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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Eastern Conference Preview:

Last Year's Final Standings:

1 z - Montréal Canadiens


2 y - Pittsburgh Penguins


3 y - Washington Capitals


4 x - New Jersey Devils


5 x - New York Rangers


6 x - Philadelphia Flyers


7 x - Ottawa Senators


8 x - Boston Bruins


Last year, the Flyers got back in to the playoffs with a large overhaul, revamping their entire line-up; the Canadiens rode their superb powerplay to the top. The Penguins, young though skilled, failed to usurp the Habs in their quest for the East title. Also interesting was Washington exherting their influence on the weak Southeast division, though they would have made the playoffs regardless. Also, by fending off last minute surges by Carolina and Buffalo, the Bruins squeaked into the playoffs.

Pre-All-Star Game Predictions (Approximated)

1 z - Pittsburgh Penguins


2 y - Montréal Canadiens


3 y - Washington Capitals


4 x - Ottawa Senators


5 x - New York Rangers


6 x - New Jersey Devils


7 x - Philadelphia Flyers


8 x - Tampa Bay Lightning


This year, I see the Penguins establishing the start of their young dynasty: contrary to some cynics, the loss of Marian Hossa, Ryan Malone, and Colby Armstrong will not affect the team. Last year's playoff push, though it will leave them a bit sluggish in October for a few games, will see them take the reigns and grow stronger as a team. Crosby, Malkin, and Staal will again show us why they were so dominant last year.

The Canadiens will still be as strong as always, though with Carey Price struggling at times to establish himself as more of a legitimate starting goaltender rather than a leading netminding prospect, they will have a hard time recapturing top spot. He will succeed, and the Canadiens, packed with young and exciting talent, will be near the top of the East. However, they will not be strong enough to fend off the Penguin attack.

Expect Washington to repeat the same circumstances that they were under last year. Strong within their division, they will be complacent against tougher competition in the East and in the West. However, they will have learned a lot from last year's playoff run as well as a growing stock of young but surprisingly resilient young talent. They could challenge for the semi-finals this year, IMO. Would they succeed? It would depend on the performance of Pittsburgh and Montreal. Simply, Washington's success will hinge on one word: Ovechkin.

The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, will run in circles this year. They will not advance forward nor drop back from where they were last season.

The additions to the Rangers are either aging stars or injury prone young-guns with questionable attitudes. Can they make a leader out of Zherdev? Will Naslund regain his form? Will Wade Redden be a leading PP point-man? These are some questions the Rangers need to answer. Because if they are not answered, their large payroll will look disgustingly dehabilitating once injuries kick in...

The New Jersey Devils, though not advancing forward in their quest for Lord Stanley, will have learned a lot about what works and what doesn't, from last year. Zach Parise and Travis Zajac will have good year, but whether Patrick Elias will deliver may be questionable this year.

As for changes in tune, watch for the Senators young talent, shielded by the uniting of the Alfredsson-Heatley-Spezza line, to have ample ice-time against lesser competition and they will shine. As shown in the photo above, the Nick Folignos, Antoine Vermettes, and Mike Fishers will definitely benefit from this.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, the biggest mover and shaker in this past off-season, will surprise everyone despite the "long layoff" of their head coach Barry Melrose. His fresh views and unorthodox coaching style will be take some getting used to in the short run. But as time goes on, the Lightning will be the only other team from the Southeast to make the playoffs this year. Though they might have overpaid a bit, the additions of Recchi, Malone, among other grittier folk, will guarantee a hard-nosed brand of hockey mended experience and skill. This will take some of the work off of the shoulders of the Lecavalier-St.Louis-??? (insert whatever player you prefer) line and allow the Stamkos line to flourish.

Agree? Disagree? Neutral? Post your comments below.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Preseason Game 3, FLA @ EDM : 3-2 Loss (SO)

I missed the game, but a few thoughts:

(1) Liam Reddox has turned out to be exactly the kind of player Craig MacTavish likes. He can play offense, forechecks like a demon, and is all over the ice. He's not shy to get involved in on-ice contact despite not being an overly physical player. This one's a keeper.

