Saturday, December 31, 2011

Depth Chart: January 2012 Edition



Oilers:
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky
Jones-Belanger-Gagner
Eager-Lander-Hordichuk
Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Sutton-Potter
Peckhma-Petry
Teubert Whitney

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

IR - Barker, Plante.

OKC:
Paajarvi-Green-Keller
Hartikainen-House-Tremblay
Grant-O'Marra-Arcobello
Tyrvainen-Vandevelde-Hamilton

Montgomery-Helmer
Ringwald-Tulupov
Martens-Lowery

Danis
LeNeveu

IR - Omark, Brule, Pitlick, Cornet, Kyntar, Chorney.

Rundown:
- The Oilers went 3-9 in December while OKC went 6-3-3, so OKC continue to tread water while the big club drowns in the deep end. Colten Teubert was just sent down today while Andy Sutton came back from suspension. That frees up a spot for the Oilers to do Lord knows what, probably nothing. Its funny to see how OKC has run through a lot of bodies but keep churning out the wins while the Oilers have been as healthy as they have been all year and can't buy a win. Something to be said about team structure and having a plan or a clue.

Shopping list: Oilers
- Power forward winger. It's likely too late for Owen Nolan now, but he shure would be nice to have at the beginning of the year. If not Nolan than someone like him, essentially a power forward that can shoot right and shoot often.
- Waterbug Dman. Someone that can skate pucks out of trouble. Lack of mobility has hurt the Oilers at times. Ultimately, a top pairing Dman would be nice but top pairing Dmen don't grow on tress.

Shopping list: OKC
- Enforcer on the farm. Could use someone with a bit of fisticuffs to help Tyrvainen amplify his banging and crashing style.
- Defenseman depth. OKC and the big club are losing Dmen to injuries and suspensions, is really thinning out both clubs. Could use a top 4, but might be better off waiting to be healthy once again.

Post Game: Game #37 Islanders 4 Oilers 1

Scoring Summary
1st Period
NYI John Tavares 13 (PP) (P.A. Parenteau, Matt Moulson) 3:44

EDM Sam Gagner 4 (Corey Potter, Andy Sutton) 12:58

NYI Matt Moulson 17 (John Tavares, Kyle Okposo) 17:55


2nd Period
NYI P.A. Parenteau 7 (PP) (Matt Moulson, Frans Nielsen) 3:19

NYI Matt Martin 4 (Josh Bailey, Michael Grabner) 4:05


3rd Period
None

Penalty Summary
1st Period
2:53 Edmonton roughing - 2 min B. Eager drawn by M. Martin
18:08 NY Islanders cross checking - 2 min S. Staios drawn by R. Smyth

2nd Period
2:52 Edmonton roughing - 2 min B. Eager drawn by M. Martin
7:24 NY Islanders tripping - 2 min S. Staios drawn by R. Jones
11:48 Edmonton unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min B. Eager served by D. Hordichuk
11:48 Edmonton misconduct - 10 min B. Eager
15:52 NY Islanders holding - 2 min M. Streit drawn by E. Belanger
19:59 NY Islanders holding - 2 min M. Streit drawn by T. Hall

3rd Period
None

Shots On Goal - Oilers 29 Islanders 29

Game Notes:
- Time to clear out the room, that game was a stinker. The Islanders aren't that good, the Oilers are even worse and what happens? A 4-1 loss. Another winnable game lost. The Oilers ended the month of December 3-9, not a month to remember and should, by rights, be enough to get players traded and/or people fired in normal organizations. The Oilers were never really in this game and just floated through the motions for the most part. Ben Eager had a spicy game today. He took some unfortunate penalties that cost the Oilers a couple of goals. Most fans are berating Eager. Me, I'm applauding his efforts. Oiler fans have watched this team gets pushed around for years on end and now that they have someone that can push back, they hate on the guy? Please. You want an answer to that solution? PK should have been better tonight, it stunk and was the biggest reason in the loss. When the Oilers signed Ben Eager the first thing I said was the Oilers better make sure their penalty kill is top notch. While it has been top 10 for most of the year, it has been starting to slide lately. Penalty killing is something that is reliant and since the losses have starting piling up, the energy has started to wane. If the Oilers are going to lose, I would at least want them to be tough to play against. Right now, they are not, far from it.

Player of the Game:
- Sam Gagner. Scored the only goal, at least he knew where to stand to get that goal and paid the price to make it happen. He was largely ineffective, like the rest of the team, but he did get the goal, was +1, and kept the puck out of much of the day. Not much more can be said here.

Goat of the Game:
- Devan Dubnyk. Couldn't buy a save in 2nd period when the team really needed one. The lack of focus in the 2nd period really buried the Oilers in this game. Dubnyk seems to fall victim of being being unprepared at various points in a hockey game. For those who are vaunting Dubnyk to be the next starter, I've got two words for ya, Jussi Markkanen.

Next Game - Monday January 2, 2012 vs. Black Hawks @ Chicago on Sprtsnet West 6:30 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #37 Oilers vs. Islanders



Rare morning game. I don't mind them but by the time I get revved up for the game, the game is usually over by then. I'm sure the players feel the same way. The Oilers face the Islanders today, a game that much like game against Minnesota on Thursday night, is a very winnable game. This game features two teams that have very young but very skilled forwards. Should be like watching a mirror image of each other. The Oilers have done a good job lately of keeping scores close, but without results, close really doesn't count for much. Andy Sutton returns to the lineup today after serving an 8 game suspension. His return likely means Teubert will be out of the lineup. Sutton adds another crazy bullet to chamber that has been missing since he left the lineup. His experience will help this young D corps as well. Theo Peckham seems to play better when Andy Sutton is in the lineup. The Islanders come into this game losers of 3 out of their last 4 but did beat Calgary 3-1 on Thursday night. The Islanders much like the Oilers seem to be sailing adrift while trying to figure out what to do with their roster. Both teams are going to have to make some ballsy cuts to their teams in order for it to move forwards. Tough days for both of these teams.

Forwards Oilers
- I still like the combo of Hall, RNH and Eberle over Tavares et al.
Defense Oilers
- Contraire to belief, Andy Sutton's presence helps this defense.
Goaltending Oilers
- The Oilers will likely play Dubnyk today, but he is still better than anything the Islanders put out there.
Special Teams Oilers
- Still top 10 in both PK and PP.
Coaching Oilers
- I'll take Tom Renney over Jack Capuano. Both coaches are hooped with personnel problems...aka shabby GMing.
Intangibles Islanders
- The Oilers could be sleepy in this one.

Oilers: (my version)
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Gagner-Lander-Hemsky
Smyth-Horcoff-Jones
Eager-Belanger-Hordichuk

Smid-Gilbert
Peckham-Potter
Sutton-Petry

Dubnyk
Khabibulin

Islanders:
Moulson-Tavares-Okposo
Grabner-Bailey-Niederreiter
Rolston-Nielsen-Parenteau
Martin-Reasoner-Wallace

Streit-Jurcina
MacDonald-Hamonic
Eaton-Mottau

Nabokov
Nilsson

Game Time - 11 AM MT @ Long Island on Sprtsnet West.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Post Game: Game #36 Wild 4 Oilers 3

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Taylor Hall 10 (Jordan Eberle, Tom Gilbert) 1:24

MIN Mikko Koivu 9 (Marek Zidlicky, Greg Zanon) 13:47


2nd Period
MIN Jarod Palmer 1 (Kyle Brodziak) 10:02

MIN Pierre-Marc Bouchard 8 (Marek Zidlicky, Greg Zanon) 10:21

EDM Ladislav Smid 3 (Taylor Hall, Ben Eager) 14:40

MIN Dany Heatley 12 (Marek Zidlicky, Mikko Koivu) 15:26


3rd Period
EDM Shawn Horcoff 8 (Ryan Smyth) 6:40


Penalty Summary
1st Period
9:22 Edmonton roughing - 2 min L. Smid drawn by C. Clutterbuck
9:22 Minnesota cross checking - 2 min C. Clutterbuck drawn by L. Smid
13:03 Minnesota roughing - 2 min N. Prosser drawn by T. Hall
13:03 Edmonton roughing - 2 min T. Hall drawn by N. Prosser
18:01 Minnesota roughing - 2 min B. Staubitz drawn by T. Peckham
18:01 Edmonton charging - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by B. Staubitz
18:01 Edmonton misconduct - 10 min B. Eager drawn by M. Kassian
18:01 Minnesota misconduct - 10 min M. Kassian drawn by B. Eager

2nd Period
3:36 Minnesota high-sticking - 4 min M. Koivu drawn by S. Horcoff
6:42 Edmonton unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min R. Nugent-Hopkins
11:17 Minnesota fighting - 5 min M. Kassian drawn by D. Hordichuk
11:17 Edmonton fighting - 5 min D. Hordichuk drawn by M. Kassian

3rd Period
0:03 Edmonton fighting - 5 min D. Hordichuk drawn by M. Kassian
0:03 Minnesota fighting - 5 min M. Kassian drawn by D. Hordichuk
4:49 Edmonton cross checking - 2 min C. Teubert drawn by C. Clutterbuck
4:49 Minnesota diving - 2 min C. Clutterbuck drawn by C. Teubert
5:25 Minnesota roughing - 2 min N. Backstrom drawn by R. Jones served by P. Bouchard
5:25 Edmonton interference with goaltender - 2 min R. Jones drawn by N. Backstrom
18:37 Minnesota interference - 2 min J. Falk drawn by T. Hall
20:00 Edmonton roughing - 2 min R. Smyth drawn by N. Prosser
20:00 Minnesota roughing - 2 min N. Prosser drawn by R. Smyth

Shots On Goal - Oilers 30 Wild 27

Game Notes:
- The Oilers played well early, had massive brain cramps in the middle frame and brought it late but just could not get the equalizer tonight. If the Oilers could find a way to get rid of the lethargic losses, losses like tonight would be easier to take. But a loss is a loss and the Oilers record since November 1 is 8-16-1, a record that will get you thinking of highly regarded 2012 prospects. Its hard to be too miffed about a game like tonight. The Oilers had their chances to tie it up, but failed to capitalize. Just one of those games they failed to capitalize when the game was on the line, including a 6 on 4 to end the game. The defense and goaltending was subpar tonight. Khabibulin looked tired and the defense couldn't stop the puck rolling towards the Oilers net. Defense needs to keep the puck moving forward by any means necessary, they didn't do that tonight, often chasing the puck. Andy Sutton suspension came to an end tonight, I'm guessing Teubert draws the short straw next game. 0 and 2 to start off the 7 game road trip.

Player of the Game:
- Taylor Hall. He was in pure beast mode tonight. Competed like a champion, chipped in with a goal and an assist. Was relentless on the puck all night. He had the high motor going. Hall was getting double shifted with The Nuge and Eberle, as well as, Lander and Eager. Playing the with Lander and Eager has some possibility as I wonder how Hall would play if he had a power forward flanking him. I think it would give him more space to operate. At any rate, solid game from Hall. Love it when he plays like he does tonight.

