GDB 69.0: Blood in the Water

The San Jose Sharks are in serious trouble. The playoffs are slipping away, they’ve been terrible over their most recent stretch of games, and they’ve already lost once to the Oilers in the last week.

For San Jose to get back on track, tonight represents an absolute must-win. The Oilers aren’t playing terribly right now, but they haven’t exactly been brilliant, either. The Sharks have 2-3 games in hand on most of their playoff competition – a win tonight would bump the Flames out of the West’s final playoff spot, and another win tomorrow against Calgary would go a long ways toward sealing the fate of the Flames.

As the Oilers have shown, however, they can beat the Sharks. A win by the Oilers tonight would scratch one of San Jose’s games in hand, and the combination of that and a loss to a rested Flames team tomorrow would do a lot to keep Calgary ahead of one of their primary challengers.

Lineup Notes

Expected lines:

  • Hall – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
  • Omark – Gagner – Hemsky
  • Smyth – Horcoff – Jones
  • Eager – Belanger – Petrell
  • Smid – Petry
  • Schultz – Whitney
  • Sutton – Potter
  • Dubnyk

As per the Oilers official site, Ben Eager returns to the lineup a few pounds lighter tonight (Tom Renney isn’t worried about, according to the video below) which means the merciful return to the press box of Darcy Hordichuk. In four games this month, Hordichuk has taken a total of 19 shifts and played more than 3:00 in a game just once. For the sake of reference, Ben Eager played 15 shifts in his last game. Eager will play with Petrell and Belanger on the fourth line.

Devan Dubnyk will get the start, returning from a minor injury.

Theo Peckham and Cam Barker are healthy scratches.

Tom Renney’s Pre-Game Briefing

Final Thoughts

The Nation Network hockey pool standings will be updated this evening. Yesterday saw five excellent posts go up so there simply wasn’t room in the lineup for it then. It’s ready to go and will go up after the Sharks/Oilers game.

This is my last GDB as Jason Gregor will return for the write-up on Wednesday. He’ll bring things like “actually watching practice” and “knowing the lines before everyone else” back. Thanks for your tolerance while I filled in.

  • Bucknuck

    Ok, when is the NHL entry draft this year? I hate it when the games are meaningless. If they win they lose draft position, if they lose… well… they lose. Plus, if they win it helps the Flames. Talk about a no win scenario.

    It just sucks…

    I hope next year the team is in the mix. Go Oilers.

    • Vintage Flame

      If we lose, we are that much closer to #2 overall. So that has to be considered a win, in a twisted kindó way. Please let the kids electrify us but still lose in regulation. The continual sucking has to have some reward.

    • Bucknuck

      The absolute hockey I ever watched the Oil play was after Smytty left town in 2007, and the entire 08-09 season. It’s been better since then, especially due to the new folks.

  • vetinari

    @ Willis – good job filling in for the interim…

    In an ideal world, tonight would be an overtime three point night and the Oil would crush Calgary…

    GDP – Oilers squeek out a tight one: 2-1 (SO)

    OGDP – With Hordichuk and Peckham in the press box, it’s up to Eager and Sutton to fill in and find a way to blow the game with either a missed coverage assignment or an untimely penalty.

    NSOGDP – Hall, the human cannonball, doesn’t hear the whistle to end the second and plows over the zamboni as it hits the ice while he roofs a backhand into the open net, ’cause, well, the SJ goalie left the ice 20 seconds earlier.

  • O.C.

    GDP – Oil lose 5 4

    OGDP – Smyth 3 pp goals.

    NSOGDP – Hall makes a game saving stop with 3 seconds to go, as DD overplayed the strong side. In a weak call, the save is called for closing the hand on the puck. Thornton scores on the penalty shot.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Kinda bummed Montreal just scored seeing as though our game may be late now but on the other hand I will never get enough of that look on Millers face ever since the Olympics 😛

          • Wanyes bastard child

            Repeat after me;

            EBERSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

          • Vintage Flame

            Hey I actually like Ebs, but I feel bad for the kid.
            Look on the bright side, by the time you guys get Horcoff off the pay-role, Hall and Eberle should be just as crappy as he is.

            Question: What does an Oilers rebuild rally have in common with a Presidential rally?

            Answer: They both are yelling “FOUR MORE YEARS!… FOUR MORE YEARS!”