(2) As I had predicted, Rob Schremp came out and proved why he's well known to be a shootout specialist. He's not well known the way Sam Gagner is (nor as much of a well rounded player) but I think Schremp is at the point where he has enough assets to make the team. As excited as I am to see Gilbert Brule join the team, I think it's the right time for Schremp to come in on the 4th line, and earn his stripes. If an injury crops up, he will be available for 1-2 line duty.

(3) Jeff DesLauriers is looking like a legitimate NHL goaltender. A few tweaks here and there and we have 3 NHL goalies on the squad. That is a terrible situation. It's great for the goalies (competition) but bad for the team (taking up an extra roster spot). With the way Dwayne Roloson played at the end of last year and so far in training camp, it's difficult but one would have to say that he is most probably the odd-man out.

(4) Theo Peckham is a monster. 'Nuff said.

(5) The era of the Oilers' shootout domination - is it already over? Or is it too soon to proclaim anything? Or is it just that Gagner isn't around? Personally, I think Nilsson and Pisani should get as many looks on the shootout as Hemsky and Horcoff do.

(6) Who is going to end up in Stockton? Perugini, Fisher, Pitton, or Dubnyk? A combination of these?

shouldn't Steve Staios be s-squared as well?

I have an Oilers joke, albeit incredibly lame...well it's more like a random thought than it is a joke...

If Mellon Arena is called the Igloo and is home to the Penguins, shouldn't Rexall Place be called Fort McMurray then?

Get it? Fort McMurray. oil sands. Oilers...haha

Random idea from a comment left by the user Marion. Not bad, maybe we should refer to Rexall as Fort McMurray. But then would we have to rename the Oilers the Oil Sands (or Tar Sands)... maybe we should call it The Refinery?

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Oilers drop pre-season tilt to Canucks by score of 4-3 (SO)

This is Cory Schneider.

He played tonight, and with the exception of looking confused after a few Sheldon Souray point shots, or out to lunch on Sam Gagner's moves on the breakway/shootout, was very calm and composed, and played his angles very well.

On some occasions, he was the only thing going for the Canucks. He probably is the best reason why the Canucks stuck around 'til OT where they won it in the shootout.

One day (if he isn't traded before then), he could be the reason the Canucks can afford to trade Bobby Lu the Saviour.

Quote me on this.

Post-game thoughts:

It looks as if the Oilers won't be relying as much on the shootout this year for wins. It could be that Garon was just warming up after a long summer... or it's an indication that the Oilers have moved beyond reliance on the shootout as a means to win games.

The powerplay looked deadly tonight even though they scored only one goal. The penalty kill also looked deadly - in the sense that it had trouble keeping the Canucks from driving the net. For the first time this training camp, Peckham looked a step behind, perhaps the sign that he is still a bit away from being ready for the NHL. Chorney, however, looked very smart, despite the questionable call at the end of overtime.

It always seems to me that Visnovsky is in the right place at the right time to one-time the puck. When the season rolls around I will be expecting to see all kinds of goals resulting from his shot or a rebound resulting from his wicked shot.

Last but not least, who is Dan Gendur and why is he scoring goals on us? We need to put the Hans Benson radar on this guy. Seek and destroy.

A few points I would like to make:

(1) Shooting tendencies: Since the shootout was instated, it always seems that Hemsky often shoots over the net wide on the right side.
(2) The wizard without a wand: Robbie Schremp looked very nervous on the shootout. If he gets another chance before (a) getting assigned to Springfield, (b) getting traded, or (c) making the team, look for him to be more controlled in what many rightfully attribute to be Robbie's domain.
(3) Comfortability in the lineup: Gagner looks even better than he did last year at the end of the season. Whether it is making Cory Schneider look foolish or little dangle plays that prevent plays from going offside, Gagner has shown that he can play on any of the top 3 lines with any combination of forwards and feel comfortable. Cole, on the other hand, has looked good but not in any way in-sync with the other Oilers forwards. Hopefully, that happens sooner than later.
(4) Watch out for that tree!: Is it just me, or did the Canucks get a lot bigger over the off season? We're gonna have to dress guys like Strudwick in those games.
(5) Like winning the lottery: The Canucks gambled on a castaway and signed a guy with major AHL success in Wellwood and Krog respectively, and it looks good now. Whether it translates to regular season success is yet to be seen.
(6) Heat seaking missiles: At least that's what the point shots on the Oilers PP looked and sounded like - things going really fast and exploding off of stuff. Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad. Thank you Russell Peters and Kevin Lowe.

