GDB 50.0: KINGS LACKING PUNCH

The Kings, and their awesome purple and yellow retro jerseys, roll into Rexall Place tonight for their 2nd of ten straight road games. The Kings lost 1-0 in a SO last night in Minnesota, and this road trip will make or break their season. The Kings are sitting in a disappointing 11th place in the tight western conference, two points back of 7th and 8th place Chicago and San Jose.

Tonight is a big game for the Kings, but I wonder if it might be a showcase game for Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky in front of Dean Lombardi, who must be feeling the heat to get his Kings into the playoffs. I’m not sold that trading either Hemsky or Penner is a smart move, but if the return is Brayden Schenn then I would listen.

We’ve heard some quiet rumblings that Lombardi might deviate from his usual strategy of being patient and developing kids, and MIGHT considering moving a prospect like Schenn for a proven top-six forward. I stress might, because I’m still more of a doubting Thomas when it comes to Lombardi straying from his usual process, but if the Kings continue to struggle scoring he might have no choice.

The Kings will be a tired group tonight, after arriving in Edmonton late last night from Minny, clearing customs and getting to their hotel around four in the morning. They had an optional skate this morning, and they will be in a nasty mood after getting blanked in Minnesota.

The Oilers, meanwhile are rested, and will hope to avoid looking as rusty as the Kings and Wild did last night. Tonight is the beginning of the stretch run for the Oilers. Tom Renney wants to use these 33 games to ensure his team is comfortable and understands exactly how he wants them to play next season. It is a unique approach to tell his team to use these games as a springboard to next season, but when the playoffs aren’t an option, he needed something to grab their attention.

TRIPLE H WILL PLAY TOGETHER

 

Ales Hemsky returns to the lineup tonight and he’ll skate with Taylor Hall and Shawn Horcoff. I spoke with Hemsky yesterday about playing with Hall and he was hoping for a few more games with Hall. I wonder if Hall and Hemsky are better as a centre/winger combo than as wingers, so hopefully we will see that sometime during this 33 game stretch.

Dustin Penner will slide down and skate with Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Jones. Cogliano has ten points in his last 14 games and has been an even player during that stretch. Renney has shown more confidence in the former 25th overall pick, often playing him against the other team’s top unit. Cogliano has improved in most areas of his game, but his faceoff % isn’t getting any better.

Watch Cogliano when he takes draws on his forehand. He isn’t trying to win them, but is focusing on not losing them and playing for the tie. Having Penner on his wing will likely help his faceoff %, because Penner can use his size to get to lose pucks better than a guy like Liam Reddox. Renney hinted yesterday that he wants his wingers to be more helpful on draws, and is hoping their determination on draws will improve the team’s percentage by three or four points.

Interesting to note that David Steckel took all of his faceoffs last night on his backhand, and Boyd Gordon took most of the draws when Steckel was on his forehand. I haven’t watched enough Capitals games to see if this is the norm, but if it is, then Steckel’s % has to come with an * beside it. Guys like Manny Malhotra, who take every draw regardless of the side of the ice, are legitimate faceoff leaders compared to guys who only take draws on their backhand.

COGLIANO’S MOUTH IS TAKING A BEATING

Andrew Cogliano’s All-Star break wasn’t that great. He took some down time in California, but not before enduring his fourth root canal. Cogliano’s two front teeth are a mess since taking a puck and stick six weeks ago. He had surgery to remove a cyst that grew in his top lip courtesy of the stick, but the surgery didn’t work and he will see a plastic surgeon in a week to get it fixed again.

"I’m not sure why it didn’t work the first time. They said there was a chance it could come back, but after the original surgery I asked them to show we what they took out and they didn’t show me anything so I was pretty skeptical after that. Every time I get a stick or an elbow it really hurts, puffs ups and bleeds and it isn’t a lot of fun. So I’m going to get it removed soon and hopefully I won’t have to worry about it again."

STORTINI GOING TO OKC

Zack Stortini cleared waivers today and will head to Oklahoma City. He will need to rediscover his agitating style and hopefully catch the eye of an opposing scout. He was a good foot soldier during his time in Edmonton and you hope he gets a shot with another organization. If Patrick O’Sullivan, who rarely gave a consistent effort, can get a shot from two different teams since leaving Edmonton, I’d like to think that a guy who gives you everything he has every night will get a chance next year.

