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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  • Jay (not J)

    Drew sounds really excited to be in New Jersey tonight to face what sounds like his favourite team the Devils. Maybe they can leave him there when they leave.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    What an apathetic effort from the Oilers. I thought they would come out blazing. No pushback, no fight.

    10 years out of the playoffs and we are this bad – it is truly hard to believe how bad this team and franchise are.

    30th place right now is a franchise embarrassment.

    Good luck PC – you are going to need it. During draft day make sure Bob Greene, Lowe, Howson and MacT are locked in a closet back at HQ.

    • chickenStew

      This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that we are in last place once again. This year should tease out a few obvious things:
      1) coaching is not the issue; its very much a player issue. We have the wrong mix of players in the locker room and on the ice
      2) the amount of pushback after 2 embarrassing blowouts reeeeally spell the state of your team…we are miles away and missing several key pieces.
      3) the core is indeed rotten…and the people responsible for putting it together and continue to defend their actions should be let go from the organization period. They clearly don’t have a clue, so don’t deserve any more chances to prove otherwise.

      To me, this team has had several high ranking people in the organization take turns at sh*tting the bed. And each time they do, soft-hearted owner Katz makes a new one for them. I may be too harsh here but if a 2 yr old sh$ts the bed, you get him a new bed. If a full grown man sh%ts the bed multiple times, you make him lie in it and tell him to GTFO and to take his mattress with him! In this case, adult male = Lowe. Mattress = Howson and his cronies (MacT)

      No accountability in the front office means no accountability on the team, it’s an attitude and it is contagious! I just hope they figure this out before they ruin McDavid, cuz he is a delight to watch! Mark my words, as long as the adult defacating male and his mattress are still around, this will be a basement dwelling team. Time to graaaaaaze on!

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Didn’t get to watch but was able to listen.Jack Michaels is so pro American it makes me want to puke!Can anyone explain why this douche bag has a Canadian job?

  • 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. ….

  • .

    Jeez I must be more stressed about tonghts game than I thought. Dyslexia rules. “Which players the fans run out of town is what I meant to say.” Humble apologies and cheers to the next beer!

  • Rocket

    Not a fan of having Pakarinen on the first line. He’s a perfectly serviceable 4th line winger. But besides crash & bang, what does he bring?

    So far this game he has shown he doesn’t have good hands and can’t keep possession of the puck.

    I’m not a Purcell fan either but at least he can play in the top six.

    A head scratcher. What’s Maclellan thinking?

  • Randaman

    Is there anyone on this team that can actually put a pass on his teammates stick while coming out of the zone?

    Good thing they are only playing the Devils.

  • Randaman

    Is it too early to start cheering for losses? Just kidding but they don’t look any more interested tonight than they did on the weekend.

    13 shots half way through the third? Pathetic, disheartening, embarrassing, etc.

    They still get paid, right?

  • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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

  • Natejax30

    Just don’t embarrass yourselves again tonight…my flames fan buddies are turning it up a notch this week, and I would like to leave my house tomorrow…lol.

    I hope Justin Schultz finds his game with a new team and salvages what is left of his career. He is a good kid and I honestly wish him the best. I also hope he stinks it up against the oil though.

  • .

    I don’t think it’s about who the fans run out players of town and for what reason. Yes it was Horcoff’s contract and not his skill that made us unhappy. But Yak has not improved or progressed at all since being drafted – and #1 at that. He is NOT a #1 player and probably never will be – a very weak draft that year made his dreams come true. Cam Barker was a first round pick who did nothing in the NHL. Schultz was a player who WANTED to come to Edmonton and that made him invincible and adored, albeit for a very short time. It really is time to blow the whistle on these two and admit that we f***ed up. Move on, let them show their potential somewhere else (maybe) and get us that top D through a trade or sorcery. I don’t care how, just DO it!

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    How in the world can we be here ten years after game 7 in 06. Ten years is a decade, how do we deserve this as fans? Every year we seem to get better but yet we fall to the bottom of the cesspool. Mr. Chiarelli I give you my blessing as a fan to trade anyone you want not named MacDavid to fix this Defense. We need a culture change and it needs to be a big deal. The Sens just told their fans that winning is a big deal, so did the Jets. Would you please do something to wake up the room. Feel free to “Touch the Core!”