GDB 45.0: A WIN, WIN FOR FANS

It is minus 112 outside, or make that minus 123 with the wind chill, cars are breaking down faster than the Oilers roster, yet tonight Oiler fans can’t lose. The Oilers are currently in 27th place, tied with the Islanders and Lightning with 38 points, and they sit nine points up on the 30th place Blue Jackets.

If the Oilers win tonight, fans can celebrate a win, which hasn’t happened much in the past two months, lose and Oilers fans are one step closer to a lottery pick, and the possibility of picking first for the 3rd consecutive season.

I know that isn’t the best win-win situation, but it’ freaking freezing out, the Oilers are out of the playoff hunt in mid January, their two-best forwards aren’t playing so I couldn’t muster the energy to try and find some reason to be super excited leading up to tonight’s titanic battle between the Oilers and Blue Jackets.

I’ve spent mosf to the morning watching videos of white sand beaches and day dreaming of being on one, so pardon me if I’m not sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for puck drop at 5:07 Edmonton time.

LINEUP

Not much changes, because the Oilers don’t have any options.

  • Devan Dubnyk will get the start as he tries to put together a string of solid performances.
     
  • Eric Belanger is still out with a foot injury.
     
  • Alex Plante was cleared to play, but he got sent to OKC.
     
  • Jordan Eberle skated, but he won’t play tonight. He might go in St. Louis, but it seems likely he’ll be back for the battle of Alberta on Saturday. If he plays does he automatically get named to the AS team, since they said they only reason they didn’t name him was because he was hurt. If someone gets hurt, and he plays on Saturday I’m sure he’ll be added.
     
  • I thought Ales Hemsky was good on Sunday, but it’s kind of sad that people are saying that was his best game of the season. I’m not saying I disagree, but Hemsky’s best games used to be three or four point nights, not an assist on an OT goal. But he needs to start somewhere, and considering he’s bad more success v. the Jackets than any other team, you should expect Hemsky to have another solid game tonight.

QUICK HITS

  • Ritch Winter will join me at 4:25 MST today to talk about an article he wrote suggesting that the Oilers missed the boat not developing young D-men while watching Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins take centre stage. I don’t agree at all so it should be interesting.
     
  • Jonathon Quick is the best goalie in the western conference right now. If the Kings can find a scoring winger before the deadline, they could make some serious noise in the playoffs.
     
  • No chance the Kings will trade Slava Voynov for Ales Hemsky, or anyone else for that matter, so let’s stop talking about it. That kid is a hell of a talent, and I spoke with two members of the Kings management on Sunday and they both said, "NB chance," he gets moved. Lombardi has a made a few head scratching moves with the Oilers in the last 10 months, but I don’t see a third one coming.
     
  • I really like Anton Landers’s desire and work ethic, but he needs to get a 1/2 step faster. If he can improve his skating in the off-season, he could take a big jump next year.
     
  • Interesting to see the D-pairings lately. Jeff Petry played 27 minutes on Sunday and I suspect they are going to give him loads of icetime down the stretch. In a perfect world, they see Petry and Whitney as a pairing next year, along with Smid and Gilbert. Right now Corey Potter and Theo Peckham are playing together, because I sense they look at them as their 3rd pairing. Peckham has been more consistent the past month, and if he continues that and dedicates himself to working out hard in the off-season he could become a very reliable 3rd pairing guy.
     

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hemsky has a three point night, and the Oilers win 4-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The "Fail for Nail" camp will be livid watching the Oilers win and giving Columbus an 11-point lead with 37 games remaining. I’m not sure the Oilers can make up that type of deficit down the stretch.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ben Eager scores, but doesn’t fight Derek Dorsett and fans will question his willingness to play his role. There is never a dull moment in the Nation, especially when the team is struggling. I honestly can’t wait to see how the Nation will react when the Oilers are actually good. Either the comment sections will explode and set records, or it will be crickets because no one will have anything to bitch about. Don’t worry we have at least two years before we cross that bridge, so keep your keyboards humming.

  • FastOil

    @RossCreekNation

    Kessel. Lottery deals happen. Perhaps ST doesn’t have the jam to do it.

    Some teams don’t have time to wait to get better, the Oilers are rare in that, so far. Some GM’s are active and like making deals, some lose it once in a while and give good players up. If enough is offered any deal is possible. A lot of it is also timing, effort and knowing what you want.

    Maybe Burke would have traded his first for a Hemsky package. The Oilers seem reactive and indecisive about the roster – “hey Chiarelli got a first, let’s try to get it off him and draft both!”.