Goat of the Game:
- Theo Peckham. Peckham needs to keep his game simple. Pucks in, pucks out and keeping the puck in the front of you. A few times tonight where he tried to corral a puck and it got away from him that resulted in a couple of goals against. Needs to have a better stick that can bat pucks out of harms way. I like Peckham and his relentless toughness, but he needs to find the right balance of playing tough and using his brain. He needs to be better than he was tonight. The Oilers can't cover the mistakes that Peckham makes.

Next Game - December 31, 2011 vs. Islanders @ New York on Sportsnet West 11 AM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #36 Oilers vs. Wild



Is it me or does it seem like the Oilers and Wild play every other game? At any rate, the Oilers head to Minnesota for to play game 2 of a 7 game road trip. Tough start to the trip as the Oilers spotted the Canucks a 3-0 lead, to eventually lose 5-3 on Monday night. The Oilers are officially stuck in no man's land these days. The Edmonton media is preaching patience, management is selling rainbows and sailing adrift another season is the good ship Oilers. I'm getting tired of the media preaching patience like the fans are a bunch of dimwitted folk. We all understand where the Oilers have been and where we want them to end up. The question is....what is the correct road to get there so there is no backtracking? Would you rather have a perennial "barely squeak into the playoffs" type team or suck for years on end to have one shot at something special and then gawd knows what? In hockey, nothing is linear and nothing is guaranteed. So, Edmonton media, if you wanna sell whatever it is you are trying to sell...hope, hype, whatever, I'm not buying. Let's just watch this team for what it is and we'll judge what it is at the end of the season....Like we have over the past many years. End of rant. Minnesota comes into this game stone cold. Losers of the past 8 with 3 overtime losses. On top of it all, its a 2nd half of a back to back for the Wild. This is a very winnable game for the Oilers.

Forwards Oilers
- Kid line, that is all. Jordan Eberle is on fire lately.
Defense Wild
- Tough loss having Whitney out of the lineup, even with a bad ankle.
Goaltending Wild
- Seems like no matter who is in net, the Wild GAA is tiny.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers power play is tued for 2nd in the NHL.
Coaching Wild
- Tom Renney is starting to look like a man without answers. Not that I blame him because I don't think the team is built properly.
Intangibles Oilers
- 2nd half of a back to back for the Wild.

Oilers:
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Smyth-Horcoff-Gagner
Eager-Belanger-Jones
Hordichuk-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Potter-Petry
Peckham-Teubert

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Wild:
Heatley-Koivu-Clutterbuck
Bouchard-Cullen-Palmer
Powe-Brodziak-Johnson
Gillies-Peters-Staubitz

Scandella-Spurgeon
Schultz-Zidlicky
Falk-Lundin

Backstrom
Harding

Game Time - 6 PM MT @ Minnesota on Sportsnet West.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Post Game: Game #35 Canucks 5 Oilers 3

Scoring Summary
1st Period
VAN Andrew Ebbett 2 (Chris Higgins, Kevin Bieksa) 3:11

VAN Daniel Sedin 14 (Henrik Sedin, Keith Ballard) 8:13

VAN Andrew Ebbett 3 (Jannik Hansen, Cody Hodgson) 16:51


2nd Period
EDM Jordan Eberle 16 (PP) (Corey Potter, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) 10:50

VAN Alexandre Burrows 14 (SH) (Ryan Kesler) 11:36

EDM Ryan Smyth 14 (PP) (Ryan Jones, Sam Gagner) 12:18


3rd Period
VAN Ryan Kesler 9 (Alexandre Burrows, Alexander Edler) 3:14

EDM Corey Potter 3 (Jordan Eberle) 5:04


Penalty Summary
1st Period
1:03 Edmonton interference - 2 min L. Smid drawn by J. Hansen
5:22 Vancouver charging - 2 min R. Kesler drawn by T. Gilbert
10:30 Edmonton tripping - 2 min E. Belanger drawn by D. Weise
16:51 Edmonton cross checking - 2 min B. Eager drawn by A. Alberts
16:51 Vancouver roughing - 2 min A. Alberts drawn by B. Eager
19:25 Vancouver tripping - 2 min A. Alberts drawn by T. Gilbert

2nd Period
2:32 Edmonton hooking - 2 min S. Horcoff drawn by H. Sedin
5:24 Edmonton slashing - 2 min B. Eager drawn by A. Edler
5:24 Vancouver elbowing - 2 min A. Edler drawn by B. Eager
8:28 Vancouver charging - 5 min D. Weise drawn by A. Plante served by C. Hodgson
8:28 Vancouver game misconduct - 10 min D. Weise drawn by A. Plante

3rd Period
2:13 Edmonton slashing - 2 min E. Belanger drawn by K. Ballard
2:13 Vancouver slashing - 2 min K. Ballard drawn by E. Belanger
11:59 Vancouver tripping - 2 min H. Sedin drawn by J. Eberle
13:50 Edmonton interference - 2 min R. Smyth drawn by K. Bieksa

Shots On Goal - Oilers 21 Canucks 26

Game Notes:
- The Oilers came out slow and eventually cost them the hockey game tonight. It was an ugly first period that saw them down 3-0 after one period. The Oilers defensive coverage was abysmal tonight. Lots of blown coverages and lots of chasing the puck into no man's land. The Oilers defense need to get back to simple defense of covering your area and keeping the play in front of you. I'm not sure what style they are playing these days but its clearly not working. The defense as a whole did not play well tonight and the center coverage from Belanger and Horcoff was subpar. I expect better from two vets who should know how to play their position by now. The person that I thought had the toughest game was Tom Renney. His lines were a disaster again tonight. At some point they need to reunite Smyth-Horcoff-Jones to get some kind of secondary scoring and re-establish a checking line. The kid line is going to face the best checkers in the league from here on out, so its imperative they find other ways to score, not to mention defend. At least have two lines that can hold their own, instead of just one. Essentially it was more of the same that the Oilers have gotten over the years in Vancouver. Get pounded physically, get scored on early and play catch up all game long. If the Oilers ever want to win a game in Vancouver, they need to show up for the opening faceoff. That was the first game of a 7 game road trip.

Player of the Game:
- Jordan Eberle. Again. Eberle has had a nice string of games where he continues to produce. A goal and an assist tonight and continues to lead the team in points. He's a stealthy player that you don't noticed until its to late. He makes quick, decisive plays and his confidence is sky high. Just continues to make plays and contribute offensively. Eberle is really shouldering the offense these days.

Goat of the Game:
- Tom Gilbert. I could put most of the defensemen and Horcoff and Belanger here, but since I pick only one, Tom Gilbert wins tonight. Too much standing around and playing out of position tonight for Tom Gilbert. Many point blank tap-ins tonight for the Canucks, as they were allowed free reign around the Oilers net tonight. I like the fact that Gilbert is playing more physical these days, but he needed to make better reads and move his skates more tonight.

Next Game - Thursday December 29, 2011 vs. Wild @ Minnesota on Sportsnet West 6 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #35 Oilers vs. Canucks



Xmas has now come and gone, (hope everyone had a great Xmas!) and its time to hit into the dog days of hockey. The Oilers look to build on a convincing 4-1 victory against the Wild last Thursday. It will be interesting to see how the Oilers come out in this one, the Canucks too for that matter. This annual Boxing day matchup with the Canucks usually has a lot of unpredicability to it. It will also be interesting to see if Ales Hemsky finds his way back into the lineup. The Canucks come into this game losing on Friday night to Calgary 3-1. Prior to that, they had won 3 in a row. Should be a good test for the Oilers to see if they are ready for primetime yet.


Fowards Canucks
- The Sedins will be a handful tonight, as they are every night.
Defense Canucks
- Hamhuis, Bieksa, Edler and Salo are as good a top 4 as there is in the NHL.
Goaltending Oilers
- I'm giving this one to Khabibulin while Luongo has been up and down all year. The Oilers will need Khabibulin to be strong if they want to win.
Special Teams Canucks
- The Canucks are one of the few teams that beat the Oilers on special teams. Canucks have the best power play in the NHL.
Coaching Canucks
- The Nuge's line figures to see a lot of Ryan Kesler tonight. Should be a tough matchup.
Intangibles Canucks
- Both teams should be decently rested but Canucks get home ice.

Oilers: (my version)
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Petrell-Lander-Gagner
Smyth-Horcoff-Jones
Eager-Belanger-Hordichuk

Smid-Gilbert
Whitney-Potter
Peckham-Petry

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Canucks:
D.Sedin-H.Sedin-Burrows
Raymond-Kesler-Higgins
Hodgson-Malhotra-Hansen
Ebbett-Lapierre-Weise

Hamhuis-Bieksa
Edler-Salo
Alberts-Sulzer

Luongo
Schneider

Game Time - 8 PM MT @ Vancouver on Sportsnet West.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Post Game: Game #34 Oilers 4 Wild 1

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Jordan Eberle 14 (PP) (Unassisted) 15:57

EDM Ryan Smyth 13 (Ladislav Smid, Tom Gilbert) 18:36


2nd Period
EDM Lennart Petrell 3 (SH) (Unassisted) 1:40

EDM Jordan Eberle 15 (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Corey Potter) 2:56


3rd Period
MIN Dany Heatley 10 (Matt Cullen, Jared Spurgeon) 7:57


Penalty Summary
1st Period
5:04 Minnesota hooking - 2 min W. Peters drawn by B. Eager
8:10 Edmonton interference with goaltender - 2 min D. Hordichuk drawn by N. Backstrom
10:37 Minnesota tripping - 2 min C. Stoner drawn by R. Nugent-Hopkins
15:11 Minnesota puck over glass - 2 min J. Falk
19:48 Minnesota tripping on breakaway C. Stoner drawn by T. Hall
20:00 Edmonton boarding - 2 min B. Eager drawn by C. Clutterbuck

2nd Period
10:29 Minnesota too many men on ice - 2 min Bench served by P. Bouchard
19:01 Edmonton high-sticking - 4 min S. Gagner drawn by P. Bouchard

3rd Period
2:50 Edmonton checking from behind - 5 min L. Petrell drawn by M. Zidlicky served by D. Hordichuk
2:50 Edmonton game misconduct - 10 min L. Petrell

Shots On Goal - Oilers 31 Wild 31

Game Notes:
- Good to see the Oilers come out and take the play to Minnesota right off the bat. They outshot the Wild 20-3 in the first period and coasted to a 4-1 win. Ran into penalty trouble in the 3rd period which allowed Minnesota to even the shot total by the end of the game. The kid line is becoming more and more a treat to watch. Speed, hands and vision all on the ice at the same time, really overwhelmed the Wild in the first period. Ales Hemsky was out for the Oilers and the Oilers won...sgain. Hemsky is like kryptonite for this Oilers team. The Oilers had more muscle in the lineup tonight which allowed them to win more puck battles and stem the tide of the Wild offense. The argument for that is the Wild were undermanned anyway with all kinds of injuries, but the numbers don't lie. Oilers record without Hemsky is 8-3-1 and with Hemsky, its 7-13-2. Just happy to see the Oilers stop the loss train, and get a much needed victory they deserved. On to the Xmas break!

