GDB 55.0: Honouring Brodeur

GloryDays

Martin Brodeur will have his #30 jersey raised to the rafters tonight, and the Oilers will have the pleasure of watching the Devils honour the winningest goalie in NHL history.

Brodeur only played the Oilers 18 times, finishing with nine wins, six losses, one overtime loss and two ties, which wasn’t very much compared to how often he faced the New York Rangers (101), Philadelphia Flyers (92) and New York Islanders (91).

I’m certain Oilers fans respect Brodeur’s accomplishments, but the fact Justin Schultz is a healthy scratch tonight will garner much more chatter among the faithful of the Blue and Orange.

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I wrote yesterday it was well past due for Schultz to take a seat in the pressbox. Continuing to play him was hurting the Oilers and Schultz. His confidence is shot, his competitiveness has always been an issue and over the weekend he looked defeated. A seat upstairs might light a fire in him, or not, but it was the right decision by Todd McLellan.

“He needs to watch a game and reflect on his play and what his impact is both offensively and defensively,” McLellan said this morning about Schultz.

It was the only change McLellan made.

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“I saw some very uncharacteristic things, individually and
collectively,
over the last two games that need to be fixed,” said McLellan. McLellan
also added the coaches are looking for leadership. He brought up his
comments when the OIlers made the captaincy change and the moments where the
coaches would be looking for leadership.

I read that as a challenge to his team for someone to step up and lead this team. Not just vocally, but in how they play the game. Don’t quit. Don’t be lazy. Make smart plays. Make aggressive plays and don’t give up when things go awry.

McLellan and GM Peter Chiarelli are still evaluating who they want in the mix moving forward, and while I’m certain they have a pretty good sense of who they want to keep, the final 28 games could weed out some others if they show they aren’t engaged when the season is slipping away.

LINEUPS…

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He switched up three of the four lines, although I’m curious to see how long Pakarinen lasts with Hall and Draisaitl. I think we will see some shuffling of the lines, excluding the McDavid trio which remains the same. The Oilers were dreadful over the weekend.

Darnell Nurse and Adam Clendening will replace Schultz and Griffin Reinhart. Reinhart was assigned to the AHL, which is wise, since he needs to play rather than sit in the pressbox. Clendening needs to make an impression. If he has a solid game he could earn himself a regular spot in the lineup. Nurse is young and a game in the pressbox will help him. Many young players have been a healthy scratch, and I expect Nurse to play better than he has recently.

Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

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Devils lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS…

  • The Brodeur ceremony starts at 4:15 p.m. Edmonton time. The entire program will last close to an hour, then the players will warm up and the game will start at 6 p.m MST.
  • The Oilers have picked up a point in their previous ten visits to New Jersey. They are 5-0-1-4 (the one being a regular tie in 2001/2002). Their last regulation loss occurred December 10th, 1997. That is their current longest “point-streak” in any road city.
  • I have long doubted the accuracy of Central Scouting, and when you compare their mid-term rankings to Bob McKenzie it is easy to see why. The top-ten prospects are pretty obvious, but Central Scouting depth rankings are horrendously inaccurate and have been for years.
  • The Devils are still the boring New Jersey Devils. They are 29th in GF/game at 2.22 and are third in GA/game at 2.26. Their games average 4.48 goals per game. That is awful. They are 30th in Shots/game at only 24.4, and allow 28.9/game. Let’s hope tonight’s game is an anomaly and there are some actual shots, scoring chances and goals, but I won’t hold my breath.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From All About the Jersey

Last night the Devils struggled to maintain possession and were on the backfoot most of the night. This left them susceptible to committing penalties as opposed to drawing them. A good start could go a long way in making sure they achieve this goal and not be forced to chase the game for 60 minutes. While this is easier said than done, they should have a decent chance of doing this against the last place Oilers.

TONIGHT…

GameDay

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers have two productive wins, followed by two ghastly losses. On Marty Brodeur night they find a way to keep their streak going in NJ with a 3-2 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall and Draisaitl combine for a goal. Hall has seven points in six career games versus the Devils, while Draisaitl has three in two games. Both had three points in the Oilers’ 5-1 victory on November 20th at Rexall Place.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hendricks is goalless in 25 games. Korpikoski hasn’t scored in 21. Taylor Hall is next highest at seven games without a goal. Hendricks ends his drought tonight scoring his first in 17 career games versus the Devils.

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  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Can some explain the downside to at least TRYING Yakupov on the top line for one game, or a couple periods?

    If I’m his agent I’m winking and blowing kisses at every team in the KHL.

    • S cottV

      Lets see…

      In one way or another Hall, Drai, Pouliot, and McDavid – have made it clear that there is no way they wanna play with Yak.

      Why?

      Because he has no idea what he is doing.

      The KHL would be a good place for Yak.

      • Mike Krushelnyski

        Well even if they did make it clear that they don’t want to play with Yak, it’s probably a bad idea to let the players dictate line combos.

