GDB 03: A KING SIZE CHALLENGE

After facing the heaviest team in the NHL on Tuesday the Oilers face the 2nd heaviest team tonight. The LA Kings average weight is 210 pounds, and the only forwards shorter than 6’1" are Dustin Brown, 6’0", while Mike Richards and Brad Richardson stand 5’11". Richards and Brown are two of their most physical forwards, so the Oilers need to be ready to compete.

Tonight will be a great test to see how they bounce back from a disastrous first period against the Sharks.

The defending Stanley Cup champions are 0-2 while the Oilers want to erase Tuesday’s debacle as quick as possible. Both teams admitted they will be in a sour mood this evening.

"We are a pretty pissed-off team right now. We don’t have a win. We need one. I expect they will be mad too," said Jarret Stoll on my radio show yesterday. The Kings have yet to score a PP goal, and Stoll hinted they are more angry than worried at this point.

"We haven’t played a full game yet. We were very good for the first two periods in Colorado, but we gave up a lead in the third, which was very uncharacteristic for our club. We can’t afford to fall too far behind in the standings in such a short season, and I expect we will be much better and more intense on Thursday," Stoll continued.

The Oilers were singing the same tune.

"We didn’t play very smart. We had lots of energy on Tuesday, but we let it control us. We all have to play better, especially early in the game and I’m looking forward to getting off to a good start," said Devan Dubnyk.

Dubnyk didn’t seem rattled at all after a tough first period v. San Jose. I sensed he was more looking forward to bouncing back, rather than worrying about how he and the team played on Tuesday.

LINE UP CHANGES 

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Horcoff-Paajarvi
Hartikainen-Belanger-Petrell

Teemu Hartikainen and Magnus Paajarvi will switch lines and wings. Krueger wants some speed with Horcoff and Smyth and he is looking for Hartikainen to be more physical on the fourth line.

Smid-Petry
N.Schultz- J.Schultz
Fistric-Whitney

Mark Fistric will play his first game as an Oiler and he’ll be paired up with Ryan Whitney. Firstric will line up on the left side, because he’s more comfortable there, but if he and Whitney switch sides during the play they won’t worry switching back right away.

Krueger said Fistric is a "specialist", and he expects him to help the PK and then add some physical presence to the lineup.

Dubnyk
Danis

QUICK HITS

  • Ben Eager has a concussion and is out indefinitely. It is unclear how long he’ll be out, but Steve Tambellini might have to find another forward who can play physical, because right now the Oilers don’t have many bangers in the lineup.

  • Krueger suggested the Oilers will make a decision on Theo Peckham tonight. I expect he’ll go down to OKC on a two-week conditioning stint. The Oilers will want to send a message to him and the rest of the team that it is unacceptable to show up in camp not in tip-top shape.

  • Nikolai Khabibulin is getting closer to playing. Krueger suggested it isn’t weeks anymore. I wonder if you will see Khabibulin next Thursday when the Oilers play back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday?

  • Every Oiler I spoke with said basically the same thing regarding their discipline. They have to watch their sticks and not be too aggressive with them in the first ten minutes.

  • The Kings are 0 for 11 on the PP thus far. They are due to break out, so the Oilers need to play smart. The Oilers’ PP is clicking at 33%, 3 for 9, and they’d really help their cause if they could force the Kings to take some penalties early in the game.

  • Detroit has the worst special teams in the NHL. They are 0 for 15 on the PP, and they’ve allowed 6 goals on 14 PK opportunities. It is early, but the Wings are a shadow of the team we’ve seen during the past two decades.

  • The Oilers only have five right-handed shots in the lineup. Eberle, Hemsky, Gagner, J.Schultz and Petry. All of their bottow two lines and 3rd D pairing shoot left. I suspect that presents challenges at certain areas on the ice.

  • Simon Gagne had a tumour the size of a tennis ball removed from his neck during the summer. He thinks it might have been a reason why he continued to have concussion-like symptoms. He is now healthy and hopeful his concussion issues are behind him.

     

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will play much better than they did on Tuesday, but the Kings are the defending Cup champions and they’ll leave Rexall with their first win of the season, 4-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been rather quiet thus far, but he’ll play he pick up two points and generate significantly more offence. The Kings will score their first PP goal of the season after the Oilers take another careless stick infraction early in the third period.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: During the first TV timeout a pancake will be tossed on the ice. With Dustin Penner a healthy scratch, many will wonder why it was thrown on the ice. Within seconds of the pancake landing, Penner will be seen leaving the pressbox with a smirk on his face. "I wasn’t going to let any Oiler fan throw one first," he deadpanned.

FINAL COUNTDOWN

One of the hardest things in life is watching a grown man cry. Wanye lost five pounds on Tuesday, which is a lot for one day, but it’s even scarier when all of it came out of his tear ducts. Even the free heroin beers at Rexall couldn’t console him. But that wasn’t the worst part. Yesterday he called me up bawling. I assumed he was still mad over the loss and how his man-crush, Jordan Eberle didn’t score, but that wasn’t it.

