Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oilers at Anaheim


This is neither a post game blog nor a pre game blog. It is not even a live blog of the game. It's just something I'm dashing off while waiting for updates from EdmontonOilers.com.

Curses, CBC, why can't you carry every single Oilers game, regardless of location? WHY?????

Crap. I see the Ducks (whose jersey is modeled to the right by the ever flirtatious George Parros) have scored their second goal with minutes left in the third. Bad news. Bad news indeed.

The Falcons have called up more players, by the way. I was browsing their site for the first time ever (Note to self: Buy the Oilers to gain control of the Falcons to remake their website. It sucks. Took me five minutes to figure out how to find the site itself, after I found the right address.

As reported by Lowetide
here, The Falcons have called up two oddly named fellows, as well as O'Marra, which means they aren't expecting to get Thor back any time soon. This pleases me.

Crap again. The game came to an end, the Oilers failing to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. This means we failed to break our losing streak, and we failed to sweep the Ducks this year.

'Tis a shame. A crying shame.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Everybody Has A Favourite


David Staples, of
Cult of Hockey Fame has recently said that his favourite Oiler is Laddy Smid. Soemthing tells me I've heard this before, but I may be confusing him with other bloggers, who have shown affinity for him as well.

Disregarding the fact that he is a fringe Oiler at best, Smid is not my favourite Oiler. Part of this is probably because he just isn't Pronger, like I hoped he would be. I thought that maybe, in time, he would be Pronger. But now I'm seeing the value of the old addage, a Ford will never be a Ferrari.

He doesn't seem to be living up to his potential, either. He has a decent body, and what seems to be mildly potent offensive ability. Yet he really has yet to use either.

My favourite Oiler of the current line up would probably have to be Gilbert Gilbert. He's got all the hockey smarts of a veteran, and the youthfulness of a youthful rookie. If anyone will ever replace Pronger, it's him.

There are definitely some players on our current roster that I would like to get rid of, simply because I have no real love of them as players. For instance, regardless of his abilities, Souray has to go. I was pretty high on him when I heard about the deal (even if I hated the deal itelf), but to me he seems like a player not only over the hill, but who just doesn't really care about the game like he should. It's just an impression I have of him, but it seems like he's all about the paycheque.

In reality, most players are probably like that, but still.

On the other hand, no matter how much we paid for him, no matter how overwieght he was coming in, I love Dustin Penner. I hated the deal, but as a player there's just something about him that I can't explain. But my eyes light up when I see him on the scoresheet. I want him to prove us wrong by outperforming his contract, wheras I would be perfectly happy to see Souray out on his butt at the end of the season.

Everybody has a favourite.

Hemsky Hit, Our Hero Hurt.


This topic has already been covered by Lowetide, and I'm not going to try to go into what this means for fans of the Oil. However, I think that the main point is that the fan hero of our team is out. Quite possibly for a month, or more. And that is not something I want to think about.

Lapointe, go get his by a bus. Please/thank you.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Stoll For Brule? Give me a break.


http://www.edmontonsun.com/Sports/Hockey/2007/12/09/4715558-sun.html

Near the bottom there, you'll find this: "Are the Oilers going to send C Jarrett Stoll to the Blue Jackets for C Gilbert Brule? That's the rumour ..."

If I'm Lowe, this deal is a bad one because Brule is just one more small center on a team that has two of them already. If I'm Howson, this deal is a bad one because Brule has more upside than Stoll, even if he gets back to his pre-concussion playing level.

A better deal in my mind would be sending Stoll (and probably a 2nd rounder) for Zherdev. We currently have five, maybe six or even seven decent centers (Horc, Stoll, Gagner, Cogs, Brodziak, and maybe Reasoner and Pouliot), whereas we're relatively weak on offense overall.

Zherdev has never really gotten along with Hitchcock, and he definitely has a lot of offensive upside when he's playing his best. To be honest, Stoll is seeming like Lupul all over again. He's playing bad enough this year, that even if we deal him and he goes on to score thirty five goals next year, a trade will still have been justified.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

.500 Frenzy

The Oil just beat Van City in the shootout to get up to .500 hockey, as well as 8th seat in the West.

Who in their wildest dreams would have predicted this at the beginning of the season? Not me.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Worst Comment Ever.

"perect name score-coff I love it...K-Lowe the genius has signed this guy for a few more years at a bargain price(just like Penner will be if not better by end of this and next year)...horc has proven he is one of the best and the oil r loaded with guys like this that sooner or later will bust out and dominate the league..."

