After a convincing BOA victory on Friday night and then celebrating St. Paddy’s all day yesterday, I’m sure many of you feel like like "ass" this morning. The last 48 hours have been great in Oilersnation. The Oilers crushed the Flames on Friday and last night the Sharks, Avs and Kings all won, so the Flames find themselves in 11th place this morning.
The only negative was watching Taylor Hall get concussed after losing an edge and having Cory Sarich’s hip slam into his head. Hall wasn’t on the ice this morning and since Tom Renney said he was concussed, he’ll be out at least a week, if not longer.
Hall walked out of Rexall on Friday and said he was feeling better, but in many cases it will take at least 48 hours to determine the severity of his concussion, but early reports are very positive. Every team has become more cautious with allowing players to return post-concussion so I don’t see any reason why the Oilers will hurry Hall back. There is no reason to rush him back.
This morning he told the media, "I feel good, pretty much normal. I woke up yesterday and felt fine and today I feel even better. I’d never been knocked out before, so it was pretty scary for me. I don’t remember the hit, but I feel fine. I’m glad I’m OK."
That is great news, but concussions vary from player to player so there is no guarantee Hall will play again this season.
After a solid performance against the Flames, the Oilers will try to play spoiler again tonight v. the 10th place Phoenix Coyotes. The Yotes have been in Edmonton since Thursday night, and they will be well-rested and desperate for a victory tonight. In the last 48 hours the Yotes have dropped from 7th to 10th place in the west.
7th Colorado 74 83
8th San Jose 71 82
9th L.A 72 82
10th Phoenix 72 81
11th Calgary 72 80
The Dogs will be hungry for a win, and the Oilers will need to play exactly like they did on Friday. The Oilers were disciplined, played physical and their best players led the way on Friday and they’ll need a repeat performance to beat the disciplined Coyotes.
Jordan Eberle picked up three points on Friday and now sits 11th in league scoring with 69 points. He is 3rd amongst western conference scorers, trailing only H.Sedin and Marian Hossa who have 70 points each. Eberle is having an excellent season and he should be a finalist for the Lady Byng trophy.
Since the lockout only Pavel Datsyuk and Marty St. Louis have won the trophy. Datsyuk won four years straight, 2006-2009, while St. Louis has won it the past two seasons.
Datsyuk’s totals when he won it were:
GP G A PTS PIM
2006 79 27 60 87 20
2007 82 31 66 97 20
2008 81 32 65 97 22
2009 80 27 43 70 18
St. Louis won it the past two years with these stats.
GP G A PTS PIM
2010…. 82 29 65 94 12
2011…. 82 31 68 99 12
2012 67 31 38 69 8
He’s only had a penalty in three games this year. An interference call v. Boston on November 10th, he had holding and high-sticking minors v. the Hawks on November 13th, and he took a slashing penalty v. the Avs on Jan 31st.
He’s had one minor penalty and 56 points in his last 50 games. He’s played over 880 minutes of hockey and taken one measly penalty since November 13th. That is ridiculous.
Phil Kessel, 75 points and 20 PIMs, Marian Hossa, 70 pts and 16 PIMs, Patrick Elias, 68 points and 16 PIMs and Bryan Campbell, 47 points and 6 PIMs are his competition. If he doesn’t win it’s because they give it to a guy with more NHL experience. That shouldn’t be a factor, but it will factor into the voting I’m guessing.
The Oilers didn’t run lines this morning, but you have to assume that Linus Omark will slide into the top nine. Renney likely won’t juggle all of his lines, so we could see Omark skate with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky. Darcy Hordichuk will play after he and his wife welcomed a son, Declan, into the world on Friday.
Devan Dubnyk will get the start. He’s allowed only one goal in the past two games.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers continue to play spoiler and upset the Dogs 3-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Eberle and RNH continue their hot streak scoring two points each.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Dubnyk, who isn’t a great puck handler, will pick up his 2nd assist of the season, when he fires a puck up to Eberle at centre, and then watches Eberle undresses a Coyotes D-man and scores his 32nd of the season. Dubnyk will be shocked after the game when he finds out that Grant Fuhr had an NHL-record 14 assists in 1984, and says he plans on working on his puckhandling skills in the summer in hopes of reaching double-digits in assists next year.
Kudos to the Edmonton Oil Kings on an outstanding season. They won 50 games and finished first in the WHL. They will open up the playoffs at home this Friday and Sunday. They are one of the favourites and D-man Griffin Reinhart is guaranteed to be a top-ten pick in the draft, and likely a top-five. They have loads of talent and I’d highly recommend checking out a game this coming weekend.
Sad news for St. Albert hockey fans. It looks like the St. Albert Steel of the AJHL are very close to being sold to a group in Whitecourt. Nothing official from the league yet, but look for the Steel to move to Whitecourt for next season. I’m hearing former Oiler, Norm Lacombe, wil be the head coach in Whitecourt next year.