        But since we know the playoffs are out of the question, I would be seeing if there is any way he can fit in the top 6. I’m pretty sure Pakarinen isn’t the long term answer there.

        I agree that the KHL would be a good place for Yak. I hope that we can pump and dump him for some kind of return before he comes to that conclusion as well.

          • Newj

            What part of Drouin’s game/attitude is that more superior to Yak’s?

            I think a fresh start for both might do wonders.

            Drouin’s still on his ELA so its not a large $ contract.

          • Zamboni Driver

            I think Yak and Drouin are very similar. High scoring offence-focused in juniors. Need to learn a two-way game. Even though they were drafted high, they spent time as healthy scratches, in the pressbox. On the third or fourth line.

            The difference is that Yak didn’t publicly push for a trade, though I do remember his agent making some noise.

            I don’t mind the idea of a Drouin/Yak trade, just to give Yak a fresh start. He scored some goals since he came back from injury, but Pakarinen is ahead of him tonight? Looks like their minds are made up about him.

          • Dwayne Roloson 35

            I’d do a Yak for Drouin trade even if we had to throw in a little extra. I like Yak but I think he was messed with too much by Eakins and a fresh start would be good.

            Under Kreuger, he led our team in goals. Under Eakins, they tried to make him a 3rd line checking winger and played him 5 minutes or scratched him when it didn’t work out.

            He was criticised way too much for a young player who had only 48 games under his belt when Eakins took over.

          • Morgo_82

            I wouldn’t want that clown anywhere near this team. besides, aside from one period he’s looked like crap in Syracuse too, when he isn’t crying like a b!tch and refusing to play.

          • Jay (not J)

            I have to agree with you there. The last thing we need is a prima donna who’s going to tell McLellan where he plays and who with and how much ice he deserves.

    • S cottV

      The downside is that people might actually think there is a player there and overvalue him for anothe 2 years. Let’s hope his agent is blowing kisses to the KHL and he can join Belov, Cam Barker and Gilbert Brule and other failed Oilers.

        • boknowes

          http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/nhl2012e.html

          Take a look at the 2012 draft class. I agree.

          Review the F group in the link, Yak looks damn good considering some of the centres and line mates he has had to play with. Don’t forget the regression he and other Oilers had under Eakins. Majority of high scoring juniors have to learn how to play defense once they turn pro. Lack of coaching continuity and weak management has drastically hurt Oilers player development.

          I always wonder what people’s view of him would be if his last name was Smith…

          • Spydyr

            Him being Russian has zero impact on my conclusion that he doesn”t have much hockey sense and while highly skilled and a Jonny Hustle…..Yak is not a top 6 guy in the NHL! BTW Eakins is long gone can”t blame his poor play this year on the wood chopper.

  • 916oiler

    I keep waiting for the Oilers to address their terrible defense but each year rolls to the next.

    I’ll check in this time next year and watch them if they fix it but I have long lost hope for this team.

    Good luck with filling that new arena Katz!

  • Mr.Snrub

    I know nobody cares but I’m boycotting this circus until somebody from “the core” is shipped out of town.

    Nope, it’s not enough to sit that waste of a skin of Schultz, we need a big trade, today Toronto and Ottawa made a blockbuster in an attempt to save their seasons, whether you like or not the trade at least they are trying something, not like our inept team with their poster boys.

    Enjoy the game everyone, I am going out and enjoying this 9 degree weather with a nice bbq.

  • Jay (not J)

    Long time coming. Lets hope that the D who do skate tonight have a rock solid outing and there’s no one to justify taking out to give Jultz his place back. The elevated play can last until Klefbom (WTF is a staph infection anyway!?!) gets back, through the deadline and with a little luck maybe the kid has played his last shift for the Oil.

    OK, OK, OK. it’s still nice to not see him on the ice for one night.

    • Mike Krushelnyski

      Google “leg staph infection ” and check the images

      It’s not pretty man! No idea how he got it though but sounds like a really unlucky thing to get!!!!

      • Jay (not J)

        UGH! I DID and I can’t unsee it!! Staph infection on the lip…
        horrible stuff. Take your time Oscar! Don’t lose your sh!t and cut the whole leg off (I would in a heartbeat)!

      • ChillyPepper

        Backing the day a girl from my highschool had a serious staph infection in her leg. The bacteria actually destroyed her calf muscle and cost her her volleyball scholarship.

        By the sounds of it, based on recovery length… His is pretty serious. Staph is becoming more resistant to antibiotics… It’s pretty scary stuff.

  • vetinari

    They better show up and actually put in some effort against a beatable Eastern conference team who played last night.

    GDP: Oilers 4 NJ 2 Why? I’m an optimist. Or an idiot. Or both. I do cheer for the Oilers after all.

    OGDP: Comments section will be quieter tonight with no Schultz and no Reinhart in the lineup to complain about.

    NSOGDP: Tootoo. Kassian. Predict two fights between these guys by the end of the night, with one line brawl between the fourth lines.

