GDB 45.0: KID LINE ON THE PP

In 1999 Shannon Tweed starred in a typical terrible made-for-TV movie called Power Play. I’m not sure why the former Playmate of the Year (1982) would star in such a lame flick, considering she’s been with Gene Simmons since 1983 and doesn’t need the money, but considering her other flops I shouldn’t be surprised. The only thing worse than the Oilers powerplay right now was the plot of Power Play;

A woman survives by coming onto wealthy single men, and taking them for everything they are worth, sometimes killing. She proceeds to her next target – another wealthy man who has a daughter whom he mistreats. She tries to marry him but he dies before they could. She does, however, make off with some of his money. He also did not include his daughter in his will. When she and her boyfriend discover what she did, they decide to go after her and get back what she thinks is hers.

Fittingly there was a combined six "shes and hers" in the final confusing sentance, which was exactly how the Oilers’ six on three (and two for a few seconds when Saku Koivu got a new stick) PP looked in Anaheim on Sunday.

The Oilers had the day off yesterday, so it was no surprise that they spent the majority of today’s morning skate working on the PP. Tom Renney pulled out the blender and came up with two new units.

KID UNIT

Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark will be a trio with Kurtis Foster and Taylor Chorney on the backend. Foster likes the creativity of the three kids and expects them to move the puck quickly. Look for Hall to be the shooter on this unit and Omark the distributor.

Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner will play with Tom Gilbert and Jeff Petry. Renney wants more pucks to the net, but he also wants them to work harder with the extra attacker. A good penalty kill is as much about hard work as it is playing the system, and lately the Oilers have been outworked when they’re on the powerplay.

Renney also hinted that a 3rd unit of Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Jones and Liam Reddox will see some time if the first two units struggle. Renney didn’t offer up an ultimatum to his players, but talking to some of the guys, you got the sense that Renney made it very clear where the land in the sand is; and if guys don’t execute the PP the way he wants he won’t hesitate to try other players.

HIGH SLOT DEFLECTION

The Ducks used a set play with Teemu Selanne sliding to the high slot for a redirection on Sunday, and it resulted in the winning goal. We’ve seen the Canucks, Red Wings and other teams use it effectively and the Wild will use it tonight. The Wild use two different formations. One where the shot comes from the point, and the other where the guy on the sidewall slaps it to the guy in the slot for the redirection.

Renney admitted it is in the Oilers’ arsenal, but they haven’t executed it properly so far this season. The Oilers are in dire need of lucky goal, or deflection off a stick or glove, so look for them to send a lot of traffic to the Wild net.

DUBNYK: THREE IN FOUR

Renney is staying true to his philosophy of playing a goalie at least three out of four games, as Devan Dubnyk will get his 3rd start in four games. Dubnyk was great v. San Jose, and struggled a bit in Los Angeles. His positioning wasn’t as crisp in LA, and he wants better rebound control tonight. Renney didn’t comment on what his game plan is moving forward with his goalies, but if Dubnyk plays well tonight you can expect Dubnyk to keep playing.

Dubnyk is 1-0 in his career v. the Wild when he allowed only one goal on 26 shots in a 4-1 win last April. The Oilers have no forwards with a history of success v. the Wild. Dustin Penner has had the most success with seven goals and 13 points in 27 games. Yikes.

Zack Stortini will draw back in for Steve MacIntyre, and Foster is in for Strudwick. Foster thought he broke his foot in LA and that’s why he sat out in Anaheim. His left foot is badly bruised, and he will play with a plastic boot protector on his left skate. If he likes how it feels, then he will try a plastic protector on his right skate. Ryan Whitney uses the lightweight plastic protectors and raved about how they protect his feet from errant pucks. Don’t be surprised to see more defencemen using them in the future. The Montreal Canadiens have made it mandatory that all their players in the minors use them.

QUICK HITS

Brownlee was bang on yesterday when he said Ryan Whitney had already had surgery. Renney confirmed that this morning, and while no timetable was given, it seems likely Whitney is done for the year.