    Too late. Chia wanted the pick in the first place, and gave up a really good player to get it. I would be pitching the Islanders and Jackets and Preds hard about now, and be willing to give up some pieces to get a core completed. Any Oiler outside of the three and maybe Gilbert can be replaced without too much grief in the summer.

    They have called Howson about Johansen and got shot down. The Jackets need wingers, D and a goalie. Hemsky, Smid, Dubnyk and a second for Mason, Johansen, the first and whatever salary. Both teams win, them now, us later. Smid is replaceable, Mason can start for OKC, Katz can afford it.

    • I agree completely on the “Jam” I think it is possible, just not with our GM. I agree a package is available to move up like you have stated. I also would be looking at Tampa and Montreal and Carolina to make deals as well.

    • The Kessel deal wasn’t made for a lottery pick. It just turned into one. The deal was made before the season started. Toronto didn’t know they were giving up the 2nd overall pick. So try again.

      And that proposal with Columbus is even in your eyes? They won’t give up Johansen, but they’ll give up Johansen AND a 1st to get a rental (for a non-playoff team), a #4 d-man, a backup G, and a 2nd? That just may be the most bizarre proposal I’ve ever seen on here.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Eager if he can play smart should get more icetime don’t know of another tough guy that can skate like that if he can control his brain farts.

  • Lofty

    I hope MPS took some notes on Lander’s goal. With MPS’s size, if he would start to use his speed and put his shoulder down, he could put up numbers like Eric Cole did before he broke his neck.

    Great play by Petry to follow the play deep into the zone on Eager’s goal.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Did Lowe sell his soul to the devil for the 06 cup run? Or did he anger the hockey gods for the Smitty trade or the Penner signing?

    We can bitch about ST, Renney, Hemsky, Horcoff etc but you can’t argue that these crazy injuries have been the biggest factor of our sucking.

  • Lofty

    If you would have told me at the start of the season that at some point in the season, Whitney, RNH, Hall, Eberle and Gilbert were injured I would understand not being DFL.

  • Petr's Jofa

    How much of a lead did Carolina have before Edmonton threw in the towel in 2010 to get Hall? I remember thinking there was no way we could catch them, but Edmonton brought out a new gear of suck and walked away with 30th.

  • 1manwolfpack

    sweet.lost to both teams that WERE below us in the standings in the span of a week AND lost Hall to another freak injury. Maybe they should just skip the pregame warmup from now on and we could make it through a season.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Yakupov AND Murray or bust.

    With all of the Oilers leaders out of the lineup. There was just the Zombie on blades (Shawn Horcoff) left to lead the Oilers tonight.

  • 4 point game. Only 7 points separate us from 30th. Bonus Islander win. Some loser will have picked the Islanders tonight in the Sport Select Hockey Pools game. He’ll be the only degenerate to win. Probably will cash like 50 grand. WTF is up with the Capitals? Gregor was spewing out odds today about where Hemsky will be traded to at the deadline. My money is on Washington. They need an infusion of offence in a big way. The loss of Green means they might be in the market for Sutton also. I’d take Colorado’s 1st pick this year and a conditional cd and a 3rd this year.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I’d be happy with those two as well. The Oilers as it sits right now have two gapping holes in the top 6 and 2 holes(#1 and #2) on the backend. That’s 4 huge holes creating this mess. Yakupov and Grigorenko would fill two of those holes next fall…..well done sir.

  • A game like this shows just how bad the dept on this team really is, after 4-14-93 we got no other talent on this team. I’m saying drastic measures time. Yakubov-Murray! I don’t really care how it gets done! If Burke can draft those two alien sisters then……..never mind it’s Tambo I’m talking about.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Could’ve been a lot worse for Taylor Hall….

    Borje Salming’s face stepped on (1986): During a game at Detroit, the Maple Leafs defenceman lay on the ice during a goalmouth scramble. Wings’ forward Gerard Gallant was pushed backwards and accidentally stepped on Salming, cutting him on the right side of his face. It took about 250 stitches to close the wound. “He looked like a softball after the game,” said teammate Steve Thomas.

  • Chris.

    I’m now cheering for a 29th place finish. Yakupov is going to be the consensus #1… but honestly, in the name of balance, this organization seriously needs some size and grit in the top six much more than extra razzle dazzle. While I agree that the Oil should take Nail if they fail their way into a historic 3rd consecutive last place finish: it might work out better for the team to land Grigorenko instead. I’m also hopeful Katz wouldn’t consider a 29th place finish to be enough improvement to extend Tambi’s stay.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Chris, top 6 have to be skilled players who can razzle dazzle. 3rd and 4th lines could be size and muscle. If one of those lines scores it’s even better. I think Paayarvi, Lander, Omark would do nicely. First line Hall, RNH, Eberly. Second Yakupov, Grigorenko, Hemsky. Not bad I would say!

