GDB 53.0: OILERS DON’T HAVE AN ARNIE

The 1987 sci-fi action flick, Predator, had Arnold Schwarzenegger at his bad-ass best playing Dutch, the leader of a group of commados on a mission in Central America. They were so tough, we only knew them by first name. Dutch, Blain, Mac,  Dillon, Billy, Poncho and Hawkins tried to battle the ugliest, yet toughest, extra-terrestrial warrior know as The Predator. I vividly remember Mac (Bill Duke) finally losing his mind and going after the Predator only to get blown away in the bushes. He and Billy seemed fearless to me, and Dutch, well he was played by Arnie, there was no one tougher than him.

With great tough-guy actors like Jesse Venture (Blain) and Carl Weathers (Dillon) I recall thinking this Predator is one mean SOB, if he can kill all these guys. Except Dutch of course, Dutch was invincible.

When the Oilers face the Predators tonight, I don’t see anyone with Dutch-like qualities, and it looks like "Mac" isn’t even going to dress. It will be a long night.

When you are the 30th place team every game is a challenge, but certain clubs are harder to handle for the Oilers, and the Preds are one of them. Barry Trotz always has his team ready to play. They are built around two elite D-man, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, a solid netminder, Pekka Rinne, and a bunch of guys who play hard-and-in-your-face most nights. 

Sergei Kostitsyn is the only forward with 30 points, Partik Hornqvist leads them in goals with 16, and despite not having one offensive star, they sit fourth in the west because they get a little offence from every line. Trotz plays four lines, and he gets some production, and lots of effort from all of them.

Eighteen different forwards are averaging over ten minutes a game. The Preds have had a fair amount of guys hurt this year, but when Trotz  plugs a new guy in he gives him a chance to contribute in some form or another.

LINE UP SHUFFLE

Tom Renney will insert Colin Fraser and Ryan Jones in place of Steve MacIntyre and JF Jacques. Considering MacIntyre played a combined one minute in the past two games, dressing him doesn’t make much sense. I see no point in dressing a guy and playing him one or two shifts a game. It doesn’t accomplish anything, regardless of how big and tough he is. Dubnyk will start.

QUICK THOUGHTS

  • The first PP unit should be Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner and Dustin Penner with Kurtis Foster and Linus Omark on the points. Omark has great vision, and rarely stands in one spot. I know that screws up the line combos, but the PP is absolutely killing this team, and Renney needs to find a combination that can score at least once in every ten chances.
     
  • Shawn Horcoff is not a PP guy, and shouldn’t be on the first unit. It doesn’t mean he is a bad player, he just isn’t a great PP guy. End of story.
     
  • If the Oilers ever get another 5 on 3, feel free to try and penetrate the middle of the defensive triangle. Moving the puck on the outside and trying the cross-ice pass through the crease shouldn’t be the only play in the playbook.
     
  • Thank goodness the game isn’t on CBC tonight. I can’t stand listening to goalie commentators constantly rave over the goalies. Yes Khabibulin played very well in the first period, Kevin Weekes, but he came into the game on a 12-game losing streak. Had you said just once, "Khabibulin is playing his best game in a month and looks like determined to end his losing streak," it might have given you some credibility. You just sounded like a former goalie, praising a goalie for making stops, which is what he is SUPPOSED to do.
     
  • Interesting debate between Don Cherry and Eric Francis on Saturday. Cherry ripped Andrew Ference for telling the media he didn’t like his teammate, Daniel Paille, hit v. the Stars. Francis applauded Ference for saying it shouldn’t be in the game. Last year when Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin said they didn’t agree with teammate Matt Cooke’s hit on Marc Savard, how come Grapes didn’t rip those two guys?
     
  • I’m sure the outcome in Columbus frustrated many fans, but that was one of the more entertaining games of the year. Great pace, solid goaltending and lots of chances. The Oilers do try the majority of the time, but it becomes more clear every game that Steve Tambellini has to find some guys who try, but can also add a physical element.
     

MONDAY NIGHT MAYHEM?
 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: I feel for the loyal fans who still watch the Oilers night in and night out. You deserve a win, but I don’t see it happening in Nashville. The Oilers have one win in their last eight visits to Nashville, and unfortunately I don’t see their luck changing tonight. Preds win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers have three goals in their last 72 PP chances, while the Preds have killed off 57 of 64 penalties. The Preds are 89% on the PK in their last 19 games, and the Oilers are a woeful 4.4%. The Oilers will will actually score a PP goal tonight, but they won’t be able to capitalize on another two-man advantage.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Preds have a Dance team and an Ice Girls team, which has to be the main reason why, despite rarely selling out, they have one of the loudest rinks in the league. I’ve researched the Dance team and Ice Girls, and I like the Ice Girls better. The southern drawl in Chastity’s voice is southing…

During the 2nd period when they are scrapping the ice, Chastity will hit a rut and take a spill. Theo Peckham, being the ultimate gentelman, will skate over and offer her a hand up. Her knee will be bleeding so Peckham will promptly grab the shovel and finish scrapping in front of the Oilers bench. The bench will erupt in laughter and the Oilers will tie the game on their next shift. In the first TV timeout of the 3rd with the Oilers trailing by one, Peckham will offer to shovel again, but Chastity refuses to give up her shovel for fear the Oilers will score the go-ahead goal. When the Preds score the winning goal, the big screen will show Chastity turning down Peckham, and the crowd goes nuts, proving that once again nice guys finish last. 