This comment was found on an article about Horcoff's recent play. I am not going to pick apart this quote myself, but I hope you can find several things wrong with it (K-Lowe the genius and bargain price Penner are good places to start).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Zip a dee do dah, zip a dee day

My oh my what a wonderful day!

Souray, Sanderson, and Tarnstrom are day to day. Moreau is only a week or two away (if all goes well) from hitting the ice, and you can just not look at Greene.

Analyzing the Bottom Feeders

This is a relatively low-tech analysis of the league's worst teams, the teams that are fighting to be either the best of the worst and maybe, MAYBE, snag a playoff spot, or are fighting to be the worst of the worst and maybe snag a lottery spot in the draft.

For the intents of this list, bottom feeders are teams that are not playing .500 hockey as of now. In order of points, best to worst, they are: Calgary, Florida, Edmonton, Buffalo, Phoenix, LA and Washington.

With the curious exception of Buffalo, they have all scored less goals than have been scored against them. That's a given, of course, and helps little. Also curious is that the top team in points (CGY) has only 12 wins, less than all but two teams in the league. Only in the NHL do you get points for losing.

And for all the hubbub about Oilers getting points for losing, we only have 1 overtime loss.

Of these teams, only two have a player who I think is capable of winning year end awards at this time. Maybe Hemsky, Roy or Horton will someday, but for now, only Ovie and Iggy have a shot. And only Iggy has any amount of secondary scoring to back him up. I think Calgary's problems can mostly be chalked up to bad goaltending. Who'd have thought?

Teams like Edmonton and Buffalo have a lot of secondary scoring. They have nobody who is a real all star, however.

And that is what seperates a bottom feeder from a league leader, in my own, humble opinion. having both a strong first line and some secondary scoring.

Samwise Stays


Samwise Gagner will not be rejoining the Canadian Under-20 team for the world championships, it was announced on the 7th.


What does this mean for the Oilers? It means a worst case scenario of more scoring chances for the other team while he's on the ice, stunted development of our most promising prospect, and one more inexperienced forward on a team that's already the youngest in the league.


It also means a best case scenario of good NHL experience for our most promising prosect, more scoring chances for the other team while he's on the ice, and one more inexperienced forward on a team that's already the youngest in the league.


Not a lot of difference in those, is there?

Well...well.

I have returned. I originally left the blog to join the team at PunjabiOil, but it seems that PDO and myself have been kicked out from the team, without any explanation.

So I am returning to the oilogosphere with Talkin' Hockey.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hmm

I've been gone for a while, haven't I?

Well, the Oilers just laid a beating on Calgary Flames, which is good.

They also called up Rourke, which is bad.

I was worried when we signed him. Things got worse as injuries kept coming, and he got closer and closer to the big club. But there was no reason why he should be playing NHL hockey, ever.

Please.

Friday, November 2, 2007

So we play Nashville tonight. They used to be good.

Now, not so much.

Oilers need to start playing at their top if they are going to even have a shot at the playoffs. We need to win by at least two goals here.

Also, Pisani is skating again, and we may have the world's most miraculous recovery, ever.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ahem.



Matt Greene is improving.

Sam Gagner is an established NHLer, and is playing like one of our best players.

Am I psychic? It would seem likely.

Also, we just beat the Minnesota Wild with two of our top 4 D-men out, as well as our captain and our playoff hero of a couple years ago.

Even if it was a bit of a fluke, I find that cause to celebrate.

GOILERS

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oilers Head to the Wild.....Midwest.

Oilers are playing the Wild as we speak, but there has yet to be any goals scored.

My last prediction was pretty close I'd say. Today I'm going to say 3-2 Wild, with goals by Cogliano and Sanderson for the Oilers.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Chris Chelios in the Dressing Room


Tonight the Oil is going to Michigan to face off agains the old farts-I mean Red Wings- and I'm optimistic.

I expect this game to go to overtime, but I can't say who's going to win.

4-3 for somebody. Goals by Horcoff, Penner and Brodziak for the Oilers.

GOILERS!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Top Ten NHL Teams


No, this isn't how I think they'll do. I guess it's how I wish they would do. These are my list of favourite teams, in order. I like them all for various reasons, or some of them I just toss into the middle because I can't be bothered to follow them (LA Kings, for instance). The one exception is that whoever happens to be playing Calgary or Montreal invariably shoots up the list a few slots or so.