Jordan Eberle didn’t skate today, and is said he is day-to-day. He is hoping to be ready later this week, and Nashville would seem like the earliest return date. Eberle is slated to go the All Star game, but he will only go if he passes some on-ice tests. Renney has a few speed, turns, skating  and cardio tests that he performs on every injured player when they are ready to return. He performed these tests at the start of the year, and he will allow players to get back in the lineup as long as their numbers are similar to the early season tests. If Eberle can pass these tests and some physical drills in practice, he wil get the green light to go to the Carolina.

 

A WILD AND CRAZY GAME?

 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Wild is solid on special teams, sitting 10th on the PP, 20.5%, and 12th on the PK at 82.7%. The Oilers are at the opposite end sitting 29th on the PP and 30th in PK, and while Renney said special teams goes in streaks, I’m not sure tonight is the night their PP heats up so I’ll go with a snoozer 3-2 Wild win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Many season ticket holders will offer up their seats for tonight’s game. The Wild are easily the most non-descript team in the league. They have no superstars, no super sniper and no young up-and-comer that people want to see. Cal Clutterbuck and his league-leading 212 hits (he is 37 ahead of 2nd place in the NHL, and 100 hits ahead of anyone on his team, which makes me question how accurate the stats guys are) might be the most talked about Wild player, and that’s not a good thing. Midway through the 2nd period Clutterbuck will take a run at Hall and narrowly miss him. The almost-a-hit sequence will cause a stir on the ice and awake the slumbering crowd.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: I ran into Wanye earlier today and was stunned at the length of his hair. He told me that a young kid walked up to him in the parking lot recently and asked if he was Tom Gilbert. Wanye was giddy to be mistaken as an NHLer, even the long-haired Gilbert, and has vowed to keep growing his hair. During the 3rd period of tonight’s game, Wanye will post a picture of the back of his head and the back of Gilbert’s and ask you to decide which one is which. He might even make a poll question asking who has better hair.

He will do this because tonight’s game will be so utterly dreadful that he needs to do something to keep him focused on the game. When you have a five-second attention span, like Wanye does, an Oiler/Wild game is pure torture.

  • Good luck moving Hemsky at the trade d-line. His stubborn decision to stay with his own style of play despite attempts to get him to alter his game to play a little wiser style is taking its toll. Knees, groin pulls and a china skull, still hasn’t made enough of an impression on him to get him to play smarter. There would be teams that might take him but his injury record would likely mitigate against getting anything(draft pick) or anyone of value. For me he has been a disappointment in recent seasons. Just getting your points because the team is so short of talent just isn’t enough to me. That doesn’t make you a leader, unless getting to the showers first is considered a major leadership component in the Oiler dressing room.

    • Chris.

      ~You mean Hemsky isn’t on board with ELPH?~

      You mean throwing another entire season away on purpose might have negative consequences?

      Looking at this draft class… it’s clear that there is no Stamkos, Kane, or Taylor Hall type player to be had in the lottery. So Nation: was flushing another whole season really worthwhile? Until management embraces the notion that winning is important, and that a winning culture starts at the top; this rebuild will continue forever.

      • Was it worthwhile? Was there another option? Every day you lament about our winning culture, or lack there of, but you havent once suggested a better route to acquire good enough players to win on a regular basis. What the hell options are there? Trade market is dead and only Tier 2 Free Agents are signing. That leaves…oh…right…the draft.

        The team is in disrepair. Steve Tambellini cant make the club better by believing harder.

        I get that you dont like watching a team lose, but you really make it out to be like this year was avoidable. I would love to know how. This year and maybe next were pre-destined to be terrible when the Oilers consciously decided to rebuild LAST season. There is absolutely no point in “rebuilding” for one season. 1 good or even great player isnt enough to carry a team. I dont want the Oilers to Columbus or Atlanta in the Kovalchuk years.