Player of the Game:
- Jordan Eberle. The kid line really set the pace tonight and Eberle was the triggerman. Eberle's hands are pratically automatic around the net. He truly has a wonderful set of hands, able to navigate angles and seams, creating angles that compliment his shooting ability. Its too bad the line of Hall, The Nuge and Eberle didn't have a smidge more size, but they make up for that in stickhandling, speed and smarts. When they run up against behemoth defensemen, they may be shut down, but in games like tonight where they have room to free wheel, they can make things happen.

Goat of the Game:
- Darcy Hordichuk. Tough to bag on anyone after a convincing 4-1 win, but Hordichuk needs to find a way to make simple plays with the puck. When the puck comes to him in his own zone, all he shouold be thinking about is getting the puck over the blueline, because if he doesn't make that play, it turns into a fire drill. Simple plays should be coming from Hordichuk. Finish checks, get in the way, and dump and chase. Hordichuk goal on the ice is to consume the energy level of the other team. The same should be said of Eager as well.

Next Game - Monday December 26, 2011 vs. Canucks @ Vancouver on Sportsnet West 8 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #34 Oilers vs. Wild



Thankfully for the Oilers the Xmas break is here after tonight's game. After a torrid start, the season has hit the gutter. Losing games they should win, being competitive in games they should be overmatched, but still losing. It's tough to get a sense for the fanbase, but I feel a sense of apathy is slowly creeping into the team and its fans. The management talks of playoffs like its a plausible goal. If it was so plausible, they would try and do something about it, but instead, there is no cavalry coming and this team will fight to keep itself from drowning. Management just sickens me lately with there lack of doing anything when everyone knows what the shortcomings of this team are. Addressing the shortcomings a little sooner when the Oilers were off to a 8-2-2 start may have helped this team stay afloat. I know the window was small, but it was there, but it may be too late now. As much as this team tells us that the playoffs are important, I don't believe it. Everytime I hear Steve Tambellini or Tom Renney talk, I change the station. Minnesota comes into this game stone cold. Losers of 5 in a row with a couple of loser points mixed in. I know Minnesota has had the Oilers number over the last few years, but the Wild are a hurting unit and now would be a good time for the Oilers to break a slump of their own.

Forwards Oilers
- The kid line reunited means bling bling.
Defense Oilers
- If the Oilers had a couple of bigger forwards to keep pressure in the other teams' zone, maybe the Oilers' D wouldn't look so bad. Just sayin'.
Goaltending Wild
- Backstrom and Harding are one of the best tandems in the NHL.
Special Teams Oilers
- Despite struggles, the Oilers still have the top 10 PK and PP in the NHL.
Coaching Wild
- Psst....Tom...Smyth-Horcoff-Jones
Intangibles Oilers
- The Oilers are well rested having not played since Monday and then Xmas break after game.

Oilers: (my version)
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Gagner-Lander-Hemsky
Smyth-Horcoff-Jones
Eager-Belanger-Hordichuk

Whitney-Potter
Smid-Gilbert
Peckham-Petry

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Wild:
Bouchard-Cullen-Heatley
Powe-Brodziak-Johnson
Clutterbuck-Peters-Palmer
Ortmeyer-Staubitz

Scandella-Spurgeon
Stoner-Zidlicky
Schultz-Zanon
Falk

Harding
Backstrom

Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet Edmonton.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Post Game: Game #33 Red Wings 3 Oilers 2

Scoring Summary
1st Period
DET Danny Cleary 8 (Jakub Kindl) 4:33

2nd Period
EDM Ryan Jones 11 (Sam Gagner, Eric Belanger) 2:37

DET Jiri Hudler 7 (Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula) 14:36

EDM Jordan Eberle 13 (PP) (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall) 19:59

3rd Period
DET Drew Miller 6 (Nicklas Lidstrom, Darren Helm) 15:45


Penalty Summary
1st Period
13:44 Detroit hooking - 2 min J. Ericsson drawn by R. Jones
14:48 Detroit tripping - 2 min I. White drawn by T. Gilbert

2nd Period
6:09 Detroit interference - 2 min D. Miller drawn by R. Jones
8:38 Edmonton interference - 2 min B. Eager drawn by J. Franzen
19:16 Detroit interference - 2 min J. Ericsson drawn by R. Smyth

3rd Period
5:22 Edmonton high-sticking - 2 min S. Horcoff drawn by P. Datsyuk
16:58 Detroit puck over glass - 2 min N. Kronwall

Shots On Goal - Oilers 23 Red Wings 28

Game Notes:
- One wonders how successful this team would be if a couple of players moved along and a couple of different style players come in. Hemsky hasn't contributed much at all lately and Gagner is chipping in here and there but has gone back to being invisible again. Replace them with a couple of wingers that can make life difficult on defenseman and maybe we'll be talking about wins in games like this instead of losses. Much like the game in San Jose on Saturday night, the Oilers played hard, but ultimately could not get the equalizer in the end. I didn't think that Detroit played like they can but did enough to get a win. They just got in lanes, kept the puck to the outside and played a game with little error. While everyone like the flash and dash, its the type of game the Oilers will have to learn how to play so they can win a few more games when they aren't going 100%. The Oilers are playing like a team that is taking on a bunch of water that will soon break. I'd be expecting a blowout loss sometime soon. These losses have to be super frusterating.

Player of the Game:
- Jordan Eberle. Eberle, once again, scored a clutch goal up against the clock to send the game into the 2nd intermission tied at 2. Eberle has some fast hands in tight. He was having a good game at getting the puck into good shooting areas. Hall-RNH-Eberle (The kid line) was the only line that had any real sustained pressure tonight. It's a line that can really thrive on home ice.

Goat of the Game:
- Eric Belanger. Lots of passengers tonight, Hemsky and Gagner were subpar tonight. But the GOTG goes to Belanger. Belanger was brought into Edmonton to bring some solid two way center play. His offense has been lacking all year and his defensive play is starting to take a hit. Its too the point where I'd start playing Belanger on the 4th line and moving Lander up the lineup. Belanger allowed his man to get a stick on the shot from Lidstrom that was the eventual game winner. Belanger needs to be a better manager of the game on the ice, especially in his own zone.

Mext Game - Thursday December 22, 2011 vs. Wild @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet Edmonton 7:30 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #33 Oilers vs. Red Wings



The Oilers stumble into Game #33 and almost into the Xmas break, dropping their latest game on Saturday night, 3-2 to the Sharks. One really feels that air really letting out of the Oilers season now and the search for 2012 top draft picks starts to become more frequent as the Oilers plummet down the standings. Everyone starts to throw their hands up in the air wondering what the answers are. I have covered it all here and the answers were unearthed in October when the Oilers started off hot. If they ever went back to that style, perhaps the Oilers would find some wins again. But instead, it seems that getting premium return for players such as Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner are more important than winning games. So, onward the Oilers trek, facing another stiff test in the battle laden crew of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit comes into this game winners of 4 of 5, beating the LA Kings 8-2 on Saturday night.

Forwards Red Wings
- The Oilers lack a Johan Franzen and about 10 years of playing experience.
Datsyuk and Zetterberg are pretty good too.
Defense Red Wings
- Niklas Lidstrom. That is all.
Goaltending Red Wings
- As hot as Khabibulin was to start the year, Jimmy Howard owns the 3rd best GAA in the NHL.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Red Wings PK is ranked 20th, perhaps the Oilers can make some inroads here.
Coaching Red Wings
- Mike Babcock runs a tight ship. The Oilers staff and management are in disarray.
Intangibles Red Wings
- If the Red Wings score early, the boo birds could be all over the Oilers. Deservedly so.

Oilers:
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Smyth-Gagner-Hemsky
Belanger-Horcoff-Jones
Eager-Lander-Hordichuk

Smid-Gilbert
Whitney-Petry
Peckham-Potter

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Red Wings:
Franzen-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi
Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler
Cleary-Helm-Miller
Emmerton-Abdelkader-Holmstrom

Lidstrom-White
Kronwall-Stuart
Ericsson-Kindl

Howard
Conklin

Game Time: 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Post-Game: Game #32 Sharks 3 Oilers 2

Scoring Summary
1st Period
SJ Martin Havlat 2 (Michal Handzus, Dan Boyle) 8:36

EDM Jordan Eberle 12 (Taylor Hall) 17:16

2nd Period
EDM Ryan Jones 10 (SH) (Unassisted) 5:28

SJ Joe Thornton 6 (Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joe Pavelski) 14:33

3rd Period
SJ Patrick Marleau 12 (PP) (Joe Pavelski, Jamie McGinn) 6:11

Penalty Summary
1st Period
None


2nd Period
4:58 Edmonton hooking - 2 min E. Belanger drawn by J. Braun
9:09 Edmonton interference - 2 min T. Hall drawn by M. Vlasic
10:23 San Jose high-sticking - 2 min M. Havlat drawn by R. Jones
12:49 Edmonton holding - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by M. Havlat
12:49 San Jose roughing - 2 min M. Havlat drawn by T. Peckham
17:56 Edmonton interference - 2 min L. Smid drawn by J. McGinn

3rd Period
5:59 Edmonton interference - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by J. Thornton
9:07 San Jose holding - 2 min J. Demers drawn by T. Gilbert

Shots On Goal - Oilers 25 Sharks 37

Game Notes:
- There seems to be 2 types of Oilers games over the last 6 weeks. The "I don't give a stiff" loss and the "hard working" loss. The Oilers brought a lot of try tonight but had a couple of brain cramps at some bad times and ultimately lost the game. If you are a team that is just looking for some hard work and effort, this team will bring it time to time. But if you are looking for results and wins, better look away. I don't know whats going on with management or what their mandate is, but there seems to be some clashing of styles in terms of being patient and finding success and what the cost of that would be. The Oilers seem to continue to preach patience, but I'm wondering how much longer the fanbase will take it. The voices will only get louder as the losses start to pile up. I didn't think the Sharks were sharp tonight, but made plays when they needed to and ultimately broke through in the third period. The Oilers played well for the first half of the game but faded as the game went on. Just couldn't make a play to get the equalizer. The season is starting to take on a feel of last years team, young players learning on the job and vets not finding much success in anything they do.

Player of the Game:
- Ryan Jones. I thought Ryan Jones brought a high battle level tonight and was rewarded with a gift breakaway, shorthanded goal. Jones is at his best when he plays with energy, forcing the other team to burn energy. This team could use at least one more Ryan Jones on this team. A lot of the pundits were ready to bury Ryan Jones early in the year in favor of Linus Omark. Ugh, right now, I would hate to picture this team without Ryan Jones.

