It has been four years since the Oilers were in the playoff hunt in the middle of March. On March 15th, 2009 the Oilers had 73 points and were tied for 8th place with Nashville, but they went 6-8 in their final 14 games and missed the playoffs by six points.

Here’s a quick look at what happened four years ago.

Standings on March 15th.

6th place… Columbus with 78 points.
7th place… Minnesota with 74 points.
8th-9th place… Edmonton and Nashville with 73 points.
10th-11th place… Anaheim and St. Louis with 70 points.

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Final standings on April 12th, 2009

6th place… St. Louis with 92 points. Went 10-2-2 from March 15th.
7th place… Columbus with 92 points. Went 5-4-4.
8th place… Anaheim with 91points. Went 10-3-1.
9th place… Minnesota with 89 points. Went 7-5-1.
10th place…Nashville with 88 points. Went 6-4-3
11th place…Edmonton with 85 points. Went 6-8.

The Ducks and Blues went on a tear in the final 28 days, while the Predators, Wild and Oilers stumbled down the stretch and fell out of the playoffs. The Oilers need to mirror the Blues and Ducks and make a strong push down the stretch. They have to take advantage of this four-game homestand.

Just for fun here is the lineup the Oilers in 2009.

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Nilsson, Pouliot and MacIntrye also came in and out of the lineup.’


Roloson and Deslauriers.

In five of their six wins the Oilers scored 5+ goals, but they only mustered 12 goals in their eight loses and lost six of the eight games by one goal. Their goaltending and defence wasn’t bad, but they couldn’t produce when it counted. This year, they have much more offensive skill throughout their lineup and starting tonight those players need to lead this team.



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The Oilers have the potential to have three scoring lines, and during this four-game homestand Ralph Krueger should take advantage of that.

The Triple H line can attack on the rush with Hall and Hemsky while Horcoff won’t get crushed defensively against lines like Datsyuk, Wilson, Thornton and Backes. These are the top centres coming in over the next 9 days, and look for Krueger to use the 4/10/83 line against them, especially out of TV timeouts.

Krueger did say he is more concerned about D pairing matchups than forwards, and he wants to focus on getting everyone involved early. He won’t go crazy trying to match lines, but also said his strategy will vary from game to game.

That should allow better matchups for the 2nd and 3rd lines.

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I’d match Gagner’s line against the other teams weakest defensive line and let him continue his offensive tear. Nugent-Hopkin’s goal in Colorado looked eerily similar to many that he scored last  year; a quick release that beat the goalie just inside the post. If he gets some offensive confidence in these final 22 games, the Oilers could have three scoring lines.


  • Many were getting on Nugent-Hopkins for not scoring, but the sophomore’s goal scoring woes aren’t as bad as Detroit’s top-two gunners. Pavel Datsyuk hasn’t scored a goal in 11 games, while Henrik Zetterberg only has 1 goal in his last 20 games.
  • The Red Wings have really struggled on the road at 3-6-2. They are 30th on the road in PP efficiency with a dreadful 2.6% and only one goal, which came in Calgary on Wednesday, in 36 attempts. Their road PK is also horrendous sitting 29th at 69.8%.
  • The Oilers haven’t been great at home though going 4-4-2. They’ve given up 30 goals in 10 games. Their PP has been great, however, with 13 goals on 46 chances, while their PK is a solid 10th at home at 85.7%. The Oilers need to capitalize on special teams.
  • On March 7th in Detroit the Oilers didn’t have one PP. They need to use their speed and put the Wings in bad positions and force them to take some penalties. The Oilers can’t get sucked into playing a passive, defensive game against the Wings. If it becomes a game of patience, the Oilers will likely lose.
  • Ryan Jones was fighting the flu bug vs. Colorado and he "crashed" the last two days in Edmonton. Teemu Hartikainen will draw back in alongside 93 and 14. 
  • Nikolai Khabibulin will backup Devan Dubnyk. Yann Danis went back to OKC after the Colorado game.


GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers have only won back-to-back games twice this year, but tonight they pick up their first three-game winning streak of the season with a 4-1victory. No team in the history of the NHL has made the playoffs without at least one three-game winning streak in a season, and they Oilers keep their playoff aspirations alive with a win tonight.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The crowd wil be tipsy, loaded, jazzed up for their first home game since February 23rd, and when the Oilers honour Stompin’ Tom Connors and play The Hockey Song everyone in the crowd joins in and sings. The building will be rocking as fans take in a playoff race for the first time in four years. And Jordin Tootoo will want a rematch v. Mike Brown after Brown pumped him in Detroit last week.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: All day and even during the broadcast you might hear people reference that historically the Oilers have struggled in their first game back after a long road trip. Turns out that isn’t the accurate.