New Oilers' nicknames:

Jason Strudwick - STUDwick
Rob Schremp - Lowetide calls him Sugartits, I think Wizard or Bubba Gump would be more befitting
Marc-Antoine Pouliot - Friendly Fire (he needs to stop running into his own team mates)
Lubomir Visnovsky - Mr. Lube

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Oilers Training Camp Update #2

The first pre-season game is underway.

More Oilers' jokes:

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oilers Training Camp Update

After watching much of the Oilers' training camp, including rookie games and Joey Moss Cup, I thought it would be appropriate to think about some fun ways to refer to our players. Thus, I have some Oilers' jokes and nicknames.

Newest Oiler jokes:

1. What did the coach say when he wanted the rookie to be a better team player?
Make like the Cogs in the machine!

2. What did the coach say to the player heading to the press box?
Don't make me Paukovich!!!

3. Who in the Oilers' organization has the least funny name?
Phillipe Cornet

I have come up with some nicknames for some of the Oilers and Oilers' hopefuls:

David Rohlfs - Rohlfcopter (or ROFLcopter, for those of you familiar with Internet Lingo)
Erik Cole - The Slaw (as in Cole Slaw)
Geoff Paukovich - The Headhunter, or Highlander
Marc-Andre Bernier - A.L.I.A.B (At Least I Aint Bergeron!)
Toby LaFrance - The Revolution, or Viva Toby, or Wine and Cheese, or Cup of T, or French Fry
Phillipe Cornet - The Comedian (see Oilers' joke #3)
Glenn Fisher - The Apostle (refer to the gospel)
Ales Hemsky - Hemmertime
Shawn Horcoff - Tuberculosis (I don't want to explain this one... but jesting and jokes aside, I believe Horcoff is the future captain after Ethan Moreau)
Sheldon Souray - S-squared
Lubomir Visnovsky - V-Nov


I'm out of ideas.

Just a thought: If Gilbert Brule were female, and he married Tom Gilbert, wouldn't his name be Gilbert Gilbert?

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Lowetide goes to Oilersnation

So Lowetide has joined Oilersnation. Up until now there were only 3 hockey websites that I would check more than once a day:


Why did I visit hockeybuzz, you may ask? If there was a Jesuit mission concentrated towards bringing people over from the hockey dark side, that would be me. I usually get into heated debates with people on hockeybuzz who think that Kevin Lowe is singlehandedly raising the average salary in the NHL... go figure. I also find it interesting that nothing Eklund has reported has ever panned out.

Now, the opposite is/was true of Lowetide. Often I found it to be the hockey heaven of Oilerland. Albeit focused mainly on the Oilers, there was major hockey insight here. Not just from LT himself, but from the comments abound from the many visitors he receives. In this environment, I didn't feel like I needed to do any hockey teaching. Au contraire, I came here to be educated.

And I almsot panicked when I heard that LT went over to Oilersnation. But when I found out Robin Brownlee was also there, and after reading a few articles, I was rest assured things were okay. We still have our LT. Because without LT, the summers without hockey would definitely suck. Because without LT, the summers without hockey would consist of only hockeybuzz. Hockeysfuture and HFBoards is just not the same. It's Oilers' heaven down here.

I guess I'll have to start visiting Oilersnation more than once a day now.

P.S. Shout out to Addicted to Oil (http://addicted-to-oil.blogspot.com) who started blogging again recently. Suneil has posted some good stuff up, so check it out.

Monday, September 1, 2008

New Layout

I'm not aware if anyone actually reads my blog. Regardless, I have decided that the time has come for me to make a new layout.

Also, I would encourage comments on my blogs on how (insert positive or negative adjective here, ex. good, shitty, dry) they are.

Layout by Antony Ta
CSS document edited from its original version by Douglas Bowman
First version: Sunday, October 26, 2008