Goat of the Game:
- Ladislav Smid. The broadcasters were giving a lot of grief to Shawn Horcoff for not covering his man in front of the net on the winning goal. On the PK, that isn't his area to cover. The wrong play was made by Smid chasing his player behind the net, vacating his area. The dangerous players are the ones in front of the goal line, not behind it. The Oilers Achilles' heal lately has been positional play. Chasing players all over the ice instead of covering areas. Bad read by Smid, ultimately ended up costing the Oilers some points.

Next Game - Monday December 19, 2011 vs. Red Wings @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.

Pre-Game: Game #32 Oilers vs. Sharks



The Oilers limp into San Jose to try and break a two game slide and losers of 7 of the last 9. The Oilers decided the best course of action for Magnus Paajarvi is to send him to Oklahoma City to ply his trade down there. This seemed like such an easy way out for the Oilers to take, but it spits in the face of what philosophy this team is trying to accomplish. Is this a season of getting youngsters experience or a season to finish as far up the standings as they can? Because, right now, it looks like neither and the Oilers have a bunch of buffoons at the helm. I feel lukewarm for Paajarvi on this whole ordeal. On one hand, even though he hasn't scored yet this year, he hasn't hurt the team either and was a complementary part when the Oilers went 8-2-2 to start the year. But on the other hand, its good for him to get some ice time and get far away from Edmonton right now. The Oilers house is getting real messy and I'm wondering if anyone is going to clean it up. San Jose comes into this game winners against Colorado, 5-4 on Thursday night. San Jose has been very hit and miss this year, it will be interesting to see which Sharks team comes to play tonight.

Forwards Sharks
- Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, Couture, the Sharks are real deep at forward.
Defense Sharks
- Burns and Boyle stabilize a strong Sharks defense.
Goaltending Sharks
- Can't give this to the Oilers when I don't know who will even be in net. Niemi and Greiss have been solid this year.
Special Teams Oilers
- Edmonton won the special teams battle against the Coyotes but still lost the game.
Coaching Sharks
- I think Tom Renney and staff are waiting for some kind of epiphany.
Intangibles Sharks
- Home ice for Sharks will be a big difference here.

Oilers:
Gagner-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Hall-Horcoff-Hemsky
Smyth-Belanger-Jones
Eager-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Whitney-Petry
Peckham-Potter

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Sharks:
Mitchell-Thornton-Pavelski
Clowe-Couture-Marleau
McGinn-Handzus-Havlat
Winchester-Desjardins-Murray

Boyle-Vlasic
Demers-Burns
White-Braun

Niemi
Greiss

Game Time: 8 PM MT @ San Jose on CBC.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Post Game: Game #31 Coyotes 4 Oilers 2

Scoring Summary
1st Period
PHO Lauri Korpikoski 7 (Cal O'Reilly, Michal Rozsival) 15:18


2nd Period
EDM Taylor Hall 8 (PP) (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle) 16:02

PHO Radim Vrbata 15 (Ray Whitney, Martin Hanzal) 19:23


3rd Period
EDM Taylor Hall 9 (PP) (Ryan Smyth, Ryan Whitney) 6:11

PHO Shane Doan 8 (Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Mikkel Boedker) 11:45

PHO Oliver Ekman-Larsson 6 (Ray Whitney, Martin Hanzal) 14:37

Penalty Summary
1st Period
15:51 Phoenix hooking - 2 min R. Whitney drawn by J. Petry

2nd Period
3:54 Edmonton hooking - 2 min R. Smyth drawn by R. Torres
5:04 Phoenix boarding - 2 min M. Hanzal drawn by T. Peckham
5:33 Edmonton holding - 2 min A. Lander drawn by A. Aucoin
7:02 Edmonton delay of game - 2 min E. Belanger
15:01 Phoenix slashing - 2 min B. Gordon drawn by R. Smyth

3rd Period
4:51 Phoenix boarding - 2 min K. Yandle drawn by R. Jones

Shots On Goal - Oilers 20 Coyotes 42

Game Notes:
- Another game, another loss, another meh. Watching the Oilers lately is like watching re-runs of Coronation Street. You might be attentive for five minutes but after that who cares? The Oilers are bringing knives to gun fights these days. They were outmuscled and didn't have enough patience to see the game through. Once again, I didn't notice Gagner, Hemsky had some looks but ultimately ineffective, Peckham was terrible tonight and Dubnyk broke like a dam taking on too much water. There is a spot in here for Magnus Paajarvi to come in and play well with a lot of passengers in a game like tonight. The 4th line was pretty ineffective as well tonight. Not a lot of hits or pressure from them. For a team that had 4 days to prepare for this game, they sure didn't look prepared. Tom Renney looks frusterated, like a man thats about to do something desperate. Perhaps Sam Gagner or Ales Hemsky in the pressbox? I doubt it, but something will need to happen. I do believe there is a philosophical difference between head coach Tom Renney and Steve Tambellini, which explins the mismatched forward lineup they keep trying to ice. Its tough to watch this team, the have nice individual skilled players but terrible team dynamics.

Player of the Game:
- Taylor Hall. Hall came back into the lineup and looked to have no rust in his game. Scored the only 2 markers the Oilers would get in this game. Everyone seems to think Hall and Hemsky would have instant chemistry. I don't think so, especially when both want to make plays with the puck. There is only one puck on the ice and they are both trying to play better off the puck but that's not a strength of either player. At any rate, Hall had a strong game and a welcome addition to the lineup.

Goat of the Game:
- Theo Peckham. Ugly night for Peckham, battled hard but has to use his noodle more. As a left handed defenseman, found him too often on the right hand side of the ice. He was a part of the problem of everyone running around covering everyone else's man. If Peckham stays on his side of the ice, he'll be better off for it. The Oilers positional play has gone to junk over the last few games. They have to find some trust in their game again.

Next Game - Saturday December 18, 2011 vs. Sharks @ San Jose on CBC 8 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #31 Oilers vs. Coyotes



The Oilers are back at it after a long layoff. They haven't played since Saturday. It will be interesting to see how the Oilers come out on this one. They lost 4-2 in their last meeting in Phoenix, a time when the Oilers were running out and have since fizzled out. Taylor Hall and potentially Corey Potter could be back in the lineup this game. Should boost a lineup that has been less than stellar lately, especially in that "barn-burner" 3-0 loss to the Flames. What can the Oilers do in this game? I dunno, go wake up Steve Tambellini?

Forwards Oilers
- Taylor Hall's presence in the lineup helps significantly.
Defense Coyotes
- Keith Yandle stabilizes the backend end for a deep, underrated defense corps.
Goaltending Oilers
- Khabibulin's numbers are amongst the best in the league even if they are starting to slip.
Special Teams Oilers
- Phoenix has the worst power play in the NHL, now watch them score 2 on the PP.
Coaching Coyotes
- Dave Tippett will have his team play a patient game, something Oilers' team don't excel at.
Intangibles Oilers
- Oilers haven't played since Saturday while Phoenix played last night in Anaheim.

Oilers:
Gagner-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Hall-Horcoff-Hemsky
Smyth-Belanger-Jones
Eager-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Whitney-Petry
Peckham-Potter

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Coyotes:
Torres-Langkow-Doan
Whitney-Hanzal-Vrbata
Pyatt-Gordon-Korpikoski
Boedker-Turris-Chipchura

Yandle-Morris
EkmanLarsson-Aucoin
Schlemko-Roszival

Smith
Labarbera

Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Phoenix on Sportsnet Edmonton.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Post Game: Game #30 Flames 3 Oilers 0

Summary
1st Period
None


2nd Period
CGY Tom Kostopoulos 3 (PP) (Derek Smith, Matt Stajan) 13:45

CGY Jarome Iginla 10 (Brendan Morrison, Jay Bouwmeester) 19:44


3rd Period
CGY Jarome Iginla 11 (EN) (Olli Jokinen) 19:40

1st Period
3:58 Calgary cross checking - 2 min J. Iginla drawn by E. Belanger
13:31 Edmonton interference with goaltender - 2 min R. Jones drawn by M. Kiprusoff

2nd Period
2:29 Edmonton roughing - 2 min R. Whitney drawn by G. Nemisz
8:23 Calgary high-sticking - 4 min O. Jokinen drawn by L. Smid
11:46 Edmonton slashing - 2 min S. Gagner drawn by T. Kostopoulos
18:43 Edmonton tripping - 2 min J. Petry drawn by J. Iginla
19:14 Calgary interference - 2 min O. Jokinen drawn by T. Peckham

3rd Period
1:10 Edmonton tripping - 2 min S. Horcoff drawn by C. Butler
8:17 Edmonton slashing - 2 min T. Gilbert drawn by O. Jokinen
15:05 Edmonton too many men on ice - 2 min Bench served by D. Hordichuk

Shots On Goal - Oilers 21 Flames 34

Game Notes:
- Dog of a game. Nothing more, nothing less. Its games like this that make losses to teams like Carolina look even worse. The Oilers had nothing tonight. No jump, no muscle, little will to win. The OIlers played a smart defensive game, but when you score 0 goals, its really hard to win those games. Just as expected the Gagner-RNH-Eberle was snuffed tonight, as was the rest of the team. No muscle, no beat Calgary. Welp, now the Oilers get until Thursday to relax and recoupe and some fun in the sun in Phoenix to get ready for the Coyotes. There isn't a lot of surprise in this game. It was essentially the same game that Calgary has been beating the Oilers with over the last 5-6 years with. Calgary gets up for these games and are ready, Edmonton can't and don't. What can one do. Until the structure of the team gets resolved there will be plenty more losses like this one to Calgary. In the meantime, enjoy the flash and dash, all sizzle, no steak type team the Oilers have.

Player of the Game:
- Devan Dubnyk. He's about the only player I can give it to as he was the only one that held up the forcefield until it eventually gave way. The Oilers played well defensively and Dubnyk was a big part of that. Offensively, the Oilers had nothing tonight.

Goat of the Game:
- Jordan Eberle. Looked tired tonight. Whiffed on a lot of shots and just looked bagged trying to check his man. Got beat by his Dman when Iginla rocketed a one-timer on the 2nd goal. I wasn't impressed with anyone that should have been bringing offense tonight.

