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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

15 indications that your team is in trouble:



You know your team is in trouble when ...

1. Ladislav Smid is considered one of your veteran D-men.
2. You have to start your 39 year old goalie in 33 straight games and for 60 or more games in a season - even IF he is your best player.
3. You're in the middle of a playoff race and the 39 year old goalie is your best player. No offense to Roli though, he's been great this season.
4. Jason Strudwick is the guy you pair with Theo Peckham.
5. MacTavish gives the nod of confidence to Zach Stortini in the final minutes over everyone else who couldn't deliver. Good goal Zach my boy, good goal.
6. You have less 2 million cap space and your team cannot compete.
7. You're 77 games into the season and you can't afford to play your backup goalie even though your starter is dead tired.
8. Your team flatlines after the 1st period in a must-win game.
9. You run out of scapegoats. Can't blame 'em if they're sitting in the pressbox.
10. The team needs more defensive grit and you call up Taylor Chorney. Doesn't make any sense to me when Roy, Young, and Taylor waiting to go.
11. You can win all the games except the must-win games.
12. MacTavish has lost the room and the administration are willing to hang him out to dry.
13. Ryan Stone is the second best player on your farm team and he was the sweetener in a goalie dump deal.
14. Your farm team is in last place in the entire league.
15. Kelly Buchberger is next in line for the head coaching position - and he took the Falcons to a stellar non-playoff finish in his AHL stint.

The Oilers should just pack it in because the way they are playing it looks like it anyway. Sure, we'll here some chivalrous response about "playing until the bitter end" of the season regardless of the fact that they called it quits a long time ago. I harken back to the 5 game losing streak that followed the 4 game winning streak back in October. The lack of consistency this season is glaring.

So now is not the time to boast about the values of the professional hockey player because frankly, if you're not going to make the playoffs, it would be nice at least to get a decent draft position in the upcoming draft. Spots 1-7 are all great players. Hell, the Oilers should call up Jordan Eberle and Rob Schremp and let them play out the season with a team not called the Falcons. Schremp is most likely trade bait this summer and it might be a fit farewell for a highly touted prospect who pouted about not getting his chance. And who knows, Eberle might have some of that magical spark left over from the World Juniors that the Oilers need. Plus, with the Falcons in last place, it might serve Eberle and Schremp better to play 5 games with a team where the games matter than spend the next week with a team that hasn't done anything well consistently all year.

Am I talking about the Falcons or the Oilers ... you ask?

Sorry, I'm not sure which team I'm talking about anymore. But the point is, however slim the chances - the Oilers can still make the playoffs. If the 4th line is the only line that looks like it gives a shit though, then the Oilers have nobody to blame but themselves. That "the fans are the 7th man on the ice" crap was horrible and it almost seemed like they were blaming the fans for not enough support. Fan support has been disproportionately high, I would argue, for a team that hasn't earned it. We've supported this circus for a few seasons now and our promises have not been delivered upon.

The fans aren't asking for a Stanley Cup. We just want to see a team that competes. Is that so much to ask for?

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Oilers ask for more support from fans



What do you think of this? It sounds almost desperate.

I don't mind supporting the team: I've done it all year for every season I've followed them. But the Oilers should show the desperation on the ice - not on the internet. Best of luck to the Oilers.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Les Habitants - A potential cash cow for Rexall Sports?



This is a follow up on this story on TSN about the possible sale of the Montreal Canadiens to le Caisse de depot et placement.

I think it's a bad idea to let the Quebec government and Parti Quebecois to get involved in the financial situation of the team because the example set by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the last few decades by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and the Maple Leaf board is not a stellar one to follow. We won't speak on any of Brian Burke's future moves, but everything since the mid-60s has been hit and miss for the Maple Leafs.

Instead, I would support another private investor coming in and buying the team, or at least the majority shareholding. If the Parti Quebecois wanted to buy some shares I would support a minority shareholding but to let the government get involved in the team would probably introduce a lot of unnecessary red tape to our hallowed habitants.

An example of such a buyer would be... wait for it...

DARYL KATZ.

That's right boys, if we combine the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens, we would have two of the storied franchises in the sport under the wing of Rexall Sports. And who doesn't want that? Imagine buying mini-packs for both teams on discount and flashback Rexall ads with Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, and Ken Dryden on them.

