GDB 36.0: HIGHWAY STAR

The Edmonton Oilers are in Calgary tonight for the Battle of Alberta. The northern town’s fanbase has been so beaten down expectations are low, low, low. There is a flicker of hope, a puncher’s chance but the hockey Gods have been most unkind to Oilers Nation. Is tonight a night when good things happen?

The problem tonight’s game presents for Oilers fans is this: We can get up for the game, throw on a blessed jersey, dance like idiots and party all night, but what happens if the team doesn’t show up? Or if the team GIVES up after another softie?

ference common

  • Andrew Ference: “The best thing for this
    team would be some wins. I’m sure it’s nice for guys to maybe get away
    from the rink for a couple of days, but it’s not what’s needed to turn
    the season around or make you a better hockey player.”
    Source

Yep.
Oilers need to be better and they need their
captain to play better. I have been onside with Andrew Ference’s
signing because, frankly, I like veteran defensemen. Having said that,
the man who chose Ference as  captain is no longer the coach and this would be a very good night to have a strong performance from the lettermen. Coach Nelson
values Ference:

  • December 16 @ARI 22:50 (3:56 SH, rest at evens)
  • December 18 @SJS 19:45 (2:17 SH, rest at evens)
  • December 21 vDAL 22:19 (0:52 SH, rest at evens)
  • December 23 vARI 15:05 (0:52 SH, 0:13 PP, rest at evens)

And Ference has tried to get this team out of the ditch:

  • Ference: “Guys
    are letting their guard down, and we’re in no position to be doing that
    — to be taking a rest and relaxing. We start the period with a power
    play and we’re looking for some jump. You’re looking for some momentum
    and it’s a matter of falling into old habits, floating around and
    expecting the other team to lie down because you’re so great.”
    Source

That
hit the news December 2nd, Edmonton’s record at that time was 6-15-4 for 16 points in 25 games. Since then, the team is 1-6-3 for a
total of 7-21-7. That could be construed as 

  • the “great” players tuning
    out the captain
  • the “great” players exposing how entitled they are

What’s the answer? I don’t know. A fan’s opinion doesn’t count as a true assessment because there’s so much we don’t know. All we can really do is speculate and hope things get better. I think that’s probably why Craig MacTavish wanted to go eyeball-to-eyeball with the group, to see if the heart of rock and roll is still beating (thanks Huey Lewis) in the crew.

NO TIMETABLE FOR MACT TO CLIMB THE STAIRS

Dad’s driving again so the party isn’t going to be the same. Lots of ‘lights back on’ and ‘hand check’ moments for the kids tonight. Oh well. I do feel a little for Todd Nelson though, you’d think the man would love the chance to make a difference in his own right.

OILERS SCORING LAST 10

oilers last 10 dec 27

Good arrows? Well, Teddy Purcell has enjoyed a good stretch and Justin Schultz appears to be bleeding goals-against less often. Brad Hunt is scoring well and Steve Pinizzotto is doing his job. After that? Well, I’ll ask you to have a lash: What did I miss? It sure isn’t Jordan Eberle.

LINEUPS…..

Projected lines… 

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 11.27.26 AM

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 11.27.36 AM

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 11.27.55 AM

QUICK HITS….

  • Oilers simply have to get some goaltending. If they don’t give up a soft goal maybe they can get some luck or someone comes to play. I know, I know, but it has seriously come to this. 
  • There are reports that Niki Nikitin will draw in. It would be very good if he could play well. I mean, the cheques cash anyway, but…..
  • Todd Nelson: “It’s disappointing and I understand the fans are frustrated. All I can say is that it’s a really good time for a break to get
    away from the game for a while.”
    Source

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Mark Giordano: “Johnny Hockey turned the show on. A couple of great goals by him. For all the bad things, luck-wise, that have happened to
    us lately, I think we deserved a break and we got one.”
    Source
  • See what they’re saying about tonight over at Flamesnation

TODAY

BarnFight

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers play well for 9 full seconds but a Johnny Gaudreau shot off the score clock cuts through Viktor Fasth’s mask—cures cancer—and then lands in the net. 10 seconds into the game. 5-1 Calgary. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Young Flames players skate circles around Oilers youth, who are described by HNIC as an “old 23” during the broadcast. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers board a school bus after the game and drive the Greyhound milk route home as punishment.


