Oilers vs. Flames Postgame: Eberle Out, For How Long?

The Oilers lost a one-sided contest by a single goal, but much more importantly they lost Jordan Eberle midway through the contest to an ankle injury.

With any luck, Eberle won’t be out for long. I have twin reasons for hoping this; the first, most obvious reason, is that Eberle’s a big part of the future and it would be nice if he could avoid serious injuries in his rookie season, while the second is a selfish desire not to hear the G.M. whining about injuries for the second consecutive year, given that this was going to be a bad hockey team even if healthy. And yes, I realize the second hope is almost certainly in vain.

This was a ridiculously lopsided game. The shots were 19 to three after the first period in favour of the Flames and the final score flattered the Oilers. This wasn’t a close game, despite the lone goal separating the two teams. Nikolai Khabibulin played a solid game in net, but it wasn’t enough.

On the Oilers side, I was impressed with Ryan Jones. I did criticize him in an article a little further down the page, but tonight he scored a nice goal and really stood out for me on the penalty kill. I also thought Tom Gilbert and Dustin Penner were superb.

Jean-Francois Jacques, however, was not nearly so impressive. One shift of his in the first serves as a nice ‘career in a nutshell’ moment: Jacques threw a big hit on Adam Pardy, then moments later couldn’t handle the puck with plenty of time in his own end, and followed that up by messing up a three-foot pass to Zack Stortini in the neutral zone. Later in the game, he could have snagged the puck in a great shooting position, but instead opted to cream the guy who just lost it. It was a bad game for him.

I also wasn’t impressed with Shawn Belle, despite my fondness for the player. He had some moments but also made some bad decisions, including on Calgary’s first goal, where he followed Jason Strudwick into the corner, leaving Andrew Cogliano alone in front of the net. Of course, Cogliano compounded the error by fixating on the puck and failing to notice the Flames player sitting all alone directly behind him.

Lots of ugly penalty moments in the game, and I wouldn’t blame the referees for any of them. Nikolai Khabibulin got dinged for one of those ridiculous trapezoid penalties. Olli Jokinen gave the Oilers a last moment power play after he got nailed for one of those idiotic puck over the boards calls. And then the referees quite correctly penalized the Oilers to finish the game for icing the rarely seen 7-on-4 offence.

My favourite moment of the game? With the Oilers holding a 6-on-4 advantage (thanks to the Jokinen penalty and the empty net) my wife, taking a rare evening to watch the game with me, turned to me and said, “I don’t see how they don’t score here,” to which I replied that she didn’t watch many Oilers games. She said, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t they have two more men than the other team?” I have to admit I smirked a little bit after the ineffective power play and too many men penalty bore out my original point.

  • I’d like to see Jones traded because in my opinion he is a fairly generic fourth-line player who makes decent money and I think the Oilers can get good value for him in a season where they aren’t going anywhere, and then replace him easily later on.

    That’s why.

  • I agree with all of your assessments re: last night’s game, Jonathan. And I’ll also take this time to applaud your applause of Jones’ play. I was one of those who piled on you yesterday.

    Still don’t agree with your pitch on trading Jones at the deadline, but I think there’s a statute of limitations on arguing over the future of a third/fourth-liner and I think we’re now there.

    One note on Belle: It’s becoming obvious why he’s played hundreds of games in the minors but only a dozen (or so?) in the NHL. He’s a fine athlete, with a good toolbox of tools (skating especially). But it looks like to me he’s short on hockey sense. Probably not a fair assessment to make having only seen him play a few times (from my couch and not live), but if we were wondering why he hasn’t stuck in the NHL, that’s gotta be why.

  • Every year our problems get bigger and voids more pronounced and numerous . ONation buries it’s head in the ice each subsequent year of futility and declares theirs no management problem here . OKC plummeting as well as we bring on more AHL players onto NHL roster . Coincidence , i think not ? We are the victims of what the management team made us !! You all seem to love them , so what are you all complaining about ? It’s always the players faults with most of you , yet they didn’t assemble this team ! The fact they are even semi competitive considering our defensive woes is a surprise to most .

  • Jerk Store

    ~Yes because hockey is only about who puts the puck in the net or which goaltender let it in.~ All I am saying is Jones at least has a work ethic and he does a lot of little things JFJ, Fraser, Brule, et al do not do. I have been watching the guy a bit and I think he at least competes. Hockey needs to be played with emotion and passion IMO – and I see that in Jones. But feel free to continue with the “Corsification” of the game. All I have to go by is what I see when I watch the game and I like Jones. I am far from an expert but I would rather watch him than the other bottom sixers who are going through the motions.

    • Adam D

      When the league starts awarding the Stanley Cup to the team with the best work ethic, I’ll agree with you. As long as games are won based on pucks put in the net, that’s the metric I’m going to focus on.

    • ebbandflow

      brule COMPETES do you watch? he is a victim of being a hyped prospect i hope oil fans dont rip on gil too much if he czn ever find himself a role he is extremely valuable to the oil

  • Jerk Store

    Last nights game felt like a complete waste of money and time. I don’t know if anyone out there would agree with that.

    Also, i would like to point out the play of Curtis Foster… I can’t stand him, i don’t know how he is supposed to replace souray when he is arguably our worst defensemen out there.

  • ebbandflow

    Didn´t watch the first period but the last two were not lopsided. Oilers had some terriible players on the ice but besides that played alright. What can you expect with a D pairing of (well, no names please). Anybody remembers a guy by the of Souray? Would he make a difference ?
    You bet. Ask KL where he is.

    • ebbandflow

      souray would no doubt make a difference but ask any oiler fan and that matter any oiler….. you think they want that attitude around? NOOOO lets remember these are impressionable 20 year old kids

  • ebbandflow

    if you knew you didnt have quite the skillset of alot of bubble players but were told you fight you work hard keep yourself in shape and you will be part of the EDMONTON OILERS you would do whatever it takes that is the simple fact… how tambo and klowe(dont underestimate his pull) made yet ANOTHER signing like that surprises me hes exactly the type of player the organization said that were redundant

  • Jerk Store

    @ Adam D

    You are obviously correct. But the puck doesn’t just magically find its way into the net. Everyone on the ice needs to be doing their job to score and keep from being scored on. At any rate, even using your one-dimensional criteria, Jones nine goals playing 3rd and 4th line minutes are substantial. And for the most part, due to his work ethic.

  • Jerk Store

    @ebb

    I was a Brule supporter and think he has skill – and to a degree you are correct (when you post 200 times a day it was bound to happen). But he believes he is a pure scorer and too often plays on the perimeter. To be a top six or even top nine guy on a good team, he does need to re-invent himself. When he was in Vancouver in jr he was a tough little sob to play against. While that shows up in flashes it is very inconsistent. He can skate and has a great one timer but to this point I have not seen him go to the “tough places” to utilize it. I think if he figures it out he will be effective. Brule is at his best when he plays a little dirty and is engaged – playing on the edge. I think if he ever figures that out he could be the poor man’s version of Brendan Morrow.

    • ebbandflow

      yep i was thinking more along the lines of a poor mans iginla but that WOULD be his peak.,.and you ARE right about getting into the dirty areas its what makes hime successful, whether its the fact hes a smallish player or what but he took a 360 once he hit the show(coloumbus has too take some blame on that one) and yes i will make 200 HUNDRED posts because im a passionate OILERS fan

  • ebbandflow

    either way you will never get the value back in him…flip him to a contending team for MAYBE a late first rounder or just say too hell with it and take a second rounder