One can only dream.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

TSN is on Crack; Roli makes 51 saves



TSN is on crack.

And in other news, Dwayne Roloson is playing like God again, making 51 saves. Thank God for Holy Roli the Goalie. Wait, thank Roli for Roli... ?

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Time to "promote" Penner

Penner the Winkler, Manitoba native is currently the only Oiler that has a Stanely Cup ring. I'm not saying his experience is better than the vets on the Oilers but as it stands right now, Hemsky's and Horcoffs's best production in the last 2 years came when the one tough customer Penner was on that line.

When the trade deadline came around the Oilers tried the Kotalik experiment which failed immediately and as of right now, the Oilers are trying Patrick O' Sullivan on the 1st line. Personally, I see the potential for the line, but in my opinion teams shouldn't play with the dynamics of a team this late into the season. A problem I see on the first line is their inability to be effective down low. None of the players on the line right now have the ability to protect the puck for prolonged periods on the boards like Penner can. Also none of them have the ability to play in the crease as effectively as Penner. Last night against Phoenix several plays resulted in a loose puck in front of the net, but the 1st line wasn't able to get to it because they were being boxed out. Penner being 250lbs has a much better chance to retreive those pucks.

Tonight the Oilers are up against Penner's old team the Ducks. Should be a physical one. Hopefully the Oilers can grab the 2 points.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Critics of Ovechkin's 50th Goal Celebration

This is Ovechkin's 50th goal celebration, thanks to On Frozen Blog:





This is Nick Kypreos.

Nobody complains when Georges Laraque jumps into the boards - why do they complain about Ovie's unique take on goal celebrations? These are not the exact quotes, but they are pretty much what Kypreos said about it on the Hockey Discussion panel this morning:

"The problem is premeditation."
Firstly, what a load of crap. Nick Kypreos is full of it, to be quite honest.

Nick Kypreos wouldn't know his own tail if he was chasing it and all he is doing trying to say "let's celebrate 50 goals like a boring nana would - yea, like Sidney Crosby." Sidney Crosby didn't hide his reaction even though he didn't say it out loud to the cameras. They're both trying to play the "we're obedient to the league" card and doing what they deem to be the right P.R. move, by giving us what we expect.

Well holy smokes boys, isn't there something wrong with being a clich├ęd pussy like Sidney Crosby, especially in an entertainment sport? Sure, we all need professionals and role models in the game - but celebrating a goal has never been unprofessional. If the rest of the league were boring like Crosby it would be a sad day for hockey.

He spent his career taking part in fighting and nothing in hockey is more premeditated than fighting. When your star player gets hit - you fight. Two big guys line up at the face-off dot, you know what to expect.

The problem is premeditation my ass. It probably took Ovechkin all of 5 seconds to come up with that goal celebration. If Kypreos needs to do a pre-game strategization session in order to come up with that - he shouldn't be considered a hockey expert.

More crap from Kypreos:

"Look at Mike Green. He wants nothing to do with his celebration. That just goes to show you what he thinks of that."
Just because Mike Green doesn't celebrate goals doesn't mean he doesn't condone it. Whether or not he condones it doesn't matter, either, because most of the league loves it. So if Nick Kypreos or Don Cherry doesn't like it they can go tell someone who gives a rats ass because the league obviously doesn't care, either.

When Dave Semenko was dressing up to protect Gretzky, was Gretzky's non-involvement in fighting an indication of "what he thinks" about fighting? Let us remind Nick Kypreos what Gretzky "taking out the trash" actually looks like:



Yeah, like Gretzky would fight his own battles, right? Just because Gretzky doesn't take part in fighting doesn't mean he doesn't condone it, either. Mike Green makes a personal choice not to be a "goal-celebrating" kind of player, and Kypreos shouldn't twist that towards his own interpretation. When Green said he wanted nothing to do with it, it meant leave him neutral, not "skew his perspective in your favour."

They should allow goal celebrations because, let's face it, guys like Ovechkin who give it as good as they get it in every single facet of the game don't come along often. He loves the sport and that much is obvious from the passion of his celebration. People like Crosby and Kypreos are recapitulating the hockey model of their parents and forerunners - hockey before fun. Is that what fans want to see? No.