Next Game - Thursday December 15, 2011 vs. Coyotes @ Phoenix on Sportnet Edmonton 7:30 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #30 Oilers vs. Flames



Big win for the Oilers last night. Not sure its enough to keep the boat from sinking but at least it gets some water out of the boat. I'm slowly coming around on Sam Gagner's game. I still think his spot on the roster will go to a player that can score and add some muscle, but for now Sam Gagner is doing the right thing and gaining more confidence with it over the last few games. To me he kind of a stopgap until something bigger rolls around, to others, they still see him as a mainstay of the Oilers, eventually time will tell. Good to see Nikolai Khabibulin play a complete game, its been awhile. The centers played a more responsible game, which is the backbone of any team and allows the whole team to go from defense to offense back to defense over and over. The quicker a team is able to do it, the better that team is likely to be. Not sure what to expect by this game from the Oilers. History tells us they are likely to get drubbed, but they have some players that are starting to "find themselves". The key for the Oilers tonight will be to score first and keep the Flames out of their heads. They are entitled to this game just as much as the Flames are. Like Tom Renney said, winning hurts. The Flames have won their last two and beat the Oilers last Saturday 5-3 at Rexall Place. The Oilers are going to need the same fire in the belly that they had against the Avalanche on Friday night.

Forwards Oilers
- RNH and Eberle have a new sidekick in Gagner. We'll see if they can keep pace.
Defense Oilers
- Jeff Petry is starting to stabilize the top 4 for the Oilers. Just needs to find consistancy in his game.
Goaltending Flames
- Kiprusoff has the Oilers number. It's Dubnyk's turn to get the start but something tells me Khabibulin may go back to back.
Special Teams Oilers
- Oilers power play is now in the top 3, thanks to the 2 power play goals last night.
Coaching Flames
- Does Tom Renney have an answer if the Oilers' team breaks during the game? Still needs to find his checking line, I will say he's real close.
Intangibles Flames
- Oilers find themselves playing in a back to back after playing consecutive teams on back to backs.

Oilers:
Gagner-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky
Eager-Belanger-Jones
Paajarvi-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Whitney-Petry
Peckham-Teubert

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Flames:
Glencross-Jokinen-Iginla
Tanguay-Morrison-Bourque
Comeau-Backlund-Stempniak
Kostopolous-Stajan-Jackman

Bouwmeester-Butler
Smith-Hannan
Brodie-Piskula

Kiprusoff
Irving

Game Time - @ Calgary on CBC 8 PM MT.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Post-Game: Game #29 Oilers 4 Avalanche 1

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Sam Gagner 2 (PP) (Unassisted) 6:07

EDM Ben Eager 2 (Eric Belanger, Ryan Jones) 19:23

2nd Period
COL Jay McClement 5 (Daniel Winnik, Ryan O'Byrne) 3:29

EDM Jordan Eberle 11 (PP) (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jeff Petry) 10:36

EDM Sam Gagner 3 (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle) 19:57


3rd Period
None

Penalty Summary
1st Period
1:19 Edmonton cross checking - 2 min J. Petry drawn by J. McClement
5:16 Colorado interference - 2 min J. Hejda drawn by S. Horcoff
7:15 Colorado slashing - 2 min K. Quincey drawn by S. Horcoff

2nd Period
0:36 Edmonton holding - 2 min A. Lander drawn by B. Malone
5:31 Edmonton holding - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by B. Yip
7:29 Colorado interference - 2 min B. Yip drawn by T. Gilbert
9:58 Colorado slashing - 2 min K. Quincey drawn by R. Jones
14:24 Colorado high-sticking - 2 min S. O'Brien drawn by A. Hemsky

3rd Period
None

Shots On Goal - Oilers 35 Avalanche 29

Game Notes:
- This is the type of game the Oilers needed to get back to. The energy line of Eager-Belanger-Jones set the tone of high energy that allowed the kid line of Gagner-RNH-Eberle to make hay when things got back to hockey. Solid game for these two lines and they carried the Oilers to a victory tonight. It was the perfect recipe for a team playing in the 2nd half of a back to back set. The defense came around nicely tonight as well. There were few brain cramps but when the brain cramps happened, Khabibulin bailed them out. It's what good team do, keep brain cramps to a minimum, but when they do, everyone goes all in to make a play. The energy in tonight's game was night and day compared to the shenanigans that went on Wednesday night against the Hurricanes. All's well in Oilerland tonight, as a much needed win was needed in these parts, but it will interesting to see if this Oilers team shows up tomorrow night in Calgary. This win won't matter much unless they can get some points out of tomorrow night's game. A streak is in order for the Oilers to get some good mojo going. Only as good as your next game.

Player of the Game:
- Sam Gagner. This was likely Sam Gagner's best game of the year. He worked his backside off tonight winning his fair share of puck battles and being put with Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle, he has embraced a shooter's mentality with them, which is a good sign he is starting to round out as a hockey player. The true litmus test for this version of the kid line will be whether or not this line can handle a more physical team in Calgary and still produce some offense. The Oilers really had their will broken in the last game against the Flames. I'd say its time for a little payback.

Goat of the Game:
- Colten Teubert. Was tardy in covering his man on the post in the only goal of the game and went on an ill-advised line change that led to a 2 on nothing that led to Khabibulin making 2 great saves and the third bashed off the post. Teubert is likely has some rust on him after being a scratch for a few games. Just needs more awareness on the ice, to cut on those brain cramps that I had mentioned above.

Next Game - Saturday December 10, 2011 vs. Flames @ Calgary on CBC 8 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #29 Oilers vs. Avalanche



Another game, another chance at redemption. The nice thing about pro sports is that another shot to get it right is never too far away. The Oilers in my eyes, seem to be a hopeless cause. They have some of their defensive soul that they had from earlier in the year stripped away in order to try for more offense and what you get is a team that is caught in between. Many media pundits around town figured this is the Oilers team that we all should have expected. And while that is true to a point, the Oilers could have done themselves some favors if they had done some tweaking by either adding or subtracting. Instead they went status quo, added Hemsky and Whitney back from injury and what you get is a team that can no longer do heavy lifting game in and game out. And now the losses have piled up like a large snowdrift where all they can do is start shovelling and hope they can get themselves out the door. The 5-3 loss to Carolina was likely the low point of the season. The problem is with the Oilers of the last few years, one is never sure where rock bottom is. The Avalanche roll into town much like the Hurricanes before them. The Oilers get the Avalanche after they lost in Calgary the night prior. A second chance for the Oilers to get it right. It can get better or it can get worse. Andy Sutton is out for tonight's game and is likely to face a lengthy suspension on his hit on Alexei Ponikarovsky on Wednesday night.

Forwards Oilers
- Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle may be enough to carry the Oilers to victory tonight.
Defense Oilers
- Erik Johnson and Jan Hejda already have gawdy plus/minus of -13 and -14.
Goaltending Oilers
- Khabibulin is back in net. The numbers are still there (2.00 GAA and .930S%) but the team's confidence is not.
Special Teams Avalanche
- Oilers special teams have been mired in a slump, both PP and PK have been brutal over the homestand. Avalanche PP #3 in the NHL.
Coaching Avalanche
- Sorry Mr. Renney but until you re-establish a "real" checking line, I'm even going to give Joe Sacco an edge over you. FIND THE CHECKING LINE!
Intangibles Oilers
- Once again, the Avalanche are on the 2nd half of the back to back....but then again, so were the Hurricanes.

Oilers:
Gagner-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky
Paajarvi-Lander-Petrell
Eager-Belanger-Jones

Smid-Gilbert
Whitney-Petry
Peckham-Teubert

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Avalanche:
Galiardi-Duchene-Jones
Landeskog-O'Reilly-Hejduk
Winnik-McClement-Kobasew
McLeod-Yip

Quincey-O'Brien
Johnson-Elliott
Hejda-O'Byrne
Hunwick

Varlamov
Giguere

Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on TSN.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Post Game: Game #28 Hurricanes 5 Oilers 3

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Eric Belanger 1 (Magnus Paajarvi, Andy Sutton) 10:33

CAR Jeff Skinner 12 (PP) (Unassisted) 19:22


2nd Period
CAR Jamie McBain 3 (PP) (Tomas Kaberle, Justin Faulk) 4:36

CAR Patrick Dwyer 4 (Eric Staal, Tomas Kaberle) 11:47

CAR Chad LaRose 8 (SH) (Bryan Allen) 15:41

EDM Ben Eager 1 (Lennart Petrell, Anton Lander) 15:50


3rd Period
CAR Tuomo Ruutu 9 (Jussi Jokinen, Tim Gleason) 3:43

EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 13 (Sam Gagner, Jordan Eberle) 13:21

Penalty Summary
1st Period
18:36 Edmonton hooking - 2 min A. Hemsky drawn by J. Skinner

2nd Period
2:59 Edmonton hooking - 2 min L. Petrell drawn by A. Ponikarovsky
4:36 Edmonton boarding - 2 min A. Sutton drawn by T. Ruutu
8:41 Carolina unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min E. Staal
11:47 Edmonton misconduct - 10 min T. Peckham
13:49 Carolina tripping - 2 min A. Ponikarovsky drawn by J. Petry

3rd Period
4:55 Edmonton roughing - 2 min L. Smid drawn by A. Stewart
4:55 Carolina roughing - 2 min A. Stewart drawn by L. Smid
7:30 Carolina roughing - 2 min B. Allen drawn by R. Jones
10:27 Edmonton boarding - 2 min A. Sutton drawn by A. Ponikarovsky
10:27 Edmonton charging - 2 min B. Eager drawn by B. Allen
13:48 Edmonton slashing - 2 min T. Gilbert drawn by P. Dwyer
17:51 Edmonton fighting - 5 min A. Sutton drawn by T. Gleason
17:51 Carolina instigator - 2 min T. Gleason drawn by A. Sutton
17:51 Carolina fighting - 5 min T. Gleason drawn by A. Sutton
17:51 Carolina game misconduct - 10 min T. Gleason drawn by A. Sutton

Shots On Goal - Oilers 25 Hurricanes 33

Game Notes:
- Disappointing yet not surprising this is the outcome Oiler fans receive. The Hurricanes played a game more desperate and more cerebral than the Oilers were willing to equal. Everything was off tonight, no checking line, not enough shots, no protecting of the slot area whatsoever, just mayhem on the ice which played into the Hurricanes hands to break their 7 game losing streak. The Oilers came out real slow tonight, eventually started with some body contact, but its something that needs to be engaged right from the drop of the puck. The offense, even though they scored 3, was out of synch all night. As much as the Oilers are trying to get one-timers all over the ice, they need to incorpoate that in their top 6. Smyth-RNH-Eberle is more of a cycle line but has little for one-timer options unless Eberle floats to the left side of the ice, which is fine if they score but if they don't then players are out of position heading back on defense. Gagner-Horcoff-Hemsky for me is just a flat out gross line. Lots of individual talent but very little in terms of cohesion. The line is setup to have Gagner be the triggerman, but he is more miss than hit which makes this line a low percentage play. This team is sorely missing a power forward that isn't shy about shooting the puck. Shooting in general is a big ailment on this team, especially when Taylor Hall is out of the lineup. It will be interesting to see how soon Hall is back and if he might be "rushed". I didn't think Carolina played any better or poorly than they did in Calgary, but the Oilers couldn't make a pass, a check, a save when they needed one. Memo to Steve Tambellini: I'm very curious to see your next move. It will tell me all I'll need to know about your managing ability.

