GDB 39.0: JUST WIN

At the start of this four-game road trip the Oilers needed two wins. It didn’t matter how, when or where, but they needed at least two victories. They won in Calgary, lost in Vancouver and LA so that leaves them with no choice but to win in Anaheim.

Simple. Just Win.

Of course, winning in the NHL isn’t that easy.

I could bore you with percentages and how many wins the Oilers need down the stretch to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, but I don’t see the need. Someone smarter than I came up with the saying "Keep It Simple Stupid," and that rings true today.

A win puts the Oilers two points back of Detroit with 9 games remaining, and 7 of those 9 games will be in Edmonton. A win gives Edmonton a chance.

The Ducks played last night, so obviously the Oilers should win. The Ducks have to be fatigued don’t they? That was the reason the Oilers lost in Vancouver on Thursday wasn’t it?  They were tired from the night before. So based on that theory the Oilers should take advantage of a tired team tonight.

LINEUP

Hall/Nugent-Hopkins/Eberle
Paajarvi/Gagner/Yakupov
Smyth/Horcoff/Jones
Brown/Smithson/Petrell

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

Dubnyk

Ales Hemsky is out with a foot injury, he’s been playing injured for the last 10 days, so Ryan Jones will take his place in the lineup. Mark Fistric take Corey Potter’s place on the 3rd pairing and he will play his first game since March 25th.

Ryan Getzlaf is also a game time decision. Getzlaf loves playing the Oilers, registering 27 points in 23 career games, and obviously it would be better for the Oilers if the Ducks elect to give him another day to rest.

QUICK HITS

  • If you want to see how many people wrote off Alex Ovechkin this season, type in Ovechkin vs. Crosby in the twitter search box. Ovechkin has 20 goals and 33 points in his last 23 games. That is unreal. The hilarious part is how the anti-Ovechkin crew are now suggesting he only scores vs. non-playoff teams. Of course when he scored 9 points in three games vs. Winnipeg and New Jersey both teams were in the playoffs, but because they aren’t in today that crowd suggests he feasts on weaker competition. That is a creative way to use the stats in your favour. Either way, Ovechkin is back to being one of the most exciting players to watch.
     
  • Crosby is better overall, but Ovechkin is a better goal scorer and he’s still one of the best forwards in the game. Adam Oates got him to switch wings this year, and now that Ovechkin is comfortable on his new wing he is lighting it up.
     
  • Sheldon Souray was also written off by many, yet he’s having a great year in Anaheim. Souray has 16 points, is playing 21 minutes a night and he is tied for the league-lead at +26 with Sidney Crosby. Souray adds a lot of toughness and swagger to the Ducks as well. Harsh reality in sports is you can’t let personal feelings get in the way of business. Oilers needed to get something for Souray, but never did.
     
  • Theo Peckham will never be as dominant as Sheldon Souray, but I see similarities in how they’ve been handled. Peckham screwed up royally by not staying in shape, and I applauded the organization for sending him a strong message. But that was six weeks ago. Now all they are doing is lowering his trade value, which wasn’t that high to begin with, and they will have to qualify him or loss him for nothing. Peckham received the message loud and clear. He deserved to be sent to the minors, but when he returns to the NHL he’ll be a decent contributor. If the Oilers let him walk for nothing, that will be another example of bad management.
     
  • I don’t understand why the Oilers have Anton Lander sitting in the pressbox rather than playing in the AHL. He hasn’t played a game since he scored 6 points vs. the Rockford Icedogs on March 30th. How can the Oilers possibly believe sitting in the pressbox, and practicing twice in a week is helping his development. I understood why they recalled him when Belanger was hurt, but once they traded for Smithson I don’t see the value in him not playing.
     
  • I’m guessing Justin Schultz will be booed regularly tonight. Ducks fans are still livid he shunned them and signed with the Oilers. I wonder if they can maintain that all game, the way Oilers fans have voiced their displeasure with many ex-Oilers or Dany Heatley.
     
  • How awesome is Sunday TV right now. Mad Men and Game of Thrones are back, and The Good Wife has another few weeks before their season is over. Excellent way to wind down the week.
     
  • Andrew Cogliano leads the Ducks with 11 ES goals. He’s having a solid campaign with 12 goals and 22 points.  Cogliano wasn’t going to fit in Edmonton long-term, once they drafted Ryan Nugent-Hopkings, but he’s a solid NHLer for the Ducks. He’s never missed an NHL game, and tonight he will play his 450th consecutive game.

TONIGHT… (just for you LT)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Just like they did four weeks ago the Oilers will win a game few expect them to. After back-to-back shutout loses the Oilers went into Chicago and won 6-5. Tonight after uninspired losses in Van and LA the Oilers will entertain you with a 5-4 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score 3 PP goals. The Ducks PK is 22nd and they’ve given up the 6th most PP goals in the league.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Nick Schultz loves playing the Ducks. Five of his 26 career goals have come against the Ducks. He has 26 goals in 801 games, but he has 5 in 40 games vs. the Ducks. In the 2nd period Schultz jumps up in the play and scores his first of the season.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It’s a darn good thing Tambo didn’t rock the boat last week at the deadline. His actions are really starting to pay off during this playoff drive. Well worth the risk of letting guys walk for free in a couple weeks. What a bunch of donkeys, pretending to be buyers again when they should’ve been sellers. Only 3 weeks of hockey that doesn’t matter this year. Much the same to being out of it with 5 weeks to go during a full 82 game season.

