Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville hasn’t been happy with his team lately, and put them through a bag skate hard practice yesterday hoping they get the point. The defending champs are currently in 11th spot in the ultra-tight western conference, and even though they are only six points out of 4th place, Quenneville hasn’t been happy with their drive and competitive nature lately.

Look for the Hawks to come out with a strong effort tonight, while the Oilers will have Ralph Krueger behind the bench with Tom Renney at home with his family preparing for his father’s funeral later this week.

With no lineup changes, besides Renney, after the win in Nashville much of the focus today was on trade rumours and specifically what Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky thought of hearing, reading and seeing their names as possible trade candidates.

"This is the first time I’ve felt it was possible I could be moved," said Hemsky. "I’ve never thought about it before, but now I get the sense it might happen. If it does, there will be no hard feelings. I really like it here, and I’ve liked my time hear. I just try to focus on the game, and I have no idea what they (management) are thinking."

Hemsky was asked what he thought of the direction of the team moving forward.

"We have a great coaching staff, and lots of good young players. I like where they are headed and if they feel that trading me would make them better then that’s okay. I understand it is a business"

Both Hemsky and Penner stated that the Oilers and their agents have yet to discuss an extension, but he also stated he didn’t think there was a rush to do so since he has a year left. There might be no rush for Hemsky, but I wonder if between now and the deadline if Steve Tambellini has a discussion with their agents about that exact scenario. 

I think he should.

Penner was much more relaxed about the trade rumours.

"It is something for my friends to read about. It is interesting, but it doesn’t really bother. I think what usually happens is the guys who get talked about the most, normally don’t get traded, at tleast in the past it seems that way."

His thoughts on being moved.

"The current housing situation has me worried a bit, I might take a hit (laughs), but otherwise I’m not worried about it."

He talked about why he’d want to stay in Edmonton.

"The culture has changed here. We have a great group of young forwards, and young players and I’d like to say we are an up-and-coming team. I think from the beginning of the year to where we are now, even though we are in 30th place, we’ve made a lot of progress. We were shown a stat where we’ve had 24 games that were either one goal games or empty netters. If we end up winning half of those, we’d be in the playoff race."

Has he had a discussion regarding his longterm plans with the Oilers?

"That’s more something for my agent, that’s why I pay him three percent. I think we will have that conversation later. We’ve touched on it a bit, but it’s something you probably don’t address during the season."

It is a touchy subject to discuss at this point, because a lot can change in one season. How much better will Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, Linus Omark, Jeff Petry and Devan Dubnyk be next season? No one really knows the answer, and that’s why it is difficult for either Hemsky or Penner to suggest what their plans would be come the summer of 2012.


Gilbert Brule was back on the ice with his teammates for the first time in three weeks this morning. Today was his 3rd straight day skating, he took a twirl with the Oil Kings earlier this week and says he is finally feeling better.

"You feel like you are out of the loop when you haven’t played a game in almost a month, it is a tough feeling to be out that long, but I’m working hard to get back and I feel good. I got the flu over the all-star break. I started to get real sick on my holiday and it’s been frustrating. I’ve been to a few doctors and done a lot of tests, blood tests and everything has come back negative in that regard so that’s good. I think next year I will get a flu shot."

Brule is hoping to be ready by the weekend, but with only two practice days ahead and Renney not here to administer his "skating/cardio" test I don’t see Brule being activated until after the weekend. The bigger question is what will the Oilers do to get him on the roster?

If they activate him, they have to send someone to the minors or have someone go on the IR. They could put Brule on a two-week conditioning stint as well, or make a trade.


GAME DAY PREDICTION: The home team has lost all three meetings between these two clubs this year. The Oilers won 7-4 and 2-1 in Chicago, while the Hawks won 5-0 at Rexall in November. On paper this good be disaster for the Oilers and their 30th ranked PK, going up against the league’s best PP. The Hawks are 3 for 11 v. the Oilers so far, and they’ll score two PP goals tonight to win 5-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: We will see a fast game tonight. The Hawks move the puck quicker than maybe any team in the league, and the Oilers have been much better lately generating chances. While the Hawks have the best PP in the league, their PK is only 26th at 78.2%. The Oilers re-designed PP will score twice, with Linus Omark potting two more points.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The rowdy sections, 300s, will awaken from their recent slumber at Rexall and be in the game early. They will be rewarded as someone in the 300s will win the 50/50 draw tonight. The unknown winner, will make the mistake of making it known he/she won and the rest of the rowdies will expect the beers to be flowing Saturday at noon v. Ottawa. Said winner will end up spending more than $5,000 in beer the next game, but he/she won’t be rattled because that will still leave over $20,000 to blow for the rest of the weekend.  

  • Let me be the FIST to say on this thread … I don’t think Penner or Hemsky are going anywhere.

    We can’t seriously ice a team of rookies. These are the only 2 vetran offencive players on the team other than Horcoff, who obviously isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We need them and I don’t think the return would be enough to justify it.