        The Oilers are in a position where their best opportunities to get good players are via the draft. That isnt going to change if the Oilers adopt a “Winning Culture” from the top. I cant see how Lowe and ST high fiving each other all day will help this club.

        • Chris.

          How about this crazy notion: let’s try and RETAIN some talent! Is Khabibulin better than Roli? Is Fraser a better player centering the fourth line than Brodziak? Foster than Souray? Nilsson/O’Marra or Smyth?

          Take Brodziak for example: could the rebuilding Oilers better use a still youthful and effective, faceoff winning, fourth line centerman with some size … or is it better to have had a second fourth round pick named Kyle Bigos? (longshot to be a pro from the BCHL, playing in Merimac college with only four points so far this season)

          Why not turn Hemsky into picks… and Penner. Winning teams always turn all their quality players who do play in the NHL and trade them for picks that might play in the NHL? Right?

          Yes. You may be right. Lowe and Tambellini, through sheer incompetence have run this team so far into the ground that drafting is probably the ONLY way, the team will improve. Ask the Islanders how that is working out for them…

          Losing is hard on young players. If Tambellini doesn’t do a better job this summer retaining vetran talent, or targeting better transitional talent, the Oilers will start to lose their young core. Trade demands. Injury. Stalled development. You get it.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I kind of stand in the middle between you and Arch on this one, but to shed a little light on your position, I think you can really see the losing sinking into this team.

            Their seems to be no trust in each other, so rather then doing their own job everyone is trying to do each others…. causing all jobs to be failed at.

            This could be a slippery slope we are on.

          • The Islanders have made an art out of dealing away the players they draft. That team might not be such a laughing stock if they actually kept the players they chose.

            The Oilers havent moved a single quality player for picks. Not one. Although I do agree that the Brodziak trade didnt make sense. Not when it happened, not now.

            Ovechkin and Crosby didnt play on winning teams during their first couple years and did pretty much the opposite of trade demands. Year 3 of the rebuild is probably the soonest this team should go hard after getting better players to fill out the roster.

          • Chris.

            Why wait three years to start going hard after better players? What if you get it wrong? What if you have a bad summer? What if the players you need aren’t available? Surley it must be easier to find, sign, and integrate the players you need over a longer time period. Why not start right away?

          • Chris.

            Also, Do you trust THIS management team to sign the right compliamentary pro talent? Were you impressed with Tambellini’s ability in this regard two seasons ago when they thought they had a playoff team? (Quick hint… The answer should be no) Why is Tambellini still here?

          • Tambellini is still here because you cant say “we’re going to rebuild” with the owner’s blessing and get fired after losing for a couple seasons. Tambellini is here until year 5 of rebuild (IMO). Just like the GMs in Pittsburgh and Chicago, he will be responsible (culpable?) for acquiring the key talent via the draft, but will be replaced when the goal switches from ELPH to EFPH (exciting first place hockey).

            No I dont fully trust this management team (I trust Lowe more than Tambi because he actually managed to bring talent in at one point in his tenure), the one guy that has done his job well though is the only guy that matters at this stage, Stu MacGregor.

            As far as waiting 3 years to go after good players, I framed it like that because I think it will take this club getting at least 1 more impact rookie/draft pick before Free Agents like Manny Malhotra stop laughing at the Oilers and start to seriously consider becoming a part of the team.

          • Chris.

            And I think guys like Manny laugh at the Oilers because of their inability to compete… and another high profile draft pick won’t change either trend. (or two, or three)

            Stop making excuses for Tambellini, if he can’t sell players on Edmonton, then Katz needs to find somebody who can. (I wish Katz had backed a dump truck full of money onto Yzerman’s lawn last summer)

          • I’m not making excuses for him, that’s just the way I see it.

            I do think adding more high profile players via the draft will help attract veterans, and I do think that adding those same good players helps end losing trends. I don’t follow your logic where adding good players to the team doesn’t affect the win/loss ratio.

          • Chris.

            Drafting good players helps the team win four or five years from now… not next year: Tough sledding for a team that is about to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year.

