GDB 48.0: LUCKY 15?

Words can’t explain the awesomeness of this photo. The blackhole of hair surrounding an absolulely ridiculous tattoo, with hiked up camouflage boxers, the best belt buckle I’ve seen in years and a laissez-faire grin illustrate how important it is to be comfortable with who we are. I’d like to know why he feels the number 13 is lucky, but I wonder if Sam Gagner scored on his next shootout attempt if he’d get a LUCKY 15 tattoed on him?

Gagner’s last shootout goal came at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles on Valentine’s Day, 2009. Since then the 6th overall pick in 2007 has missed 14 consecutive shootout attempts. He missed two more in 2009, seven last season and hasn’t scored on five attempts this year.

It begs to ask, Why is Gagner still one of the first three shooters, Tom Renney?

I’m not claiming I know more than Renney, far from it in fact, but when a player is zero for 14, I wouldn’t be using him in my top-three, or even in my top-six shooters. It doesn’t make any sense, and it is clear that Gagner has zero confidence or finish in the shootouts right now.

The Oilers have only scored six goals on 35 attempts this year, so you can’t  solely blame Gagner for their 1-7 record in the SO this year, but I can’t comprehend why Gagner is still getting the call to shoot. Jordan Eberle has three goals on six attempts, Taylor Hall has two goals on six shots and Linus Omark is one for three. The rest of the team is ZERO for 20.

Gagner…    0 for 5
Penner…     0 for 3
Hemsky…   0 for 3
Cogliano… 0 for 2
Brule….       0 for 2
Horcoff, Paajarvi, Foster, Fraser and Jones are all 0 for 1.

The Oilers have had the most attempts in the league this year, but only Detroit (2 for 15), Montreal (1 for 8) and Ottawa (0-8) have a worse scoring % than the Oilers’ 6 for 35 (17.7%).  

Devan Dubnyk hasn’t been great either. Dubnyk has allowed 9 goals on 17 attempts, while Nikolai Khabibulin has been pretty solid allowing 3 goals on 14 tries. 

What is most astonishing about these numbers is that I rarely see the Oilers practice the shootout. I understand it isn’t a great drill for your goalies, especially Khabibulin when he has a wonky back and groin, but it is clear that Dubnyk and most of the skaters are in dire need of sharpening their SO skills.

The Oilers will practice it on occasion, but it is always done in a light hearted fashion, and clearly that isn’t helping. Spending a little more time honing their shootout skills could help this team down the road, and it is something that should be addressed as one part of the process as the rebuild continues.

SNOOZEFEST?

We are officially in the dog days of the hockey season. I almost fell asleep twice during the Oilers/Preds game on Sunday, and something tells me I might have to crush one of those heart-attack-waiting-to-happen energy drinks just to make it through tonight’s tilt.

The Phoenix Coyotes make rice cakes seem exciting. Hell, even Paul Bissonnette (BizNasty2point0) has cut down tweeting, so there is even less reason to care about the Coyotes. They are another non-descript team in the NHL. No player has 15 goals, no one has even 50 PIMs and their 3rd leading goal scorer is named Lauri. ***No offence to any females named Laurie, cause I know one, and she is a firecracker and very exciting.***

The Oilers are 13-8-5-1 all-time in Phoenix, and after their fathers watched them get spanked 5-0 on November 23rd, the boys might put forth a better effort tonight.

THE EYE OF THE PHOENIX

GAME DAY PREDICTION: After picking the exact scores for the Dallas and Nashville games, I’m predicting that I will get an exact score correct prior to Gagner scoring a shootout goal. I know, way to go out on a limb. The Oilers haven’t played that bad during this run of 2-12-2, and they will be competitive, but once again they will find a way to lose. Coyotes win 4-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: There will be at least 7,000 empty seats in Glendale tonight, but you’ll see a lot of happy Oiler fans. The Coyotes are running a $1 beers and $1 hot dogs promotion right now, so expect to see a lot of excited/bombed Oiler fans. One dollar beers will make the game seem much more exciting for those in attendance and  early in the 3rd period Sportsnet will scan the crowd and show pockets of grinning Oiler fans, despite the fact they will be trailing 3-1.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: I just looked up flights to Phoenix. They had a seat sale for a return flight at $400. Toss in a $25 ticket, a night at the Budget Inn and 15 bucks for beers and the price is almost the same as a Saturday night of boozing in the gold seats at Rexall. While the 2nd period becomes excruciatingly boring, I will start to plan a Nation road trip. I will post the specifics on the site during the 2nd period and the competition will begin.

Seating will be limited to 30 Nation readers. You will have to submit, in essay form, why you should be able to go on the trip. Don’t reply until you have seen the specifics tonight during the game. Entries can be emailed to gregor@theteam1260.com and the deadline is March 31st. In August we will announce the first annual Nation Road Trip.

Wanye will be pissed that he has to apply to get on, while JW, Lowetide and Brownlee will be given a first-right of refusal clause.