    How much more of this SHIP (tambellini and lowe) do the Oiler faithful have to put up with? 3 yrs later, your hockey team’s still sucking the hind banana Daryl Katz.

    • Ducey

      I am certain that had he sold off a few guys and lost the next few games, he would have been blamed for the losses. Can’t win.

      There likely wasn’t much interest in what Tambo was selling anyway.

  • I never bought what management was selling when they decided that Souray was a bad apple, and needed to be a million miles from any player associated with the Oilers.

    The only people that look STUPID now are the ones that bought all this horseshi_, about Souray not being able to play………pure fictional nonsense.

    He handled himself with class, called a spade a spade, and stuck up for his teammates when required. When was the last time a defenseman got into a fight with the current player we have??

    He is making management look stupid because they helped him the whole way……..he could play on my team any day.

      • Ducey

        It’s an expression of support for a player that in my mind did as good of a job on a weak team, as any player could.

        Please feel free to explain how we won in handling this player the way we did?

        • Ducey

          It was a joke (or an attempt at one). I am pretty sure you are not an owner of an NHL team.

          You forget Souray had two seasons for the Oilers where he was basically hurt all the time. He went thru waivers twice. It was only once he was bought out that Dallas took a flyer on him and paid him just $1.6 million for one year.

          He didn’t handle himself with class. Classy people don’t blast their managers in the media.

          It was a bad contract which the Oilers overpaid to bring in a big name. He gave them one good year, and two bad years. His injuries and conflict with management likely would have got him bought out a few places.

          I think odds of you knowing 3 years ago he was going to have a year like this year are about the same as you being an NHL owner. That makes it 20/20 hindsight.

          • Ducey

            Agree to disagree……..Souray is hardly the first player to have objections with Management.

            He never has had a history of being a troubled player…….only after joining the Oilers. He is also a older player so getting injured is part of player management …….look at Hemsky, Belenger, Horcoff, Hall, Gagner…….they have all gone through this before.

            You failed to explain how handling of this asset was a benefit for the team……..IMHO it made him untradeable.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Hard to believe Tambellini is still spending some of Katz’s money on Sheldon Souray to play for Anaheim. Here it is 3 yrs since Oilers management threw him under the bus, we’re still a bottom feeder team in this league.

    Sheldon Souray was right all along about this management group.

    Can’t see the Duck faithful booing Schultz this evening. Anahiem fans have a lot more to cheer about this season than to boo a kid they’ve never met/seen before. Probably more of the Justin Who? than the boo. More men against boys this evening, 5-1 Ducks.

    • And the Oilers bashing continues. Fans will boo. Check out vs the game Anaheim played vs Kings. When it was announced that Ducks were playing the Oilers the next night, the whole arean booed loudly.

    • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

      Ah, Oil Change…

      Can you imagine watching all the seasons at once?

      “Isn’t there supposed to be a climax eventually?”

      “How long is this POS?!?”

    • Time Travelling Sean

      We’ve shown, inconsistently albeit, that we can play against higher tiered teams, and play well, so change your prediction please, 3-2 Oil win/loss in a SO.

  • vetinari

    The Oilers can’t just make it easy for themselves, can they? One step ahead, two steps back. One step sideways, blow head off with shotgun. Stand up zombie style, shamble forward and repeat.

    • Ducey

      Truly a sign of a team that has some very strong areas(1st and 2nd Lines, goaltending), and some major weaknesses(3rd and 4th lines and defence)… It was a mistake to not get something quality back for Whitney/Hemsky/Peckham/Jones…. Because this team was never going to make the playoffs short of selling the future. By the standings you’d think this team is close. But in reality this team still requires major moves that need to be bolder then they have been so far.

      I am actually one that thoroughly enjoyed this season. And i will enjoy all the remaining games… But my patience as a fan ends there. This off season Tambi et all need to get off their asses and improve these glaring areas of weakness before next season.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Ha! Speaking of winning…

    I was harassing a guy in my keeper pool for B. Schenn pretty much all year. Made him multiple trade offers.

    One day he came back with a counter offer out of the blue:

    To me: Ovi

    To him: Pietrangelo, Skinner

    This was March 4th. 27 points in 19 games since.

    The poor bastard gave up on him just like everyone else.

    I WIN!

    #JUSTWIN

  • Obiwan Eberle - Team 5-14-6-1

    I hate how everyone is talking about how Souray was thought of as a guy who couldn’t play in the NHL anymore…that’s not how I remember it. I remember a guy who was our best defenseman but who got ticked off at management and called them out, then went all prima donna and wanted out of town. Management didn’t send him to Hershey because he couldn’t play in the NHL, they sent him there because he was cancer in the locker room. We got Taylor Hall with him on the team but injured, then RNH with him in Hershey. It was the rest of the league who thought he wasn’t a NHL’er when they decided not to take him on re-entry waivers.

