GDB 38.0: A RED WING OR A RED OX?

You thought the ratings for last night’s WJC semi-final with Canada and the USA was big, wait until the we see the numbers for the return of the RED OX tonight for the Oilers. When Liam Reddox was sent to OKC in favour of Ryan Jones, many questioned the decision. 

As the Oilers PK sunk lower than the Miami Dolphins home record, fans were pleading for the return of Edmonton’s favourite Ginger, so I can only imagine that when #85 steps onto the ice tonight the little Ox will receive a hearty applause.

I understand why many cheer for Reddox. He is undersized, isn’t blessed with the a lot of natural skill, works his ass off every shift, fearlessly blocks shots and he’s a ginger. The good news for Reddox is that he doesn’t have to be the saviour for the PK. The Oilers are a respectable 86% on the PK in their last 13 games, so Reddox won’t be asked to block every shot by himself.

But the Oilers will need to be on their toes because the Red Wings possess the 2nd best road PP in the league at a stellar 24.2%.

Tom Renney must have the same faith in Reddox, because he and Linus Omark didn’t arrive in Edmonton in time for the morning skate today, but as long as their flight arrives at noon, they will both slot into the lineup.

Paajarvi/Gagner/Hemsky
Hall/Cogliano/Penner
Omark/Brule/Jones
Jacques/Fraser/Reddox

***You might see Omark and Reddox play with Brule and keep Jones/Fraser/Jacques line together.***

Peckham/Gilbert
Smid/Foster
Petry/Vandermeer

Khabibulin

I’m still struggling to understand what Renney sees in Jacques to keep playing him ahead of Zack Stortini. I’ve asked Renney and outside of saying Stortini’s skating isn’t great and is a tough scratch, Renney hasn’t given much insight into what he doesn’t like about his game right now.

Note 1: I wish Reddox would have been at my house this morning, when I had to change my tire at eight in the morning. I bet he wouldn’t even of had to use a jack…

DAVID V. GOLIATH

Tonight’s tilt v. the Red Wings is a classis David versus Goliath. The Oilers are without Ryan Whitney, Jordan Eberle and Shawn Horcoff. The Wings aren’t a 100% healthy either with Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary and Patrick Eaves out, while Brad Stuart is a game time decision. Despite the injuries on both sides, the Wings are still heavy favourites.

Let’s look at the stats:

                   DET              EDM
Wins          24                   12
Losses     10                   18
PTS           53                    31
G/G           3.41                2.54
GA/G         2.80                3.24
PP%         23 (5th)          15 (26th)
PK%         81.4 (17th)    73.3 (30th)
SOG/G     33.3 (2nd)      25.8 (29th)
SA/G         29.5 (12th)     33.8 (26th)
FO%         52.2 (5th)       45 (29th)

Combine those stats with a Wings’ modest two-game losing streak and you know Mike Babcock will have his Wings flying tonight.

OZZIE TO THE HALL?

Chris Osgood became only the 10th goalie to win 400 career games last month, and there has been lots of debate whether he should go into the Hall when his career is over.  He has played the fewest games of any of the guys in the top ten at 742. Only Martin Brodeur has a better winning %, and only Brodeur and Jacques Plante have a better GAA, than Osgood’s 2.49.

He also 74 playoff wins and three Stanley Cups, two of which he was the starter. His numbers are definitely hall of fame worthy, but I wonder if the the fact he played mostly for the Wings will hurt him. Osgood did win 84 games for the Islanders and Blues over three seasons. 400 wins and two Cups as a starter should get the Alberta-born goalie in the Hall.

What do you think? 

NEW YEAR, SAME CRYSTAL BALL

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Despite Jimmy Howard’s recent struggles, he still leads the league in wins but he won’t get the start tonight. The Wings will go with the 400 win man.  He will get 401 tonight and the Wings will win 5-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: With Nick Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and the other good Swedes on the Wings in the house, Omark and Paajarvi will play inspired hockey. Paajarvi will pot a pair playing with Hemsky and Gagner and afterwards he will talk about how cool it was to score with Lidstrom on the ice.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Lebron James stupidly referred to his team as the Heatles, because of their ability to sell out road games, and after the Wings victory and another sell out at Rexall, Lidstrom is asked who he would compare the Wings to.

"I’ve won three more championships than Lebron, none of my teammates have shagged my mom and Todd Bertuzzi would kick Chris Bosh’s ass. Lebron is a poser and nothing more, don’t try to find a comparison between the Heat and the Wings, because there ain’t one boyeeee."

Immediately after these comments ESPN is running them at the top of the next hour, and suddenly Americans are interested in hockey, because unless you are in Miami you hate the Heat and Lebron.

Note 2: I know Lidstrom would never say this, but it would be FREAKIN awesome if he did.

  • This will be the last time I bring it up. Personal opinions of players are great. Everybody likes and dislikes players for all sorts of reasons. There are a lot of players that you can make arguments for and against because of those reasons. When a player reaches the point of being in the top ten Of ALL TIME in both regular season AND playoff wins, the numbers speak for themselves, and the other reasons become a little less valid. Roy and Brodeur both benefited from playing on some stacked teams. Circumstances like the team you play on is NOT a reason to keep someone out of the Hall. The greatest player of all time didn’t win any Stanley Cups outside of Edmonton, so was it the team? Grant Fuhr’s ‘individual stats’ like GAA and S% aren’t that great, but he’s in. Mediocre goalies don’t win 74 playoff games. IMHO Osgood has moved past the point of personal opinions being his barometer of success. Look at the ALL TIME stats. He is on the same page as THE BEST GOALIES OF ALL TIME. Jari Kurri didn’t get punished for playing with Gretzky so I don’t know why Osgood would get punished for playing with Detroit.

  • This is part of what you wrote jason:
    “I can tell you that Smid’s neck is still bothering him. His mobility is fine he says, but he has pain and it won’t go away until early next year. The docs told him it would take 18 months to fully heal”.

    He is not hurting anywhere on his body near as much as he hurts the team. But he is one of “Renneys’ Sweethearts”. Remember on OIL CHANGE where he was asked if he could play the right side? He can’t play either side.
    Stupid is a talent he was born with. And it’s on display every game. We still have the buddy-buddy system here.

    I think Stortini should ask for a trade out of here. He would be a great fit for a team that respects hard dedicated work. He can’t play here. J F J is just way to good to sit(NOT) …Renney is a joke. And a bad joke at that.
    Coaching record: And he’s only had 2 in this league
    Fired mid-season in 1997–98 – Vancouver
    Fired AGAIN on February 23, 2009 – RANGERS
    Deserves the same here. The buddy system “does not work”.

    What was Delauries doing in the Spangler Cup? Looks like the OLD BOYS CLUB is still operating. They’re like the mob.

    Had to vent. This is continuing to be ridiculously stupid. No end in sight.