Hurricane: A severe, often destructive storm that can last a day or up to two weeks.

Caroline Hurricanes: A severe, often defensive nightmare that has lasted almost two years.

The Hurricanes have lost six straight and sit 29th in the NHL. They’ve given up the most goals, 101, and  the most shots, 917, in the league and they are 0-4 under new coach Kirk Muller. The Canes surrendered the most shots last year as well, over 33/game, so Muller has his work cut out for him.

Don’t expect the Oilers to feel sorry for them, in fact you likely should expect an offensive outburst tonight.

The Oilers are 5-1-1 in games after two or more days rest so far this season, and they are well-rested and eager to get back in the playoff picture. Last year the Canes spanked the Oilers 7-1 in Carolina, and something tells me we might see a reversal of fortune tonight.


Muller is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s polite, honest, colourful and determined, but he’s got his work cut out for him in Carolina. The Canes don’t have much depth, their star player, Eric Staal, is having a brutal year, Cam Ward isn’t standing on his head every night and the Canes team defence is pathetic. Muller will have to be patient because the Canes don’t have a lot of talent to work with right now.


Ben Eager will play his first game since November 22nd, and he’ll need to use his size and speed and generate some offense and emotion if he wants to stay in the lineup. Darcy Hordichuk, who doesn’t have the talent of Eager, energized the fans and his teammates in Eager’s absence and I’m curious to see if Eager is ready to play the rugged, robust style the Oilers were expecting him to display when they signed him last July.

The Oilers spent lots of time working on their PP yesterday and Monday and you can expect to see a few new wrinkles.

1st UNIT
Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Gagner, Horcoff and Gilbert

2nd UNIT
Hemsky, Smyth, Jones, Belanger and Whitney

Look for Eberle to play the point on the 1st unit at times. He will rotate around and if they get the PKers to move out of their lanes he will slide down the backside and take a cross-ice pass from RNH. They have two right-handed shots up high on first unit, and two left-handed shots on the 2nd unit.

They have a lefty, RNH, working the wall with the two righties and Hemsky a righty will work the opposite side with the two left-handed D-men. Look for some new plays from both units tonight.

Smyth – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
Gagner – Horcoff – Hemsky
Paajarvi – Belanger – Jones
Eager – Lander – Petrell

Smid – Gilbert
Whitney – Petry
Peckham – Sutton


Despite keeping the Oilers in the game v. the Flames, Khabibulin won’t start tonight. Dubnyk played well and won v. the Blue Jackets and Renney will go back to him tonight. I like that decision.


GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hurricanes played last night, and even though they are 2-2-1 on the 2nd night of back-to-back games, the Oilers will send their fans home happy with a 5-3 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oiler will score three PP goals. They are 4th overall with the man advantage, but they are 1st on home ice at 25% (15 goals on 60 opportunities) while the Canes are 26th overall and 25th on the road. The Canes lead the league in SH goals, 5, so the Oilers need to play smart with the man advantage.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Belanger will end his gaudy 27-game goalless drought, but he won’t celebrate very much when he scores. He’ll try to look like he it is no big deal, but at the next whistle he’ll calmly shoot the puck over the glass to his wife. She’ll keep it and later this year when Gene Principe does an in-home feature on Belanger we’ll see the puck mounted with "first Oiler goal" written underneath it.


Yesterday we raised $2,100 for Santas Anonymous. Big thanks to Kerry for his generous bid and I hope it improves your golf game.


Today we will be auctioning off another stellar package. Oiler fans should bid on this just so a Hab fan can’t invade Rexall Place.

Pair of club seats to the Oilers/Habs courtesty of SLH Picker Services.

A limited edition 2012 WJC Jersey. Pretty sweet jersey courtesy of the Sports Closet in Sherwood Park.

Party for ten at On The Rocks, plus $200 in GCs from them. I can vouch that Dr. Wang will make it a great party for the winner bidder.

If you want to bid you can call 780.426.8326 or email Bidding starts at 2 p.m and ends at 5:45 MST with 100% of the money going to Santas Anonymous.

Thanks in advance.  

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    @Rama, French and Amc

    2 in the box for excessive goating.

    Do you want to analyze a loss and a losing skid or do you just want an isolated cipher to vent your frustration and anger? Sure seems like the latter!

    If all you can take away from the loss is that “Hemsky sucks,” or from the losing skid is that “Hemsky returned and we started to lose”… then I’m not sure who needs your analysis.

    • A-Mc

      I think you’ve misunderstood my point of view, or perhaps I’ve mis-communicated it. Hemsky is my Goat but I’m not screaming for a trade.

      I think we can all agree, REGARDLESS of the reasons – Once Hemsky came back into the line up, the Oilers started to lose.

      I dont blame him specifically, but i do recognize that THAT is what has happened.