Let's be honest here, the NHL is trying to take out staged fighting. Let's remind Kypreos that his career was fighting and his career was ended by a fight. If he wants to pick his battles with premeditation I would ask him to please pay attention to something he actually knows something about and stop polluting Sportsnet with this "sucking-up to the league" crap, because premeditated fights are a way bigger issue that premeditated celebrations.



Honestly, hockey is an entertainment sport. Worse celebrations have been seen in hockey and in sports besides hockey and the only reason this is "newsworthy" is because it's Ovechkin's 5oth goal. Leave it be, and let the fans have some fun.

Some hockey panelists make me sick - their built-up importance reeks like a movie critic's inflated self-worth.

Forget the celebration - we should only care about the 5oth goal.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Oilers win 8-1



That's more like it ... :-D

I don't expect them to blow out the opponent every night, but it's good to see our Oilers back in gear and ready for a playoff drive: competing.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Rewarding Mediocrity



Ethan Moreau is a great person, leader, hockey player, and father - without a doubt. The praises stop there, though.

According to many "advanced" statistics such as the ones being discussed by David Staples, Bruce McCurdy, and Jonathan Willis, it appears that Dustin Penner does more for this hockey team than Ethan Moreau.

Marty Reasoner loved it in Edmonton, did he get his just deserts? Ryan Smyth played his heart out and was a great leader too - look what he got in return for it. And yes, Ethan Moreau "leaves it all out on the ice," in colloquial terms, but what is "it" he leaves on the ice: what is this captain's legacy?

1. Injury-prone
2. Takes more penalties than he draws
3. Continues to fight even though management doesn't want him to
4. Leads by example (meaning, the Oilers don't have any intensity)

Ethan Moreau has always been one of my favorite players, but the time has come to ask the following quesiton: if the Oilers award medicocrity, what does that say about the organization in general? What does that say about Kevin Lowe, Kelly Buchberger ... Craig MacTavish?

And what does that say about Dustin Penner? If he really is playing better than his own captain, does he deserve the short end of the stick - or does Edmonton as a whole owe him big time for his mistreatment?

Sure, some may argue he is slow and he doesn't appear to be a very intense player. Nobody complained about Steve MacIntyre or Georges Laraque's speed as long as they did their jobs: winning fights. Slowness was just the reality, not something you could hold against them.

The advanced stats show that Dustin Penner has been doing his job and doing his job well - despite being the victim of line juggling night-in and night-out. If the Oilers media and Oilers fans were happy with Steve MacIntyre and Georges Laraque, why the double-standard when it comes to Dustin Penner?

Thinking on the many Oilers captains we've had - Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Shayne Corson, Doug Weight, Jason Smith - it leads me to think - how many unofficial captains have we had? Ryan Smyth, Steve Staios, Chris Pronger (yes, even him), Sheldon Souray - all come to mind. But those types of players will never be offered any incentive as captain, since the outcome in the new regime is a predictable one: Craig MacTavish and Kelly Buchberger will reward one of their own - a plugging, one-dimensional player like Ethan Moreau. Even if it means throwing Dustin Penner under the bus.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's that time of year ... or is it?



The playoff spot is no longer the Oilers to lose ... it's there's to earn and defend. They're not playing like a team trying to solidify their grounding in late March, they're playing like a team ready to get out the golf clubs for early April. Their lack of intensity is disgusting.

Where have my Oilers gone?

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Penner the Whipping Boy



The Oilers current forward lineup:

Kotalik - Horcoff - Hemsky
Nilsson - Gagner - Pouliot
O'Sullivan - Cogliano - Pisani
Reddox - Brodziak - Stortini
Penner
Jacques
MacIntyre
Moreau*

A better forward lineup:

Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky
O'Sullivan - Gagner - Kotalik
Jacques - Cogliano - Pisani
Reddox - Brodziak - Stortini

When GM Steve Tambellini acquired two top 6 forwards, his goal in mind was to finally have 4 lines that MacTavish could roll on any given night and produce offensively without being a liability defensively.

What MacTavish has done instead is dismantle his top 3 lines, leaving line 4 as the only line with chemistry and consistency. No, it's not surprise anymore that MacTavish insists on playing players where they don't belong and have no familiarity. Jesus, did MacTavish even watch the videos and realize that Kotalik's points are all scored on the PP? He's not a goddamn 1st line player - Dustin Penner is miles ahead of him in that department.