    • BigE91

      We don’t, no way that happens. What team in a lottery position is going to give up that pick? It’s fun to read the pipe dreams about 2 top 3 picks but that is all it is is pipe dreams.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        If Paul Holmgren can move unthinkables Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in the same hour, it’s not much of a reach to think Kevin Lowe has the same mindset going into these next few weeks. Sooner rather than later there will be a major renovation involved for this team. They can do this without touching 4,14 and 93…..watch and repent.lol

        BTW, did that Limo full of hookers show up at your door like you dreamed they would?

        • BigE91

          Paul Holmgren had the foundation for a great team, not to mention Richards and Carter were rumored to be cancers in the Flyer locker room. That move gave Giroux the opportunity to benefit from top minutes and the Flyers to sign Jagr. The end result was a Flyer team that is better without those two guys.

          What package of Oiler players is going to fetch a top 5 pick? Hemsky, a UFA at the end of the season? Gagner and Smid?

          Any team in a lottery position isn’t looking to add pieces unless they can get a 4,14 or 93 they aren’t taking a one armed right winger or an albatross of a contract or a pending UFA.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            I feel the Oilers would be a better club as well with someone else getting Hemskys and Gagners minutes.

            83,35 and 28 in exchange for Vokoun, a salary dump and the first selection they received from the Avalanche for Varlomov. Hate to see Jonesy go but that lands the Oilers inside the top 10 again. Flip that selection along with Paajarvi to get you into the top 5. This would fill 2 of the 4 gapping holes on the Oilers roster. July one the Oilers can fill out the bottom six if need be.

            Everything appears absurd…..until it happens.

        • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

          no, just a fat guy dropping off the pizza i ordered.

          did your pie in the sky 2 lottery picks dream come true yet?

          i still like my chances better

  • Chris.

    The Oilers will only have 1 top 5 pick…unless they trade it away. Dithers will never pull off a trade for an additional lottery pick.

    I hope MacGregor can use his pick to take Grigorenko, but take him guilt free because he is the best player left on the board. IMO, Grigorenko better fills a need for this franchise than Yakupov. I know you shouldn’t draft for need… but the BPA therory of drafting is predicated on the assumption that your managment team will actually balance the roster at a later date with smart trades and signings instead of just talking about it. This isn’t our situation in Edmonton.

  • Petr's Jofa

    On December 12th, 2010, Carolina had a 14 point lead over the Oilers in the race for the basement. 19 games later, that lead was gone when Edmonton lost to Chicago 4-1 on January 26th. Edmonton closed the 2009-10 seaon in place 30th with a 12 point between them and 29th (Leafs)

    Since only 7 points and two teams seperate Edmonton from 30th, I have faith that the Oil can give us yet another exciting summer as we worry about the draft lotto and debate grow on who to take 1st overall.

  • FastOil

    As fans I think when the team sucks we undervalue our players and overvalue other team’s.

    Is it even? Dreger who is pretty respected and connected thinks Hemsky is valuable because even with his problems he has rare skill, he can be a game breaker. Same reason Havlat is sought or others with big talent and injury issues. Hemsky is not old, Howson knows him personally and needs to do something to get the Jackets winning. Signing a contract would of course be a part of the deal, just like discussions here about Weber.

    Smid is hitting his prime, playing first pairing minutes, not expensive and is playing the best he ever has. He was valued by other teams before and he’s better now.

    Dubnyk, same deal. Not proven, but the Jackets need to do something in net, Dub is a good goalie and Schneider is going to cost more. A second round pick is still valued by GM’s and gives them a player in a deep draft.

    Johansen is a good player but unproven, the first pick likely a good player, but unless Howson wants a defenseman which won’t help him for years, I don’t know how big they’ll be on Russians after past experience. Dumping Mason’s terrible contract would be a big motivator for a cash strapped team that has to improve. The Jacket’s owners will not continue to float that situation forever. IMO the Oilers want to lose still, and having Mason as back up to an old guy is perfect.

    The point is deals get done that are unexpected, depends on team need. Both teams win here. We see them every year or two. Somebody is likely going to pull something out of the Jackets, and if the Oil are intersted in a player that fills a need in the core why not them? Change up the players as you like.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Well, at least I got my GDP right.

    Does anyone know if we lead the league in too many men penalties?

    Is it just me or have we gotten an inordinate number of those? What is the league average anyway?

    Some of that is probably youthful mistakes and some lack of behind the bench care… but whatever it is, it seems like something a team should have addressed by now as I imagine it is fairly easy to demand the team pay better attention to their changes.