1. Oilers (no, really!)
2. Philadelphia (I always liked them, and the acquisition of Gator helped that a lot)
3. Sharks (When I was but a wee lad, my favourites were Anaheim, San Jose, and Pheonix, based on nothing but their logos. Sadly, Anaheim has fallen out of favour due to Burke's epic suck, and the whole Pronger thing.)
4. Coyotes (See above.)
5. Penguins (I always loved Lemieux, and Crosby truly is fun to watch.)
6. Capitals (See above, substitute Kolzig for Lemieux and Ovie for Crosby).
7. Islanders (They're sort of a team like the Oilers, usually short on talent but tend to have a lot of heart)
8/9/10. New Jersey, Dallas, Detroit (These all impress me because they always manage to put together a solid team, year after year. And yes, I tied them to I wouldn't have to pick. Consistancy!)


9.

The Game

So.

We rolled Philadelphia (that's right. we ROLLED 'em, "g".). And THEY beat Calgary. Using classical sports logic, that means the Oilers are better than Calgary, right?

Right.

Sanderson scored two goals, count 'em, TWO. I'm so excited. Could we have a 30+ goal man here? Hemsky scored another 30, Penner scores 40, Horcoff 25, Cogliano and Brodziak 15, Souray and Pitkanen 20 or more each?

Is it possible?

Could we actually have points this year?

Oh boy!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Sigh. How I do long for the good ol' days.

Anyhow, beating the Sharks brought back some memories. I was at a wedding during the first game we won in the Oilers-Sharks series, and I had to excuse myself to "use the bathroom" several times during the service.

Now, can we beat Gator and Pylon on their new team? I hope so.

I expect a low scoring game, with Briere leading the Flyers again.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Other Woman

Er, blog.

I'm officialy a blogger for Habscast.com as a Western Conference Expert.

I know. I don't think the title fits either.

Ah well. Hopefully it won't cut into my posting here, assuming someone reads this.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Opening Night

TC is over, and the line-up has started to solidify. Anson Carter's injury has sent him out into the UFA market for the meantime, and it looks like he won't be playing in the blue and bronze for a long time, if ever. Pisani is going to be out for what looks like the whole season, and as far as I know, Moreau won't be playing opening night.

But on the upside, Cogliano, Gagner and Pouliot have all proven their worth enough to earn slots with the big club.

So, what wil the line-up look like? This is what I'm expecting:

Penner, Horcoff, Hemsky
Torres, Stoll, Sanderson
Brodziak, Reasoner, Nillson
Gagner, Cogliano, Pouliot
Extra: Stortini

Pitkanen, Staios
Greene, Souray
Smid, Tarnstrom
Extra: Gilbert, Grebeshkov

Not all of these line ups are the ones I'd make were I MacT, but he's confirmed there'll be two extra D-men, that Gagner, Cogliano and Pouliot will play together, and all but confirmed that Pensky will play with Horcoff.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Five Oilers Most Likely To Impress

I'm not saying they'll be the best Oilers, I'm saying they'll exceed expectations the most. For instance, Roloson is not very likely to exceed expectations, even though he is likely to be one of the best Oilers.

Number Five: Matt Greene

Everyone is expecting young Master Greene to spend more time in the penalty box than on the ice, and to let everyone and their dog past him on their way to the net. However, I think he has the abilities to be a Gator-type, stay at home defender. He might take a few months to mature, but he'll get there.

Number Four: Shawn Horcoff

With the emergence of such players as Gagner and Cogs, Horcoff seems to have fallen by the wayside. but what many fans and bloggers have forgotten is that he is consistently one of our best players. I don't think he'll play with Pensky, but he'll probably play the tough minutes with more defensive wingers.

Number Three: Kyle Bordziak

He's already started doing it in the preseason, but I think that he'll be one of our best wingers this season. Because of our strength at center, he most likely won't be playing his natural position, but he's just too good to pass up, and he's proven that he has the talent to play wherever he needs to.

Number Two: Mathieu Garon

Roloson's starting to get older, and I expect that he'll be showing his age more and more this season. Does that mean he'll be a worse goalie? I don't think so. I DO think he won't play as often, which will give Garon a showcase for his talents. I'd expect him to play at least 20 games, maybe even more. And from what we saw of him in LA (actually, what I'm told we saw in LA. I won't pretend to keep up with every game of every team in the league) he's more than up to it.

Number One: Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner, a tie

In some ways, they shouldn't be here. They've already impressed enough people in TC that the 'sphere has placed the weight of the world on their shoulders, or so it seems. But compared to where they were at coming into this camp, they will DEFINITELY impress.

BATTLE ROYALE!

The Oilers are going 4-1 so far this preseason, and tonight we play the Flames. Will our good luck continue? I hope so.

On the other hand, it is not very reassuring that we had to go to a shootout against the Coyotes.

In case anyone's wondering, the Flames are NOT going 4-1.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Who's Flying This Thing?!

