Friday, January 19, 2007

Flames/Oilers: Testicular Fortitude

There I go again using another old timey wrestling phrase but I think it fits. Pictured here, or it will be as soon as I catch Cam online:) is Michael K. Williams or as fans of smart television will know him, "Omar", the most notorious stick-up boy in all of the fictional Baltimore as portrayed on television's best show since The Sporanos still had it's fastball, The Wire.

This guy has got a set on him, let me tell you. Are they as big as the nuts that the EIG are holding while they start crying about public money for a new stadium in a year when they're cheaping out on the Oilers payroll? Probably not but the EIG's brazeness most likely stems as much from knowing their audience as it does anything else. Meanwhile, Omar faces down drug lord after drug lord, constantly stealing from their coffers and daring them to stop him. And in his leisure time he makes no bones about strolling around the projects in nothing but silk pajamas. Plus, did I mention he's gay and makes no bones about it? Are the last two things related? Well maybe:) but at the end of the day this guy just doesn't give a f**k.

Recently the contents of the Oilers collective nutsac was called into question when Hemsky was knocked of Tuesday's game in Minny by Derek Boogaard. Actually, the folks who follow this team as closely as Donald Trump follows high school cheerleading, hey the guy's always on the hunt for his next wife, have had their doubts about this team and organization for years. Yeah, we had the league's heavyweight champ in Laraque but on the occasions when the big guy went all mean and destroyed oh say Chris Simon, his overt physicality and his hand wiping domiance were chastised by Craig MacTavish. As much as I'm in the camp of MacTavish, I've always felt he didn't use the big guy properly. If you consider fighters as weaponry, MacT always had the biggest gun but he was pretty much afraid to use it. We saw this way back when the night in San Jose when Marchment went after Weight's knees and we've seen it pretty much every time in the last two years in the BOA when Robyn Regehr's matched up against Hemsky and makes it a point to punish him as much as possible: the Oilers rarely retaliate.

Heading into last night's game against the Ducks the references to the Oilers being soft were about as veiled as Lindsay Lohan's happywarmfunzone. Sometimes it's helpful for guys not to read the papers or listen to the radio but on other occasions a kick in the ass is needed and it looks like, early on at least, the Oilers took the message. Right off the bat, less than eight mintues in, Raffi Torres drilled Travis Moen and was ready to dance before Matt Greene stepped in, maybe because it was his favorite song. Truth be told, the Oilers played nasty right from the beginning, did anyone else notice Nedved running at people, and it seemed like for some reason the primary targets were Penner and Getzlaf.

The latter has escaped the organization's clutches twice, ie they looked over him at the draft and then they didn't insist on his inclusion in the Pronger trade, and I must say that I look the likes of the kid on the ice but he came across as a bit of a pussy last night. There was one incident where the Webster-esque Bergeron moved him from in front of the net and Ray Ferraro started feeling just like he did when he climbed the rope in gym class but there was yet another occasion where the bigger Geztlaf was also bossed around by #47. And Bergeron wasn't finished either as he took the trouble to upend Penner on an open ice hit. Did anyone else see Marc struggling trying to left this guy into the air? I'm thinking Penner is tipping the toledos, another nod to Gorilla Monsoon:), at close to 250 and in that hit it looked like Bergeron felt the weight of every pound. The very same shift, young hopeful Mathieu Roy took the oppurtunity to bury former Oiler Todd Marchant and didn't flinch in the accompanying aftermath of old school pugilist Shawn Thornton engaging him in a set-to.

I listened to MacT's postgame comments and he said that if Roy keeps that up he'll find a spot in the lineup and that's more of a possibility now than ever given the news that Staios's knee isn't improving and we're now looking at him missing weeks as opposed to mere days. Of course there's only so far guts, courage and heart will take you, for instance it isn't all that great when it comes to making a first pass;) but in the interm it looks like it's all the Oilers pretty have on the backend so why not use it?

Which leads us to the next installment of the Battle Of Alberta and the aforementioned Regehr. Maybe he won't get the chance this time around to try and belittle Hemsky but that's just my point. But if Ales does play or even if he doesn't, it might be a good time for a Jason Smith or someone of that ilk to try and intimidate say a Turtleneck Tanguay or Kristie Huselius. When it comes to bringing the physicality, most of the Flames usually come correct but the Oilers not so much. Round 6 of the BOA seems like an appropriate stage to exhibit some new found love for the rough stuff.

Heading into tonight's game against a suddenly hapless Ducks squad, the Flames lead the Oilers by two points and one win and they have two games in hand. It may seem like folly to be so dimissive of the current kings of the NW, ie the Canucks, but my money's still on Calgary as the likely cock of the walk. To that end the Oilers must hold serve in their both their remaining BOA matchups and they must find a way to take at least a point in their last game in Calgary.