This is ridiculous. It's no longer any surprise why line 4 is always the best Oilers' line in any game: it's the only line MacTavish hasn't tampered with. Jonathan Willis from OilersNation and Copper and Blue has shown that the Oilers play better with Penner on the 1st line than without him.

And EVEN IF he was too stubborn to put Penner back on the 1st line, he could at least realize that O'Sullivan doesn't belong where he's slotted. It's not like Pisani is an offensive juggernaut or deft playmaker, with respect to his individual abilities.

O'Sullivan is one of the league's leading shot-takers: it's time to put him on a line with Hemsky, not with the forechecking Cogliano/Pisani duo. That spot is reserved for when Moreau returns.

FMNF.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oilers @ Habs



Guy Charbonneau is gone. When someone told me an NHL coach was fired, I was thinking to myself "Has the FMNF campaign finally paid off?" Sadly, it did not. But Montreal is another city in which mediocrity is hard for the fans to stomach, just that in Montreal, they actually fire their coaches when mediocrity is the standard.

The Oilers got a win in Maple Laugh land the other night but those are not contending teams. In order to make the playoffs, the Oilers need to start beating the teams that are ahead of them, and the teams that are behind them.

They will win tonight.

Game Prediction:

Edmonton 5 Montreal 3
  • O'Sullivan with 2 goals, Nilsson with 1 goal
  • Kovalev will score
Return of Souray

This is the first time Souray has played in Montreal since becoming an Oiler. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Habs fans boo Souray. Souray was a popular player in his Habs days and I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't boo him.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Erik Cole, we miss you already



Erik Cole is 1-4-5 and +2 in 2 games since going back to Carolina.

Since rejoining the Hurricanes, the team has gone 2-0 outscoring their opponents 15-4, one team being the lowly Lightning and the other team being the might Flames.

Cole, we miss you already.

Big win by the Oil today - but they're going to have to win more of the gimme's like the games against Ottawa and Toronto if they even deserve a shot at playing the Sharks and the Red Wings in the post-season dance.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

The New Jarret Stoll



It turns out the "other Ales" or "Ales2" has something of a cannon for a point shot. I was going over old highlights of his goals yesterday night and it seems he is something of a deadly point man. Paired up with Souray, this allows Gilbert to play 2nd pairing and for the Oilers PP to be less centered around Souray - increasing the danger element on our PP.

I hear Pisani was on the Oilers PP and hopefully this changes for next game.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kotalik on LW?



We already know that Patrick O'Sullivan plays both wings and the C position. In the interview with Ales Kotalik he said he played all F positions as well. Hopefully this experiment turns out better than the:
  • Cole at LW
  • Pisani at C
  • Penner at RW
  • Smyth at C
  • insert MacBlender moment here ...
But the interviews have inspired some newfound hope in the Oilers' chances at finding new chemistry. With guys who have the versatility to play all F positions you have to be excited to consider all the new combinations the Oilers could try:
  • Kotalik on 1st line
  • Kotalik on 2nd line
  • O'Sullivan on 1st line
  • O'Sullivan on 2nd line
  • Penner on 2nd line
  • Penner on 3rd line
  • Pisani on 2nd line
  • Pisani on 3rd line
  • Stortini on 3rd line
  • Stortini on 4th line
On the current depth chart, Nilsson and Jacques join MacIntyre in the press box. I think this is ill advised to dress Pouliot ahead of Jacques, but perhaps MacT is going for chemistry over individual skill.

A welcome change, I believe.

The most exciting part is that Kotalik is a skilled power forward. His consistency has been questionable in Buffalo but he has scored big points before - he has done it before and he can do it again. He may be the guy the Oilers have been looking for to play with Hemsky.

He's definitely an upgrade from the following list:
  • Sergei Samsonov
  • Dustin Penner
  • Liam Reddox
  • Ryan Potulny
  • Robert Nilsson
  • insert failed MacBlender 1st line experiment here ...
My hope is that MacTavish finds that inner spark that he had in his first few years in Edmonton when he could coax line chemistry out of the most obscure combinations - back when Edmonton was not a playoff team and Petr Nedved was considered a gift from the Hockey Gods themselves.

Now we know better. Rob Schremp is hockey god himself.

