • VegasOilerFan

    Cogliano/Paajarvi/Penner looks like a keeper. can’t wait to see how Cogliano does with somebody that can keep up with him on the rush. The PCP line has a nice ring to it.

    • Mouse

      You really need to add some innovation to line names. Initials just doesn’t cut it. I know you think it is clever because of the drug thing, but a little more innovation please.

      Instead of PCP – how about the “flying high” line, or high flyers, or fly higher line. That took all off second to think of (and the line will be fast, so get it?).

      For the Hall Gagner Hemsky line – the “performance enhancing line”, or “the barry bonds experience”, or “the Dick Pound Objective”.

      Just my thoughts

  • misfit

    The scary part is the fact that Gagner, Cogliano, and Brule are being called “vetrans”. Even though they have 3 NHL seasons under their belts, that statement just seems wrong.

  • RingThosePhones

    Jason,
    Just wondering if there is anything to Strudwick not playing in the Joey Moss or either preseason game. Hopefully they are leaning to not going with an old liablility.

        • Banger

          Then you havent been listening to what the players/coaches/management have been saying. This is a guy that will stand up for any guy at any time against anyone. He brings a “professional” attitude to the room. He maybe is a guy that provides more not playing then playing. In a year like this is it a bad thing to have a few more losses while having someone around that can teach these guys something about hard work and determination? I would say yes.

          Im not going to say he is a regular in the line up but he is a class act and brings more to the team then you would think. These young guys dont need to be taught skill, they need guys like strudwick to help form them and provide the transition to being a pro.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    It was a ballsy win, not gutsy.

    I love the Cogliano/Paajarvi/Penner line. I’m really pulling for Cogs and I’m hoping they’ll mesh. I think their skills are likely to complement each other (especially with Paajarvi’s ability to keep up with Cogs on the rush). They have the potential to be extremely dangerous as linemates.