Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Oilers/Wild? This is how we do it

I could've also titled this post "Somethin' 4 Da Honeyz " but that would've just seemed wrong for some reason.

Kevin Lowe spoke today and it wasn't as if J.D Salinger announced he was writing a gossip column for Teen People but it was something for the Oilers faithful to chew on. Lowe was at his oblivious best today with nuggets like Smid has overacheived for the Oilers and the flat out lie, some will call it an omission but I'll call it a lie;), that Lupul is in just his second full season. Of course that's wrong on two accounts as Joff is currently playing in his third full NHL season and he also played in the A in the lockout year of '05 so he's playing his fourth year of pro hockey. Lowe also threw out the fact that Lupul's been playing better on the road then he has at home and the numbers do everything but back that up. Look at JL's road splits and he's a guy who's a super minus on the road and is actually a plus at home. But I mean what do I know and what do the stats know? If Lowe says something then it must be true, right?

LT had a post the other day speculating on just how many points the Oilers need to be out of the race before Lowe cuts and runs and basically becomes a buyer at the deadline. The thing is that I just don't think it's that easy to pin down. I'm sure there are people who will disagree with me, like Canucks fans for instance, but I think the Flames are close to running away and hiding when it comes to the division, ie 21-9-2 in their last 33 games is a great run in a significant sample size. By comparison the Oilers opened the season at 6-2 and have gone 15-18-4 since and in the process has inspired confidence in no one. So even though the Oilers trail the Flames by just six points and three wins, though do they lead them by one GP, I think the days of hoping the Oilers can win the division are pretty much done. Yes there are 37 games left in the sked but in no way can I imagine a Sharks after Thornton was acquired resurgence and there's no reason to believe that the Flames will totally far apart.

But this doesn't leave the Oilers totally out in the cold either.

It's probably gonna be a long time before anyone admits this but within the Oilers room there has to be some kind of sentiment that their own personal race is for third place in the division and thusly eighth place in the Conf. That means beating out two of Van, Minny and Col and there are still enough HTH games left to accomplish this. The Oilers have three apiece vs Van and Col and have six left against Minny. The Oilers have now lost their last 27 divisional games and this, much like their recent suction at home, should pass and when things turn around in that regard the Oilers just may stay afloat long enough for Lowe to throw them some kind of life perserver and sit down anchors like Greene and Smid. That's the easiest scnario in which to imagine the Oilers in this year's playoffs. Of course for that to happen the Oilers likely need to pick up one impact defenseman and hope for consistent health for Smith and renewed health for both Staios and Tarnqvist.

The killer for Lowe and any plan he may formulate is that six of the 12 aformentioned divisional games won't transpire until the last 11 games of the season when the Oilers face the Wild three times, the Avs twice and finish up their season series with the Canucks. So lots of things for Lowe to consider indeed. A good start would be making a trade in the near future so that we don't roll into a divisional barn boasting a defense of Staios-Hjeda-Greene-Smid-Bergeron-Gilbert because that's the likely sextet that will compete tonight at the Xcel Energy Centre.

That doesn't appear to be on the horizon though because Lowe admitted today that the problems of Jan 16th are the same problems that existed back in training camp. It's hard to tell what Lowe's thinking or what his directive is from the EIG. Does he believe this team can stay afloat until he can swing a trade that's totally on his terms or is he just being passive aggressive and waiting for this team to fall out the race so that he can deal off Smyth and Skyora?

You can forgive Oilers fans for thinking back to Lowe's '06 deals and for hoping that he'll Flip the track and bring the old school back but if you were from where I'm from then you see the EIG starting the year spending just 39 Million on salary and you'd think the worst.


Blogger RiversQ said...

OK, I finally fixed the fucking sidebar. That was getting a little ridiculous. I'm not sure who put the cement boots on the thing, but it's fixed for the time being.

1/16/2007 4:00 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...

Is that actually a picture of Montell fucking Jordan?

Wow, Riv, where do you find this shit?

1/16/2007 4:26 pm  
Blogger Mr DeBakey said...

is he just being passive aggressive and waiting for this team to fall out the race so that he can deal off Smyth and Skyora?

If that
Why is he screwing around with a has been like Nedved instead of playing Pouliot?

Another question [only 18 more to go]
How much will San Jose give for Smyth & Smith once the Oilers fall out of the race?

1/16/2007 5:16 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

I'm sure they'd still like to make the playoffs. I imagine that all of the mgmt and office staff have a significant bonus triggered by that target. With the defense corps they'll be icing tonight, assuming Staios and Tjarnqvist are sitting, it doesn't seem likely though, does it. I've never been sold on this group of forwards either for that matter.

And speaking of spin, what kind of flu does Staios have, anyways? What's it been now, a week?

I dunno, it doesn't seem likely to me that the Oilers will be either significant buyers or sellers at the deadline.

1/16/2007 5:27 pm  
Blogger PDO said...


Staios dislocated his knee cap at practice a couple weeks ago and had been playing through it.