Our thoughts are with Renney and his family as his father passed away yesterday. Renney didn’t address the media this morning, but it sounds like he will be on the bench tonight.

ANY LOVE FOR LA

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers are 2-4 in home games where the opposition played the night before. The Kings looked rusty last night and got in late, but this is must win game for them. Kings win 4-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Nikolai Khabibulin has lost eleven straight and picked up his last win Dec 16th v. Columbus. I’m preplexed to figure out why he is starting tonight, considering the Oilers want to make things interesting in the west, but a lot things confuse me. Khabibulin will let in a questionable goal in the first and the Oilers won’t be able to recover.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: JF Jacques will play with an extra gear tonight. Seeing Stortini sent to the minors will make him realize that if he doesn’t start to be a physical presence his stint with the Oilers could come to an end. Jacques will score his 4th goal of the season, have three hits and drop the mitts with Kyle Clifford in a spirited first period scrap. Twitterverse and the Nation will be filled with comments about how they should sign Jacques right now. He is just what this team needs; size and toughness.

***KIngs GM, Dean Lombardi will join me at 5:00 p.m. today on the TEAM 1260 to talk about the Kings, and where he is at regarding making some moves to jumpstart/improve his club.***

 

  • John Chambers

    I know it won’t get anywhere but here, so here goes.Sorry for your loss Mr.Renney
    p.s. hope we get something good for penner and anybody know how the top picks are doing lately?

  • John Chambers

    Twitterverse and the Nation will be filled with comments about how they should sign Jacques right now?

    Maybe Flames Nation. I might tweet how that plodding lunk should start applying to be a doorman at the Ironhorse. I can’t believe the team even covers his air travel.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It’s starting to look like the Kings are going to need more than a Penner or a Hemsky to make the playoffs, as it sits right now it looks as though they could use 2 top six forwards to get things turned around. Maybe we’re seeing the real LA Kings now and they’re not as close as they thought.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    Nice to see the Kings failing so miserably this season. Ice hockey really has no place in sunny warm southern California. Give these NHLers less sunny options and let them appreciate a true hockey town like Edmonton. Those anonymous NHLers polled how unattractive Edmonton and Toronto were as team destinations but they sure don’t mind all that moolah that flows from these two cash positive franchises to a lot of those southern market teams.

  • Hemmercules

    Bulin again?!….why??….the lack of starts for Dubby is the most baffling thing about the oilers this season. Willis seems to think they are sheltering him from losing so much which I don’t really understand. There are plenty of other rookies on this team losing every night and they don’t get sheltered. When will this Bulin nightmare be over…oh ya, 2 more years.

    *lets out a sigh so loud Bulin pulls a groin*

  • John Chambers

    “We’ve heard some quiet rumblings that Lombardi might deviate from his usual strategy of being patient and developing kids, and MIGHT considering moving a prospect like Schenn for a proven top-six forward.”

    Have those quiet rumblings come from anywhere other than the Oilogosphere?

    • Jason Gregor

      Yes…People in LA are all aware that the Kings need a top six forward. They have looked at possibilities and have thrown out Hemsky and Penner. They look at teams that are out of it, and possibly might part with a top six forward.

      NYI doesn’t have anyone that fits. Jersey not really. Ott and Tor don’t either…that’s why it started…

    • Hear, hear.

      I’m not sure if I would be too crazy about trading one of two established NHLers (Hemsky or Penner) for a top prospect who had a dandy WJC.

      I would do it if there was some actual NHL talent coming back and, even then, there’s a real risk of getting burned by the Law of Diminishing Returns.

      • @baggedmilk

        I don’t think anyone is getting too hyper about Schenn becoming the next BIG thing. If he was even traded he wouldn’t be playing in the NHL until next season at the soonest. His stats in Saskatoon are 11 points in 6 games since coming back from his separated shoulder he was playing with in the WJHC.

        From where I sit, he is probably one of the top center ice prospects, then we probably wouldn’t have be looking to draft a RNH or a Couturier. I would think Schenn has proven more than either of them, but it’s probably more of a pipe dream to get him trading a Hemsky or Penner.