Of course first things are always first though and tomorrow night I'm looking for the Oilers to sound off like they've got a pair and hopefully shrink the respective jewels of the Flames in the process.


Blogger PDO said...

Great post Dennis.

I'm hoping the Ducks come out pissed off tonight, play an extremely physical game and win it 4-2 or so.

As for tomorrow night, I think the Oilers should call up Stortini and Winchester. This team isn't using it's fourth line anyway - so why bother having Petersen play? Lets hope like hell Hemsky and Stoll are back and send out:


Play with 10 forwards, let 43 and 26 have a couple shifts where they're sheltered and get to lay out a few hits and stirs hit up and make it fucking clear to Regehr that if he keeps this shit up half his team is going to end up on the IR.

I think Nedved realized this is his last shot at resurrecting his career, and he's taking it seriously. Getzlaf is a pussy no doubt, but compared to Lupul he's got a pair the size of VKM ;).

The Canucks are something like 11-0-1 in OT games. They're on a nice winning streak, but their GD still blows chunks and I have a hard time believing that the injury bug won't hit them and they'll be able to sustain this.

As for Calgary, not having Iginla is slowly but surely catching up to them, and a 4 game losing streak right before the all star break would be a nice present for Oiler fans, especially if we can be on a 3 game streak of our own.

1/19/2007 2:50 pm  
Blogger Steven said...

Looks like we're going to get our wish and see Stortini.

Should be a good game.

1/19/2007 3:50 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...

I'm with what Rivers said on BOA last Sunday.

This week, it's the Oilers getting the Flames on the 2nd half of a back to back in a road game. Sans Iginla too.

The Oilers are going into the All-Star break on a high-note. 2 goal win tomorrow night, 3 goals if they get a chance to execute "the most exciting play in hockey". And I expect at least 2 or 3 scraps. Stortini vs. Godard will be the main event, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some undercard action as well.

I WANT to see Phaneuf vs. Torres, because I get the idea Raffi would go right fuckin' nuts and beat the tar out of Phrankeneuf, but I think Dion's too much of a pussy bitch to drop 'em with the Torrminator.

Speaking of Raffi, the guy pulled a few grade-A asshole moves last night. It was fun to watch.

1/19/2007 5:57 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Speaking of Raffi, the guy pulled a few grade-A asshole moves last night. It was fun to watch.

The biggest asshole move of the night came courtesy of MA-Bergeron though.

Threw Ketchup into the goalpost. Penner was a hero, went after the Hobbit and then couldn't run away quickly enough when Jason Smith came over.

Needless to say, I loved every minute of it.

1/19/2007 6:12 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Ya, it was pretty obvious that a lot of the Oiler players had read the papers and taken it to heart. That's as physical as we've seen them. I really believe that's important on home ice as well, though I doubt that any team could maintain that level of physical play over a whole season.

I'm not too pumped by the win though, switch goalies and the Oilers probably lose that one.

Like SweatyO says, the Flames are playing the 2nd of a B2B and don't have Iginla. You have to expect the Oilers to outplay and outchance the Godless ones.

1/20/2007 10:09 am  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Yeah it would be pretty hard to keep up that pace so obviously you gotta pick your spots but the Oilers haven't really been picking any spots at all this year with the toughness. I swear to God 93 was out there trying the other night but 71's a total pussy. That's not to say you need 18 guys who like to bang but in that respect we do miss 18. And I know that picking spots applies to 14 as well as anyone but he needs to play with a bit more of an edge. I can imagine he probably needed four weeks of rest after all the hitting he did last spring and no he can't do that all the time. But he needs to do it more than he has.

The Oilers only had one extra forward heading into tonight, ie Sortini, but from what I heard in today's scrum, the Oilers might be down to 10 forwards tonight. Sortini had us with 13 forwards but 16's out for sure so we're down to 12, 83 might be out so maybe we're down to 11 and MacT was also talking about another guy that showed up with the flu but the audio clip didn't catch the guy he was referring to. Now maybe it was 16 and that means at worst we're left with 11 guys if Hemsky can't go as well.

Regarding the Sortini callup, I'd rather bring up JFJ. Sure, maybe we have Godard vs Sortini right off the bat but would that really deter Reghr from going after 83? I mean it's unlikely that Zach will try and get to Robyn. I'd rather we bring up a kid like JFJ's who's fast enough to be able to catch the Flames skilled guys and who's a guy we knows loves to hit. Sortini seems like a good fighter but I think Moreau really nailed it the other day when he said we need to be targetting the opp's skill guys and in that respect how much of an impact can we expect Zach to have?