      I am more pointing my finger at Renney for losing the “Hard work = Play Time. Slacking = Benching” Coaching perspective.

      I Dont know why Renney seems to have abandoned this. And i say he’s abandoned this because there have been more than a few games where Hemsky (specifically) has been less than decent. Had this been the Renney from the first 12 games of the season, I’m fairly confident we would have seen a benched Hemsky AT LEAST Once; but we haven’t.

      I Love Ryan Smyth, but the Renney from the first 12 games would bench him next game for Poor line changes, excessive turn overs, and overall lack of effort in last nights game.

      What do you think the chances are that Renney benches Either of those guys for Fridays Game?

      It’s easier to bench a kid making 900k a year, than a vet making 5 mill +

      REPEAT: I am not screaming Trade! I just want Renney to drop the Hammer on these boys to light a fire under their butts. Nothing says “I’m serious” like benching guys who make Serious Salaries because they’ve dropped the Ball.

      • I think we can all agree that each individual player needs to take responsibility for their play. Blaming Hemsky for all the teams struggles abdicates responsibility for others playing like garbage.

        Everyone needs to look at their own game and look for ways to start getting it done. Gagner and Paajarvi have both been much improved, despite their lack of goal scoring so far. Paajarvi seemed like the only guy who would forecheck hard on any kind of consistent basis last night.

        Does Hemsky need to be better – absolutely! But I’m not going to let all the other guys off the hook with the blame Hemsky crowd.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        I’m all for benching players either for a shift or two, a period or a game depending on the circumstances. And Hemsky at times would be a great candidate.

        The BJ game was by any measure his best so far. 1 goal, 2 points, a couple of big hits, etc. If Renney can find a way to get him to that level every night that would be amazing.

        But your best game so far isn’t the standard of expectation. you don’t expect Gretzky to score 5 a night every time out.

        We need to set a reasonable standard for Hemsky. He’s not the best player on the team (anymore). He’s certainly not the worst. Not by a long shot.

        Some of us here seem to ascribe way too much importance to his role on the team. I see it as having evolved into a reliable secondary scoring option. Lord knows on a team where (up until last night) a big number of players had yet to score a goal (Belanger, Eager, MPS, go back two games and include Gags)… we’ve clearly got secondary scoring issues.

        When he fails to rise to that level (and I would argue he’s on the borderline of fulfilling it right now… and we can argue over health discounts) go ahead bench him, take him aside, work him in practice, etc.

        Who would argue with that?

        But let’s have some proportionality in our assessments.

        He’s “poison”??? says who? he’s not a “legitimate” player? LTs baseline for legitimate NHL player is 200 games logged. I think 406 points in 507 games more than covers the bet.

        We’re losing because he’s on the team?

        Just to prove how ridiculous that sounds take my all-time goat Cory Cross. he was terrible, slow, made lots of mistakes, a big oaf of a player… but I would never say we lost a game solely because of him, or went on a losing skid because of him… he may have contributed to it a great deal… but this is a team sport people! one guy playing one position for 17 mins out of 60 can only cost a game let alone a losing skid by unworldly bad playing… I haven’t seen that from Hemsky and his 11 points in 17 games yet.

        There are a lot of players I would consider throwing some “wake up and play damnit” books at and Hemsky is on the list… but he’s further down the list than a lot of other guys.

        I just don’t think it makes much sense – other than as an emotional outlet – to blame one guy for a loss. especially on a night when Dubs puts up an .848%, we take 7 minor penalties, give up 2PPgs and a shortie and fail to convert on 5 PP attempts, get outshot 33-25, have 12 giveaways… etc. etc…. that screams team loss to me! to see that and think “oh, I guess Hemsky is terrible” doesn’t seem terribly insightful.

        a note on Hemsky’s giveaways to consider:

        there are two ways to cross the blue line: the dump in and and the carry in; Hemsky prefers the carry in; someone like Smyth or Horcoff prefer the dump in.

        I have no idea which is more successful in the abstract and if someone has the #s i’d be very interested in seeing them – ie. independent of context and player which method is more successful most of the time.

        However, I have a strong suspicion that because the carry in is more visible in both its successes and its failures, we tend to dwell on it more. If someone goes end to end and scores its an amazing feat! See for example Hemsky’s goal in the Chi. game. When a goal results from a dump in however, we tend to forget about it and focus on the passes and forechecking, because it is less flashy.

        The same is true of the blunders. When you carry in and it results in a turnover it looks awful and the blame is isolated. When you dump in and it results in a turnover – which happens a great deal of the time! – we tend to ignore it because the blame is diffused and it doesn’t look as bad.

        But the results are the same in both cases… the goal is to attack behind the blue line and when a dump in results in a turnover it is in essence no different than a failed carry in.

        ok that’s enough… sorry for the length.

        ps. I also don’t have a problem with trading Hemsky. just get value. there is nothing to be gained by undervaluing your assets.

