GDB 40.0: HOME ICE ADVANTAGE – WINTERLONG

ATB Sponsor Banner

When I was a kid, Saturdays were about hockey—or as much as we could make them that way. Street hockey if the ice was busy, frozen toes and numb fingers, breakaways and saucer passes in the wilderness with only the cold and snow to record the moments. It was perfect.

LE STANDINGS

standings

There are two trains for Oilers fans this morning: The ‘A’ Train is in the GP and points columns (EDM has played three more than San Jose, and trail by five points—bad). The ‘B’ Train is the imminent additions of Connor McDavid, Nail Yakupov and (hopefully soon) Oscar Klefbom—the Oilers will be adding more than any other NHL team in terms of deadline (or near) additions just from their own IR list. It is a thing. Seriously.

THIS ISN’T OVER, DAMMIT!

The Oilers are not out of the playoff race, and if they can get a little winning streak going tonight (and Monday against Carolina) they may be able to stay in this thing until the injured men return. Making it to the All-Star break with the playoffs in sight would be a victory when placed against the backdrop of the last few seasons—and it is possible.

The young man won hearts all over central and northern Alberta with his blazing speed and brilliance, then was taken from us by monsters from the eastern seaboard (Shakes fist, yells ”rot in hell”, then falls in snow bank).

I have heard it said the Oilers shouldn’t rely on McDavid because he is a teenager, but this kind of argument is peculiar and wrongheaded. Connor McDavid IS a big part of this team, IS an impact player and his injury IS a big part of this season’s story. So if you are arguing McDavid and others being hurt shouldn’t be used as an excuse, please understand long-term injuries to important members of the team can be a reason for less effective results. Legit crazy that sentence has to be written, but this year seems to be bringing the crazy in bigger buckets online.

Todd McLellan used the Hall—Nuge—Eberle trio for a time the other night, but suggested yesterday we will see Leon and Hall again this afternoon. Good call and based on previous results, it might be an idea to add RNH to that line—the two centers had a lot of success when together earlier in the year (Nuge scored 3.01/60 at 5×5 with Leon when they played together early).

PROJECTED LINEUPS….

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 10.07.15 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 10.07.27 AM

Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 10.08.12 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 10.08.32 AM

Coyotes lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • If Eric Gryba draws in, who comes out? Ordinarily it would be a rookie, but who knows?
  • The Coyotes dominating Edmonton has been going on for awhile. Edmonton was 0-4-1 last year, lost earlier this season and Arizona is 11-1 in their last 12 meetings in Edmonton (source).
  • Shane Doan is in his final years, and this could be (COULD be) his final visit to our city. It seems like yesterday the fans were yelling ‘DOAN!’ while Stu Fraser’s answer was Steve Kelly. Le sigh.
  • Bakersfield is home to San Jose later tonight, we are at a point where trades can happen so it is worth checking out the boxscore to see who did well. Players to watch for: Anton Slepyshev, Griffin Reinhart, Laurent Brossoit, Kyle Platzer, Jordan Oesterle. Edmonton is going to make some moves at the deadline, some of those men may be called up.
  • Who comes off the roster when Connor McDavid, Nail Yakupov and (maybe) Zack Kassian are moved onto the roster? Yeah. Lots of movement possible.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Sarah McLellan, The Arizona Republic: Arizona has totaled 104 goals – the fourth-highest total in the
    Western Conference and the most in the Pacific Division after its 4-2
    win over Winnipeg. The team is averaging 2.81 goals-per-game, the
    eighth-best clip in the NHL entering play Friday, after slotting 29th
    (2.01) last season
    . Source

GAME DAY PREDICTION

GDB40.0

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers start slowly, but the desert dogs rip the joint with two first period goals. Fans would like to blame someone, but Cam Talbot stands on his head and the team starts skating around the 15 minute mark. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Leon and Hall start the comeback with a nice give and go, and shortly after Jordan Eberle dipsy-doodles and cashes. That is followed by a long stretch of tennis, with no winners. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:

Deep in the third period, Edmonton has possession in Arizona’s end, and Eric Gryba throws the puck at the net. It hits Jujhar Khaira, doinks onto Anton Lander’s stick, and music! 3-2 win, Oilers! Public displays of bad behaviour ensue. 

NOMINATE YOUR HOME ICE HERO!

Celebrate the volunteer, parent, coach or organizer who keeps the game going and asks for nothing in return. 

Nominate your Home Ice Hero and they could win a prize worth $5,000. Nominate your hero.

NATIONGEAR BOXING DAY SALE

Screen Shot 2015-12-26 at 9.05.16 AM 

Miss out on the NationGear you wanted for Christmas? You’re in luck with the NationGear Boxing Week sale. Just enter the promo code “nation20” and your order will be discounted by 20% at checkout. Head over to NationGear.ca to get everything from hoodies to hats to toques!