          • Wanyes bastard child

            I tried coming up with a snappy reply but this time change has kicked my @ss and im much too tired to do it justice. I leave you with this “curse you gadget!”

          • The Soup Fascist

            Watching that collection of sleds gravy train their way to another 10th place finish in that morgue you call an arena must be exhilirating.

            Stay thirsty my friend …..

          • The Soup Fascist

            I think it is T Rennie’s coaching gems that are bringing him down more than the time change. He’ll be back to his old self – kicking Flame fan butt and taking Flame fan Names (typically Cletus and Jethro) in no time.

            The doctor will prescribe a simple Renniectomy and all will be well in WBC’s world again.

            Fare thee well, VF. And remember Glory is fleeting, but mediocrity is Forever. (Feel free to post in the Flames Dressing Room).

          • Vintage Flame

            The doctor will prescribe a simple Renniectomy and all will be well in WBC’s world again.

            Haha.. true enough. I’m not to worried about WBC, he’ll be firing his usual shots as soon as he catches up to the time change.. Probably by later tonight in fact.

            And remember Glory is fleeting, but mediocrity is Forever.

            Lol.. Can I use that in an article if I give you credit for it?

          • Vintage Flame

            Dude.. come on? That’s so old. I mean really, the Oilers last win is more recent than that comment…

            On a serious note.. I’m curious as to the opinion of OilersNation about Tom Renney’s post-game interview.

            There seems to be a hint of dissension in the dressing room. This can’t be coming from guys like Hemsky or Smyth, but it seems like there are vets that, for lack of a better term, are mailing it in?

            How does this sit with the fan-base?

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Were doomed as long as we have guys like Potter and Horcoff playing key situations.But holy Petry is playing tough what an improvement.How many first minute goals has Dubnyk let in?

  • The Soup Fascist

    Nice to see Belanger out with Hemsky and Gagner to generate offence. Horc in the last minute was a good choice too, seeing we are down a goal. Was Hordi not available? At least make it appear as though you are trying, Renney.

  • Rob...

    Could we possibly bench Renney for a game or two? He’s either not recovered from his concussion or he doesn’t care anymore. Why in gods name would you have Smyth and Horcoff on the ice in the last 45 seconds? I’m truly surprised he didn’t have Belanger out there as well.

  • Vintage Flame

    FUUUUUUU$&!! What a horrible horrible hockey team. They are not even fast team!! I just dont get it, they really seem more than just a good goalie and a top D man away from being competitive. Drives me nuts when they play so crappy

  • 24% body fat

    actually I believe the chant is

    FOUR MORE CUPS FOUR MORE CUPS

    Renney needs to be fired. No line matching, kid line could not get any easy minutes. No one generating anything. And horc and smyth out with the goalie pulled. Yikes.

    And i dont know the exact numbers but the powerplay seems to be worse after renney decided he had to change the top powerplay in the league

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      powerplay is still #1 in the league by a full percentage point. i guess we could break down and see if the powerplay is worse over the last couple of weeks, but if it is still #1 does it really matter?

      and, for the love of gretzky, people were all over the internets and the phone lines complaining that renney needed to play the kids more in tough situations so they could learn and get better.

      now, we are starting to complain that the kid line couldnt get any easy minutes?

      • 24% body fat

        I never once said the kids needed more minutes. I was for horcoff getting less. Regardless of Ice time Renney had last change. You have to make it work.

        And if something isnt wrong dont fix it.

        IF you give in and listen to the media and fans telling you to give the kids more ice time and RNH on the top powerplay when the kids get lit up defensively and your powerplay went from 8th or so to first with out him on it (not saying he is the problem) than you have absolutely no business coaching in the NHL.

  • Shaun Doe

    Just curious as to what Smyth got the misconduct for. I sincerely hope that with all this angry talk and disappointed chit chat from the coach and players that there is a very lengthy and harsh players only meeting where everyone gets together and finds their balls cause it would be nice to see this team to finish on a high note. Maybe just give us all a reason to believe that progress can and is being made.

    • Yah. Oilers brass must be thrilled to hear the odd msm guy.. gregor for one…. who points out that this is THE healthy roster that the Oilers were going to play meaningful games in march with.

      WOW.