Maybe they're just letting him get fully healthy? For... the first time in the history of the Oilers.

It'd be a nice change. Kind of funny, being it's probably the first time we REALLY needed to rush someone back and he was playing through it anyway in the first place.

Oilers have to win tonight. They've played two solid games in a row and had shit for results, here's hoping they can get some bounces tonight.

1/16/2007 6:03 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Well, I'd like to try and keep Smyth around but if we're out of the race I'd like to see 29 and 71 dealt off for sure.

Speaking of 29, if I had a guess I'd say he's basically been hurt all year. He started off playing great and was getting a tonne of icetime but he hasn't been the same since he sat out those games with a hip pointer.

But yeah it has been pretty quiet on the Staios front but the Oilers have been pulling that stuff all year pretty much. 83 was out for awhile and no one knew what was really going on and now it seems like the same deal for 24.

And yes, playing with a D like tonight this crew really doesn't have much of a chance against anyone. You'd think they'll panic and throw it up the middle and take penalties and won't come close to many any amount of good breakout passes.

BTW, is there a problem with SportsNet west tonight? I'm getting then wild feed here on my CI package.

1/16/2007 6:09 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

1st TV timeout's just kicked in...

- Nice give and go with 10 and 93 in the waining seconds of the PP and 93 shoots it off Carney's skate. Does anyone know the last time an Oilers second PP unit actually scored?

- 2/5 as a duo and 5 gets caught up ice and the Wild go back three on one.

1/16/2007 6:21 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Have we spent 30 seconds in Minnesota's zone thus far where we weren't on the PP or Smith and Hejda weren't the D?


There's about 8 to go..

And the Snet feed is fine Dennis; CI usually takes the home teams feed.

1/16/2007 6:30 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

No it doesn't. CI always gives me the Oilers feed as long aas tehre's one available.

Why does 21 even jump into the play? What good has ever happened?

The Oilers spend so much time in their own end trying to get the puck out, it's no wonder they can't create offense on some shifts.

Can't believe Lowe would keep this going.

1/16/2007 6:33 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Raffi strikes again.

If we could go back in time to 2003-2004 and pick up Cory Cross and Igor Ulanov and play them instead of Ladislav Smid and Matt Greene and Steve Staios and Daniel Tjarnqvist were healthy..

Is this team in 1st place?

By how many points?

My personal answer is yes and 6. Reasonable? Should it really be that hars for Lowe to find two guys like that? I mean, we keep hearing Winchester and a 2nd for Brewer.. but unless it actually happens it's pretty useless.

The Wild are all going to be on the IR by the end of this game. Hopefully it sends them into a massive tail spin.

1/16/2007 6:35 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Sorry Dennis, maybe it's just with American teams then?

I rarely watch Oiler games on CI living in Edmonton, but my experience with watching Anaheim, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Washington, etc has always been that 4/5 times it's the home team.

1/16/2007 6:37 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Joffrey Lupul just scored a Horcoff goal.

If there was ever a player that didn't deserve that kind of break..

1/16/2007 6:44 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Gilbert to Smid to Nedved who falls down to Lupul to tries to centre the pass and it goes in off Skoula.

That's a whole lot of bad and luck all put together;)

I said this to MC the other night during the SJ game and I'm sure it's GAMES away from being really relevant but young Gilbert looks like he really knows the O side of the game. Now the trick is to do it without looking like a donkey in your own end.

It seems unlikely that Foster and Carney will return to the game so that plus Jonsson and Nummelien being out means Min will finish this game with Belle-Burns and Skoula-Schultz. That's just four D and an awful lot of youth so if the Oilers can't exploit that then they aren't worth talking about.

Looking around the rest of the league, I see Comrie has two tonight for the Sens. You knew that little bugger was gonna fit in well there not having to play the hard min and being surrounded by talented guys. He's small and soft and he overvalues his worth but the little fucker always had a nose for the net and could always finish. And to be filed under "Why I hate the Habs more than anything else" I see that Cuntreal is laying a real egg tonight against the Dys, 3-0 right now.

1/16/2007 7:03 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Not to mention that the goal scorers in that game are Green, Krajicek and Kesler. Christ.

The Oilers need to score on any PP's they have, plain and simple.

Belle and Burns have a combined 13:16 on the PK this year, and 13:10 of that is Burns.

They also need to stop taking stupid penalties. They have a golden opportunity here but if they spend the whole game in the box it's not going to matter.

This is a game where Stoll and Torres need to throw their weight around.

5 on 3.

What'd I say about stupid penalties again?

1/16/2007 7:15 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Hemsky to the dressing room.

I miss Laraque.

1/16/2007 7:32 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Yeah and he didn't come back either. The Min guys didn't show that hit on the replay and they didn't mention that 83 didn't come back out but right off the bat 93 took his place on the PP and then first 28 and then 19 took his spot with the 71-93 combo.

