OILERS: GHOST RIDING THE WHIP

Before Wanye left Iceland to return to Canada, he text me asking me to bring back "Ghost Riding the Whip" if the Oilers swept the Shames.

I can’t confirm if these two ultra-hip grandparents are related to Wanye, but I suspect they might be.

If you watched the Oilers dominating 8-2 victory over Calgary tonight, I suspect this illustrates how most Nation readers feel.

After spotting the Flames a 2-0 lead, the Oilers stormed back with 8 unanswered goals and left the Saddledome in a playoff spot for the first time since opening night.

QUICK HITS

  • Not much you can say about Taylor Hall’s play other than WOW. With a goal and four assists he now has 15 points in his last six games and is 7th in league scoring with 41 points. He is five points out of 2nd place. If Sidney Crosby doesn’t return, Hall has an outside shot at the Art Ross Trophy. No one, not even the most optimistic Oilers fan thought that was possible. A breakout year for Hall.
     
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has found his offensive hands again with 10 points in five games. What I liked most about his game tonight was how hungry he was for the puck. He was excellent on puck retrievals tonight.
     
  • I really liked how guys like Nail Yakupov, Ryan Whitney and others didn’t backdown from the Flames. The Flames will test the Oilers mettle and tonight, not only did they stand up to them, they didn’t let up and ran up the score. Strong message.
     
  • The Oilers special teams are very good. PP is third and their PK is 7th. If they can keep scoring at ES they will make a serious run for the playoffs.
     
  • Magnus Paajarvi is probable for tomorrow’s game, and if he can’t go then Anton Lander will be recalled and Ryan Smyth likely takes Paajarvi’s spot. Krueger said Paajarvi will be re-evaluated in the morning.
     
  • You don’t have to like it, but keeping Ryan Whitney was the smart move. I don’t expect him to get a Gordie Howe hat-trick ever again, most likely, but the Oilers wouldn’t be better off with a 2nd rounder.
     
  • I’d play Dubnyk in Vancouver. He’s playing well, and he’s won four straight. Stick with the hot hand.
     
  • Jordan Eberle’s broken finger is healed and the difference in his shot and stickhandling is obvious. He could have had four goals tonight. His reaction after some chances suggests he is still a bit off on his shots, but when he gets comfortable shooting again, combined with the amount of chances his line is creating, he could end up with 20 goals. Same pace as last year.
     
  • The Oilers top line of Hall (14), Eberle (8) and Nugent-Hopkins (10) have combined for 32 points in the last five games. Very few beer league lines produce like that.
     
  • The Oilers are 8-2-2 since Shawn Horcoff called a player’s only meeting and returned to the lineup. I know the 4/93/14 line is carrying this team, but Horcoff’s message sunk in. The Oilers aren’t near as fancy in their own zone or the neutral zone as they were early in the season. And they have way more players going to the net on a regular basis.
     
  • The Oilers needed to sweep the Flames, and if they can go 7-5, or 7-4-1 in their final 12 games that should be enough for the playoffs. IT will be tough, but not completely unrealistic.
     
  • Nine of those 12 games are against playoff teams, and it will be very interesting to watch how they respond. Enjoy this Oiler fans, you deserve it after seven years of horrific hockey.
     
  • I thought it was very classy of the Oilers to honour Jarome Iginla by scoring 12 goals in two games vs. his former team.

  RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Jason, Your last comment about the Oilers honouring Iggy cracks me up. The Oil put on a clinic tonight and I’m hoping they continue to put the rest of the league on notice. I wish them good luck and much success the rest of the way.

  • It’s been pretty nice to watch some strong hockey the last few games. Tonight was an excellent run and while the playoffs are still a question, this is the hockey Oilers fans deserve.

    I really hope they keep it up.

  • geoilersgist

    1million props for that video JG

    haha 12 goals for Iggy that comment is as priceless as the weather in YYC

    I also wish my grandparents were that ballin’

  • oilman3

    i really hope you’re right about seven more wins getting them in the playoffs, but i’m thinking it’s going to take at least eight. i guess we just need to enjoy the fact that we hammered the flames and are finally playing for something. here’s hoping we can take it to the nucks tomorrow. if we win i may be even more excited than i am tonight.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    WHY AM I STILL SCREAMING AT THE TV……THEY’RE ONLY HILITES SHOWING ON THE LOOP AND I’M STILL SCREAMING.

    MUST REALLY SUCK TO BE A LAMES FAN NOW!

  • Craig1981

    I hope everyone remembers the Oiler’s turnaround after Horcoff’s return, when everyone saying he needs to give up the C to a younger person. As Col how hanging the C over to a young start has helped them

  • Rocket

    Gotta love Yakupov, his reactions after goals are hilarious and I loved how he didn’t back down, his shot is an absolute lazer and you can see him getting better every game (especially positionally) and you can never knock his effort. I think he may turn out to be a bit of a pest to play against but one that can also rack up the points his passes are insane.

    Gregor I know you have talked about shipping him out for size on numerous occasions but this is not where I would make an a size “upgrade”.

    I am curious how much the lockout has effected him, he was robbed of a training camp and there has been minimal practice time to learn systems positional placement. He is going to be very good for many years in my opinion.

