OILERS NEED A WIN STREAK

Under the heading, THANKS MR. OBVIOUS, it is clear that the Oilers need to put a win streak together to get back in the playoff picture, instead of constantly being in chase mode.

The Oilers are in a stretch where they play four home games in 11 days. They arrived home late Tuesday night, took Wednesday off and were back on the ice today. They play Detroit Friday, Nashville Sunday, San Jose Wednesday and St. Louis next Saturday. Fatigue isn’t a factor, and if the Oilers are serious about the playoffs they need to extend their modest two-game winning streak.

The players I spoke with today are fully aware of the situation.

They need to win and they need to take advantage of a light schedule during the next four games. A few admitted that they were happier to be playing Detroit, than a Minnesota, because it will force them to be mentally sharp, or the Wings could embarrass them.

QUICK HITS

  • "I have to put together a longer string than just seven good games before we start talking. It is on me to keep playing well and if I do then I think they’d be open to an extension. If I, and the team, keep playing well I expect to be here as we push for the playoffs," said Ryan Whitney. "I like it here. We have a great group, and it’s nice to be contributing and playing better. I still have to work on my gaps, but I’ve felt much better the past few weeks," Whitney continued.
     
  • Magnus Paajarvi has played really well the past few weeks, and he’s been rewarded with more icetime. "It is mental for me. Not every game will you have an opportunity to beat a D-man wide. Everything from coming from the corner or from behind the net is driving to the net. It’s all mental for me. It is in the back of my mind now and I think I’ve been driving to the net much more recently and I’m getting more comfortable doing it," Paajarvi explained. "Last year was hard for me, it was the first bad year of my career and I had to learn from it. I feel much better about my game now, but I have to make sure I keep playing hungry."
     
  • It is great to see and hear a young player recognize what he needs to do to be successful and then go out and do it. Now he has to continue to do it. Consistency is the most difficult thing for young players to find.
     
  • Horcoff’s return gives Ralph Krueger an excellent opportunity to have some good matchups at home. The Triple H line can take the hard minutes at home, but with Hall on the wing they can generate offence as well. Then Krueger can give either Gagner or Nugent-Hopkins a very good match up and hope they score. Right now the Oilers have two lines that are producing, and if Nugent-Hopkins’ goal in Colorado boosts his confidence they will have three. That could be huge during this homestand.
     
  • Oilers are in a tough spot with Ladislav Smid. He competes his ass off every night. He is a strong PK guy and good defensively, but he doesn’t bring much offence. He is a solid #4 on a good team. The Oilers can’t afford to let him walk this summer or trade him for picks/prosects at the deadline. Both moves would set them back, because they have no one who can replace him. I’d give him a four-year deal between $3.3-$3.7 million a year.. The just can’t lose solid veterans at this point of the rebuild.
     
  • I like the new realignment for the NHL. It should build more rivalries because the first two rounds of the playoffs will be against divisional teams. The league has yet to name the divisions, and hopefully they come up with something better than pacific, mid-west, central and atlantic.

Division 1: Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks.

Division 2: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.

Division 3: Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Division 4: Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

  • The Oilers will be in tough against big, skilled teams like Anaheim, San Jose and LA, but I love the new divisions. If it can bring back rivalries like we saw in the Smyth, Norris, Patrick and Adams divisions that’d be great.
     
  • No one should expect the same type of production from Ryan Smyth while he plays centre. All of his success came from down low, behind the net or right in the crease. Most of his time as a centre will be in the high slot and rarely along the boards. I credit him for accepting his new role, but if they want offence from Smyth they’ll need to move him to the wing. If they just want a solid effort then he can supply that playing the middle.
     
  • Ben Eager cleared waivers and he will report to OKC tomorrow.
     
  • After selling out the 2nd annual Gregor Charity poker tourney in less than 20 hours, we have decided to add a 2nd day. The rules and prizes will be the same. The winner gets a seat (worth $10,000) at the WSOP main event in Vegas along with flights and hotel courtesy of Century Casino and Darci Huhn from Travel Only. Thanks for your interest day two will allow us to raise more money for the MS Society and send another winner to Vegas.
  • Speaking of charity. Here is fun and cheap way to help Alzheimer’s research and their families. The first 100 people who donate $20 will be entered into a draw. There will be five winners (one in 20 chance). There is a pair of Oiler/Red Wings seats along with $50 Oiler bucks and then four $100 GC from United Cycle up for grabs. If you donate $40 you get two entries, $60 three and so on. (We will only take a total of 100 entries) You can donate here. Type in Jason Gregor and follow instructions. Thanks and good luck. I will announce winners tomorrow. First name I choose gets first pick, which I assume will be the Oiler tickets.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