Roli's been pretty awesome tonight but the Oilers have done fuckall when you consider who Minny has left on D. This team's dead in the water in it's current form. I must say that I'm liking 5's game tonight though. he got caught up early there in the first period but really has recovered well I thought.

1/16/2007 7:50 pm  
Blogger PDO said...


He was going towards the corner to give some puck support and Boogard just ran him over. Puck was a good 5-7 feet away and Hemsky hadn't touched the puck yet.

I have a nasty feeling he re-aggravated whatever his original injury was.

It's sad.. but this team can't get out of it's own end. They just can't. It didn't help they spent large chunks of the period on the PK, and our PP becomes absolute shit once Hemsky is gone, goal or no goal.

Smid's probably playing one of his best games as an Oiler.

Pretty sad that a great game for Smid is one where you don't notice him unless you're looking for him. The guy just doesn't stand out. 5 goals in 4 1/2 years of professional hockey and not a physical presence to speak of.

Hard to think of many players with those attributes who become #1 or even #2 defensemen. Sigh. More horse kicking.

1/16/2007 7:57 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Fuck...hopefully we go up 3-0 and Raffi goes out and takes out Gaborik and I mean takes out.

You just can't have Goons like Booregard going after Hemsky. I know none of the Oilers can fight him but that's not the best way to get back at the Wild anyway.

1/16/2007 7:59 pm  
Blogger PDO said...


Wait till it's almost over and make sure Jacques or Winchester is in the lineup for the next game against Minnesota.

Pathetic piece of trash hockey player.

1/16/2007 8:01 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Oilers may not be looking great tonight - but it's definitely the penalties taht are killing them. Minnesota has all of 6 shots at ES tonight with 12:00 to go in the third.

Given that we have 4 rookies on D, I'm content with anything that is a W tonight.

Torres needs to take someone out and send a fucking message to Boogard already. We let the other team to do far too much running around.

1/16/2007 8:10 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

It's so bad at this point that I was just hoping we'd pull a point out of this. Lowe's a dman and he's running a team that's running out a corps like this. That's almost like watching your doctor leave his office and then light up a smoke.

1/16/2007 9:10 pm  
Blogger dynastydays said...

We have slipped brilliantly back into the 'timebomb' mentality. Waiting anxiously for the innevitable to happen. The bad bounce, the bad fuckup. I can't say its not warranted with the defense being what they are, but the fact that they are being raked over coals for being so glaringly inadequate, its becoming painful to watch. Its not even their fault is the kicker.

Insta-icing(TM)is the strategy being employed right now. Theyre so mentally fragile that really I can't fault them anymore. Everytime you see Green/Hejda et all Insta-ice the puck, its a product of Lowe's gamble being a miserable failure.

Lets get some freakin forwards back, so they can have options more within their ability to complete a pass. This hitting our talented forwards in full flight so that we can get 300+ goals has been a miserable failure. Isnt it painfully obvious? Yes it is... thats why this is so deflating to watch Lowe sit on his hands. MacT's excuse right now is just as bewildering, unless hes unabashedly sticking it to Lowe of course.

The secret is out, forecheck, cycle and generate offense from down low. Its pretty much fool-proof against the Oilers right now.

I expected a Kirk Muller drop pass to Benoit Hogue, and deflect a shot off of Mike Keanes ass last night as the game winner. Almost happened.

1/17/2007 10:32 am  
Blogger Steven said...

Yeah it's been some pretty strange times of late for the Oil. Dawgbone mentioned it on HF but I agree with him in that the Oilers lately have lost two games they deserved to win (Home at Minny, Against Calgary) and won two games they deserved to lose (SJ and Minny yesterday). Strange week but I suppose it all balanced out.

Still don't have a huge amount of faith in this team in its current incarnation but we'll see how it turns out.

1/17/2007 10:38 am  
Blogger Bill Needle said...

When Cross and Ulanov were around, the Oilers would play like crap to Minnesota and lose 5-2. With the rookies, (and Roli) they play like crap and win 2-1. Sure, the rookies ice the puck all the time, but that means they're actually touching the puck at some point, which is something Cross and Ulanov rarely did.

1/17/2007 10:59 am  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

DD...yes the Oilers have lost their identity. Last year we waited for the Oilers to get a goalie and in the meantime we were outchancing teams and knew we'd have a shot at making some noise once we picked one up. Yes the offensive seemed to go south once Roli showed up but I think we were doing a pretty good job before then.

This year it's become a total gongshow and it's because of the D and all the icings and the inability to make that first pass. It's OK for us to talk about the forwards coming back to help and all but when you're got to skate the whole lenght of the ice just about every time you wanna create a scoring chance, well that takes a tonne of energy.

This team is no longer fun to watch or follow and unless we get in one or two more D it's gonna be the same bloody thing next season. I have a feeling the Oilers are gonna go hard after Phillips and I hope he's at least part of the answer.

In the meantime there's the question of this year but I've pretty much lost hope. Everyone knows we need a D but Lowe seems determined to write this year off.

1/17/2007 1:53 pm  

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