          • Chris.

            Oh, and the owner can say, “Why is every single one of your free agent signings a disaster? Where is the positive learning environment you promised for Hall, Paajarvi, and Eberle? Why is this team getting progressively worse as the season wears on? Why haven’t you been able to identify, or address any of the obvious needs in the lineup? What evidence do you have that next season will be any better? Your fired.”

  • Chaz

    Went to the game last night. Had really good seats right behind the Oil Bench, and here are my observations:

    -Even though he had a couple of good scoring chances, Penner was brutal. It looked like 2007-08 overweight Penner, not the DP that I think has been much better the last two years. Hope that doesn’t continue.

    -After they went down 2-0, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team so deflated and lacking in energy and confidence so early into a game. Hall’s line all skated to the bench as if they just watched a puppy get run over by a Semi. Might have been a good time for a TO / Pep Talk by Renney.

    -The Octane (Cheerleaders) create more awkwardness than anything else in my opinion. I like girls and everything, but it just seems so campy to me. Throw in the fact, that it all seems like a ploy to sell $10 Calenders, and I think the whole concept was a mistake. Does not add to the enjoyment of a game in any way in my opinion.

    -Not sure why Renney didn’t pull Khabby near the end of the game, especially when we had the man-advantage. What’s the difference between 4-1 and 5-1? Would have added at least a little bit of excitement to an otherwise brutal game.

    -If I had actually paid the $250 for the seat I was in my head might have imploded with disappointment.

    -Rexall Place is a dump. Build the new arena already. Hopefully the team will be good enough to merit the effort by the time it opens.

  • Chris.

    Someone PLEASE start draft pick talks because no one cares about how the Oilers play anymore.

    It is actually quite embarrassing watching them get thrown around all the time. They have zero chemistry, and the best players on the team are all too young to be playing key roles.

    I understand Hall is good, but he’s NOT ready to be first line PP. Not for a little while… someone has to teach that boy about being patient.

    The one thing I enjoyed about the game last night was how well Chorney and Petry played…

    Hockey season is over

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The problem is there isn’t one drop dead gorgeous woman (prospect) that stands out above the rest, there’s 6 or 8 that really have a shot. Can we just date those 6 or 8 for a few months till we decide which one we want to marry?

      • Ender

        Nope, those days are over. The only place you’ll see anyone allowed to date more than one person at a time is in an 80’s Archie comic book. These days, you have to commit from day one.

        ~Where have you been?~

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Where have you been?

          Sometimes women are overly suspicious of their husbands. When Adam stayed out very late for a few nights, Eve became upset. “You’re running around with other women,” she charged.

          “You’re being unreasonable,” Adam responded. “You’re the only woman on earth.” The quarrel continued until Adam fell asleep, only to be awakened by someone poking him in the chest.

          It was Eve. “What do you think you’re doing?” Adam demanded.

          “Counting your ribs,” said Eve.

          • DoubleJ

            God asked Adam “how do you like paradise?” Adam “It’s great it’s perfect just a little loney.”

            God replied ” what if I could offer you a partner who will cook food for you every day and clean up after you all day. She will make sure you are satisfied every night before you sleep and when you wake. She will look like what ever you desire. But it will cost you.”

            Adam “that sounds amazing I would love that. What will that cost me?”

            God “An arm and a leg.”

            Adam thinks about it for a while. The n replies ” What can I get for a rib?”

  • OilFan

    Really hard to comment on anything involving the OILERS these days. Simple Jack !!!

    Kurtis Foster = Staios ?

    Really is it worth sucking this bad for YEARS to get a CHANCE at winning more then a regular season game ?

  • LoyalOil

    Sure things are a little bleak right now but with all the key injurys can we conclude that next year will be a new year and another shot at the rebuild relax everyone!!

  • OilFan

    Do you really think a couple more rookies will make NHL players want to sign in Edmonton ? If they go the draft route it will be more like a century to fill the holes on this team.