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In the first game back after a road trip of 4 games or more, the Oilers have been pretty good in fact. They are 59-37-14.

1980-1989: 28-8-8
1990-1999: 11-12-2 (they were 1-4 in 1999 which made them below .500)
2000-2010 (No 2005 season so added 2010 to make it ten years): 20-11-3
2011-2012: 0-6-1

The Oilers were brutal the past two years, but they struggled in every facet of their game during those two years so that isn’t a surprise, but historically the statement, "The Oilers always struggle in first game off a long road trip," is misleading.


The 2nd annual Gregor Charity Classic sold out in less than 20 hours, so we have added a second day. (If you signed up for day one, you won’t be able to sign up for day two for a week. This allows more people to enter.)

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WHEN: Sunday April 14th. Registration at 11:30, tourney at 1 p.m.
WHERE: Century Casino,13103 Fort Road
WHO: 100 Texas Hold Em Players
WHY: To help End MS and win a seat at the WSOP main event this July in Vegas.

COST: $185 per person (15% goes to MS Society) 

Please be advised of the following stipulations for the tournament: 

·       All participants must be 21 years of age.
·       The grand prize is based on a minimum occupancy of 80 participants, with only 100 spots available. If all spots are not filled, the grand prize will be adjusted to the pre-determined cash prizing.
·       The grand prize awarded is a seat in the World Series of Poker Tournament Main Event, valued at $10,000 USD, in Las Vegas July 7th – 16th, 2013. The last 9 players of the tournament will return to Las Vegas in November 2013 for the final table. All events will be held at the Rio Hotel.
The grand prize includes airfare, courtesy of Darci Huhn with Travel Only and accommodation for one.
·         The grand prize is non-transferable. The 1st place grand prize winner of the tournament  will accept the prize as awarded and be expected to participate and represent Century Casino and The Jason Gregor Show in the World Series of Poker Tournament.

·         The remainder of the cash prizing for the tournament will be broken down as follows, based on full occupancy:
1st place- $10,000 entry fee into WSOP main event.
nd place – $2,000.00 cash  and $500 donation in name to MS Society.

3rd place – $800.00 cash and $200 donation in name to MS Society
4th place – $640.00 cash and $160 donation in name to MS Society.
5th place – $560.00 cash and $140 donation in name to MS Society.
6th place – $480.00 cash and $120 donation in name to MS Society.
7th place – $400.00 cash and $100 donation in name to MS Society
8th place – $320.00 cash and $80 donation in name to MS Society
9th place – $240.00 cash and $60 donation in name to MS Society.
10th place – $210.00 cash and $62.50 donation in name to MS Society.

** 1st place prize is not redeemable for cash. If you can’t go then the 2nd place winner can go in your place and you receive their prize.**

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Thanks again for your interest and for supporting MS. You can enter by calling 780.643.4060! Good luck.


  • Stack Pad Save

    The wings were allowed to show up in the third because of the refs only viewing one color of jersey. Wings should have had 5 penalties in the third alone let alone all the others in the 1st and 2nd. Hall gets his glove ripped off and hooked with no penalty only to have the Oil score on the play. Suprised the ref didn’t find a way to call it off.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Worst one for me was the BLATANT pick on Brown when he was killing a penalty. If that isn’t textbook interference than nothing is. A close second was Harti’s boarding call.

      At the end of the day though, the Oil took their foot off the gas. That was the reason for the loss.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Its about time we adjusted the lines this way or in this manner, with a dynamic pattern to them.

    Ralph made an error in not leaving Nuge in the middle on the 1st line, his wingers are both zone entry machines so you could put a pylon between them and they would do fine.

    I would have left the 1st line intact completely. And simply told Hall to drive the wing like he did last year with just a shade of middle ice pressure every 4th rush or so, so that line can work its creative offense off of Halls consistant zone entry platform. The 1st line has sucked points wise because it lost its most potent weapon and that is its o-zone entry machine in Taylor- Taylor picked the wrong time to diversify his game although he did a great job of it. Nuge needs to be the catalyst on that line and Hall needs to deliver the mail into the o-zone as he does so well, he cant lose that role not for a few more years like it or not those wheels are NHL caliber and he will soon learn what Hemmer learned, the value of his zone entry ability.

    The second line will continue to carry the team for the rest of the year and needs to be set in stone at MPS-Gagner-Yakupov and left alone to evolve and handle its own sucesses and failures intact as a group. This organisation needs to put the proper focus on creating long term chemistry here and stop playing pick-up-sticks with the lines.