  • 2004Z06

    So Smid is the new whipping boy? Guys got bored with the Horcoff, Whitney, Belanger, Eager, Petrell, Hordichuk, Potter bashing? Can’t wait to see who is next! The guy is the most dedicated Oiler on the team to the organization, loves the Oil, the fans and Edmonton. Have you forgotten how hard this organization has tried to get people to actually WANT to stay here?

      • oilman3

        wow what a ridiculous, and i guess not surprising response. i agree that smid should be viewed as a number four defenseman and is more than that now because of our weakness on defense. that doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s valuable to the team and wants to be here. we need to lock him up if the price is reasonable. where did he say anything about throwing ridiculous amounts of money at him? personally i think 3.25/year for four years sounds about right.

          • DSF

            Good grief you can be condescending.

            As for Smid, he’s 3rd in blocked shots for D, 4th in hits, and is a big part of a top 10 PK, so that’s gotta be worth something. He’s exactly what you look for in a stay-at-home D on your 2nd pair. However, there’s absolutely no way he should be making north of 4 million. For me, I want to see under 3.5, but who knows.

            Tambi did sign Petry to a great value deal, but he was RFA, so that’s different. Still, I’m 95% sure this deal gets done. At a guess, I say he gets 5 years at 18 million.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Seperate Garrison vs. Smid. Please don’t try to cloud the issue. It was pointed out (correctly, I might add) that Garrison is an overpay. He is.

            Once Smid signs, you are more than welcome to argue that he is an overpayment (though we all know, you included, that if the Canucks or Wild were to sign him to the same contract as the Oilers will, you would be all over it as a smart move).

          • DSF

            This season:

            Garrison – 4G 2A 6P +9 (12G 6A 18P +28 pro-rated over 82 games)

            Smid – 0G 2A 2P -5 (0G 6A 6P -15 pro-rated over 82 games.)

            Career:

            Garrison – 216GP 27G 38A 65P +18

            Smid – 435GP 9G 52A 61P -43

            So, as we can see, Garrison produces offense at more than twice the rate of Smid while also being ahead by 61 in the plus/minus race.

            While Garrison isn’t getting the PP time he did in Florida, he is still on pace for 12 goals this season.

            Smid doesn’t have 12 goals in his entire career.

            Not even close.

          • DSF

            Oh I like this game

            Garrison – 4G 2A 6P +9

            Weber – 4G 10A +6

            Career:

            Garrison – 216GP 27G 38A 65P +18

            Weber – 507GP 103G 174A 277P +50

            Question tho, What does Garrison being over paid have to do with Smid contract discussions?

          • A-Mc

            Great. You’re still comparing the two when they are different players, as you’ve just demonstrated. The poster that fist brought it up did not mention Garrison and Smid as comps, but merely that Garrison is an overpay, which he is.

            Good grief.

          • A-Mc

            I don’t see why you people argue with him as others have said before. While he does bring up some good points he just will change points in an agruement to win it.

            For instance, he said that Paajarvi sucked because he was was playing in the AHL and had a really low shooting percentage (he now has a 12% pct.). Now if you brought that up to him he would say that it is too small a sample size and compare him to a different player who has a larger sample size. Then in another agruement he will switch and say that a player that he is defending is better even though that player will have a small sample size. You can’t win an agruement or talk sense into someone who just wants to win an agruement.

            Has he ever admitted he was wrong? Probably not, so why bother arguing with him. And I am not talking just to you but every other person that gets sucked in. He is like a leafs fan, you either enjoy his ignorance or ignore him completely.

          • Toro

            You’re right. I ignore him most of the time, but every once in a while I like taking him to task. It ends quickly though, for the very reasons you’ve mentioned. Whole lotta sidesteppin’. He loves stirring the pot; it’s all good.

          • Toro

            Hahaha, ya even i get tempted to argue with from time to time. my reply was more of a reply to everyone else, yours just happened to be the lastest one addressing DSF. maybe he has some ancestors that were maple leaf fans.

          • DSF

            Says you.

            Garrison took a discount to play in Vancouver so I guess, unless, you’re smarter than the other GM’s who were lining up to sign him, you would be wrong.