  • Clyde Frog

    Luckily they haven’t taken down the radio feed off the Oiler’s site! Although now I am forced to listen to Stauffer tell me how HE would handle things if he were somehow 90 pounds lighter, athletic and had physical talent…

  • More on Bogosian:

    Zach Bogosian has been fed to the wolves by the Atlanta thrashers this year. In my article on Dustin Byfuglien for the Score, I noted that Bogo was the guy eating pavement so Buff could play more often in the offensive zone. He had a ZS ratio of 36.8% at the time and was facing a lot of big guns besides. His ZS number has since increased to 42.0%, but that remains the second lowest ratio on the club (ahead of only Johnny Oduya). His possession numbers are garbage, but I don’t know many players in the league who could overcome that mountian, especially on a bad corsi club like the Thrash. What’s also sinking his stock is a PDO of 98.7, which will all know is a good bet to regress back to 100 at some point in the future.

    As a result of bad luck and terrible circumstances, the Thrashers have been scratching the 20-year old, former 3rd overall draft pick recently. Keep in mind, Bogosian lead the Peterborough Petes in scoring as a 17 year-old with 61 points in 60 games. He has over 100 NHL games under his belt and isn’t even 21 yet. He’s a legit talent and there’s a chance he could be available given their treatment of him recently. If ATL is looking to flip the kid for a more established blueliner, Feaster should be calling Dudley a couple of times a day.

    http://flamesnation.ca/2011/1/20/january-20-potpourri

  • Shaun Doe

    RossCreek, Arch… stop the fighting. Forget Bogosian, forget Ellis and a 1st!… clearly we are keeping our players now that the cup run is back on track

  • @ Crash & Arch

    FWIW (understandably, perhaps not too much to either of you), I asked Thrashers web guy/blogger Ben Wright on twitter, if he thinks the Thrash make that trade & he said no. Waiting on an answer from beat guy Chris Vivlamore.

    Oh, and Jonathan Willis said “I’d probably do that deal”.

    And I did a quick little survey, both on twitter & via text amongst a few friends… The results: Oilers fans were split fairly evenly, while fans of other teams overwhelmingly said they would make that deal if they were Oil.

    • I’m having trouble getting past my long time mistrust of Bogosian, but like I said, you’re pushing hard so I will try to look at his positives.

      Defensemen take a longer time to develop than forwards generally so there is plenty of time for this guy to show his potential. I still think it’s a big gamble to hand over your best forward for a middling 20 year old defenseman with promise.

      Also, if I were Atlanta, I wouldnt make the deal either. The club invested a very high pick in the American defenseman and I think it is in their best interest to keep him and hope he can become the guy they thought they were getting. They are in a dog fight for 8th place in the East. I dont think that’s a great position to be giving up youth for 1 and 1/4 year of Hemsky.

    • Eddie Shore

      You’re putting in alot of work to justify a trade that noone other than yourself is talking about.

      I’ll bite…. If that trade does go down, which I think is very unlikely, we better get more back than just Bogosian.

      Edit: Of course because I say this, what do I hear as soon as I turn my radio on.. Nielson and Chase discussing this very topic.

    • stevezie

      The thing about Hemsky is that his numbers aren’t as good as watching him makes you think they should be. I’m not surprised that other teams’ fans feel that way, they only see Hemsky as an injury prone, seventy point player. We know him as one of the best stickhandlers in the league who is fearlessly dedicated to the beautiful goal. They also see Bogosian as a recent 3rd overall pick; they don’t know his real story either.
      I don’t know if Hemmer looks better than he is and will never break big, or if people who read his stats sheet are missing the best part of him, and watching him tells the real truth- that he is a truly elite offensive player whose best is yet to come. I do know that I wouldn’t trade him for Bogosian. Not saying its crazy, just saying that I wouldn’t do it.

  • @ Alaskan Pipeline

    I didn’t throw this out as a baseless rumor. I threw it out as a trade scenario I think the Oilers (not necessarily the Thrash) would and should make if presented with this option. I knew it would create some debate, as the Hemsky lovers wouldn’t like it. I’ve done this before with Arch (him saying he wouldn’t trade Cogliano & Gilbert for Seabrook & Ladd 2 years ago). I find it funny when some Oil fans say they wouldn’t make a deal that I think most GM’s would.
    The ONLY reason the Thrashers make this deal is because they need to make the playoffs now, or they won’t be in Atlanta long. They need a top 6 F, so if they have to move a young d-man to do it, I think they consider it. Is Hemsky enough of a reason for them? I don’t know.
    FWIW, you can add Nielson & Chase’s name to the list that says this deal is a no-brainer for the Oil – they’d do it.

    • Chris.

      I’m not a Bogosian expert… so I won’t comment on the proposed trade; but I bet Hemsky’s numbers would greatly improve if he played in the Southeast Division.

  • Chris.

    What is Tams future plans for Hemsky, Penner and Horcoff ? I doubt he wants to create another Souray mess with any of them . Would it be so bad if we carried them all till end of next season(Souray, Hemsky and Penner ) and got nothing for them in the end but cap space ? Then they might even contemplate buying out Horcoffs contract in same time frame approximately ? Other options are far more complex and results may not be any better in the end analysis .

    Youth and draft fits in well by keeping them another season with no compensation other than having Hemmer , Penner and Horc tudor the youngsters one more full season . Makes Tams job easy to boot and patience another necessity .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    With no Jacques or MacIntyre in the lineup, is it at all possible that the Oilers are a much better club when we aren’t as concerned with getting pushed around…. when they roll 4 lines like last evening?

    No passengers (bodygaurds) last night, just guys who can play 8-10 minutes a night and not hurt the club.

    Last night certainly was a head scratcher, few even imagined this unfolding the way it did.

    • Bucknuck

      in all fairness to the much maligned prognosticator, the nation should be a well respected source of info for all the folks who want to learn about the great teams of the Canadian Frontier. Kudos to him if he is taking heed of what is posted on this wonderful website.

      EDIT. I guess I should have some ~ in there somewhere… kind of…