    The key to each lines dynamic attack is its zone entrys and traverses or transitions, and different players provide and support these things to varying degrees. We need one specialist on each line to provide a consistant zone entry platform to base our creative offense off of.

    We have in order of effectiveness

    MPS — size and speed spreads and backs d-men off
    Hemsky — pure speed backs d-men off
    Hall — pure speed and shot pressure spreads and backs d-men off

    We cannot put two of these players together if we can possibly help it. Each one is a specialist at gaining the o-zone. So we need one per line. Then we need a setup man and a shooter to finish the lines dynamic structure.

    The first line has Hall as the zone entry specialist, Nuge as the setup man and Ebbs as the shooter.{Hall is a wildcard who can score anytime}

    The second line has MPS as the zone entry specialist, Gagner as the setup man and Yakupov as the shooter.{Gagner is a wildcard who can score anytime}

    The third line has Hemmer as the zone entry specialist Horcoff as the setup man and Curtis Hamilton as the shooter.{Hemmer is a wildcard that can score anytime}

    The fourth line needs Jones as the zone entry specialist VV as the setup man and Cheechoo as the shooter.{Cheechoo is a wildcard who can score anytime}


    The lines are all catalysed by a zone entry specialist and supported by a setup man or creative mind and a trigger or a natural shooter.

    Intuative Dynamic Analysis of each player defines them in these roles, there is no statistical input or influences at all, its simply what they are most simply bloody best at doing.No rocket science here just as Ralph says “a funny feeling in our stomachs”, ya know gut instinct.

    Statistical input and influences applied to decisions that require Intuative Dynamic Analysis input and influence will result in false-positives being given to the coaches datawise. This is why we have had so many disconnects this year and no consistancy. Everything from our line combos to our zone transit decisions to our shootout picks to our shot choices has been influenced by the dirty dirty stats gremlins. All of these things require Intuative Dynamic managment.

    Ralph has applied Intuative Dynamic Analysis to all of his major changes lately, and most are working out pretty well for him so far. he isnt out of it by a longshot. He is just taking the long path in learning the proper and expedient application of a new perspective and might simply run out of time, its the learning curve it is to large for the timeframe at this pace.

    I wont get into the system specifics from the game but lets say in a nutshell that we initiated momentum and set the tone for the game in a proactive manner and we forced them to read and react to our tactics which they couldnt do, eventually they began to adjust their system and changed their d-zone exit strategys and their n-zone exit strategys, but we held the fort and countered them on every single adjustment, then we had a rookie hiccup and punished ourselves again.

    The key issue adjustment wise was Ralphs inability to generate any significant offense once both teams started counter adjusting to each other, we lost our trigger finger , it somehow got jammed in our arses for almost two full periods.

    No comments on those specific adjustments he started to fall behind on and the definitive one that choked out our offensive initiation.
    No point in speculating after the game about technical adjustments when there is a realtime venue to post on, next game i will post my realtime NHS adjustments during the game, my line suggestions are already posted here now.

    I really wouldnt have posted much this game anyways because Ralph was going toe to toe with the other coach and he was looking better than the other guy till he tripped and fell over his own feet so to speak.

    One of the reasons our offense gets bogged down is the way we initiate it from our d-zone exits, if we are forced to adjust to the opposition repeatesdly it takes us longer than normal to set up our offense without big defensive transitonal risks, we dont want to adjust our d-zone exits any more than we need to in a reactionary manner. Detroit got caught on their heels and then they stabilised and began making rapid adjustments intentionally which Ralph countered in a flurry but that flurry jammed our guns and we couldnt find time or momentum to adjust our d-zone exits to initiate any offense, we were caught in an old fashioned brawl back and forth adjustments at top speed, neither system could activte its offense properly after the 1st period.

    We are still kicking.

  • painfulloss

    That’s the kind of loss that can decimate morale in the dressing room. You’re up 2-0 in the 3rd period, and decide to basically coast and think you can win against a team like Detroit? C’mon Oilers. Obviously Petry’s goal was as dumb as it gets, and the “officiating” was deplorable – but to take our foot off their neck in the 3rd is mind-boggling.

    I like Ralphy as a man, as a person – but as an NHL coach, I have little to no faith in him. I wished that during the off season we’d gone out and found a proven NHL coach.

    Ultimately, all this junk is on Tambo’s head.

    Funny thing is, is that we’re kinda still in the playoff hunt, lol. A team with this many holes/issues/problems and we’re still there. Too funny.