Player of the Game:
- Andy Sutton. I'm giving the POTG to anyone who had a pulse and was willing to inflict physical punishment on the other team. If the other team is taking two points from you, make it hurt. And thats what Andy Sutton did. I thought Sutton, Peckham and Eager really ramped up the physicality tonight. Problem is there just isn't enough bullets in the chamber. After these 3, they aren't getting much physicality from anyone. The Oilers are going to need more energy players to combat the other teams energy, in order to win these games of attrition. Instead, the Oilers are waiting for the other team to gift wrap them a win and that just doesn't work very well in today's NHL.

Goat of the Game:
- Shawn Horcoff. Horcoff did a piss poor job of covering the slot on his defensive assignments tonight. It directly cost them 2 goals. The vets, Smyth, Horcoff, Hemsky, really didn't do anything to pull this game out of the fire. It's game like these where the vets need to show up and be counted for. lord knows the Oielrs have lost enough games to bottom feeders for many years now. You'd figure they would have some sort of mental gameplan of how to break the malaise.

Next Game - Friday December 9, 2011 vs. Avalanche @ Rexall Place on TSN 7:30 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #28 Oilers vs. Hurricanes



This is game 5 of a 6 game homestand where they have struggled to a 1-2-1 record through the last 4 games. Life preserver still isn't here. The Oilers are struggling to tread water now. They are battling their backsides off, but they are grossly undersized at forward and very immobile on the backend. Things that we saw last year are starting to creep into this team's game. Unable to sustain pressure, leading to more shots faced by Khabibulin and Dubnyk, meaning they are starting to wear down. It's a slippery slope and once the damage has been done, its hard to go back, unless the Oilers want to go through 8 goaltenders this year. I must say, its tough to watch knowing we've been down this road before, knowing exactly where it leads, knowing that nothing is going to be done about anything until the offseason. All we can hope for now is another injury to Gagner and/or Hemsky (or turn into power forwards) to reset the balance of the forwards. Or perhaps Ryan Whitney finds his stride again, or Jeff Petry all of the sudden "gets it" game in, game out. This team is going to need an epiphany from someone that matters. Carolina comes into this game losers of 7 in a row. Lost last night 7-6 to Calgary. I wonder what will happen if the Oilers lose this one? Probably nothing.

Forwards Oilers
- Eric Staal has the worst plus/minus in the NHL, 'nuff said.
Defense Oilers
- The Oilers' D is struggling, but the Hurricanes have some chronic underachievers manning their blueline.
Goaltending Oilers
- I'll give the nod to Khabibulin but he is starting to show cracks.
Special Teams Oilers
- Hurricanes are 28th on the PP and 26th on PK. Oilers have slipped to 15th on the PK.
Coaching Hurricanes
- Kirk Muller will get his team playing hard. Tom Renney needs to figure out his lines.
Intangibles Oilers
- Hurricanes played last night in Calgary. Edmonton hasn't played since Saturday.

Oilers: (my version)
Eberle-NugentHopkins-Hemsky
Paajarvi-Lander-Gagner
Smyth-Horcoff-Jones
Eager-Belanger-Hordichuk

Smid-Gilbert
Whitney-Petry
Peckham-Sutton

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Hurricanes:
Skinner-Staal-Ruutu
Ponikarovsky-Jokinen-Larose
Tlusty-Sutter-Dwyer
Nodl-Stewart

Pitkanen-Kaberle
Allen-Joslin
Gleason-Faulk
McBain

Ward
Boucher

Game Time: 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on TSN.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Depth Chart: Decemeber 2011 Edition



Oilers:
Paajarvi-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Gagner-Belanger-Hemsky
Smyth-Horcoff-Jones
Hordichuk-O'Marra-Petrell
Lander Eager

Smid-Gilbert
Whitney-Petry
Peckham-Sutton
Teubert

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

IR - Hall, Potter, Barker

OKC:
Cornet-Brule-Keller
Grant-Green-Arcobello
Tremblay-House-Pitlick
Hamilton-Vandevelde-Kyntar
Lord

Helmer-Tulupov
Chorney-Lowery
Yeo-Plante
Ringwald

Danis
LeNeveu

IR - Hartikainen, Omark, Tyrvainen

Rundown:
The Oilers went 5-8-1 over the month while OKC went 9-3-0, so it was a good month for OKC and not so much for the Oilers. I still think Ales Hemsky has upset the balance of the hockey club. Hemsky, as we all know is a heckuva player, but he just adds to the small skill the team the Oilers already have too much of and not enough players that battle for ice and pucks. OKC is still clipping along very nicely. Philippe Cornet is having a career year potting 15 goals in the first two months. Players such as Brule and Keller have also chipped in often. The OKC defense has stabilized a bit with Chorney back in fold and the promotion of Dylan Yeo from the ECHL. While Khabibulin's and Dubnyk's games have fallen off a bit, Leneveu and Danis have played very well and have been very consistant.

Shopping list: Oilers
- Owen Nolan, 'nuff said....still. Play him with RNH and Hall and play Eberle on the 2nd line and all of the sudden the scoring has more balance to it, along with the fact that Nolan has old man strength. If not Nolan than someone like him, essentially a power forward that can shoot right and shoot often.
- Waterbug Dman. Someone that can skate pucks out of trouble. Lack of mobility has hurt the Oilers at times. Ultimately, a top pairing Dman would be nice but top pairing Dmen don't grow on tress.

Shopping list: OKC
- Enforcer on the farm. Could use someone with a bit of fisticuffs to help Tyrvainen amplify his banging and crashing style.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Post-Game: Game #27 Flames 5 Oilers 3

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Lennart Petrell 2 (Darcy Hordichuk, Ryan O'Marra) 2:19

EDM Sam Gagner 1 (Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff) 3:00

CGY Olli Jokinen 6 (PP) (Jarome Iginla, Rene Bourque) 3:49

CGY Rene Bourque 8 (Roman Horak, Blake Comeau) 6:45


2nd Period
None


3rd Period
EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 12 (Jordan Eberle) 5:27

CGY Derek Smith 2 (Jarome Iginla) 6:11

CGY Mikael Backlund 1 (PP) (Jarome Iginla, Derek Smith) 10:25

CGY Olli Jokinen 7 (EN) (Unassisted) 19:28

Penalty Summary
1st Period
3:32 Edmonton roughing - 2 min A. Sutton drawn by L. Stempniak
14:50 Calgary hooking - 2 min L. Stempniak drawn by L. Smid
17:29 Calgary hooking - 2 min O. Jokinen drawn by A. Hemsky

2nd Period
5:23 Calgary closing hand on puck - 2 min B. Comeau
7:42 Calgary puck over glass - 2 min S. Hannan
12:38 Calgary hooking - 2 min R. Bourque drawn by J. Petry
15:57 Edmonton high-sticking - 2 min A. Sutton drawn by C. Glencross

3rd Period
8:37 Edmonton roughing - 2 min R. Smyth drawn by M. Kiprusoff
16:14 Calgary slashing - 2 min O. Jokinen drawn by S. Gagner

Shots On Goal - Oilers 29 Flames 32

Game Notes:
- This feels like such a hopeless loss. The Oilers were up 2-0 nothing 3 minutes into the game and then turned off the faucets for the next 37 minutes of the game. Ane then turned it on again for the first 5 minutes of the third period, only to turn over the game in the next 10 minutes. The Oilers battled their backsides off and still fell short. If I was an Oiler player or coach, I would be truly disheartened by this knowing, my GM isn't going to throw me a life preserver to push games like this over the top. There are two glaring weaknesses on this team that, one that could be patched up immediately and the other not so easily. Ability to sustain pressure in the offensive zone, which means bigger, more battle hardened winger that will keep plays alive for the smaller, shifty Oiler playmakers. Owen Nolan is sitting on his couch, would have been one easily findable player or wait for another Blake Comeau to hit waivers. The other issue is finding a stud Dman to cut down on defensive cramps and lapses, which won't be so easy to find. Ryan Whitney lookes like he isn't coming around anytime soon. His ankle/knee injury looks to have severely limited his mobility. Until Whitney can get back up to speed, they are playing with a bunch of 3's and 4's out there. I give a lot of credit to Flames in this game. They know they can break the will of the Oilers as long as they keep playing hard. They never gave up and the Oilers handed over the two points eventually. The Oilers just don't have enough pushback to take the other teams' best shot. If you want a telltale sign if the Oilers' brass think they could be a playoff team, look for some moves. If they don't throw this team a life preserver, it's because they don't think this team is good enough this year.

Player of the Game:
- Sam Gagner. Gagner looked like he was an 18 year old all over again. Using his slick stickhandling to get him in and out of traffic. His confidence is now coming around and he managed to pot his first of the year. He's shooting more, which is something this team needs and he needs to do even more of. Gagner does have to reform his game into more of a shooter in order to fit in with this team in the short term. See: Jordan Eberle.

Goat of the Game:
- Jeff Petry. Looked like he struggled with fatigue tonight. Falling and flailing all over the ice and just making bad passes up the middle. Playing defense in the NHL is tough business. You get pounded night in and night out. Jeff Petry just needs experience to get accustomed to the grind of the game. Tonight was one of those games where he looked like he wanted to throw in the towel.

Next Game - Wednesday December 7, 2011 vs. Hurricanes @ Rexall Place on TSN.

Pre-Game: Game #27 Oilers vs. Flames



The Oilers got a much needed 2 points against the last place BlueJackets last night as they doggedly pursue that playoff spot. The Oilers are only entering game #27 tonight, but they are in a position where they cannot afford to let points slip away if they want to be in the dogfight known as the playoff race. The Oilers face the 13th place Flames tonight, another 2 points that are there for the taking. What kind of Oiler team we'll get tonight is anyone guess. I'm guessing it will either be the team that gets pushed around and allows the other team to do as it will or the Oilers will be a team that dazzles and works hard for the win. While its a large range they run, there just doesn't seem to be a lot inbetween with this team. Calgary comes into this game winners of 2 of their last 3 but dropped a 4-3 shootout loss to Columbus on Thursday night. I still think a couple of power forwards are going to be needed if the Oilers want to be serious about playoffs, but lets all sit back, enjoy and go bipolar.

Forwards Oilers
- The Oilers have Ryan Jones...'nuff said. Oh and that RNH guy is pretty good too.
Defense Oilers
- The Flames lost their best Dman in Giordano for 3 months with a leg injury.
Goaltending Flames
- I know Khabibulin is rolling hot but Kiprusoff always seems to have the Oilers number.
Special Teams Oilers
- Oilers still top 10 in PP and PK.
Coaching Flames
- I still don't like the Oilers lines. At the very least switch spots with Smyth and Paajarvi.
Intangibles Flames
- The Oilers had to drain the tank in that third period come back last night.