    • Jason Gregor

      Cancer in the room? He called out management and all the things he said turned out to be true. None of his teammates thought of him as a cancer.

      And losing him for nothing on waivers wouldn’t have been a smart move either.

      • Eddie Shore

        Has Peckham played his final game as an Oiler? I’m perplexed as to why he has not played at all this year. It makes no sense considering how badly the D has struggled.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      That’s a very good point.

      Now cue up the people who say “yeah, but it was his horrible contract, which the Oilers signed him to, that stopped teams from picking him up on waivers”.

      You’ve got to love the people who stop at nothing to bash management.

      • Well said. It’s about time someone said it. Management is getting bashed way too many times.

        Management was right to buy him out. Players shouldn’t be allowed to walk all over management and expect to get away with it. Souray thought he could get away with bashing management and it failed. I bet there were many teams that applauded the Oilers for doing what they did to Souray.

        Management has been bashed since Slats left. I remember people wanting Lowe fired when he made his first trade as GM. Fans had too much love for Slats and would bash anyone who became GM after Slats.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Explain how he walked all over management? As far as bashing goes………I recall a lot more bashing coming from management than from Souray.

          Players especially veterans, should have more latitude than entry level players……..what is most confunding is how management handled this player and to what gain???

          How did the Oilers win in this regard…….please explain?

        • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

          i bash would bash like bash to bash see bash a bash post bash of bash yours bash that bash didnt bash have bash the bash word bash bash in bash it bash.

          bash

  • Was a big Cogliano supporter. They have him playing on the wing, I hope that 2nd rounder can turn into something usefull. 450 straight games is quite the accomplishment.

    Game of Thrones is the only TV show that matters to me right now that isnt Oiler related. Love it. Tyrion Lannister is such a great character.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Fistric back in….

    Peckham hasn’t played since the Romans occupied Jerusalem….

    Hall, Ebs and RNH separated for 5-8 too many games….

    Yup, there are a few decisions Coach has made that have me wondering WTF. There’s more…

    Tough season, though, for a young coach and a young team. No real practice time or time to reevaluate some personnel and coaching decisions.

    Does that mean it’s over? Hell, no! Need to win!

    Win and you’re in.

    Keep it simple, boys. Lets do this!

  • The Soup Fascist

    This is probably the biggest game of the second half of the season !. This sets the tone and pace for the remaining two games against the Ducks. They must win at least two of the 3 games.

    Stay out of the penalty box boys!.

    • Would help if refs knew the rules. Penalties called on the Oilers are for some strange reason not called on the opponent.

      Against the Kings, refs missed hitting from behind by the Kings on Potter, PRV and Justin Schultz. They also missed a high stick on Ryan Whitney. Whitney was bleeding but no penalty was called.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I could’ve sworn Ovi was switched back after a week or two?

    I too can’t figure out what Lander is doing up here, but then again I don’t know what Peckham has been doing on the 23 man roster for most of the year when they have little intentions of using him.

  • RPW

    Lander should be playing big minutes in the playoff push in OKC. I think Potter should have been moved at the deadline, though not sure we could have got anything for him, rolling with Whitney, Fistric and Peckham as 5,6 and 7. Something in my head says don’t give up on Whitney, though the damage may be done already. I just see him doin what Souray is doin now after everyone in the city decided that he couldn’t play in the NHL anymore. Regardless of who is on the roster though, they need to win, win, win!!!

  • OilersBrass

    Now Yak is with Gags & Magnus it should stay that way putting Hemmer with Horc and Smyth when his back . Agree on your comments on Lander but to be honest management has screwed up consistently like not getting a 2nd or 3rd for Whitney . DUMB .

    • Once again Oilers fans do what they do best. Running players out of town and only wanting draft picks in return. Fans hate the playoffs but they sure love draft picks.

      Fans are the reason players don’t sign in Edmonton. They run players out of town.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Umm..it was Tambo and Co. that ran Souray and his happy to sign and stay in Edmonton for 26 million over the term out of town – not the fans.

        Dustin Penner was traded away, he didn’t leave as a UFA.

        Name one instance of a player in the last 4 years being “RUN OUT OF TOWN” by the fans. Name it. C’mon..

        http://i.imgur.com/tCp90.gif

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Were you just born yesterday?

        The lowest level of achievement when it comes to the Oilers, is that of a fan. In that, the only opinions that matter are those of current season seat holders only. Management as well as the players couldn’t give a rats arse what the fans say or think. The fans are one dimensional and here for one reason only, to be milked for every possible cent possible.

        Fans run players out of town? Yeah, okay, that’s nothing more of that drummed up fan B/S you’re talking about.

      • StHenriOilBomb

        Whitney is not resigning here, so why not get assets for him concidering his value to the Oilers in minimal if not at all. If someone would of given us a return for 6/7 defender which is all he is. We’ve witnessed such a remarkablr drop off in his game. He hurts more then he helps. Why keep him?

        The only thing keeping him in NHL is the flashes of brilliance you occasionally, his moments of brilliance between the colossal mess he is in his own zone.