      BUT…. get that renewal in because apparently theres a huge waiting list for tickets for this most excellent entertainment. (supposedly).

      Kinda funny….. watching the big glenx is the greatest speel on sports net or something and heres Oli post again.. talking about “the process” and I thinks to myself ….. holy crap… thats the same garbage that the Oiler coach is always spewing and it sounds positively insightful compared to that monotone mongoloid that is Oli…. but in fact. Its the same pathetic thing.

      WOW again says I.

      I sure wish it was the week before the trade deadline and Sam Gagner looked like a real live NHL hockey player….. again. Cause baby pilon boy really does peeve me off with his recent run of devoted uselessness.
      Oh well……. its easy to cheer for a good team. This garbage takes some conviction and a good measure of strong alcohol……. regularly.

  • @ Vintage Flamer

    What kind of a loser comes from flames nation to bash the oil when their beloved team has not won a single playoff series since the lockout and has won one Stanley Cup to the oilers five?

    I am a die hard Oilers fan and season seat holder. I am also disgusted with what will be another terrible finish in the standings this year.

    However, we now have some excellent young players and when the Oil finally turn this thing around the flames will all be old balls with NMC’s and somewhere near the bottom of the standings. And I will be absolutely NOWHERE NEAR flamers nation to see how they are dealing with it.

    Enjoy 10th or worse for years to come or get a life. You have nothing to look forward to and barely anything to remind you of the glory YEAR of ’89

    • Vintage Flame

      What kind of a loser comes from flames nation to bash the oil when their beloved team has not won a single playoff series since the lockout and has won one Stanley Cup to the oilers five?

      Not sure what my being from FlamesNation has to do with the question I asked but I understand your bitterness. I don’t have the best history with you folks now do I?

      I am a die hard Oilers fan and season seat holder. I am also disgusted with what will be another terrible finish in the standings this year.

      Cool, now we’re getting somewhere. What do see, if there is one, as a solution to this trend. We actually have some quite decent conversations at FN with some of your ON people. (I won’t mention names for fear of their persecution)

      However, we now have some excellent young players and when the Oil finally turn this thing around the flames will all be old balls with NMC’s and somewhere near the bottom of the standings.

      Absolutely you do. Yet.. there seems to be no progress in the rebuild. I’m glad you said, “When the Oil finally turn this thing around”. Why isn’t it happening? Is there any truth to what Renney seems to be concerned about?

      Is it possible that the youth of this team is the key to the rebuild but it is hampered by the probability that the rebuild has most likely passed most of the Vets by already, thus causing the disconnect?

      As for our NMC problems.. That’s a little misguided. As for forwards, only Iggy, Jokinen and Glencross have NMC’s. Joker is a UFA at the end of this season.. Not too concerned with being stuck with Iginla or GlenX.

      On D.. It’s Bouwmeester and Gio.. again.. not too concerned with that, so take that how you want.

      And I will be absolutely NOWHERE NEAR flamers nation to see how they are dealing with it.

      That’s a shame.. you’re always welcome 😉

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    [QUOTE]The San Jose Sharks are in serious trouble. The playoffs are slipping away, they’ve been terrible over their most recent stretch of games
    [/QUOTE]

    …no better remedy then playing the mighty oil, am i right?

  • A-Mc

    The cheese is growing mold spots. By the end of the season, management better identify the mold spots and cut them out before they spread into next season.

    I’m thinking we’ll have 2 personnel trades and 1 Addition ($ Pickup on FA market).

    Lack of effort has plagued the team for years. Which players have been here during that stretch? Are they part of the problem?

    • Shaun Doe

      You know, I was thinking the same thing. Is there a common thread in personel to which we can connect the dots? There has to be some hold overs of dissent if these rumblings of a rift are to be believed.

      Oh and to add to the second line worries that some people have: would it not make some sense to put shooter somewhere on that line. All three of those players have proven themselves to be the pass first type of line mate in the past. Why not put a trigger finger in the mix?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Tom looks like he’s not going to go down without sending up a few troublesome flares, he looks to be on his last legs here in the last month. Tanbellini will be throwing him under the bus in about 4 weeks here. He’s done the dirty work for management, played the legs of of Horcoff,Belanger,Hemsky and Smytty long after they were spent. What a schmauzel it’s going to be this offseason.