He’s down in the dumps because his first annual Nation draft isn’t sold out yet. He wanted $1,000 entries so he could raise a significant chunk of change for charity, and he’s not taking it well. You’d think he’d be used to rejection by now, after getting shut down on a bi-weekly basis at the Pint, but he isn’t.

Do me a favour, and him, and enter his draft. It’s a pretty KICK-ASS draft to be honest.

First place wins a $5,000 shopping spree at United Cycle and there are 99 other prizes in the Nation’s First Annual hockey draft. It is only $20 bucks with a portion of the funds going to charity. Bragging rights are on the line boys and girls, so enter today. 

Wanye can’t afford to lose another five pounds tonight. So enter. NOW.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

    • Alsker

      Im in such a reminiscing mood I got all excited to see Dave Semenko beat the sh*t out of Willy Phlett…oh well I guess itll have to be Laddy Smid kicking Boumeisters ass instead

  • Smytty's Jibs

    Hoooooooo…. I am so jacked. There is no hope of me sleeping for the next few hours.

    Also, is Sutter having a stroke, or does he always sound like that when his heart has been ripped out and skated over??

    Holy cripes!

    Yak Ciy!

    Hooooo…..

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Jonathan Quick is Nail Yakupovs bitch. Just shut up and stop the friggen puck Quick.

    Only thing that may have bettered the existing outcome would have been Yakupov netting the winner in OT.

    Fistric was solid tonight. He should be in the top 6 d for the rest of the season.

    A little credit to Dubey. Two strong performances out of the three so far.

  • Rocket

    The officiating truly was a joke. Both ways. Just terrible. So for the Oilers to fight to the last second and pull out a win- glorious!

    Watching Yak celebrate will never get old. Love this kid!!!!! YAKUSQUUUUEEEEEE!!!!!

  • Bleak Winter

    I’m happy the Oilers won. The fan part of me still revels in the victory and I was just as caught up by the emotion of it all.
    -BUT-
    Regardless of the outcome, if that’s in any way an indication of how they want to call games now, then hockey can just go back to wherever the hell it was for the last three months, and stay there.

    Who thinks all the glove and faceoff penalties improve the game? How do they expect fans to come back if they load up a game with frivolous technicalities??? I was staying relatively impartial to the lockout but I’m not interested in following any sport that resembles whatever that was. That’s not hockey, that was two snarky b!tches calling the sh!t out of the back half of the rulebook while a game was trying to be played… If I want law and procedure I’ll go watch some lawyers do their thing at the courthouse or turn on question period on CPAC.

    You just know the refs were racking their brains trying to come up with some reason to review Yakupov’s goal. What? No obvious illegal curve of the stick penalty? Maybe even “Hey Yak! Two minutes for looking so good!” Can they call that?

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      Dude, the whole “fans will never come back” thing was so two weeks ago. Your hipster radar must be on the fritz. It was a great game! Put on some Kool and the Gang and celebrate.

  • What a character that kid is! God love em! That’s got to be the most excited I got for a reg game in a while.

    That game had everything, fights, hits, end to end, clutching grabbing, good reffing, terrible reffing , great goaltending, good chances , missed chances.

    Fan participation in that games seemed of the charts, loud as the first game. It’s good to see Gag’s score that after that BS call.

    Big win for the boys.

      • The Soup Fascist

        There were well officiated parts ……

        Let’s see. They never screwed up any face offs ….. Wait ….. Oh yeah

        OK . They never waived off any legitimate goals ….. Hmmmm

        Got it. No ticky tack penalties. There. What??? Smothering the puck? Double minor for instigating with a fishbowl? WTF?…

        Ok at least they never called a game deciding too many men penalty in
        OT. ……. Really ??? Second of the game??? Musta missed that.

        Let’s see they never hit Nuge with the dreaded, “illegal use of a hyphen” call, correct?

        Whew! See they had their moments. Solid job fellas.

  • Talbot17

    I legit was sadly downing my last drink for the evening at the game when Yak scored, i dont think i threw an empty plastic cup so far and high in my life, Olympic shot put worthy stuff.

    Sick game, Yak is the real deal, buzzing all night and Schultz looks unreal…logging those types of minutes? I think that amazes me more, tied to Kreuger’s overall confidence in these players. Think Renney would have put Yak out there with that time remaining? UMM NO.

    Love this team, don’t think playoffs are out of question, thats for sure.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Laddy should get a pat on the back. Kid is all heart. To quote Yak, “Smid took a good 5”. Actually he took 23, but we get it Yak.

    A good 5, indeed.

  • B S

    Seriously though, I had to pull the car over when they announced the OT goal I was so psyched. I missed the rest of the game (darn Tuesday and Thursday night games are pissing me off ’cause I’m busy those evenings) sounds like there was some excitement.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Lot stuff happening in the this game , good and bad.

    Just want to call out, Hall who played like a bull,but more importantly him making that empty goal save… pulling a Dubynk, and also the great
    face off by Belanger.. without these two plays there is no win!!!!