That being said, I can't wait to see the new power forwards in action. Catch y'all after the game.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Other Ales



The Oilers haven't had an Ales not named "Hemsky" since the days of Ales Pisa, who departed to New York and subsequently Europe. Steve Tambellini has finally made his mark as a GM by making two seperate big deals on his first trade deadline. Seen above is Ales Kotalik, one of the new additions to the Edmonton Oilers team.

In comparison to today's deals, his acquisition of Dany Sabourin, Ryan Stone, and Steve MacIntyre were minuscule in influence. I was at first impressed that he could pawn off Mathieu Garon for more than the (at the time) market price of a 7th round pick established by Vancouver's acquisition of Jason LaBarbera. Heck, I didn't think Tambellini had the tenacity in him required to pull off some ballsy trades.

Boy was I wrong.

Sure, he didn't go the the extent of the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames, but boy, did Tambellini ever rip off the Los Angeles Kings in his trade deadline "coming out party." Maybe O'Sullivan is of little value to a team stocked full of young talent - maybe. But Justin Williams is a poor replacement for one of the leading shooters on the Los Angeles team. At age 24, he can still get much, much better. The best part is he plays both C and LW. I expect MacTavish to slot him alongside Horcoff and Hemsky. Further yet, the Oilers gave up pending UFA Erik Cole to get O'Sullivan who is signed for two more years at a contract similar to Robert Nilsson's.

It is now also clear why the Oilers didn't bite on Tuomo Ruutu, Vladimir Sobotka, and Miroslav Satan: with Patrick O'Sullivan in play, the others become secondary concerns. It could be possible that Carolina didn't want to give up on Ruutu (I know the Oilers love him) and it's also possible the Bruins didn't want to give up on Sobotka (who was not involved in deadline trade involving Matt Lashoff for Mark Recchi). With all things considered, the Oilers got the best man available from those four choices.

As for Kotalik, we got fair price for him. Early indications are that Kotalik is nothing like the European stereotype of a winger. In fact, he is often seen driving the net. We have to take it with a grain of salt, of course. He probably is a poor comparable for Erik Cole, I don't imagine he throws hits with the same regularity as the departed American winger. But can he create chances on the revamped 2nd line?

It will be interesting to see whether MacTavish keeps Penner on the Cogliano/Pisani line or whether or not he moves Penner up to 2nd line to play with the newly acquired Kotalik. I don't imagine Nilsson in a checking role, but stranger things have happened (see Liam Reddox).

I will be glad if Kotalik can keep playing his net-crashing style in Edmonton and hopefully it translates well from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference. The last experiment (Cole) ended with limited success and hopefully Kotalik will find himself reborn in the Edmonton lineup. He is a rental player as of right now, but if things go right maybe he'll stick around.

Goaltending

One thing I felt that needed to be addressed at the deadline was goaltending and it didn't happen. Maybe the Oilers feel that DesLauriers, Sabourin, or Dubnyk are ready to take over should an injury occur to Dwayne Roloson.

I think this is ill-advised.

In 2005-06 we had Jussi Markkanen bringing in the rear, and he did an amiable job against the Carolina Hurricanes. We can only pray that one of the above have it in them to do the same.

Defense

With the quick recovery of Denis Grebeshkov the Oilers aren't in as dire a situation as would have originally been the case if he hadn't done so. Some may argue the Oilers D-core is too soft and I somewhat agree. But, we do have a couple sandpaper guys waiting in the wings in the form of AHL veteran Bryan Young, top-prospect Theo Peckham, and "give-me-one-more-chance" Mathieu Roy. My hope is that Steve Staios regains his former playoff form.

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Trade Deadline - TODAY!!!!!



Boy do I feel bad for anyone with an Erik Cole jersey: no matter what happens today, all signs indicate he won't be back next year in an Oilers uniform.

Some prevalent Cole rumours:
  • Boston with interest :Lashoff and Sobotka (pending RFA) in the mix
  • Carolina with interest: Ruutu (pending RFA) being offered
If there is a team willing to give up exactly the kind of player(s) the Oilers organization is looking for, don't expect them to sit on a potential Cole trade. Whether or not a Cole trade happens depends on a couple of things. If the Oilers plan to make a push for the playoffs, somebody will have to take over that 2nd line RW spot. If the Oilers don't replace Cole, it is a good indication that the Oilers have packed up for the 18 holes already. If the Oilers don't trade him at all, they are set on making a playoff run. I wouldn't blame them, we're so close we can smell it.