    • 916oiler

      I wouldn’t say that. I would say, currently, it looks like instead of a top 4 option he might end up being a bottom pairing guy.

      It’s still very early, and he’s still very young (for a defenseman), so we still need to wait and see.

      So far overall, however, the trade is looking worse by the day.

      • Dwayne Roloson 35

        His game before the break he looked really good, thi first game back he did alright, then he sat, then he had the joy of playing with Schutz the last time out even Nurse looks like crap when paired with him, give Griffin some leeway and let him learn

      • SSB1963

        Still a major improvement on Shultz! That said I have seen some improvement in his game. Remember he was sent down to the minors but was recalled due to our ever growing injury woes!

        • S cottV

          I hate to pile on the poor guy. But I remember that game well too. He’s just so incredibly passive. He’s a big dude, and kept getting facewashed in the crease. He just took it. Looked almost like he was cowering – not really engaging and displaying any sort of aggression or push back.

          He seems to have good hockey sense and can skate better than people give him credit for …. but I think that an inability to engage goes beyond just battling in the crease and into all aspects of his game. Like to think that’s something you can work on in the AHL – but seems like something that’s more inherent in your attitude …

          we shall see …

  • Seanaconda

    SCHULTZ IS THE NEW HORCOFF

    I remember 4 or 5 seasons ago when fans, bloggers and MSM could not stop complaining about Horcoff. Nobody wanted to talk about how Lowe, MacTavish and Tambellini ran the franchise into the toilet.

    Here is my position on Schultz: WHO THE HELL CARES WHETHER HE PLAYS OR NOT? He is a marginal NHL player. The best case scenario is he evolves into a M A Bergeron player…with another team. More likely he is playing in Switzerland in a year or two. WHO CARES.

    Can we talk about why Chiarelli isn’t doing SQUAT to improve the team. Is Katz holding him back?

    The Oilers organization has nothing but CONTEMPT for their loyal fans.

  • socaldave

    The Oilers are more or less out of the playoffs so I except them to play better hockey for the last 30 games.

    They have done that most years, play well when season is lost.

    The will play .600 hockey.

    Management will think all is well and the Oilers more or less remain intact and we are assured that next year will be much better.

    • For Pete's Sake!

      At least Chia is willing to admit his Golden Boy on defense needs more time in the AHL.

      Something MacT was never willing to admit about Jultz. Forcing his coaches to give him top pairing minutes no matter what.

      Maybe that fact alone is progress on this sad sack team.

  • S cottV

    I don’t get the 3rd line.

    A righty play left wing and a lefty playing right wing – with Letestu in the middle.

    Maybe a touch of pretty – if – they ever get it out of their own end.

    • Oilfaninvan

      Catering to Yak having to be goofy and be left handed on right side. Forces Purcell and Kassian to then also play on thier off side.

      There is nobody on this team that could use AHL time to properly learn the game than Niall.

      • Seanaconda

        Playing offwing for forwards isn’t that big of a deal. Some playets prefer it for the ozone. Hemsky was always a right winger but he set up left side whenever he was in the ozone. He just started on the right to start rushes out of the zone

      • S cottV

        Yeah – or the KHL.

        That off wing stuff works a lot better on a European rink, where there is extra 5 feet of width, to get the puck outta your own end.

        Maybe we could arrange a swap with the KHL team that has Yakumov?

        The 3rd line would be better off.

  • Spoils

    Buff signs in Winnipeg
    Phaneuf traded to Ottawa

    news involving big NHL defencemen feels significant.

    does that mean Win and Ott D prospects could be plucked?

  • S cottV

    Just look at the Devil’s line up. Who the heck are these guys?Yet they are one point out of a wild card [game in hand as well] spot.

    Don’t see a ton of first rounders on their roster either.

    Makes one wonder how far off the tracks this Oiler train is?

  • 2Oilers4

    After a couple of really bad, awful, garbage games, MacLellan whips the boys back in shape. Oilers come out flying tonight, Hall with 2 Goals and McDadvid with 3 Points. Oilers win 6-3.

    • Jason Gregor

      He can’t skate.
      He is a 3rd pair guy making $3.325 and has one year left on his deal.

      Oilers trading for him for Schultz would be a bad trade. They don’t need to add bad $$ just to get rid of Schultz. They can walk away from his salary this summer.

  • R U Kidding Me!

    Shultz has been pretty bad and deserves criticism – but they’ve managed him terribly.

    He’s like the undersized slap hitting short that’s batted 4th in the order. And every year after batting .210, he’s continually paraded out there to bat clean up. It’s odd.

    And while I’m negative Nacy’ing – I still can’t get over them trading for Griffen despite “not watching him all year.” Can you imagine if someone traded for one of the Oilers fringe players without having watched them since Junior? He played in 8 games in the NHL last year! You could watch every one of his on ice minutes in well under 2 hours! Absolutely unbelievable level of incompetence.

    But I like Chiarelli so will throw Bob Green directly under the bus for this one. Pretty sure the last time he’ll trust him on these type of moves. ….