GDB 55.0: HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA

Hockey Day in Canada has become an NHL tradition, although I’m not sure if has become an NHL fan’s tradition yet. Will you be playing the great game of hockey today? Maybe you’ll be in the stands watching your son, daughter, nephew or niece or maybe you’ll strap on the blades and play shinny with your buddies. I love the idea of Hockey Day in Canada, I’m just not sure if it is more about watching NHLers than actually playing it yourself?

Thrity of us will be playing shinny outdoors at Saikers Acres, the home pf the World’s (2nd) Longest game (record was recently broken by a group, indoors though) and I’m sure the fellas will be remembering the days when we were decent and could go up and down the ice more than once without needing gasping for air.

For me, skating on the outdoor rink or the pond was always the best hockey. There was no ref, no "official" rules and you could play for hours. It would be great if the Sens and Oilers mirrored the Hawks/Oilers game from last week, and played some pond hockey today, but I doubt we’ll see that.


The Sens are a hard team to read. They’ve been incredibly steaky this year. Here’s how their season has gone.

They started 1-5 out of the gate.
Then they won 6 straight.
Then they lost 5 in a row.
Then they had a solid stretch of 7-6-4.
Followed by a huge upswing at 10-1-1.
Then they lost seven straight again before winning on Thursday.

Maybe they will get on another run, or maybe it was a just a lucky win, and they’ll go back to losing. The Sens have dominated the Oil since the lockout. The Oilers are 1-6-2 v. the Sens since the lockout. They’ve lost five straight at Rexall, including a 5-2 loss on November 17th, and their only win in the last seven years came last November in Ottawa when Andrew Cogliano scored the winner and Gilbert Brule, Cogliano and Dustin Penner each had two point nights.

QUICK HITS

  • It would be nice to see Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall playing more minutes right now, but not on the PK. The suggestions that these two offensive-minded sophomores should be on the PK seem misguided to me. Eberle needs to play more EV before worrying about his PK minutes. Eberle is 169th amongst forwards (min. 20 GP) in EV icetime. That is ridiculous.
     
  • Tom Renney should make sure that Eberle, Hall and Sam Gagner are on the ice immediately after ever PK right now. I don’t care if other guys have been sitting for awhile, this trio is your most dangerous line and they need to play a few extra shifts.
     
  • Many have told me, "Look at Parise, he’s killing penalties and producing." Yes, he has a stunning 7 SH points in 54 games this year, but in his previous 420 he had a whopping 5 SH points. He is one of the Devils main penalty killers this year, averaging 2:12/game, but he’s in his 7th NHL season. He didn’t kill penalties before other than the odd shift the past two seasons, and he still managed to put up 94 and 82 points in 2009 and 2010. There is no need to have Eberle playing more taxing minutes, when Renney could just give him a few more EV shifts.
     
  • Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky have never scored a goal v. the Senators. Hemsky’s never scored v. the Sens, Capitals or Oilers, while Horcoff has been shutout by the Sens, Devils and Oilers. Will one of them break their drought this afternoon?
     
  • Nice to see a classy guy like Chris Phillips score the game winner, and his first two goals of the season, in his 1,000 game v. the Preds on Thursday. The former 1st overall pick in 1996 became the 3rd player in his draft year to play 1,000 games. Dainius Zubrus leads with 1,036, while Matt Cullen has dressed for 1,010. Derek Morris (993) Zdeno Chara (978), Tomas Kaberle (957) and Pavel Kubina (950) will likely reach the coveted plateau sometime in the 2012 calender year.

LINEUP

It looks like the only change will come on the backend. Andy Sutton returns and he’ll replace the struggling Cam Barker. Right now I’d rather re-sign Sutton than Barker, and I know for a fact Sutton wants to stay in Edmonton. He told me before the road trip that he’d like to initiate talks on a new one-year deal. If your top four next year are Smid, Gilbert, Whitney and Petry, then I’d want Sutton’s size and experience in my 3rd pairing instead of Barker.

Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start. Why, I’m not sure. I thought it was "win and you’re in" for the goalies. Some have suggested that maybe a team is interested in Khabibulin and they want to see more of him. I don’t buy that for a second. They know what type of goalie he is, but most importantly they know he’ll be 40 next season with a $3.75 million cap hit. If Steve Tambellini finds a trading partner for him, I’d be shocked.

THIS IS AWESOME

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Sam freaking Gagner continues his hot-streak and the Oilers win their only game in seven days, 4-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Most of you watched the video twice, especially the ladies, and thought of at least three situations that you’d experienced. Guys were likely laughing out loud, because they’ve done many of those things.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan Jones ends his 19-game goalless drought, and celebrates accordingly. After the game Jones will credit Gagner for helping end his drought. "I noticed how a  fight got Gags playing better, so I did the same. I actually think the fight softened up my hands, which is why my goal today bounced in off my shin." 

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      I couldnt agree more Quinn seems some dildo in Toronto figured Canada would rather watch winnepeg against Pittsburg rather than two canadian teams.Atleast the game ended with five minutes left in the Oil game and I got to watch Halls game winner.Perhaps a few more games like this and Hemmers stock may go up.

      • Romanus

        It drives me mad. So now I get to watch two of the three most hated teams in my universe go at it. Wow. I’m underwhelmed by the brilliance of the CBC programmers. Grrr….

        Normally, I like living on the left coast, but those reasons have nothing to do with hockey. So, Hockey Day in Canada didn’t air two Canadian hockey teams playing. Assome. And from the highlights, it looked like a good game. Magnum PS gets goal 1 and Horc does a thing that is good? Unreal. They both must feel like Gagner right about now.

          • justDOit

            Not for me. There seemed to be a lack of defensive awareness for the Oil, and the Sens came out pretty confident and skating well. Khabby is forced to make amazing saves from the first minute of the first period, and that’s pretty much how it played out in the second as well.

            If nothing else, teams like Sh!tcago should have taken notice of Khabby’s game. Not that I want him traded, but if he could fetch a decent return…

            Didn’t KLowe turn a post-Olympic T. Salo into Gilbert, and then Salo only played another 12 games in the NHL?

  • paul wodehouse

    …our goalie should be in a Hawks costume by this time next month sporting more of his awesome .920 save % and back stopping them to a run into the playoffs…he looked as good as he has EVER looked and now’s the time to take care of business…second or third rounder coming back from the Hawks plus a prospect right winger…THEN

    our GM puts on his knee pads for our friends on the coast and peddles 83 40 and a second rounder for Schneider and their first rounder in 2013…getter dun!

    pulllleeeez!!!!

    • Quicksilver ballet

      He’s brought the goods this year which is good. Too bad the Oilers aren’t competitive enough to make use of him. It’s like two ships passing in the night, Khabby has game and the Oilers don’t. He’s just what the Blackhawks need right now. I’m all for selling whatever isn’t bolted to the floor. The Oil need to do something substantial on their own and help their own cause.

  • O.C.

    Update on the OKC Heat game last night (in Abbotsford)

    First – the important stuff.
    They serve Sleemans Draught and HoneyBrown on tap. 24 oz for $9.50 or 12 oz for $4.75

    The place was about 35% full – I estimated 2000 people. There were about 100 of us who wore Oilshwag.

    Great facility. First class. Tickets were a ridiculous price. I took the best seats you could get and they were $90 for a pair plus $10 for parking. Now I know, those seats would be $350 in Edmonton but this isn’t the show.

    Abbotsford is sucking of late. Injuries to Flames have decimated their roster. They were in first at one time.

    Their team is a bunch of no names. Calgary’s draft record of the last 6 – 7 years is not great. I wonder why. They team has limited forward talent but some decent size, lots of heart, and basically, they play like the Calgary Flames. Making the most of what they have. Henrik Karlsson was down on conditioning and he got the start. Yann Denis took his two game shutout streak into the OKC net.