Does Penner have trade value?
  • Why Penner wouldn't be traded: He has a couple years sitting on his contract. He has a history of not showing up 100%, though his Corsi numbers or other stats of that variety indicate he is not among the worst of the Oilers in on-ice performance (don't quote me, go check with Jonathan Willis and David Staples). That being said, he's not our best either - so why is he on the 1st line? MacT is somewhat justified in demoting him.
  • Why Penner would be traded: Penner has won it all before as a complementary player to Getzlaf and Perry. He has shown he has that ability to play on a high skill line if given the right line mates. If there is a team with a hole on LW that needs a Penner type player, he could be a commodity. His salary and point production comparables are guys like Scott Hartnell and Ryan Malone (though Hartnell is outperforming him by leaps and bounds in 2008-09). The difference between Hartnell/Malone and Penner is that the Oilers got the unmotivated version. That being said, there is gotta be someone out there who thinks that Penner is a good enough comparable for those two guys - isn't there? Please take him - please?!
Who's on the block?
  • Robert Nilsson
  • Rob Schremp
  • If Wayne Gretzky can be traded anyone can be traded ...
  • Correction, anyone who doesn't have a NTC or NMC ...
Reasons why the Oilers would make big move(s):

The Oilers see gaping holes at all positions except RW and move to rectify this by acquiring LW help on the 1st line (long term or temporary fix, who cares), acquiring a bonafide checking C to take the pressure off of Kyle Brodziak and also to get a veteran backup to Roloson. This would be the Mike Peca/Bobby Holik/Marty Reasoner type. It wouldn't hurt to add a veteran energy forward, since we have 3 bruisers playing on the bottom 2 lines (Jacques, Stortini, MacIntyre). This would be the Todd Harvey/Kris Draper/Darcy Tucker type of player. Also, Strudwick is a good depth D-man but questions surround Staios and Smid. Staios - does he still got what it takes to go through a few playoff rounds? Smid - he's been playing like a real defensive D-man, but is he ready for the big show? Acquiring a Derek Morris type may eat away some of that doubt and allow Gilbert to pair back up with Souray.

Reasons why the Oilers wouldn't make a big move:

The Oilers are happy with the team chemistry (or have deluded visions of a chemistry that doesn't exist). They decide to sit on potential trades to improve the team because they don't want to give up on the kids (who underperformed this year). And for some reason, the Oilers are happy to start the playoffs with Strudwick, Stortini, and MacIntyre bringing in the rear, with Reddox on the 1st line.

I shudder at the thought.

This day on Hockeybuzz ...

Eklund is suggesting the Oilers are trying to beat other teams to the punch by pulling a "Chris Pronger" and acquiring and signing Jay Bo long term. I think this is easily disproved:

Jay Bo would only sign long term after being acquired (if acquired) only if the Edmonton Oilers (and the City of Edmonton) can offer him the best possible deal on the market (pending whether he wants to play here at all). If the Oilers could be the team and Edmonton the city to offer that perfect deal - why try to beat other teams to the punch? That's just throwing away prospects and picks for someone who you can throw cash at on the UFA market.

Furhermore, Souray and Visnovsky have not been accounted for. If Jay Bo resigns his salary will be in their ball park or higher. That would effectively be a one way ticket out of town for either one of Gilbert or Grebeskhov or potentially even both, because of the NMC and NTC involved with Souray/Visnovsky. If the Toronto situation is any indication, these contract clauses are really blue balling a lot of potential trades.

Beyond that, would the Oilers really, really do this in the midst of a playoff push? The Panthers themselves are in the thick of their own playoff push. Jay Bo is central to the Panthers and is inconceivably important to their team right now, moreso than Cole (another pending UFA) is to the Oilers right now.

It's the same logic as with the Cole rumours: it's only going to happen if what the trading team gets back is more valuable and accounts for what they give up on the team. You know this. I know this. If not, why pull the trigger on the trade at all?

Eklund says he reports every thing he hears, however improbable the rumour. This cushions him from the blame of reporting something stupid. That's fine though, he wants to be an unbiased observer and listen in on discussion of his trade rumours. But if he's going to put out rumours, he has to have some input on the teams involved, as they do over at the rumour web site The Fourth Period, where editor Pagnotta chimes in on all his rumours.

Good on Pagnotta.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Guess who's on Waivers??!!