Oilers: (my version)
Paajarvi-NugnetHopkins-Eberle
Gagner-Belanger-Hemsky
Smyth-Horcoff-Jones
Hordichuk-O'Marra-Petrell

Whitney-Petry
Smid-Gilbert
Peckham-Sutton

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Flames:
Glencross-Jokinen-Iginla
Tanguay-Horak-Bourque
Comeau-Backlund-Stempniak
Kostopolous-Stajan-Jackman

Bouwmeester-Butler
Brodie-Hannan
Smith-Sarich

Kiprusoff
Karlsson

Game Time - 8 PM MT @ Rexall Place on CBC.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Post Game: Game #26 Oilers 6 BlueJackets 3

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Jordan Eberle 10 (PP) (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Tom Gilbert) 0:21

CLS Mark Letestu 4 (PP) (Rick Nash, James Wisniewski) 18:54


2nd Period
CLS Derek Dorsett 4 (SH) (Unassisted) 10:16


3rd Period
EDM Ryan Jones 7 (Ryan Smyth, Ryan Whitney) 1:41

EDM Ladislav Smid 2 (Tom Gilbert, Ryan Smyth) 6:19

EDM Ryan Jones 8 (Eric Belanger, Magnus Paajarvi) 8:06

CLS Derek Dorsett 5 (Marc Methot, Derek MacKenzie) 11:00

EDM Ales Hemsky 3 (Shawn Horcoff, Sam Gagner) 15:57

EDM Ryan Jones 9 (EN) (Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky) 19:22


Penalty Summary
1st Period
0:13 Columbus hooking - 2 min R. Nash drawn by L. Smid
14:30 Edmonton holding - 2 min A. Sutton drawn by D. Dorsett
17:00 Columbus fighting - 5 min J. Boll drawn by D. Hordichuk
17:00 Edmonton fighting - 5 min D. Hordichuk drawn by J. Boll
17:00 Edmonton unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min D. Hordichuk drawn by J. Boll served by J. Eberle
18:28 Edmonton too many men on ice - 2 min Bench served by S. Gagner

2nd Period
9:25 Columbus cross checking - 2 min J. Boll drawn by D. Hordichuk
15:41 Edmonton holding - 2 min L. Smid drawn by R. Nash

3rd Period
8:22 Edmonton holding - 2 min S. Gagner drawn by N. Nikitin

Shots On Goal - Oilers 34 BlueJackets 39

Game Notes:
- Secondary scoring finally showed up tonight and helped the Oilers gain a much needed 2 points tonight. Ryan Jones was front and center, scoring 3 of the 5 goals in the third period outburst the Oilers had. Ladislav Smid scored a big goal, getting his 2nd in a week after going 2 years without one. Ales Hemsky scored a beauty, and was playing the role of token power forward by going out and finishing checks, something that is going to be needed up and down the lineup. Columbus ran out of gas and the Oilers did just enough to have Columbus battle for their ground. At the end of the second, when the Oilers were down 2-1, I figured it was another game the Oilers would go down with a whimper. But they stood up in the third period, took over the battles and the game. It was a must win game, and they got the 2 points they dearly needed. It seemed like an out of body experience some of the Oiler players were having in the third period. Ales Hemsky hitting, Ladi Smid scoring, Ryan Jones with a hat trick. Just a game that leaves you wondering how the heck that happened. The Oilers have been having a lot of those moments this year. I'm giving up predicting on whats going on with this team because who knows.

Player of the Game:
- Ryan Jones. Jones came in and snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat. Secondary scoring finally showed up and its little surprise that they won the game because of it. Secondary scoring has been an Achilles' heel for the Oilers this year, with Gagner, Paajarvi and Belanger still goalless. Jones was his usual self, finishing checks, endless battling and yeoman PK work. Its good to see him have a game like this.

Goat of the Game:
- Tom Gilbert. His play on the 2-1 goal that allowed Derek Dorsett to go in on a breakaway was pretty avoidable on all fronts. Just a series of ugly plays. Ultimately, it ended up with him coughing up the puck to Dorsett and then falling down to allow Dorsett to go in on a breakaway. It could have been a backbreaking goal at the time, fortunately the Oilers secondary scoring showed up. Gilbert did have 2 assists and was +1, so it wasn't a total dog of a game for him.

Next Game - Saturday December 3, 2011 vs. Flames @ Rexall Place on CBC 8 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #26 Oilers vs. BlueJackets



Game #3 of a 6 game homestand, where the Oilers dropped a 3-2 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild. I heard on the radio today where one of the local pundits was calling for 9 out of 12 points in the homestand. Welp, they only have 1 out of 4 points so far. Meaning they would have to get all 8 points in the next 4 games. I think it's a tall order with the way this team is running and Taylor Hall on the shelf. The Oilers face the BlueJackets, the Flames, the Hurricanes and the Avalanche on the rest of the homestand, none of them world beaters and all the games are winnable, but like the Oilers teams of the past, the fact they can beat themselves or they don't have enough bullets in their chamber will lead to their undoing at some point. Let's face it, the forward ranks are too light. When the Oiler forwards only have 5 players over 200lbs and 3 of them are 4th liners, Hordichuk, Eager and Petrell, that's not good. The Oilers can't play the "wear down game' with other teams because they don't have enough heavy bodies to lean on teams. It really disables them to win in that fashion, leaving other teams fresh and with hope at the end of games. Columbus comes into this game 7-15-3, the worst club in the NHL. A team that played Calgary on Thursday night and won 4-3 in a shootout. They had a late game comeback to get 2 points out of Calgary, so they have a bit of mojo going. I might be watching tonight's game with my eyes closed because its a game they need to win and its a game they might lose. Outskill. Outwill. Outwork. Outsmart. Outlast.

Forwards Oilers
- The Nuge and Eberle are running real hot, they need that to continue to work here.
Defense Oilers
- The defense has a good blend and is playing well over the last few games.
Goaltending Oilers
- If Dubnyk gets the start, I'm scared, but Columbus goaltending is a mess.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers top 10 in PP and PK while Columbus is bottom 3rd in both.
Coaching BlueJackets
- Its the only place where the Oilers can lose this game. The lines are a mess, they need to be tightened up.
Intangibles Oilers
- This is the back half of a back to back set for the BlueJackets.


Oilers:
Smyth-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Gagner-Horcoff-Hemsky
Paajarvi-Belanger-Jones
Hordichuk-O'Marra-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Whitney-Petry
Sutton-Peckham

Dubnyk
Khabibulin

BlueJackets:
Prospal-Carter-Nash
Umberger-Letestu-Johansen
Vermette-Pahlsson-Dorsett
Brassard-MacKenzie-Boll

Tyutin-Nikitin
Methot-Wisniewski
Moore-Clitsome

Mason
Sanford

Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post Game: Game #25 Wild 3 Oilers 2 (SO)

Summary
1st Period
EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 11 (Andy Sutton, Jordan Eberle) 9:58


2nd Period
EDM Jordan Eberle 9 (PP) (Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) 5:10

MIN Devin Setoguchi 8 (Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley) 11:31

MIN Kyle Brodziak 6 (PP) (Nick Johnson, Marco Scandella) 14:51


3rd Period
None

EDM Jordan Eberle shootout goal

MIN Pierre-Marc Bouchard shootout goal

EDM Ales Hemsky shootout saved

MIN Mikko Koivu shootout goal

EDM Sam Gagner shootout goal

MIN Matt Cullen shootout miss

EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shootout miss

MIN Devin Setoguchi shootout saved

EDM Shawn Horcoff shootout goal

MIN Dany Heatley shootout goal

EDM Ryan Smyth shootout saved

MIN Kyle Brodziak shootout goal

Penalty Summary
1st Period
2:12 Minnesota fighting - 5 min B. Staubitz drawn by D. Hordichuk
2:12 Edmonton fighting - 5 min D. Hordichuk drawn by B. Staubitz
2:52 Minnesota holding - 2 min M. Lundin drawn by A. Hemsky
10:42 Minnesota tripping - 2 min K. Brodziak drawn by A. Hemsky
12:30 Edmonton too many men on ice - 2 min Bench served by A. Hemsky
16:18 Edmonton interference with goaltender - 2 min R. Jones drawn by N. Backstrom
17:02 Edmonton cross checking - 2 min L. Smid drawn by C. Clutterbuck

2nd Period
4:31 Minnesota roughing - 2 min G. Zanon drawn by M. Paajarvi
12:56 Edmonton interference - 2 min A. Sutton drawn by C. Gillies
14:55 Minnesota high-sticking - 2 min N. Johnson drawn by M. Paajarvi

3rd Period
4:44 Edmonton roughing - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by M. Cullen

OT Period
3:07 Edmonton tripping - 2 min R. Smyth drawn by J. Spurgeon

Shots On Goal - Oilers 30 Wild 29

Game Notes:
- Tough to be critical of this loss, but at the same time, it feels like the Oilers let a point slip away to a divisional opponent. I commend the Oilers for battling their tails off tonight, but ultimately could not score the third goal that would have mattered. Players played, coaches coached, managers continue to sit idly by. Like somehow Ryan O'Marra is the missing ingrediant for what ails this team. I do wonder if Steve Tambellini and company will throw this team a life preserver and get this team some top 6 bigger body help. It might have been the difference tonight, and it may be the difference in many more games this season. Watching a game like tonight and just shaking my head in shame. The Oilerss are close. When I say close, I mean they are only one maybe two pieces away from being a playoff team, this year, I kid you not. The defense is playing hard and limiting mistakes, Khabibulin has been pretty consistant this year, but the forward lines are missing some umph, especially in the top 6. Minnesota should feel fortunate they walked away with two points, much like the last game they played here. A lot of it has to do with the fact the Oilers are not playing with a full deck, some because of injury, some because of management.

Player of the Game:
- Jordan Eberle. Scored a goal, had an assist, scored in the shootout, did everything but deliver the beer. Eberle and the Nuge have really been having a good run of chemistry, pretty much since the beginning of the year. Right now, these two players have been the best options for an Oiler goal over the last 10 games. Eberle is on a nice scoring run these days.

Goat of the Game:
- Eric Belanger. To play almost 20 minutes and not have a shot on goal is mystifying. I know Belanger is here to win faceoffs and kill penalties and he's doing a wonderful job of that. But if you are playing almost 20 minutes a game, you gotta find a way to contribute offensively. Belanger is stuck in first gear offensively and the only way he's getting out of it is shooting the puck. Disappointed to see zero shots by his name.