    I do think the team will add at least 1 more 2nd round pick tho.

  • tho318

    excellent article, this changes my perception of wanting to trade them. Sounds like people aren’t dying to get out of here anymore. Good start to a rebuild

  • tho318

    i concur with #3’s comment. sounds like the attitude of everyone has really changed. i like the direction were heading, making 1-2 small deals would probably be the best scenario for the short term.

  • Seems like the right time to trade Hemsky and get that overall great Dman we need. Omark is the next up and coming Hemsky on the PP and I think they should keep him around. He will be a cheap salary hit for years to come cause he wont get as many points as Hemsky but Im sure keeping Penner and MPS they will be able to take more responsibily in the scoring and defensive aspect of the game.

    Hemsky should be able to get alot in return with the need for a scoring winger with many teams right now. If toronto traded Beachemean (or however you spell it to) for more than he is worth Im sure the Oil can get that Dman they want.

    Conclusion: trade Hemsky, keep Penner and Omark and let them take on what is left behind from Hemsky.

    Keeping Penner will get you good defensive play and 30 goals along with size.

    I hope the trade talk with Atlanta isnt for Entrom. He is a carbon copy of LUBO and that isnt what the Oil need right now. Bogosian is a dream if we can get him.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I’d still like to move one of 27/83 for an established dman or top 6 center, but if those trades aren’t there resigning would be an exceptable consolation prize.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Just throwing this out there, has the lustre of Tyler Seguin softened a little since the 2010 draft? If Chiarelli called and was interested in Penner,Brule and Smid, would you grab that Tor/Bos pick or would you rather have Tyler Seguin?

    What if, Peter Chiarelli had given the Oilers something in return for letting Hall slip to the #2 spot last summer, we’d surely be regretting that decision by now.

  • Chaz

    Hey Jason,

    I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere, but do you know the status of Tom Gilbert tonight? I assume he rung his bell in the last game, but I don’t think I’ve seen confirmation as to why he missed the last part of the Nashville game.

    My Obvious GDP: The Oil build on the momentum from last game and win a close one 3-2.

    My not so obvious GDP: Yet more people at the game seeing the Octane for the first time shudder at the awkwardness they cause, and wonder what the Brain Trust of this team will come up with next…

  • tho318

    Nice to hear the 2 vets like it in Edmonton and to hear Penner’s comments on the culture change… it would be nice for them both to stay at least until next trade deadline and/or contract extensions can be negotiated – a proper rebuild needs good vets to show the young guys how to be good pros and take the pressure off of them. The Oil are finally building some depth… don’t trade away your top 6 guys until your young guys are ready.

    It would good for the Oil not to rush the next wave of young guys up (Pitlick, Hamiltion, Lander, Marincin) but perhaps allow some AHL’s to take the next step (Haartikanen, O’Marra, Vande Velde, Plante).

    You’d figure the 2011 pick will be able to slide into the line-up too. Address the center or defense hole after that. Load up on picks this deadline by dangling Vandermeer, Cogliano, Fraser and Foster.

  • Krueger said. “I’ve been doing a lot of the pre-scouting or introducing opposition here in the last few months, and we’re all staying in our roles. [Assistant coach Steve Smith is] doing his PK meeting with me together in a little while, [and assistant coach Kelly Buchberger] was doing the PP so he’s comfortable.

    Maybe its just me but if Bucky is handling the PP I can see why they have sucked so bad this year.

  • Reality Check to the head

    I wonder if Big Mac is playing tonight. I dont think so since John Scott is listed as day to day with an illness.

    Penner is a good talent and offers alot in a way points. I just wish he was more like a Cam Neely or Getzlaf. Points with punishment. I will always Penner lacking that. It is not in his DNA and that is a shame, because the fews times he has shown us a mean streak he is a true force on the ice.

  • Reality Check to the head

    As much as Penner can be frustrating to watch at times during the regular season, he is exactly the kind of player you want in the playoffs – big, skilled and will wear down defencemen over a 7 game series. Keep him if you can, he’ll be hard to replace.

  • The oilers do not have cap issues so why all the trade talk with our two best veteran top players only extends the rebuild would never get an equal return for either basically its like kids with playing cards trading just for the sake of trading

  • Ender

    Count me as on board for rather having Seguin than TO’s pick for this draft. This time last year, people were willing to cut the team to the ground to get Hall and Seguin playing on the same line. I’m trying to stay grounded in the reality of who the players are and their possible top-end, but even though Seguin hasn’t been getting the same hype in the past 6 months as he did before, he’s essentially the same player with the same skills. Couturier, Landeskog, and Larsson are the new shiny toys in the window at the top of the draft, and in a straight-up comparison I still think Seguin is the superior player. If we’re comparing Seguin to players below that where TO is likely to pick, you’re talking about people like Tyler Biggs, Sven Baertschi,or Dougie Hamilton. If you’re like most people, you just said “Who?” and that would be exactly my point. Healthy scratch or no, Seguin got a ticket to the Bigs on a good team right out of the draft. The three players I just mentioned are extremely unlikely to do the same.