1/20/2007 12:08 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...

Update: Apparently Torres is questionable with the flu.

Also from the injury report from Edmonton

Staios and Moreau are OUT
Tjarnqvist is doubtful
Stoll is OUT
Hemsky is questionable

This is a bit of a gong-show. I don't remember the last time the Oilers had a season like this in terms of injuries.

1/20/2007 12:47 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

How come Shaggy's only questionable? Is there any hope for him tonight I wonder?

So, the Oilers are down to 11 forwards and that's only IF Hemsky plays? And if Ales is out then we're down to 10?

The Journal just updated and said that Gilbert packed his bags for WBS so I wonder if someone's on their way? Could they get here in time for tonight?

1/20/2007 1:10 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

What the fuck?

Seriously, have we ever been this banged up? Ever? This is fucking ridiculous. We could actually be out 4 of our top 9 forwards and 2 of our top 3 D?

We need a Roloson miracle tonight the way this one is shaping up along with some bounces and then we need that 5 day break. Big time. I wish the Olympics were going on right now.

1/20/2007 1:16 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Yeah, the Oilers have been rediculously healthy for the last few years, or at least by my memory anyway.

Hemsky drawing in would be great news because we'd ride those two lines and then try and find another one to lean on. I have a feeling that the 10 line is about to go on a little tear like the 16 did line did awhile back. 94 was really ineffective there for a couple of games but 10's been creating chacnes for awhile now. Throw in the possibility of some new comfort for 15 and maybe we've got something going there.

The thing I can't figure out is why did they send Gilbert away today without bringing someone back in? I mean if worst came to worst we could use MAB as a Schubert like swingman who comes back and forth on D and F. And then dress Gilbert as the 7th d to give him a little break.

1/20/2007 2:28 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...


They must be cock-sure that at least one of Torres/Hemsky is good to go for tonight, if not both.

Also, remember that it's not until Friday that the Oilers play again, so this might be a move to get Gilbert some playing time. I wouldn't be surprised to see Roy (and anyone else who doesn't need to clear waivers) returned to the minors after tonight and re-called as required next Thursday.

PS: Phaneuf licks sack.

1/20/2007 3:54 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...

Oilers Special Teams 101:

So Stoll is out, eliminating one of your point men from the first PP unit.

Normal logic: drop Sykora back to the point, move Horcoff up between Smyth and Hemsky, give Torres or Pisani some time on the 2nd unit with Lupul and Nedved.

MacT/Simpson logic: let's put Toby Petersen on the first unit PP point and make our PP look even more lethargic!

How Craig Simpson still has a job is beyond me....even worse was when MAB was in the box and Smid and Petersen were the pointmen on the first unit. Smid's 3 years away from being ready to QB an NHL PP, and Petersen is in the Staios/Dvorak/Moreau group (shouldn't be on an NHL PP, period).

1/20/2007 8:37 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Smid's three years away from being able to play in the NHL.

Let alone be on a fucking PP.

1/20/2007 10:42 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...

Tonight might have been Smid's worst game of the season.

Completely lost on the first goal, and THE goat horns on the 3rd goal.

We need Staios and Tjarnqvist healthy and fast. At least get it to the point where they can get Smid out of the lineup. He's a total liability right now.

The Pronger trade is going to look like shit as long as Lupul continues to be a non-factor and Smid continues to be a factor in the negative sense. Hope those draft picks are a desirable asset to some team selling off defensive assets...

1/20/2007 10:47 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

I was out at my own game tonight, this is all I have to say:

It must take a special kind of pathetic to be benched in favour of Matt Greene and Matthieu Roy.

And just think - we only traded Pronger to get a player that fucking useless.

1/20/2007 11:19 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...


Correction. TWO useless players.

The Pronger trade is looking as bad, or worse, than the Weight trade did back in 2001-02 right now.

This team got basically nothing in the way of immediate help out of the deal. Lupul is a 1-3 year project, and Smid's a good 3 years away from being a top-3 d-man. Right now, he's not even a top-6 d-man on the Oilers if everyone was healthy.

1/20/2007 11:51 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Ya but you know what makes it okay Sweatyo?



Or something. Thanks Lowe. FFS.

Know what makes me want to cry? Every single rumoured trade...

I'd add an Oiler 1st to Pronger to make the deal and still do it over the deal we made in a heartbeat.

That's how fucking pathetic this trade was.

1/20/2007 11:58 pm  
Blogger Stevens8204 said...

Very good post....wonder what the Oil will do at the trade deadline. No matter what the Kings say...I think Visnovsky may get dealt.

1/23/2007 5:07 pm  

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