        • A-Mc

          i see that you are replying to me but i feel that 1/3 the way through your post you were no longer directing your comments at me.

          I would respond with several “I never said that”‘s, but i do sense that your focus shifted to some of the other goating comments not made by me.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            “some of us here” that’s where I start to address the crowd…

            Reply started to your benching talk… moved on to the group, sorry if that wasn’t clear. I am aware of the various differences between you and the others but it’s easier to just get all your thoughts out at once instead of going one at a time…

            sorry for the confusion!

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      I’ve given up trying to carry any kind of discussion with these types. It’s a hopeless cause. Eventually they contradict themselves and end up looking like a complete ass. But, they change they’re handle and everything is good again.

      Our seats used to be in front of 6 so called Oiler fans. Every game they showed up all decked out in Oiler gear but they spent half the game bitching about the team.

      It’s like they’re trying to be cool and prove how much they know about hockey to each other. Pick the easiest target and run with it I guess.

      Hemsky’s not been good but there a few other guys that need to pick it up as well. Second year of rebuild, this roller coaster is expected. Personally I’m waiting until next year to start being really critical.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Romulus……….I have been consistent in my criticism of Hemsky for many years now.

        My observations are based on the reality that he is not consistent in his play and that his play is purely individual. I personally do not like players who are easy to play against and Hemsky is all of that!

        There are people that say, hey remember when he go 70 points, we need that again. I don’t care if he got 150 points………if he cannot play a team game, the team will never succeed where it counts, in the playoffs. I wouldnrather have a team full of honest pluggers than a cry baby superstar who does not know when to shoot, or when to pass. If this is where your game is stuck at, you need to go back to Bantam hockey!

        Look at our young players……..they play hard every night…….they may not be effective every night but you can’t fault them for not trying. I for one am so happy that the we no longer have to watch Hemsky perimeter pass the PP to death, without generating any shots on net.

        You can’t teach an old dog new tricks…….time to send Hemsky to the light!

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          I don’t think Beer Drinker means your distaste for Hemsky is inconsistent but rather that the Hemsky haters tend to say things like

          “the guy never produces”

          And then when faced with his stats changed their tune to… But he never shoots, or he’s individualistic (hilariously forgetting these two things are contradictory!) or some other criticism…

          I mean how can you write this in good faith: “a cry baby superstar”? where is the evidence of that? The guy avoids the press in general, he’s not out there grandstanding for the press every night, he doesn’t talk down his teammates or the team, he doesn’t have his agent leak trade demands or his unhappiness about line changes, playing time, etc…. what are you talking about?

          I don’t doubt that you really dislike Hemsky and that you cringe when watching him and that you don’t like his style of play etc. But like Clarko said your giving him too much credit in a team sport. He’s not the reason we succeed or fail… there is a whole team out there that needs to step it up… save a little spit and vinegar for them

          and keep the fire! Goilers!

          • Ok you make a good point…… point is not with the player ” not producing”, it’s with how he plays the game.

            Other players in the category are players like Semin, Kovluchuck, and half the players on Washington.

            I think with the addition of RNH, Hall, and Eberle have made players like Hemsky obsolete. Our lines make more sense without Hemsky and having him out gives us more options.

            We need shooters…….the new NHL does not cater to danglers, not enough time and space out there anymore.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          We have had a team TOO full of “honest pluggers” the last 5 years. Sick of the “at least they are trying hard” mentality. Thanks to those honest pluggers, we have some real talent now in RNH, Hall, and Eberle. And Hemsky can move into his proper role of a solid second line offensive contributor. This team still needs offensive depth and Hemsky will provide that support and he is only 27. A guy like Smyth will be in his late 30’s when this team gets really good and I doubt we will be able to count on him for secondary scoring.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        you have never had an opinion you’ve changed? maybe contradicted yourself? take your “these types” soapbox and put up on a pile of quicksand for me please. the sooner the pretention is gone the better. fans can bitch. yes it’s true. real fans as well.

        think your sh!t don’t stink? think again.

  • that game was further evidence to support sh*tanusly being part of the ON lexicon.

    I kinda like the new pump up vid cut to the tupelo song.

    that was pretty much the high light of the night for me.

    FWIW Im not sure I understand why the pump up vid is followed by the kinda lame and dramatic thing for the Derrick drop and team entry.

    Seems kinda anticlimactic……. as was the game incidentally.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Last 15 games with both 83 and 89 both back into the lineup…5 wins and 10 losses.

    Anyone else like to see Ben Eager ride shotgun on the first line with Hall and Smyth not in there at the moment? As long as the Oilers aren’t on the PP it would be an interesting option. He looks to have the footspeed to run with those kids.