            But, you’re right, they are different players.

            One is a very good two way defenseman and the other isn’t.

    • GVBlackhawk

      Who has made Smid the new whipping boy? Most people here think he is a reasonable #4 Dman who could fit in with the Oilers long term.

      How is he the most dedicated Oiler on the team? What makes him more dedicated than say…Ryan Smyth or Jordan Eberle?

      Players want to play on a winning hockey team. The city/region where they place is of lesser importance.

      Smid should be remunerated in line with his comparables. If fair market value is 3.5 – 4.0M/year and he wants to sign for that, then the team should definitely consider it. If his agent wants a premium to fair market value, then you must consider trading him for a different asset.

  • DSF

    Looking at similar players around the league, the going rate for Smid would be somewhere in the 3-3.5 mill range. It would be a step backwards not to re-sign him unless he is asking for ridiculous money.

  • Tony Montana

    My realignment/renaming suggestion would be…

    The eastern conference becomes the Blake Conference (named for Toe Blake)
    The two divisions here would be the Sawchuk and the Howe Divisions

    The winner of this conference would be awarded The Prince of Wales Trophy

    The Western Conference would become the Bowman Conference (named for Scotty Bowman)
    The two Divisions would be the Gretzky and Orr Divisions

    The winner of this conference would be awarded The Clarence S. Campbell Bowl.

    My argument for this would be that since 5 of the original 6 teams are in the East that Conference/Divisions get named for the 3 Legends who played/coached in the Original 6 Era. The West, Chicago aside are all expansion era teams and therefore get the “expansion era” Legends.

  • geeker99

    I also think you can take into consideration how his D partner is developing. Petry has taken some nice steps in the past few weeks. I agree don”t break the bank for Smid but show respect. i am personally getting sick of developing players for other teams and if we don’t get an NHL player for him then it’s a step back. Remember he is 27 and all the arrows are heading upward. 3.25 to 4 a year depending on term. I hope Meehan not his agent.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Was listening a bit yesterday when you guys were talking about divisions. I disagree about naming one after living legends being a bad idea as they could turn out to be Joe Paterno’s. Well in all fairness can’t that come out once a guy is dead as well?

    I hate to see the ball dropped like it was with Pat Burns. I really don’t care what the names are, but I think it would be a shame to honor a Howe, Orr or even a Gretzky after they are dead.

    With that being said who would be against a Pat Burns division?

    • The Soup Fascist

      I think it is safe to say based on his salary and performance to date, Garrison is definitely Number 2.*

      Hey ohhhhhhhhhhh!

      *Laughs hysterically at immature potty humour.

  • Once again as an Oiler enters UFA – fans and media start to inflate the price of a player that in a full NHL perspective is a GREAT No. 5 defenceman and Avg No. 4

    I don’t think forwards fear the front of the net when Laddy Smid is protecting it. He has trouble getting the puck out the zone when pressured. He contributes zero offence. But dammit he is a great shot blocker and plays well on his stomach on the PK and his compete level is top notch. And for that 3.5 Million avg ??? C’mon you can find a harder edge No. 5 defender and shot blocker for less.

    If its a 2 year deal for 3.5 ..sure sounds reasonable for a short term deal and allows Oilers time to evaluate other D that will surely pass Smid on the depth chart.

    Long term deal then 3 M avg max.

  • A-Mc

    Division Naming:

    I would name the divisions after the teams that won them the year before.

    The Blackhawks performance this year would likely mean their division is called the “blackhawk division” next season.

    Here is why i like it:

    This gives incentive to teams to get that extra team publicity (Which would have a very real $$ effect. Owners would love it, especially if they are a small market team that spent big money to be a top competitor).

    The names are a living representation of the league in its most-reasonably-present form.

    The 2nd place teams in each division would likely be right pissed, and look to ‘bring it’ next season to dethrone that ever-mocking division title.

    And lastly, The division titles would be much more fluid and entertaining than Pacific, Atlantic, etc. *ZzzzZzZzzz*

  • Toro

    “ow about, I dunno, Smythe, Norris, Patrick and Adams? They never should have gone away from those names in the first place.”

    Wouldn’t mind seeing the same or near same number of teams at those days. There is this chatter lately about going to 32 teams…not watered down enough already people??

    Division names:
    Eagleson, Ziegler, Bettman, Goodenow…..on 2nd thought.