    Seguin is probably not for sale, but if you could get him for a similar price to Chiarelli’s TO pick, you’d be crazy not to.

  • stevezie

    Count me on that board also, but I have no idea if it could be done. Maybe Hemsky/our first for Seguin/Toronto 1st. On the other hand, I do love Hemsky so much.

  • Dirt Seller Paul

    If anybody is interested, I have a free pair of tix for the game tonight, don’t want them to go to waste. Only catch is that I am in the Leduc area and they would need to be picked up. E-mail me if interested, first come first served!

    All gone…

  • Dirt Seller Paul

    I normally hate talking potential trades, but given the Oilers’ needs, and their assets, I feel like perhaps we can speculate beyond the usual idiots calling in to Dan Tencer talking about how we should package Penner, Cogliano, and a pick for Ovechkin.

    So first, the Oilers need to decide when is their best window to compete? I mean for the Cup. Is in next year? The year after? Or the year after that? And while saying the year after next is currently the consensus, is that really the best time for the Oilers to try to compete for the Cup.

    Second, we need to identify who is actually available that the Oilers want, and more importantly, can the Oilers afford to lose what the other team wants given their goal to compete in 201X?

    On the forwards – The Oilers currently have signed for next year:

    Three lines of wingers – Hemsky, Hall, Penner, Eberle, Paajarvi and Omark. While not necessarily the best three lines of wingers in the league at this point, I would argue they are good enough; and

    A great centre in Shaun Horcoff, but not a first line centre. Another above-average centre in Gagner. So for argument’s sake, Gagner and Horcoff are the 2-3 centres, not necessarily in that order.

    What are they missing? A number 1 centre and a fourth line. Forgetting about the fourth line for now, where can the Oilers find a number one centre on a team willing to trade for something the Oilers have but don’t necessarily need?

    The Ottawa Senators are quickly trying to become the worst team in the NHL. Would they be interested in selling the future and going the “Edmonton Oilers route”? Could they get a jumpstart on that by trading away say, Jason Spezza for the Oilers 1st overall pick in the 2011 draft? I think you do that trade if you are Edmonton. They have the cap room and need a number one centre. They have the asset in the form of the highest-value draft pick. And that draft pick may be something Ottawa actually wants. Spezza helps the Oilers immediately and helps them compete next year. Ottawa saves the cap space for the next 4 years and can rebuild using that cap space and 2 top 5 picks in this years’ draft. I think you do that deal if you’re Ottawa as well.

  • Dirt Seller Paul

    I don’t know if Im the only one but it seemed like to me that Hemmer is ready to move on. His quotes (all be it you can’t read everything into it) seemed very reserved to the fact he’s being shopped and that a move is coming. Maybe he’s told Tambo hes looking for a new home.

    If Im totally reading this wrong let me know. But for some reason when his quotes are put next to Penners it seems they have different attitudes toward being traded. Just my view of their quotes.

    If Hemmer brings us Bogosion then Im in. If Boston wants to trade their pick they won’t be getting a huge return id rather them come calling to us then the scenario of us begging them. They’ve been blessed with Brian Burke stupidity please don’t bless then with Tambos!

  • Those quotes from Hemsky dont sound like “I want to be here. This is my team and I’m ready to take the next step with these kids.”

    This business about not knowing what management is thinking and no hard feelings if there’s a trade has me questioning the buy-in from Hemsky.

    I would much have preferred to hear something along the lines of what I wrote in the first paragraph.

    Still though, you cant negotiate extensions until July anyway, so unless the payoff is big I would be hesitant to trade a guy like Hemsky until I had the chance to hit him up for an extension.

  • Shaun Doe

    Man, the Chicago feed showed our PP % as LAST. Why couldn’t they at least put 30th to keep the American fans guessing.

    Also did anyone see Foster keep that puck in the zone on the 5-on-3? First time this season?

  • Gilmore Tuttle

    Listened to Stauffer and company on the way home from the game play up the improved PP work tonight. Funny, I was sitting in the corner of the Chicago end during the 5 on 3 and counted a grand total of 2 shots during the first part of the original penalty, the two man advantage and the remainder of the second. How that is improved, I don’t know.

    We were taking bets on the over/under of shots and I went out on the limb of under 3 before the second call. The sad part was the crowd was screaming for the Oilers to pass Chicago the puck so they could get more time with the 2 man advantage, but they continued to pass it around like a drunken groupie at a Motley Crue backstage party for another 30 seconds or so before a ‘hawk player fell down and took it away.

    Note to Bob S – please keep your conspiracy theories to provincial and federal politics, the constant whining does nothing to make the anemic play of your team look any better. Other than a brief flurry around the time of the lone goal, Chicago had their way with the Oilers and the home team did nothing to stop them.