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    • Andy7190

      This Oilers team reminds me of the first couple of Ottawa Senators teams. They just didn’t have a chance in hell most nights.

      I can’t believe the Oilers are essentially an expansion team.

      • Doctor Smashy

        Except when Ottawa came in as an expansion team they didn’t have the financial stability that the Oilers have………….or the 3 1st overall picks.

        But remember, half of the GM’s in the league would swap rosters with the Oilers right Kevin?

    • YFC Prez

      Hall is not a disgrace. He is still the best player on the team with Nuge as a very close second.

      Looking at his body language ever since he returned from the injury he isn’t the same player. He always made mistakes but his desperation and effort level were never in question. I think losing so much has finally gotten to Hall. He’s checked out. What they do from here I have no idea.

    • Reg Dunlop

      Best line of the game though has to be “A GAA like that (well over 3) in today’s game is a quick trip to the ECHL.”

      Fasth and Scrivens would at least be able to keep each other company on the bus ride to California.

      Well Stauff tell me what unfortunate turn of the events the Oil suffered tonight to lead to this embarrassment……

    • Serious Gord

      They play LA next and the flames again in Cgy. That likely means one win for the entire month of December. Has to be the worst month in oiler’s history.

      Cox singling out hall. Has he reached the tipping point and now wants out?

    • Doctor Smashy

      You are SUPPOSED to be angry when someone gets your number.

      If I had a bad hockey game and lost by 5 goals, I would play that team the next time with the only option being a win.

      I am not allowed to use a lot of words I would use in person to describe the oilers’ toughness, because it’s not allowed in current popular culture..

      I do however know that 19 out of 20 people I know would use the same words pc or not.

    • DoubleDIon

      Ference has a point, doesn’t get scored on at all and is the only Oiler outside the 4th line to play physical in this game.

      I’m curious as to how this mess is Ference’s fault. It existed before him and he’s one of maybe 4 oilers (Gordon, Hendricks and Fayne) who looks like he gives a crap. It’s not his fault he’s a #5 being deployed like a top 4 defenseman.

      If a few of your other players and management members exhibited the professionalism and work ethic Ference does your organization would be a lot better.

      The problem is your golden boys and your management. They’re entitled, overpaid and lazy. It’s not Ference, he’s been a winner, good teammate and true pro everywhere he’s been. Wake up and realize Eberle, Yakupov and Schultz are total worthless garbage and hold them accountable for it.

        • DoubleDIon

          Hall AND Nuge can be included. But I don’t think they’re worthless garbage. I straight up wouldn’t even consider picking up Eberle or Schultz off the waiver wire and I’d only pick Yak up because he isn’t off his rookie deal yet.

          Hall and Nuge could both be dealt, but I think you’d get value for them. Eberle and Schultz are worthless and Yak is on his way to it.

          • BubbaZanetti

            “Worthless garbage” is a little harsh, I agree. But Nuge does play center, not sure if trading your top center is a good idea ? Hall has the most value ( for now ), and the only other high value asset they have is their prized 2015 first Rd pick ?? So there you go, keep Hall, trade the pick, get some players to come in here to surround Hall and we should be good to go ?? Sounds easy peasee ?

      • BubbaZanetti

        A stand up slow clap for you, followed by a really fast clap. That weird clap politicians did back when they first invented film.

        I know Klowe needs to go, but the more I see, the more I wonder.
        Invisible Jordan and his Best friend Hall… if I made 6 million a year, and couldn’t even get out of last place, I would ask to move on.

        Keep in mind how long this team has sucked!! Do you think that Crosby would have accepted staying with a team that got worse every year?