    Barons won 2 – 1 in a hard skating battle along the outside. There were 19 shots for the OKC Barons and 24 for the Abbotsford Heat. About 25% of the game at 5 on 5 was up tempo, at NHL speed.

    I don’t know much about the Abby Heat but I really liked a guy named Jordan Henry #25 on D. Brian Connelly also comes in with great fanfare – recently acquired, but he left part way in with an injury.

    Now… the other important stuff.

    OKC plays a solid team game. Their system play is very good. The team has a ton of talent. The coach is brilliant as a teacher or the team wins in spite of him. I’ll elaborate on that later.

    D Men on this night were
    Chorney, Yeo, Ringwald, Tulupov, Captain Helmer, and Teubert.

    This group was solid. Yeo impressed me. Teubert belongs here. He’s clearly learning. Tulupov? Don’t think he’s got the footspeed or lateral movement but it was just one game.

    Chorney was amazingly good. He’s progressing well. I expect him to make the show full time based on what I saw.

    These were the forwards on this night. O’Marra, Omark, Hartikainen, Tyrvainen, Cornet, Vandevelde, Pitlick, Green, Arcobello, Keller and Tremblay. (I was worried because on the way home I was thinking – gee, Curtis Hamilton was invisible all night… as it turns out, of course he was… he wasn’t dressed)

    Basically I grouped them into the prospects (good), the wannabes (okay), and the plugs (people filling spots)

    Coaching
    This was strange for me. Hartikainen wasn’t used at all on the penalty kill. The top rated penalty killer in Europe I thought? Is it about teaching? He and Tyrvainen make a great tandem.

    Omark
    Stuck with an old anchor as a linemate (Josh Green) Huh?

    Pitlick
    I’ll say it now. This guy is the real deal. My favourite player to watch on the forwards. He should be getting a look. He plays bigger than 6.2 200. He’s got hands, he’s got moves, he’s got smarts, I don’t know what he doesn’t have.

    He didn’t get PP time, he was stuck with a loose cannon (horrible player) #23 Triston Grant. Maybe he was there to cover for this guy.

    The following guys deserve a SHOT in the show:

    Yann Danis
    Why is he in the AHL? Shutout streak broken. Flirted with J. Bower’s record from 1950.

    Linus Omark
    He’s not all world. He’s okay and great in open ice. Problem is he doesn’t find it because he’s the one carrying the puck. Needs another stick handler on his line. Oh, and Hemsky is miles better.

    The following guys should be rewarded with LOOKS in the show:

    Hunter Tremblay
    Hustles and forces the play. Great third line prospect.

    Tyler Pitlick
    Seriously good. Another reason to divest of Horcoff.

    Hartikainen, Yeo, Tyrvainen

    Everyone benefits from AHL time, but these guys could use a bit more.

    Teubert, Chorney, VandeVelde

    These guys are NOT NHL TALENT nor will they ever be.

    Grant, Arcobello, Green

  • O.C.

    I have no comment on others – cuz they didn’t impress or unimpress.

    COOL ITEM

    A bunch of fans broke out into chants for the players “Let’s Go, Barons!!!” You could tell the Barons thought it odd but kinda cool.

    WEIRD ITEM

    The local fans must have been starving and bored, cuz they responded “Let’s Go Eat!!!”

    • Shaun Doe

      Was at the game last night (live in the Ford). The game had a lot of fire in it for the first period and sort of backed off in I tension during the second and portions of the third. Overall it was an entertaining game. Omark, for me at least, didn’t play that great of a game. Couple terrible giveaways and some pretty lackluster back checks took away from his goal. Although he did make one play that made me go wow. He was headed in behind the heat net with a defender on him and made one move that left him standing alone with all the time in the world. Add to that the fact that he supported the puck well all night.

  • O.C.

    Pelhem,

    Schneider an back-up on defensively sound hockey team. If you Funny in Vancouver what would he look like. Unless your a Canucks troll this idea Schneider is the second coming of Brodeur is just funny.