Everyone else in the Oilogosphere (including me) has been ragging on the Oilers for weaknesses in the areas of defence and experience. But another important part of a team is missing here, and it's the leadership.

Recently we've lost both Smitty AND Gator, leaving only one of our former Captains or alternate captains on the team.

So, who's the top candidate for captain? There really isn't any one player that stands out from the other choices, although a lot of my fellow bloggers are really big on Moreau, probably because he had the "A" last season.

So, is it going to be Moreau, Stoll, or Horcoff? Or someone else entirely? Or do we go the "three A" route and don't name a Captain at all? Or rotate between the three on a monthly basis?

Anyone have any ideas? Because I sure don't, and I don't know if the franchise does either.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Talkin' Hockey Returns, Epicness to Follow

After finally settling into the routine at my new school, I'm back and blogging. I'm sure all of my readers (er, reader? Anyone?) is excited, but please keep your shirts on.

I may not have been blogging, but I've definitely been following the Oilers (and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the league) and I've got some insight into the team that I hope hasn't been said exactly the same way elsewhere in the 'sphere.

Offensively, I'm optimistic. We have a lot of players who look ready to step up and score big, especially Cogliano (I'm getting ready to yell "COOOOOOOGS!" a lot this season) and Hemsky. Gagner is still not a lock for the big club, but I really wouldn't be surprised if he made it. Souray's bomb the other night was very impressive, and Pitkanen should do well offensively as well.

Defensively, not so much. Our goaltending looks to be solid, if not spectacular, but we have very little actual defensive power on the team. With Pisani out for what may be the entire season (career?), our two best D-men being very offensive, we're left with only Staios as being a good defensive defenseman. By the end of the season we might be able to add Green and Smid to the list (fingers crossed!), but that's anything but a sure thing.

That's my take on the team's situation, and I hope that we can at least make the playoffs. I can't survive another year of taking a ribbing from Flames fans. I simply can't.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bad Role Models


San Jose just signed Milan Michalek to a long term extionsion to his contract. From the Edmonton Sun: "The six-year, $26 million US agreement they reached with the 22-year-old forward won't kick in until 2008-09, once Michalek's current pact expires. He'll make $942,400 in 2007-08 after earning $471,200 last year."

But the funny thing about this deal isn't the money, which is reasonable. It's the reason behind it.

"After a summer in which the Edmonton Oilers handed out a pair of offer sheets to restricted free agents - successfully prying forward Dustin Penner away from the Anaheim Ducks with a five-year deal worth $21.25 million US - general manager Doug Wilson read the marketplace and decided to get the Czech native under lock and key."

If K-Lowe does it, it has to be good!

Friday, August 24, 2007

"Roll all the dice"


Looking at our roster for the upcoming season, it looks to me like K-Lowe has decided to roll all the dice on a few big gambles. If they pay off, we'll be laughing all the way to the bank. I'll be laughing all the way to the bank because of online betting. Er, playoffs. But if they don't, I think we've just gambled away the deed to the house.

IF Penner can beat, or at least match, his numbers from last year, and IF Roloson's age doesn't catch up with him, and IF Nillson can become a real NHL player and IF at least one of our hot prospects can work wonders, and IF our best players can stay healthy, then we could be in a pretty good position.

But those are some pretty big "ifs".

Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of Garon, and I think that we'd still be almost good in net if we had to start, but we wouldn't be contenders, not by a long shot.

The "ifs" that I think are likely to come true are:

Penner will at least match his numbers from last year. Even if they were a fluke, Horcoff and Hemmers are a lot better linemates than Perry and Getzlaf, and that seems like the most likely match up.

Nillson will really prove himself this year. I've been a fan of his for a while, and I really think he can put up at least 15 goals this season. He won't make up for Smyth, but he'll be fine.

The "ifs" that I think may come true are:

Our players will most likely stay healthy. No team can have that much awful luck two years straight, right?

Roli will probably do better than what you'd expect from someone his age. Most good goalies stay good, even up to their retirement year.

The "if" that I just can't see happening:

Sadly, I don't see any of our prospects becoming a miracle man anytime soon. A couple of them might make the big boy's club, but I really don't see any of them putting up more than a couple of points.

So, Oil fans. Are we willing to roll all the dice on these risky bets? I am. I think we'll get 4/5 of these, and that may just be enough to turn us into an eighth seed playoff team.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What We Can Brag About


We may be headed for another average (or worse) season, but the Oilers have, by far, the best blogosphere of all the NHL teams. At my last count we had somewhere in the realm of twenty blogs, and I can think of five or so that really set the bar for the rest of us.
The best of the Oilogosphere is Lowetide. He often sees what others miss, and tends to have the most up to date news.
Next is a four-way tie, in my humble opinion, between Covered in Oil, Black Dog Hates Skunks, MC79 Hockey and Irreverent Oil Fans. The only real problem with any of these three is that oftentimes they lack active posting, forcing readers (well, me) to look for my news elsewhere. BDHS is often an exception to this, however.
And while a newcomer to the scene, Oilblobosphere looks very promising indeed. I look forward to many happy evenings trying to access his page quickly before my internet calves on me.


