This is the theme song for a 60’s TV show called The Baron starring someone or other called Steve Forrest. I thought it was relevant given that Oilers fans will be treated to a different Baron Show for the remainder of the season – the Oklahoma City Barons, dressed up in Oilers silks.

Tonight’s Oiler lineup will consist of seven players who weren’t on the opening-day 23-man roster. Chris Vande Velde and Teemu Hartikainen will make their NHL debuts, while Ryan O’Marra, Alex Giroux, Liam Reddox, Jeff Petry and Linus Omark also weren’t here on October 7th.

Tom Renney must have been shaking his head in amazement when he sat down to figure out his lines for tonight. Here are the lines, and keep in mind I don’t see anything that resembles a bonafide first or second line, they are just listed in order.

Ryan Jones/Andrew Cogliano/Jordan Eberle
Magnus Paajarvi/Colin Fraser/Linus Omark
Alex Giroux/Ryan O’Marra/Liam Reddox
Steve MacIntyre/Chris Vande Velde/Teemu Hartikainen

Ladislav Smid/Tom Gilbert
Jeff Petry/Jim Vandermeer
Jason Strudwick/Kurtis Foster

Nikolai Khabibulin

The Oilers don’t have a forward who has scored 20 goals in a season, and in fact, only Cogliano has more than three full years of NHL experience. They will need to give their best possible effort just to stay competitive tonight.

O’Marra looks like he just climbed out a dumpster. He is rocking the long, shaggy locks, with a scraggily beard and he has two dark shiners.

"I finished my check pretty hard on Grand Rapids’ D-man Doug Janik on Saturday. His stick went flying, and it probably looked and sounded worse than it was, but he was okay and he got right up. As I was skating back up the ice on the backcheck, Straub (Brandon) a pretty tough guy, big guy, came out of my peripheral, so I turned and dropped my gloves as fast as I could. It wasn’t fast enough and I instictively grabbed for his right, but it turns out he is a lefty. Note to self — Straub throws pretty hard," laughed O’Marra.


For the past few years we’ve heard that Phoenix or some other NHL team was going to relocate to Winnipeg, but no team has been as close as the Coyotes are right now. In a last ditch effort to save the Coyotes, the city of Glendale and Gary Bettman, have tried to convince fans/residents/companies to purchase bonds, which would essentially  help "subsidize" prospective owner, Matthew Hulsizer.

The Goldwater Institute – a local government watchdog – has threatened to sue the city if they enter into this type of deal. Most citizens don’t want to risk buying the bonds if a potential lawsuit is part of the package, and if Glendale can’t sell the bonds the Coyotes will leave.

That makes tonight’s game even more unique, because it could be the final time you see a Coyotes’ jersey on the ice at Rexall place.

The Coyotes aren’t the most exciting team to watch, but they do have one of the most underrated D-men in the league, Keith Yandle. Yandle and Lubomir Visnovsky lead the league in scoring amongst blueliners with 57 points, and both average 24:24 of icetime per game.

Yandle is in his third full season, and his offensive numbers have improved every year. He’s gone from 30 to 41 and now up to 57 in a short three years. He skates very well, is a very good passer and he is starting to shoot the puck more often. His head coach, Dave Tippett, feels he will be a regular Norris trophy candidate for the next many years.

If the NHL finally wakes up and moves the Dogs back to Winnipeg, Yandle will become an instant fan favourite. I’m sure some Jets’s fans will compare him to former blueliner, Phil Housley. Both are Americans, but Yandle is much better defensively than Housley ever was.

The Coyotes enter tonight’s tilt in a battle with LA and San Jose for first place in the Pacific division and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Sharks sit in 3rd in the West with 88 points, while the Kings and Coyotes each have 85. The Coyotes are only four points up on 9th place Calgary, so they should be licking their chops when the scan the Oiler’s lineup this afternoon.


GAME DAY PREDICTION: Rexall will be rocking tonight, not because the game is exciting, but because most of the crowd will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. If the usual Rexall "Heroin" beer have green added to them, it will be an even more festive crowd. They will be loud all night long despite only seeing two home goals in a 4-2 Oiler loss.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan O’Marra and Liam Reddox will score the goals because O’Marra is Irish and Reddox is a Ginger. Most Irish are depicted as Gingers, so the Red Ox will bury his first of the season. It will be a deflection off of his arse — proving there is such a thing as the Luck of the Irish.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The last time the Coyotes were in town, twitter sensation, BizNasty (Paul Bissonnette) lost his phone while shopping. A few Edmontonians tweeted they had found his blackbook phone, but he never got it back. Bissonette was stilled irked about it this morning, and he’ll score his 5th career goal in the 2nd period. After the game he’ll tweet, "Hey Munsons, did you see those sweet hands tonight? If you don’t want me to light it up next time I’m here, return my phone. BOOM". 

