The original Clash of the Titans (1981) was an awesome movie. Harry Hamlin (Perseus) battled the revolting Medusa and the Kraken monster while trying to save Princess Andromeda. It was stellar stuff. The remake was good, but I’m a sucker for the orignal movies. My favourite part was when I realized Mickey, I mean Burgess Meredith was Ammon. Meredith was a great actor and everytime I see him I instantly think of him as Mickey, Rocky Balboa’s trainer.
The Oilers could use Mickey’s take-no-BS-attitude tonight, when they face the surging Anaheim Ducks, and they could use Perseus’ fearlessness as well.
In the last week the Ducks have crept to within three points of the Oilers. The Ducks are 3-0-1 in their last four, while the Oilers are 0-3-1. The Oilers are in 28th place this morning with 36 points while the Ducks sit in 29th with 33. This clash of the leap and non-leap year Februarys might not look like much to the rest of the league, but tonight’s tilt is the first of four between these two, and those four games will play a huge role in who wins, err loses, their lottery position.
With all their injuries, the Oilers can’t match the offensive potential of the Ducks. The Oilers are going to need another Herculean effort from Taylor Hall to win. Hall has been phenomenal since returning to the lineup, and he’ll need some help from Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner if the Oilers are going to stay ahead of the Ducks.
- We all know Eric Belanger is struggling, and it seems like he’s getting worse in the offensive zone. He’s been exceptional in the dot and solid on the PK, but once he enters the offensive zone he leaves fragments of the puck all over the ice. Dennis Bonvie could handle the puck better right now. The good news it is impossible for Belanger to be this bad next year. I’ll say it now, next year at this time he’ll have five goals, but until he scores I’d keep him away from the kids.
- It makes no sense that the Ducks are this bad. Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan, Selanne, Koivu, Visnovsky and Fowler have loads of talent, but this team has been a mess all year. They’ve been better lately, I don’t see them ending up as a lottery. They are just too talented.
- Cam Barker skated today and said he might be shooting to back after the break. No definite time, but he’s very happy with his progress. Alex Plante also skated and he’s also hoping to return before the break. He wants to be ready for the AHL all-star game, which is the Monday after the NHL AS game.
- I noticed a lot of empty seats on Wednesday. I understand fans are frustrated and some of you will stay home. Don’t waste your tickets. Many people would love to go. If you don’t feel like going and your circle of friends are the same, send me your tickets and I will get them to people who have never gone. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you out. I’ve seen kids and adults faces light up when they get to go, because many of them have never stepped inside Rexall Place. Just a friendly reminder.
ASK PLAYERS IF IT MATTERS?
I don’t have any expectations when it comes to the all-star game. It doesn’t bother me that the game is a no-hitter and lacks intensity. I wouldn’t expect it to. The selection process is flawed due to fan voting, but I understand why they get fans involved.
However, I find it funny how so many have said it doesn’t matter than Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins weren’t named to the team. I guarantee you it matters to them.
Here is the outline of the bonuses for entry level contracts. Keep in mind that not every player has the same bonuses, but Nugent-Hopkins has every bonus clause in his contract.
Individual "A" Bonuses Paid by CIubs
The maximum amount payable for any single category ofIndividual "A" Bonuses identified below is $212,500 per season. (For example, an Entry Level SPC may not contain bonuses of $212,500 for 20 goals and an additional $212,500 for 30 goals, provided, however, it may contain a bonus of$100,000 for 20 goals and $112,500 for 30 goals). An Entry Level SPC may contain any number of Individual "A" Bonuses; however, a Player may not receive more than $850,000 in total aggregate Individual "A"Bonuses per season. Individual "A" Bonuses are payable by the Clubs (as opposed to theLeague).(a) Forwards(i) Ice time (aggregate and/or per Game). Player must be among topsix (6) forwards on the Club (minimum 42 Regular Season Gamesplayed by Player and comparison group). (Note: an Entry LevelSPC may contain bonuses for both aggregate and per Game icetime; however, the maximum aggregate amount the Player mayreceive on account of the ice time category is $212,500.)(ii) Goals: 20 Goal Minimum(iii) Assists: 35 Assist Minimum(iv) Points: 60 Point Minimum(v) Points Per Game: .73 Points Per Game Minimum (minimum 42Regular Season Games played)(vi) Plus-Minus Rating: Among top three (3) forwards on the Club(minimum 42 Regular Season Games played by Player andcomparison group).(vii) End-of-Season NHL All-Rookie Team(viii) NHL All-Star Game (selected to play or plays)(xi) NHL All-star game MVP
If RNH was selected to the team and played in the game he would have earned $212,500. If he was selected, but couldn’t play due to a hockey related injury, then he would get a bonus of $100,000.
Hall – Gagner – Hemsky
Smyth – Horcoff – Jones
Paajarvi – Belanger – Lander
Eager – O’Marra – Green
Nikolai Khabibulin turns 39 today and Tom Renney is hoping his team will give him a win for his birthday. He could battle former Oiler Jeff Deslauriers. No official word if JDD or Jonas Hiller will start, but Hiller played last night. Will the Ducks consider this a big game and play him, or give the former Oiler a shot?
Deslauriers has struggled mightily in the minors this year with a gaudy 3.86 GAA and .877 SV%, but he played well in his only NHL start with a 2.00 GAA and .929 SV%. Renney acknowledged they were aware of JDD’s struggles in the AHL and suggested it was due to how the games differ. Maybe that means Eric Belanger will light him up tonight, because offensively Belanger has looked like a 3rd line AHLer so far this year. This might be the goalie he needs to get out of his funk.
If the 3rd line continues to produce nothing, I don’t see why the coaching staff doesn’t move Eager up and give him more minutes. After a slow start, he’s been good over the last 15 games. He needs some icetime, and when given some he has produced more goals than Lander, Belanger and Paajarvi combined.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: After a correct OT loss prediction, I see the Oilers on the wrong end again tonight. They’ve played decent in their previous four losses, and they have to win sometime, but the Ducks forwards will love this matchup. The Ducks have won seven straight in Edmonton, and they’ll keep that going tonight with a 3-2 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Andrew Cogliano scores. He’s a former Oiler, and he only has one goal on the road this year, so he’s due against his former team.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Josh Green hasn”t played a game in Edmonton since March 21st, 2006 when he was a member of the Canucks. Former Oilers always score v. the Oilers, so watch Green score his first goal at Rexall since December 26th, 2001. He’s due.
Today at 5:20 I will be joined live at the Pint Off Whyte by 2009 Playmate Crystal McCahill. She’s a big Hawks and Cubs fans and she cheers for the University of Wisconsin. Stop by and say hi, take some pics and you can win Club Seats to the Oilers/Avs game January 31st.