  • Miroslav Satan
  • Gary Roberts
  • Martin Gerber
Git 'er done Tambellini. Git 'er done.

Armchair GM Cap On



So I'm gonna throw away what I think "Tambellini would do" and instead here's what I would do at the trade deadline.

Oilers Lineup Now

Forwards
  1. Reddox/Penner Horcoff Hemsky
  2. Nilsson Gagner Cole
  3. Jacques Cogliano Pisani
  4. Reddox/Penner Brodziak Stortini
  5. MacIntyre
  6. Pouliot
  7. Moreau*
Defense
  1. Souray Staios
  2. Grebeshkov Gilbert
  3. Smid Strudwick
  4. Visnovsky**
*eye injury
**shoulder injury

Oilers Potential Moves
  • Trading Cole
  • Trading Nilsson
  • Trading Penner (Dustin deserves better, but the truth is he's only a 2nd line player)
Let's assume that the Oilers only go through with trading Nilsson. That would leave the Oilers with holes on LW, RW, and on D.

Though I like Mike Knuble, it would be problematic to replace a pending UFA with another pending UFA unless you were convinced that what you gave up would be less valuable than what you got back. If Knuble could be landed for a low draft pick (3rd - 7th), I'd say git er done.

I would also trade for Marty Reasoner and Derek Morris in some capacity. I assume the Oilers have tried to acquire Guerin for a playoff run but going through with that would be akin to trying to cash in Nedved a second time: he's too old - it aint gonna work. Reasoner is worth a low draft pick, I'd say below 4th rounder. Morris would be worth considerably more. Another possibility is Brendan Witt, a veteran D-man.

We'd also have to land a 1st line LW to replace Penner after he is demoted to the 2nd line. Alexander Frolov has been tossed around as a possibility but what possible weakness on the LA Kings team could we actually fill through trade (assuming they would be willing to part with Frolov?). The LA Kings have two main weaknesses: goaltending and defensive forwards. Jarret Stoll is the only guy who truly fills that role on LA and we don't have anyone to offer except Kyle Brodziak, who would do benefit the Oilers more than the Kings. Also, we don't have any goalies to offer besides more rookies and they don't need any of those. The Kings have enough young talent to assume they would take a flyer on Nilsson and Schremp, the common names tossed around in potential trades. What I'm really trying to say is a Frolov trade is probably unlikely, unless LA is going to stock up on more young talent.

Keith Tkachuk is available but you can forget about him - past trade deadlines have already indicated what the Blues think he is worth.

Unfortunately, Ryan Smyth has a NTC or else I'd be on the phone trading him for Penner.

Some rental players out there are Ruslan Fedotenko and Miroslav Satan. Assuming the Penguins are serious about trying to make the playoffs, these characters are not available. Jordan Staal, if available, would be an interesting pick up but he would not be for the present - he would be for the future. In terms of guys who are going to help us excel in a potential playoff run, picking up Staal would make picking up a guy like Reasoner unnecessary. Unfortunately, the Oilers are not willing to part with certain prospects and a Staal trade is unlikely. Schremp played large parts of his AHL career in Wilkes-Barre and a trade to Pittsburgh in any Staal deal would likely see him involved.

The most likely scenario is that the Oilers acquire a top line player for Hemsky and Horcoff who is a familiar suspect. This narrows the list down to:
  • Ray Whitney
In this case I would probably agree with this trade. Unless Atlanta changes their mind and decides to trade Ilya Kovalchuk, there's nobody else available I would consider besides Whitney except Alexander Frolov (who we've already ruled out) and Gary Roberts. Yes, Gary Roberts - he's old but unlike Guerin, he's still got pluck.

I would also pick up some goaltending depth. Ottawa would be glad if we took Gerber off their hands. Being an unwanted player in Ottawa he probably wouldn't cost more than a low draft pick. Plus, he's a pending UFA so he won't be a problem next year.

Here's a recap of what the trade deadline would look like if I were Oilers' GM, with the assumption that the Morris trade would be too pricey.