Next Game - Friday December 2, 2011 vs. BlueJackets on Sportsnet West 7:30 PM MT

Pre-Game: Game #25 Oilers vs. Wild



The Oilers come into this game, losers of 2 in a row, dropping a 2-1 contest to Nashville on Monday night. The Oilers are very close to becoming entrenched in a long drought, at a point in the season where they are on an extended homestand with winnable game on the schedule. It's a make or break point in the season for the Oilers. By the end of the homestand we should figure out what the 2011/2012 version of the Oilers are. The Taylor Hall injury has upset the balance that the forward corps had established up to this point. Hemsky and Paajarvi will have to pick up the pace and start attacking the other teams' defense. Without the up tempo pace, the Oilers will become easy to defend without any muscle to back things up. The Oilers will have to start getting creative to find new ways of generating offense, which will put more pressure on the power play to keep up the pace. It's a slippery slope for the Oilers. They will have to take some more gambles on offense while not giving up anything defensively, all while trying to stay healthy. Minnesota is coming off a 3-1 at home to Tampa Bay. Minnesota, much like Nashville on Monday, are looking for some revenge after losing on home ice to the Oilers last week. It will be interesting to see how the Oilers come out for this game. They definitely need to find more energy.

Forwards Wild
- Without Hall, I have a hard time giving the edge to the Oilers here. The Wild are getting strong center play from Koivu, Cullen and Brodziak.
Defense Oilers
- The Oilers defense is finally starting to stabilize, good blend of mobility, puck distribution and toughness.
Goaltending Wild
- The Oilers have a tough time with Backstrom but they totally own Harding. Its going to depend who is in net.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers will have to win the special teams game if they want to win. They continue to have top 10 PP and PK.
Coaching Wild
- The Oilers have gotten away from a true checking line, unless Paajarvi-Belanger-Jones is a quasi checking line.
Intangibles Oilers
- The Oilers are sleeping in their own beds while Minnesota is playing their third game in four nights.

Oilers:
Smyth-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Gagner-Horcoff-Hemsky
Paajarvi-Belanger-Jones
Hordichuk-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Whitney-Petry
Sutton-Peckham

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Wild:
Clutterbuck-Koivu-Heatley
Setoguchi-Cullen-Bouchard
Powe-Brodziak-Johnson
Wellman-McIntyre-Staubitz

Schultz-Lundin
Stoner-Zanon
Scandella-Spurgeon

Backstrom
Harding

Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on TSN.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Post Game: Game #24 Predators 2 Oilers 1

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Jordan Eberle 8 (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) 7:07


2nd Period
NSH Shea Weber 4 (PP) (Ryan Suter, Anders Lindback) 11:34


3rd Period
NSH Nick Spaling 3 (Jordin Tootoo, Craig Smith) 12:21

Penalty Summary
1st Period
8:49 Nashville roughing - 2 min S. Weber drawn by A. Hemsky

2nd Period
6:35 Edmonton cross checking - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by J. Tootoo
6:35 Edmonton elbowing - 5 min R. Jones drawn by B. Geoffrion
6:35 Nashville diving - 2 min J. Tootoo drawn by T. Peckham
6:55 Nashville interference - 2 min S. Kostitsyn drawn by R. Smyth
8:31 Nashville tripping - 2 min R. Josi drawn by J. Eberle
18:51 Nashville high-sticking - 2 min J. Tootoo drawn by R. Nugent-Hopkins

3rd Period
2:25 Edmonton high-sticking - 2 min C. Teubert drawn by J. Tootoo

Shots On Goal - Oilers 18 Predators 31

Game Notes:
- The Oilers just didn't have enough "umph" tonight and ultimately one lackluster clearing attempt did them in. Chalk this one under " a game they should have won but lost" category. Nashville's offense is non-existant but simply outworked the Oilers tonight where the Oilers felt Nashville was going to hand over 2 points. The execution was real poor and the Oilers were stuck second guessing themselves all night. The good and the bad of the Oilers this year is, you never know what you're going to get. Welp, tonight was the bad and then the ugly. Getting only 18 shots and applying very little pressure after scoring in the first period is unforgivable. Ryan Jones taking a five minute phantom elbowing penalty really set the Oilers back. It was a bad call, but the Oilers never could get any momentum from that point on. Taylor Hall had an impact on the game without playing in the game. The Oilers sorely could have used his gamebreaking ability tonight. Magnus Paajarvi, taking Hall's spot tonight, had some decent mojo going early, but faded much like the team around him. I still don't know what to make of this team, on one hand I want to rip a strip off their backside, really letting them have it. But, on the other hand, you start to remember last year and then one remembers what they were. The Oilers are making progress on one hand, but on the other hand, you really feel they are leaving a lot on the table by some of the personnel decisions management is making. I fully expect to see more games like tonight as long as management is willing to stand pat and assess.

Player of the Game:
- Colten Teubert. I thought to a man everyone underachieved tonight. I could and probably should give it to Khabibulin but that first goal he gave up was fromage. I have decided to give it to Teubert for his steady play and his toughness since he has shown up here. Oh, who am I kidding, everyone else sucked, but good on Teubert. It's rare for me to give a bottom pairing defenseman kudos, so here it is.

Goat of the Game:
- Sam Gagner. Geez, no shortage here. I could give out three on the winning goal. Gagner for being weak on the puck and coughing it up, Belanger for covering air in front, and for Whitney playing like his ankles are going to shatter any second. There were a lot of passengers tonight. I hate to single out Gagner here, because he did play well tonight. But on a play like that he has to eat the puck along the boards and keep it there as long as he can. He simply threw the puck weakly into the slot allowing Nashville to keep the play alive.

Next Game: Wednesday November 30, 2011 vs. Wild @ Rexall Place on TSN 7:30 PM MT

Pre-Game: Game #24 Oilers vs. Predators


The Oilers come home to start a 6 games homestand, spread out nicely over 12 days. The keys for the Oilers is to remain focused and not take any shortcuts throughout. The games are winnable ones but ones that cannot be taken for granted. The Oilers are coming off a bitter 5-2 loss to the Avalanche where they just looked to have ran out of gas in the third period. The Oilers sit in ninth place in the conference currently, so this homestand could make or break the Oilers in terms of thinking playoffs, or thinking high draft pick again. They really need to make some hay here, so are they ready for primetime or down time? We'll find out shortly. Nashville comes into this game losers of 4 in a row, coming off a 4-1 loss in Detroit. The Oilers beat Nashville 6-2 on Tuesday to help Nashville with four in a row. It will be interesting to see if Nashville comes out with any fire in the belly tonight. I will try and post an update on Taylor Hall's injury as more news is made available.

Forwards Oilers
- Even without Hall, the Oilers have more dynamic forwards than the Predators have.
Defense Predators
- I expect Weber and Suter to be much better tonight than they were against the Oilers on Tuesday.
Goaltending Predators
- Ditto goes for Rinne.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers have some of the best special teams going in the NHL, ranked 4th on the PP and 9th on the PK.
Coaching Predators
- Tom Renney has so many forwards right now that I'm not sure he knows what to do with them.
Intangibles Oilers
- Home ice and last change should get the matchups the Oilers want.

Oilers:
Smyth-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Petrell-Horcoff-Hemsky
Jones-Belanger-Gagner
Paajarvi-Lander-Hordichuk

Whitney-Petry
Smid-Gilbert
Peckham-Teubert

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Predators:
Wilson-Legwand-Hornqvist
Erat-Fisher-Kostitsyn
Tootoo-Smith-Spaling
Halischuk-Smithson-McGratton

Suter-Weber
Hillen-Klein
Josi-Blum

Rinne
Lindback

Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Post Game: Game #23 Avalanche 5 Oilers 2

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Ladislav Smid 1 (Sam Gagner, Ryan Jones) 2:59

COL Jay McClement 3 (Chuck Kobasew, Matt Duchene) 4:35


2nd Period
EDM Ryan Jones 6 (Eric Belanger, Sam Gagner) 2:24


3rd Period
COL Shane O'Brien 1 (PP) (Ryan O'Reilly, Milan Hejduk) 6:06

COL Stefan Elliott 1 (Ryan O'Reilly) 8:03

COL Jan Hejda 2 (Chuck Kobasew, David Jones) 16:19

COL Paul Stastny 7 (EN) (Milan Hejduk) 18:07

Penalty Summary1st Period
17:40 Colorado cross checking - 2 min K. Quincey drawn by T. Hall

2nd Period
3:55 Colorado hooking - 2 min P. Stastny drawn by A. Hemsky
18:37 Edmonton hooking - 2 min R. Jones drawn by D. Winnik

3rd Period
1:11 Colorado tripping - 2 min M. Duchene drawn by R. Smyth
3:12 Edmonton holding - 2 min R. Whitney drawn by C. Kobasew
4:46 Edmonton slashing - 2 min J. Petry drawn by G. Landeskog

Shots On Goal - Oilers 33 Avalanche 29

Game Notes:
- Tough one to take. The Oilers left point(s) on the table tonight, mostly due to one ill-advised penalty to Petry and Smid showing the down side to blocking shots. The Oilers played well for 50 minutes. I thought even after a point shot went off of Lander's glove and in the net, this game was salvagable. But then a couple of sifters beat Dubnyk, with no help from Smid and it was lights out. Taylor Hall got wiped out early by Ryan Wilson and left the game with an apparent shoulder injury. With Ales Hemsky's career as an Oiler surely winding down, its time for a new set of shoulders to start getting beaten up. No word yet on the severity of the injury, but this is the type of injury that should raise all kinds of red flags, moreso than his ankle injury from last year. Shoulders are things that do not repair easily and will only get worse with the style that Hall plays. Need to treat this injury with kid gloves. The road trip ends 2-2. If the Oilers would have taken that at the beginning of the trip, however I felt this was the most winnable game of the trip and they found a way to let it slip away. I'd say heavy legs would be a concern, but how the last couple goals went in, in my mind these were just mental gaffes. This season has that the ebbs and flows to the season will be sharp. If anything, this year should make every Oiler fan totally bipolar.

Player of the Game:
- Sam Gagner. I felt he was the most dangerous player for the Oilers tonight. Chipped in with 2 assists, including a nice feed to Ladi Smid for his bi-annual goal. He was able to find some space while a lot of the other Oiler players were getting smushed into the glass. Reminded me a lot of his rookie year, which is a good sign he is starting to understand his role better and he might finally be starting to channel his inner Jordan Eberle.

Goat of the Game:
- Devan Dubnyk. There was a lot on Dubnyk's shoulders tonight considering the Oilers were in a back to back, end of the road trip, rarified air, yadda yadda yadda. Dubnyk played for 50 minutes and then wheels fell off. The Oilers really needed Dubnyk to bring this game home, but instead he left it there. Dubnyk and Smid were a mess on the final two goals. I blame mostly Smid because, well if you're not going to block the shots, get the frick out of the way. Smid was running out of gas and did score a goal tonight, so I'll cut him a bit of slack. Dubnyk gave up two sifters and that was that. Just a tough way to lose when being up 2-1 going into the 3rd period.

Next Game: Monday November 28, 2011 vs. Predators @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West 7:30 PM MT.