GDB 46.0: SINGING THE BLUES

The Oilers are banged up, cut up and beat up, but they’ll try to shut up their critics for one night as they take on the surging St. Louis Blues. The Blues are 21-5-6 under Ken Hitchcock, while Jaroslav Halak is 9-0-3 since November 22nd. The Blues sit 4th overall in the NHL with 60 points, while the Oilers now sit in 29th with 38. On paper this looks like a huge mismatch, but the Oilers have surprisingly been very competitive against top teams this year.

The Oilers are a strange bunch. Either they play better against playoff teams, or those teams take them lightly, because of the Oilers 17 wins 13 have come against teams currently in the playoffs.

They’ve beaten the Penguins, Rangers, Capitals, Blues and Canucks once, while downing the Hawks, Kings, Predators and Avalanche twice.

However, 16 of their 28 losses (24) regulation and (4) OT/SO have come against teams out of the playoffs.

The Oilers are 13-12 v. playoff teams and 4-16 v. non playoff teams. Six of their last seven losses have come against the struggling Blue Jackets, Ducks, Stars, Islanders, Sabres and Wild.

Their next four games are against the (league standings) 4th place Blues, 5th place Canucks, 9th place Sharks and the 21st place Flames, who’ve beaten the Oilers 15 of the last 16 meetings. The next week will be tough.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Honestly, I’m not sure, but whatever it is they will need to try and emulate it leading into the all-star break if they want to win some games. Without Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney it’s a daunting task, especially tonight against the Blues.

The good news is that leading scorer, Jordan Eberle, will return to the lineup. Eberle has been out twelve days and four games, and the Oilers offence has clearly missed him. The Oilers scored 5 goals in those four games, and they desperately need his 1.04/PPG scoring touch back in the lineup. I’m assuming Eberle is playing since the Oilers didn’t recall anyone after playing in Columbus with 11 forwards and he took the optional skate in St. Louis this morning.

With Eberle returning I wonder if the NHL will add him to the all-star team? When they announced the team last week, they said the only reason he didn’t make it was because he was hurt, so if there is an injury replacement he’d have to be first on the list. Trust me, he would love to be there, and he deserves to be.

LINE UP

If I was making the lines I’d go with these.

Eager – Gagner – Hemsky
Smyth – Horcoff – Eberle
Paajarvi – Lander – Jones
Green – O’Marra – Hordichuk

Of course Eager isn’t a first liner, but he has five goals in his last 18 games. Only Eberle and Hall have more, so reward him for improved play. I’m sure many will say that Paajarvi should play there, but he hasn’t done anything to deserve a promotion. He’s playing better, but I’d keep him and Lander together and hope they finally produce something offensively.

Paajarvi’s had four minutes of PP time between the past two games, so he’s getting his offensive chances. He needs to go to the scoring areas (tough areas) more often if he wants to score. He is still playing too much on the perimeter, but once he gains the confidence to consistently go to the scoring areas I think he’ll be rewarded.

QUICK HITS

  •   Sam Gagner has 15 points (5G, 10A) in 15 career games vs STL.

  •   T.J. Oshie has 9 points in his last 10 games vs Edmonton (3G, 6A).

  •   Alex Pietrangelo has 10 points (2G, 8A) in 7 seven games.

GOING VIRAL 

If you missed Modern Family last night, you missed another awesome episode. This autotoned remix of Phil and Claire’s meltdown on public access TV was hilarious. How many parents could relate while watching young Lilly drop an F-bomb for the first time. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or a friend of the parents, if you are around the first time their little golden child spews out some profanity it is truly hilarious.

I’ve seen it happen, and it is rare that one of the parents doesn’t laugh, usually dad, while trying to tell their little Einstein that is a bad word.

If you aren’t watching Modern Family I highly recommend it, especially if you are a diehard Oiler fan. You need some comedic relieve in your life.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers have played the top-teams tight, but the Blues are rolling and they won’t let two points slip away. Blues win 4-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: During a stoppage of play in the 2nd period, the cameras will pan the Blues bench and show Ken Hitchcock. They will put the Blues record under Hitch on the screen and talk about his impact. A few Oiler fans will instantly claim the Oilers should fire Renney tomorrow to get the same results in Edmonton, not realizing that a strong final 35 games will do more damage than good long term. Unfortunately, the time to win frequently was two months ago. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After ending a 23-game goalless drought in Columbus, Anton Lander will set up his linemate and close friend Magnus Paajarvi putting an end to Paajarvi’s 29-game drought. Fans need to see some signs of hope down the stretch and Lander and Paajarvi will play much better over the final eleven weeks of the season.

  • book¡e

    There has been a real backlash about the Modern Family episode in the good ol’ USA because a child utters a curse word (or at least is presented to do so). Heaven’s to Betsy, I for one, know I was deeply Offended.

  • Douche Nietzsche

    Holy Retard League.!..