Trades:

To EDM: Mike Knuble (rental) for
To PHI: low draft pick and filler

To EDM: Brendan Witt (rental) for
To NYI: low draft pick and filler

To EDM: Jordan Staal for
To PIT: 2nd round pick, Rob Schremp, Taylor Chorney, Steve Staios (if this trade is not available, get Reasoner)

To EDM: Ray Whitney (worth re-signing) for
To CAR: Robert Nilsson and filler

To EDM: Martin Gerber (rental) and a low draft pick for
To OTT: Marc Antoine Pouliot

Oilers Lineup After Trades

Forwards
  1. Whitney Horcoff Hemsky
  2. Penner Cogliano Cole
  3. Jacques Staal/Reasoner Pisani
  4. Reddox Brodziak Knuble
  5. Stortini (he's ahead of Big Mac considering he brings more than fighting)
  6. Gagner (Gagner would get chewed up and spit out in the playoffs)
To Springfield:
  • MacIntyre
  • Gerber (emergency callup)
Defense
  1. Souray Gilbert
  2. Grebeshkov Smid
  3. Strudwick Witt
From Sprinfield:
  • Peckham
Goal
  1. Roloson
  2. DesLauriers
Injuries to Moreau and Visnovsky

Bonuses to this new lineup
  • Increased speed on the 1st line
  • Increased size on the 2nd line
  • Two effective checking lines (with or without Knuble, since we still have Big Mac and Stortini)
  • Goaltending depth in case of injury to Roloson or DesLauriers
  • Veteran presence in the absence of Moreau and Visnovsky (Whitney, Knuble, Witt)
Potential Sticking Points

Why Witt and not Staios?
Answer: I think Smid is already better than "Steady Steve," and he's ready to take the next step. Trading for Witt is not to replace Staios, it's to promote Smid.

Why Knuble and not Stortini or MacIntyre?
Answer: Knuble may be a rental but he's got that veteran leadership that the other two don't bring to the table.

Whitney is not exactly an elite LW player. Why him?
Answer: I agree with you. It's just that nobody else available is worth the price. If Smyth, Kovalchuk, or Frolov were as available as every wanted them to be, we wouldn't be having this dicussion.

Giving up Pouliot for Gerber - are you crazy?
Answer: No. Poo is useless. At least with Gerber, we have insurance for injury. If you recall in 2006, we were lucky to have Markkanen to take over for Roloson when he got injured. If Roloson ever got injured in the playoffs this year, our goaltending tandem would be DesLauriers and Dubnyk. This is not the AHL playoffs, and last time I checked, the Springfield Falcons are not in the running.

Whitney is 37. What makes him better than Guerin?
Answer: Whitney is a fast skater and a LW. Guerin is slow and he's a RW. This is a situation where what you give up is not worth what you get back - as in, what would we be giving up for Guerin? He's the only guy NYI has to offer so you'd expect them to want a lot in return to save their shinking ship of a franchise. GM Rutherford is probably going to keep stocking up on young talented players and start shipping off guys like Whitney, who can still play. Whitney is old but he's still got pluck (like Roberts) and brings the "desire" element missing in Penner.

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Oilers gameplan for deadline day.

Last season, Marty Reasoner and Jarret Stoll were the goal scorers in a game that prevented the Vancouver Canucks from making the playoffs. This and the kid line's success were probably the highlights of last season. This season nothing has amounted to a "successful" season except maybe the resurgence of Dwayne Roloson.

As the trade deadline approaches, I'd like the Oilers to make a couple of moves to bolster their lineup, although some of these trades will be unlikely I would still like to see them.

One trade I would love to see is.
2/3rd Rounder
for
Marty Reasoner

Why we do this.
Because Reasoner is a amazing +7 on a terrible Atlanta team. Ideally you place him on a line with Reddox/Moreau(injury pending) and Pisani. This could be a great shutdown line. All guys are defensively aware and all can forecheck greatly. Also this could give Horcoff some relief in the defensive zone faceoff regions allowing him to get more offensively focused minutes. This could allow Horcoff to focus on his offensive game more rather than be defensively minded and having to make safe plays.

Why Atlanta does this.
They probably don't have Reasoner in the plans for the future and they'll be trying to get as many draft picks as possible.

I think the Oilers won't do much on the deadline day, but getting Reasoner would be nice.

During the offseason though I would like the Oilers do a overhaul on the the team.
I believe Penner, Nilsson, one of Gagner/Cogliano, Gilbert, and draft picks could all fetch us the required #1 LW and a legit shutdown D-Man. Also at the Free Agency period I would get the Oilers a goalie. I doubt we could get one at the deadline so we'll have to wait for UFA season.







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