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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
  • 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


    • Dallylamma

      Only problem there would be having the Bruins and the Red Wings in the same division…one team would get shafted by not playing in their legend’s division.

      And Division 2 with both the Jets and the Blackhawks could be the Hull Division…

      …And what about The Rocket?

      • Spydyr

        That is just my choices nothing wrong with your choices either. There are only 4 divisions. Don’t think Hull belongs with the others and the way he left the NHL for the WHA puts the kibosh on that.

  • geoilersgist

    The Oilers really could use a nice 5-6 game win streak here. Dare to dream they go 4-0 on this homestand with only 1 game going to OT/SO. They will be right in the thick of 8th place.

  • Phixieus666

    The only thing that sucks about the divisions is that each one doesn’t have a Canadian team in it but the locations of the teams just don’t allow it.

    They should name the divisions after the Big Bang Thoery.

    Wolowitz, Hophsteader, Cooper, Kootherpolie. The winner gets the Penny.

  • ubermiguel

    How about the Pat Burns Div for the Leafs- Habs – Bruins division.
    The man deserves it. I personally think that would be cool.

    And perhaps the Boogard and Rypien and Belak divisions.

    Therse players played in a tough god damn league and sport

    With an illness that is more common than we know.

    At least for a year out of respect.

    Pass this off to the NHL for me please.

  • Ducey

    •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.

    Smid is #4 on a good team? Are we talking ’76 Habs?

    He played the toughest competition among Oilers D men last year and second toughest to Petry this year.

    His Corsi Rel to Q of C (5 x 5) was 11th! best in the league last year among Dmen. (This year he is 83rd)

    I don’t see a lot of teams he couldn’t play #2 on.

    He blocks shots, plays with grit, logs big minutes and loves being here.

    If Tambo lets him leave, he better go with him.

  • Ducey

    •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.

    Ryan is old but he didn’t have a division named after him. That was Smythe.

  • Phixieus666

    We’re due for a win against Detroit. I for one am not sad we’ll only see them twice a year. Good luck Eastern teams. I can see some good rivalries come out of Detroit in the East. However, I also think that facilitates Detroit’s fall as playing Boston, Pittsburgh, New York, and others is going to be a tough bill for them.

    I am excited for the new realignment. I will miss Columbus and Colorado. I think the realignment will force Tambi to make some upgrades on size, defence, and back up goal. I just can’t see us being very competitive in a division with two of the largest teams.

    I am also excited for Winnipeg to come over to the west. Having another Canadian team to play against on a regular basis is nothing but great news.

  • 106 and 106

    Gregor,

    Can’t agree more with you about re-signing Smid. On a good team, he is a #4, but on this team, he’s a #1/#2 defensemen, and we NEED him.

    We can sure add another D-man, but Smid types are good hockey players.

  • Boourns99

    “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…The just can’t lose solid veterans at this point of the rebuild.”

    +1000 props. Trading a solid, hard nosed, guy that blocks shots and hits guys in the top 5 in the league would be insanity (as per the definition of). The biggest thing: HE LIKES IT HERE. No need to overpay to get him to think of coming to the frozen north. He is a leader and a stud – SIGN HIM IMMEDIATELY MACTAMBOLOWE.

  • bazmagoo

    Can’t see Smid as much more than a solid #4 shut down d-man at this stage of his career, but he is still fairly young (only 27) and still has room to improve in my opinion.

    I think 4 years at around $3 – $3.5 million is fair considering the new CBA and his status on our team.

  • Ducey

    Smid is a quality shutdown d-man that loves it in Edmonton, the only way he won’t get extended is if the agent gets a little too greedy. 4 years 15mil should get it done, if not adios and trade at the deadline.

  • TayLordBalls

    right!

    A hockey team is like a guitar.

    It needs a consistent flow between all the strings, to sound pleasing.

    Players on the Oiler’s lines are not yet consistent in their speed, with each other, making them out of sync and missing passes.

    Take the foot off the gas and think in sync.

    The wins will then follow.

  • “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.”

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

  • The Soup Fascist

    Why would Smid sign for $3.5 for four years, when he is one of the prime UFA D’s on the market.

    He can almost certainly command five years and over $4 million on July 1.

    Hence the stare down heading into the deadline.

      • Mark-LW

        If he does sign for lower money, this will be a good test then to see if our team is at the point where players will take a home town discount, or if like Detroit in past years, they’ll play for less money for a chance to play on a big time up and comer. But if we can’t even lock down Smid to a reasonable contract, especially with the cap going down, what chance do we have to get a big name free agent this summer?