    If they’re going to call that a penalty on Sutton, the retard hamsters should not allow players over 6’2 in their league.

    • Douche Nietzsche

      Only in the NHL could two wrongs make a right.

      How can there be two penalties on something that didnt occur? Not once, but twice, didnt occur.

      I think a drunk from a barn in Ponoka runs this league.

  • Jason Gregor

    ~So, the face of the Edmonton Oilers now resembles that of an axe murderer. Great.~

    Seriously though, that has to be one of the nastiest injuries I have ever seen.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Man… someone realllllly needs to teach PRV to hit and not bump. At least 4 times tonight he could have flattened someone but instead gives them a bump.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Only thing I can think of is that there must be a crop of rookie ref’s in the NHL this season… that hooking/diving call is just the capper to some horrible calls that i’ve seen so far this season.

    • Douche Nietzsche

      Only way I’ll believe your statement is if you were to tell me you started watching hockey this season or youre drunk.

      This league has some of the sorriest officiating on planet Earth, and its been like that since I can remember.

        • Douche Nietzsche

          There was 7 players combined on the ice from both the Oilers and the Blues to start the period, and 4 refs.

          Really?.!..

          NHL rules and regulations are a corporate joke.

          • Wanyes bastard child

            Your missing my point, I was actually agreeing with you. The reffing has always been horrible but not to the extremes that we have seen this season.

            In your rush to be your arrogant dickish self that thinks he knows and is more intelligent then everyone else I guess you missed that…

          • Douche Nietzsche

            I didnt miss anything. We who?

            I was in no rush to be anything. You should behave and conduct yourself like a man and dont disrespect people for no reason. Dont be a internet tough guy, you fall in the category of goof with your female ways.

          • Douche Nietzsche

            Thanks for helping me with my English, it is my 4th language so I do slip up sometimes. Thanks again.

            Calling me out? Give your head a shake and stick to Camp Yes.

  • Clyde Frog

    So would the lightning have any interest in making a trade for Khabibulin if he shows his game again?

    Especially considering how their current goal tending is built out of Oiler ex’s AND how goaltending is killing them…

  • Shaun Doe

    So we wait til we are down 1-0 before we start to show anything resembling a pulse. Absolutely brutal showing yet again. I know the blues are a hard team to play against but that effort was something else. It seems this team can never clear the puck out of the zone nor hold the blue line. Also is it just me or does the entire team begin to retreat to the d zone the second the puck is turned over? They make passage through the neutral zone a cake walk for the oposition

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Doesn’t get much better than that. A regulation loss and Khabibulin with a .974 save%. All round, a pretty good day i’d say.

    Unfortunate we didn’t gain any ground on the Jackets.

  • What were the final shots? I left for work when the shots were at 17 or 18 to 1. I can’t believe the score was only 1-0.

    Now, with those saying Yakupov is too small, he’s the same height as Crosby. (I’m not comparing the two players.)I tend to think it’s an overrated stat.

    Could/Would Tambo have the balls to trade Henmsky, pick one of the young defenseman, plus a 2nd rounder to the Predators for Radulovs rights? He’s signed till 2014 but might have an out clause. Then flip the rights to Radulov to move up in the draft?

    This rebuild was supposed to take 5 years, why has there been no progress after three? The Oilers are still no better off then the first year?

    Disappointing season for sure.

  • Talbot17

    Renney’s post games are starting to sound like he feels hes lost something, whether thats the team, explanations, whatever. “Lesson learned..” what lesson Renney? theres been no progress really in this rebuild, its just getting sad.

  • Milhouse Van Ched

    Absolutely pathetic watching four Oilers, including their Captain, all stand in front of the crease watching two St. Louis players control the puck behind the Oil’s net and punch it in on the side of Habby. Not one of these four Oilers made any effort to chase them behind their own net to disrupt them.

    I wish the Oilers would crowd in front of their opponents’ net like they did their own last night. They do the opposite, you have four guys chasing the puck behind their opponents’ net and should one of them get the puck, there is nobody in front of the crease or in the slot to pass to. No wonder we are out shot and can’t score goals. I am growing tired of watching these guys some nights.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Oilers net presence in the offensive zone is inadequate . Very few of our roster is any good at it anyways . Blame management for setting up such an alignment to begin with . We are still a periphery team , often even in our own defensive end . Our needs are now too many to run over . Present management seems unable to procur and develop the personnel and team they might want to .

    The players must be as frustrated as the fans about filling the continuing voids this club keeps getting . The way it stands now , we are losing optimism we will ever be a contender under present management and coaching . They have set us up to lose , so a change i don’t see could make us any worse . Media does little to pressure for change when it comes to management or coaching . They tend to ignor going after management and coaching as being a major cause of our teams poor record .

    Can we have any trust or faith in management and/or coaching to put together a trade, etc. that might benefit our team ? I find it very questionable if past is any indicator .

    You can only go so far down before improvement has to take effect . I doubt we are going to go very far up however with present group .