  • Bucknuck

    You have that right. And the horseflies up by FlinFlon are CRAZY.
    However it is unlikely that they would name their team after an annoying bloodsucking insect everyone hates.

    HOWEVER… I typed “winnipeg famous for?” into my search engine and you know what came up? Mosquitos. too funny.

    At least there is a natural disaster precedent set with the avalanche, so Flood isn’t too far off. That’s where I was coming from. This is fun. Some other names:

    Manitoba Traders: they were a centre of The Fur trade.

    Manitoba Rebellion: remember Louis Riel?

    Manitoba Muckers: another flood/red river reference

    Manitoba Malcontents: remember Louis Riel?

    Manitoba Toquemen: since you need a toque there or your ears freeze.

    Aw crap I could go on forever. None of the names comes close to Winnipeg Jets. I like that name and I wish they would just go back to it.

  • book¡e

    “If you think a couple of guys that have about a 10% chance each of ever being as good as Penner is good value for him then I guess it was a good trade. For me, that’s horrific odds”

    You see, this is the thing. Penner was here for 1.25 years. The return players will be here for about 5 years of NHL time. So what you are saying is that a 20% chance of a Penner-like player for 5 years when you are trying to be competitive on an entry contract and a RFA contract does not equal 1 year of Penner in a season that you are not looking to compete at $5 million.

    Contract term and timing are key to understanding such a deal.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      You know what else is the key? The fact that Penner was in the prime of his career and could have been a big part of the team for the next 5 years.

      If Penner said flat out, “no I’m not resigning no matter what”. Then fine, trade him. But from Tambellini’s interview on the matter I don’t think that was the case. I think Tambellini was tricked by the shinny new toys, just like so many fans are.

  • bhlazo

    When asked about what they thought of the performance of the group tonight, the officiating crew responded by saying they were indeed on board with the oilers rebuild and were happy to do their part to help out. When it was pointed out that the question wasnt about the oilers performance but theirs they then responded with “no comment”.

  • Kodiak

    Does anyone else think the refs helped Phoenix a bit in that one? They did give the Oil lots of pp’s, but the Whitney goal was pushed in, Omark shouldn’t have been penalized. So that was two goals. And then the puck was still in play and the refs blew it dead before Ebs shot it in. So that was 3 goals they cost us.

  • Clyde Frog

    #1 this is a professional sports league, the ONLY time someone speaks the truth during an interview is when they are about to be demoted/fired from the league FOREVER.

    Saying Steve-O or DP hasn’t mentioned anything about a move in their interviews is a joke. Even if they had a knife fight in a circle of death with Hemsky throwing 20’s at them, chanting “one of us” or DP nailed Steve-o’s mom to demand a trade… NONE of it would make it to the public, ESPECIALLY after the leaked trade details from the Heatly deal.

    I don’t think anyone can say with a straight face Steve-O traded DP without having an inclination about his true feelings of being an Oiler. Or that they know the kid wanted to be here… Especially after the first 2 years of what was chanted in the arena at him, remember when we would boo when he touched the puck?

    Yeah, I am sure he loved us.

    The only way to look at this trade is with the optics of what you KNOW. What other teams offered, what DP wanted, the actual scouting report on CT. Which for me at least isn’t close to enough to judge, but aparently I am one of the few uninformed fans.

    Full disclosure I think we got an solid return on 100 games of DP, I don’t think CT is a B level prospect. I think at worse he is a -A being brought up properly on a team that takes time to develope its prospects.

  • Kodiak

    Good Discussion. When Tambo revealed the rebuild, he said he wanted players coming up through our system who are proud to be and want to be Oilers. Stockton players should have OKC players looking over their shoulders and Oilers should be looking over their shoulders to see the players pushing them.

    Don’t like the effort and compete from your team? Have a bunch of prospects chomping at the bit to knock them off the roster spots. This takes time. This is not a renovation, it is a rebuild.

    Pre T.Hall, Dustin was my favorite player, sad but the trade was the right move. Fill the pot with picks till its bursting. Then develop, develop, develop.

    Advise to Tambo – sign more free agents that can be converted to picks at trade deadline. Picks, picks, picks.

  • At the end of the day, did the Penner trade make the team better now or in the future. NO, IT DID NOT.

    LA got a valuable player they’ll probably be able to re-sign (a year from now) and we got, well…nothing. And please, NOBODY knows if Penner wanted to re-sign here or not. From what we saw, it looked like he was at least interested. And here’s the kicker – that deal didn’t have to go down if we didn’t get top dollar.

    At some point an NHL team isn’t going to be able to make it by on 18 year olds and washed up guys like Fraser, SMac, Strudwick, Foster, JFJ and Vandermeer.

    Rebuild means just that. At some point the “build” part has to be taken into account. Key role guys like Penner go a long way towards building a stable core. You flush the guys I mentioned above and replace with the best of your young crop. Make them earn it.