    • Toro

      When push comes to shove, when the rubber hits the pavement, when the clock is about to strike midnight, when…..well you get the idea….when the time comes….if forced to…I’d pay him $20 mil over 5 years.

  • Word to the Bird

    My question is: assuming we were out of the playoff race, could we trade Smid to a contender for picks and resign him in the offseason? Maybe Tambi can get him on board

  • 106 and 106

    Both Edmonton and Philly are 3 points out of a playoff spot as of right now. What do you think it would take to get Braydon Coburn? Salary cap for Philly could be an issue next year.

      • DSF

        I would use our first pick in this years draft, personally. Do you think that is too high? The new arena needs to be full and I don’t think a roster of complete rookies will do that.

      • Tony Montana

        I would use our first pick in this years draft, personally. Do you think that is too high? The new arena needs to be full and I don’t think a roster of complete rookies will do that.

  • 106 and 106

    I like that Oiler division.

    I already hate every team there, except the Oilers.

    How do the number of games vs teams in other division break down? Is it 2 each?

  • ubermiguel

    Division names should go back deeper into the history of the league, like Morenz, Richard, Conacher and Howe.

    And bring back the names that don’t have a trophy to their name like Patrick and Wales.

  • 106 and 106

    If they go the Gretzky, Howe, Lemieux and ??? route the bellyaching over the last name will be great to watch. The B’s will want Orr/Bourque, Mtl. will have a laundry list (although Richard has a trophy) and TO will have….Derlago

    • DSF

      I say go with names that played for teams in divisions…

      Div 1 Gretzky

      Div 2 Roy (Col)

      Div 3 3 Howe ( maybe Richard)

      Div 4 Lemieux

      Could change Roy for Sakic to give it a modern look, also Roy is kinda awkward to say.

      • DSF

        So the league didn’t start until Howe began playing. That’s like putting Kennedy, Nixon Reagan and Clinton on the us currency.

        Put the names of those who built the league on them. If a fan doesn’t know who they are they can go look them up.

        • A-Mc

          I’m over 40 and have been watching hockey since the 70’s, and Howe was still well before my time.( yes, I don’t count watching Grandpa strolling around with his sons in Hartford as having really seen him play.)

          You can’t deny that 99, 66, and 9 were arguably the three best forwards in league history. (statistically speaking at least.) I threw in Roy partially because that division isn’t exactly rich in history, and because Roy is also considered by many to be arguably the best goalie of all time.

          The 3 division was tough, as that’s where most of the history comes from. There is many options there, but i figured French Canadians were already well represented with Lemieux, and Roy. Howe just seems too obvious to leave out.

          As far as going back further than that goes, first of all while i’m sure there were many wonderful hockey players back in the day. I’m not really sure that any of them were as good, and as important to the game as it sits today, as the players i’ve mentioned.

          Also, with the leagues ongoing pursuit of new fans, imo it would be prudent of them to use names that casual fans have actually heard of. I get why the hockey purists might disagree with me, but we’re not the ones that the league needs to entice to watch the games.

          • A-Mc

            Stanley never played a lick should we change that name too?

            The biggest advantage the NHL has over the NFL and nba – the two other fall winter Sports is its history – far longer than either.

            The names should come from the builders pantheon – not the players. The builders built this league – the players only play in it. Compensation and organization comes from the builders/owners and the divisions, conferences and trophys – as part of the compensation (awards/rewards are compensation) should be named after the compensators.

            As for novice fans let the manes on the conferences and trophies provide a deeper narrative of the history of the game. I doubt they will start watching because a conference is named Howe.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I’m not on board with all the high talk on Laddy Smid. He works hard, blocks shots and is a physical presence….those are things we need more of on the team, so for that I do agree we need him in the lineup. However, he does take bad penalties, has absolutely zero offence, and is a liability in his own end. To me he is a $3.5 per year guy at the absolute most. Any more and I think the Oilergoggles are coming into view regarding his talent. From a league wide point of view he would struggle to be a top 4 guy.
    Not sure how a 5-6 guy is worth any more than $3.5…..if I had my way it would be long term at $3 mill/per.
    No matter which way his situation goes, the Oilers need to correct the sh$t storm that is their blueline, before this franchise turns into the Islanders and accepts losing every year.
    That and some size/skill up front…..just like the other 29 teams in the show…..good luck Tambi!!

  • Toro

    Just looking at some league stats…

    Guess who has the second best safe pct in the league.

    A guy that the oil could have picked up for a song a few years ago but the mentally constipated tambellini couldn’t think outside the box (or outside the Lowe cons of dullness?)

    Antti Niemi .930