Thursday, January 5, 2012
Pre-Game: Game #40 Oilers vs. Blues
Almost to the end of the road trip and almost to the halfway point of the season. Game 6 of the roadtrip and the Oilers have gone 1-4 to this point. The Oilers have called up Teemu Hartikainen and Josh Green over the last few days. These are good moves as long as 1) they don't play together and 2) they both play LW. Whoever gave the intel of Josh Green being a capable center is mistaken. The play was too fast for him at center and his reads were too slow. He's an up and down winger, nothing more, nothing less. Hartikainen did not have a good game in Buffalo either, but deserves another shot at redemption with some different linemates. He could help out some of the other diminutive forwards on this team or play a 4th line role with Ben Eager and they can tag team Dmen all night. Either way, Tom Renney needs to figure out what these players are. I like the fact the Oilers are going with a bigger lineup, but jebus, use your players properly. Shawn Horcoff is playing with a bum shoulder which may have led to trying Josh Green at center. If thats the case, have a winger take the draws for him but have him cover down low at the center position. Horcoff is still the best defensive center on the team with Belanger still trying to "find himself" and Lander and Nugent-Hopkins still being rookies. St. Louis comes into this game losers of 3 out of their last 4, but winners aginst Phoenix, 4-1 on Monday night. The Blues have been playing very well since making a coaching change, with a 22-12-5 record overall.
- The Blues have a lot of bigger bodies, but they don't have a Taylor Hall or a Jordan Eberle.
- Shattenkirk and Piertrangelo are two of the best young defensemen in the NHL.
- Brian Elliot, yes Brian Elliot, has some of the best numbers in the NHL. Khabibulin and Dubnyk have been too hit and miss lately.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers own the 2nd best power play in the NHL, the Blues are 29th.
- Ken Hitchcock seems to own the Oilers no matter where he is coaching. Tom Renney has some issues with line combos and roles to work out.
- The Oilers are staggering towards the end of the road trip.
Oilers: (my version)
Game Time - 6 PM MT @ St.Louis on Sportsnet Edmonton.