        LA is stacked with good young defencemen. The guy they picked last summer is a stay at home giant, Derek Forbort is 6’4″, Colten Tuebert is about the same size & style of player. Either one of those guys or a Schenn would be adding a much needed piece to our rebuild I think.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          I agree. The thing is people need to realize that if ST is trading for Schenn or anyone that was on the Jr team that would cost Hemsky/Penner, he isn’t trading based on that small sample size of games.

          Schenn was a top 5 pick 2 years ago behind 4 players that have all played 100games in the NHL already. He was also ranked 7th by HF going into this year, so it’s not like this kid came out of no where to make his mark.

  • NastyNate

    I assume Eberle is not suiting up tonight? Couple more days to ensure he’s 100%? I would welcome Brayden Schenn here for Penner or hemsky, but i think that’s about as likely as Cogs being over 50% on draws tonight.
    i ass-u-me these are the lines for tonight?
    Hall-Horc-Hemmer
    Paajarvi-gags-Linus
    Penner-Cogs-Jones
    Reddox-Fraser-jfj

    I also wonder with Storts being sent to OKC, do you think there will be a little extra jump in JFJ’s step for the final 30+ games? I hope so, would love to see him run Dustin Brown through the boards tonight

  • Ender

    I certainly don’t want to say Renney would be wrong if he decides to be behind the bench tonight, but I will say I wouldn’t understand the decision. To me, that would be time to leave the office for a little bit.

    My thoughts are with him either way.

    • Jason Gregor

      Why would you even consider to question what Renney does in a personal matter? You have no idea how old is father was, what the relationship was. Maybe he spoke with his Dad before he passed and he told his son to coach until the day of the funeral. Even questioning what he does is disrespectful in my mind.

      People are entitled to do what they want when dealing with the loss of a loved one, and I don’t see why anyone would bother questioning their reason.

      • Wax Man Riley

        Hey Jason. I’m sure Ender didn’t intend to be disrespectful towards Renney. You are right that we have no idea what the relationship is like, what sort of man Renney is personally, how he deals with things, or the circumstances regarding his father’s health.

        I think that was more of a shot out to Renney just saying “it’s OK man, take some time to grieve, losing a parent is a very hard time.”

        I know when my father passed away young, it was quite sudden and there was no way that I was going in to work….

        …but then again, we have no idea of Renney’s personal life.

        My thoughts go out to the family and to everyone that has lost a parent

  • Milli

    Hey Gregor,

    Ahh the great showcase of Penner and Hemsky.

    One has to wonder if Cogs is of interest there as well. His game is always better when he is teamed up with Penner.

    I would think that LA would be searching for a LW’er. Looking at their lineup it seems that is their need. Thoughts?

    • Jason Gregor

      The Kings are in need of a top-six forward, and ideally a LW to play with Kopitar. I’m sure the Kings would have interest in both Hemsky and Penner, but I would be very surprised if Lombardi wanted to give up Schenn. Will be interesting to see what the Kings do in the next 26 days.

  • For those of you who relied on web streaming to watch the Oilers, this story will be of interest:

    torrentfreak.com/u-s-seizes-sports-streaming-sites-in-super-bowl-crackdown-110202/

    An old fav in atdhe was one of the sites seized. They are up on a new address and the article above details the changes.

  • Milli

    Tough for Mr Renney. Thoughts and prayers be with his family. I sure hope the tight race forces some GM to do crazy “Daryl Sutter” like trades…with us. That would be great!

  • Zed

    If the Oilers can manage to pull off some upsets for teams on the outside looking in a playoff race then I will be happy in April. Minnesota, Colorado, Los Angeles and Calgary.

    Throw in San Jose as well so only 7 teams make the Western conference playoffs.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    How about this simple trick for faceoffs. Let the wingers take draws for a game and instruct the centers not to come in and help them. Let the wingers see how it feels to be left high and dry at the faceoff dot.

  • I’m making the trip north to pour a bit of heroin beer on the floor of RX1 in honor of Mr. Renney’s loss.

    It’s a “win/win” tonight. If we win: Ha Ha. If the Kings win, they move up on the desperate Flames.

  • I really hope Lombardi is under that much pressure to make the play-offs. Schenn for either Hemske or Penner would be a steal I think. Even if we had to give up another player, it would give us a legit center man for the next few seasons.