This is the biggest Oilers news right now.

How sad is that?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rationalizing

I'm going to try to rationalize some of Lowe's moves here, because someone has to.

1. The Smyth Trade

For one thing, Smyth was on the wrong side of 30, and paying him 5.5 mill/year would be paying for what he's done, not what he's going to do. Also, Nillson and O'Marra could become solid NHLers someday, probably in four years or so, maybe a bit longer. I've never read anything negative of Nillson except for inexperience, and I'd imagine by the time he's in his late twenties he could be a starter for the team. He'll never be Smytty, but he'll probably be good.

2. The Souray Signing

This deal looks a lot better now than it did when it happened, because when it happened we still had Simpsons screwing up the powerplay and any skill Souray had on it would be lost by our back assward Power play strategy. Now that he's been replaced by Daum, however, Souray might ALMOST be worth the money. Almost.

3. The Penner Offer Sheet

When it happened, I was wondering what in the world Lowe could possibly be thinking. He played his first full NHL season at the age of 24, and that was with excellent young talent in his line. However, 29 goals in a rookie season is pretty darn impressive in my books, even if you are far too old to be having a rookie season at all. If he can at least keep his numbers level this season, and then start to climb up he might be worth the money by the end of his contract. But for this much, he'll really need to be scoring around 40 goals a season and be helping Hemsky become a better player.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

UFA Time?

There was a rumour about the Oilers going after Forsberg, but the more I think about that deal, the worse it seems to me. Center is probably our strongest forward position, and what we really need is a second line scorer.

Right now everyone's mad on Mike Johnson, and I agree that he'd be excellent. If Anson Carter would suck up his ego and sign for what he's actually worth now that he's older, I think he'd also be a good aquisition.

Still, it pisses me off that we decide that money isn't an object AFTER trading Smyth for magic beans.

Who'll play?

These are my projections for the Oiler's line-up going into the 2007/2008 season.

Penner......Horcoff.....Hemsky (Easy Minutes)
Torres......Stoll.......Veteran RW (Moderate Minutes)
Moreau......Reasoner....Pisani (Tough Minutes)
Sanderson...Pouliot.....Nillson (Filler)

Staois/Pitkanen
Souray/Smid
Grebeshkov/Greene

Roloson
Garon

For the extras I'd say Thoreson and Tarnstrom are shoe-ins, unless Tarnstrom takes Greb's spot on the 3rd D-pairing. I wouldn't be surprised either if they sit Gagner in the press box too.

Sanderson Interview

I just listened to the
Geoff Sanderson Interview and while there isn't a whole lot to talk about, but I think it's good to have another hometown (sort of) boy (sort of).

I laughed out loud, though, when Morley Scott said "The last two years with two struggling teams, is it nice to play in a place with success?"

Is he looking at the same Oilers team I'm looking at? I don't know about you, but I wouldn't consider just missing the draft lottery "team success".

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Penner Interview

I just listened to the
Dustin Penner Interview and it sounds to me like the guy has the right attitude. Morley Scott asked him a question about what he thought about getting to play with Hemsky and Horcoff, but Penner told was careful to say that he hoped he'd have good chemistry IF that's where he ended up, but it was all up to the coaches. Also, he seems to be reasonably smart, even if he does radically overuse the words "um" and "uh". Of course, hockey players don't exactly tend to make great statesman.

Roy, Brodziak and Paukovich, oh my!

I just read here: http://oilers.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=335779 that the Oilers have signed Roy, Brodziak and Paukovich to entry level contracts. Looking at Roy I'm not sure if he's the kind of player who'd have a real career in a regular city, but in Edmonton we're going to be picking people off of the street to fill the blueline, so everyone helps I suppose.

Brodziak could play 4th Line minutes in a year or two, depending on our other centers' skill levels at training camp.

And then there's Paukovich. I'm not going to pretend that I've been following the University of Denver's hockey program all that closely, but judging by his stats he can't be all bad. He went 8-9-17 last season, playing 39 of his teams 40 games. He's also got size, but I haven't been able to find any comments on him as a player besides that.

Most interestingly is the fact that he is 11th in University history in total PIM. I think MacT is going to like this guy.