    • Jason Gregor

      This is the last time I will say this…I used him as an EXAMPLE. (I wrote this is an example, and I wouldn’t actually make this trade)

      The Oilers will trade a more skilled player for a forward who likely puts up fewer points, but brings other elements.

      I have no doubt he will be very good, especially when he improves his top-end speed.

    • Rocket

      Oh yea and I won’t be surprised to see Yak with Gags & Magnus in the next few games and Hemsky ,Horc & Smyth back together . It’s time to move him up a notch and that would still be a really good 3rd line .

  • geeker99

    What a great night to be an oil fan in Cowtown. i work for the city of calgary and been through depressing times. Going down 2-0 was the turn for this club. Hall is our franchise and Nuge looked and played like a money chip. looked at my buddy at 2-0 and said we need the next one. First time ive gone to a game at the gaydome and they won!! I want the division, i think if minny and van feel pressure they will fold, and we play them twice. I want the division!!!!!!!

  • ubermiguel

    Outside shot at Art Ross?! Sure, and I guess the Flames aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet.

    The major award actally have a shot at is the Calder if Yak and Schultz pick up the pace a bit.

    And the honoring Iggy with 12 goals burn wins the Internet for today. Instant classic.

    • Jason Gregor

      The Art Ross is the scoring title, and yes it is a long shot. If Crosby doesn’t return which is very likely, then Hall will battle Stamkos, Kunitz, Kane, Getzlaf, St.Louis, Staal and Tavares…They are all within six points of each other. Yak and Schultz are five points back of Huberdeau…Same as Hall on Stamkos. How is that a better shot? Especially when Hall is on fire.

      • Phixieus666

        I think Schultz deserves more credit, yes hes 5 points back but hes also a defense-man and stepped in and has claimed the #1 spot on this team. His TOI through the roof and hes played in every situation. Tell me how that doesn’t make him the leader for the Calder. I really hate that the decision is based mostly on points. Defense-man are automatically at a disadvantage.

  • geeker99

    WOW, first line continues to carry the team. One might wonder what would be if Krueger had left them together , might have solidified their play off chances by now ….

    Need scoring from the second line… Hemsky needs a major wake up call. This guy is on a major cruise. Get rid of him and resign Gagner.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    I’ve waited for this day for 3-5 years, now that it’s here I may have been too hasty in wanting only bad things for the Flames :c My heart goes out to you Flamers. See you in the next 3-5.

  • Carlos Danger

    Thank You for the Iginla line. Reminds me of when the Riders honored the Eskimos Grey Cups by putting 13 guys on the field. Instant classic. Oh Yeah suck it Calgary.

  • I have to say that Yakupov may have the best one timer I have seen since MacInnis or Hull.

    Absolutely deadly shot.

    I have been really impressed with Yakupov progression so far, from zero defensive ability to not being a huge liability and not making the same repeated mistakes shows the kid is learning.

    I debated that Galchenyuk may have been the player the Oilers should have picked……Not anymore.

    Best game of the year for the young lad.

    What more can you say about Hall, this should put to rest the Taylor vs. Tyler debate.

    This kid needs to be the next captain, don’t really think it’s a debate anymore.IMO.

    I really hope the Oilers get into the playoffs, fans deserve it the most.

  • paul wodehouse

    i look forward to having our leader the wanye back…especially because he’s bringing me that WHATEVER HAPPENS IN Reykjavik STAYS IN Reykjavik BUMPER STICKER I ASKED FOR…

  • Rob...

    I made the mistake of temporarily pitying, and even cheering for, the underdog Flames back when they were having trouble filling their rink. Their fans were morose, and their team sucked. The moment they turned things around they went right back to being the arrogant prigs of old; taking every opportunity to revel in the decline of the Oilers. Never again…

    Suck it Flames!

    Suck it Calgary! Suck it long, and suck it hard!

  • Dawn

    One thing I’ve been noticing about Yak. That puck comes off his stick like a bullet. He really needs consistent linemates so they can learn to take his passes. I don’t want him to have to learn to take a little fire off it so the guys can handle it. I want the rest of the guys to step up instead.

    • geoilersgist

      It must be the tear that Vancouver and the Wild are on that has him on hiatus. I almost miss him too.

      Come back DSF we miss you*!!!

      *Pause……….NOT!

      Speaking of DSF do you think he saw Suters masterful defensive play last night against Boyle?

  • Bucknuck

    “I thought it was very classy of the Oilers to honour Jarome Iginla by scoring 12 goals in two games vs. his former team.”

    Gregor that was just the best line ever. once in a lifetime opportunity and you nailed it!

  • Bandwagon jumper

    Great article Jason. Tribute to Iggy, good one.

    I’m glad we didn’t trade Whitney at the deadline. The bag of pucks we would have gotten in return are all but useless in the here and now.

    And I’d really like to see the Oil sign him to an extension. He TRULY wants to be here and he is good at feeding the kids. Clearly, he shouldn’t get top Dman money, but even after we add a couple of top defenders this off season, Whitney would be a great 3rd pairing/power play guy to have around. And he fights.. OK, that may be a bit of a stretch.

    Do you think the Oil could get this guy for 1 or 2 years for less than they are paying Smid?