Oilers at Avalanche, G25/07-08

This is Martin Rucinsky. He’s played a long time time in the NHL and has lived in a lot of nice homes across North America (Edmonton, Quebec, Denver, Montreal, Dallas, New York, St. Louis, Vancouver) and he should pass 1,000 career games in the NHL this season.

Quick feet, soft hands.

A little known fact about him is that he didn’t really enjoy his time as an Oiler. I have several references from days gone down in this regard, long story short he missed home, felt the Oilers didn’t treat him well and got himself traded by one Glen Sather.

We’ll put him in the “Miro Satan” family of guys who maybe the Oil should have kept. Sather made up for it by giving Rucinsky a handsome Ranger contract in 2005.

The Oilers have a tough test/great opportunity tonight as they play the Avs. They can get out of Denver with a win and tie their provincial rivals tonight which will do much to steady the nerves of the fanbase.

They can also get some traction in a season that has had little. Look for Pitkanen and Gilbert to log plenty of ice, and something tells me Raffi is going to do something we’ll be talking about by 11PM.

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37 Responses to "Oilers at Avalanche, G25/07-08"

  1. danny says:

    The northwest has been a weird one the past while. The Oilers have the 2nd best record in their division over the past 10 games (behind Luongo)…

    It would be nice to win tonight, move within 2 points of the Avs, but big wins of the small variety don’t happen often for us in this division.

    I expect a good game from the team, but same old story, the Avs do more with fewer chances and its another disheartening moral victory for people that were paying attention.

  2. Ribs says:

    Right now I wish Torres was Danny Carcillo. Forget JFJ.

  3. uni says:

    …and something tells me Raffi is going to do something we’ll be talking about by 11PM.

    Something good I hope…and that doesn’t warrant a 25 game suspension ;).

  4. IceDragoon says:

    I didn’t/don’t like it, but it speaks volumes about Horcoff’s value to MacTavish.

    “Hey, Horc. We have to tuck at least one of these rookies into each line, so… We’re giving you Gagner. You can keep Hemsky, but the kid’s a virgin on the left wall and probably won’t be able to create much more than chaos off his backhand. Thanks.”


    Tonight I expect no more than effort, and I hope for some good luck.


  5. Dennis says:

    Avs sometimes have three lines that you have to worry about, so that makes them hard to beat when they’ve got the last change.

    Or at least it does when you have so many greenhorns/useless players as the Oilers do.

    I will predict that the Oilers won’t win unless one of 14 or 16 scores at EV.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Oilers looking good so far.

  7. PDO says:

    Oilers looking good so far.

    Are they ever. Outshot 11-0 through 8 minutes, and I can’t figure out who should be more embarrassed at this point between Stoll, Gagner and Brodziak, as the three of them have single handedly caused a 3 goal swing. Though, to be fair, Hemsky had a ridiculously bad turnover as well before Gagner forgot to cover his man and instead looked at him. Sigh.

  8. Dennis says:

    Some thoughts:

    - 77 has been a little bit off lately. Not “throwing the puck up the middle off”, but just flubbing the disc down behind the net and turning inane situations into pants shitting situations

    - How many times is Robert Nilsson allowed to turn the puck over before we get to see how many times Pouliot or Thoresen CAN turn the puck over?

    - It took Gagner less than four periods before he contributed to his first 10-83 GA. Granted, Hemsky turned the puck over, and he’s been doing that more and more lately, but at least that MoFo gives us back something. Meanwhile, Gagner is an even strenght elephant: you can’t hide him.

    - I really don’t know how this team doesn’t understand that they just can’t keep turning the puck over and expect not to pay for it.

    Two things to close:

    - there’s a reason I said there’s no point in investing in this team until they’ve won three in a row.

    - SF won 2-1 in OT tonight. Pouliot tied it late in the third on the PP and RS scored in OT.


  9. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I’d call up Pouliot, Schremp and Thoresen and send out Nilsson and Stortini and give Gagner a few games in the pressbox.

    Nothing is happening lots.

  10. PDO says:

    Is there a more unlucky player in the NHL than Horcoff? Seriously. Post on Monday, a -2 that he couldn’t have less value for, and then he rings it off the shaft of Budaj’s stick.

    I can’t help but think this game is karma for all the talk of “we’re a win away from being tied with CALGARY!” while completely ignoring that we’re playing in Denver :]

  11. ClaytonMagnet says:

    The Oilers don’t belong in the same league as the Avs tonight. I think SF could probably do better than 0-4 and 6-36 SOG.

    Raffi said on CHED before the game about how after the last game in Colorado MacT read the team the riot act, and they want to remember that and have a better game. Instead, they go out and have a worse game. Super.

  12. heed says:

    this game is painful to watch. other than roloson, not a single player on the oilers decided to show up. i can’t even begin to single one guy out because they have all been so bloody brutal.

  13. doritogrande says:

    What the fuck is this? It sure isn’t hockey.

    If I’m MacT I give Roloson the option of taking the third period off, as he’s seen enough rubber to usually equal 3 periods. I also leave Staios, Rourke, Stoll, Torres, Gagner, Sanderson and Hemsky in the showers after periods. Then he fires himself for not being able to motivate this group of nancy-boys.

    *End rant*

  14. RiversQ says:

    Gagner is just getting shitkicked at ES. It’s unreal. Now he can’t do anything at either end of the ice, which is probably because 10-83 draw the good pairings.

    Not only are the Oilers awful tonight but they’re getting zero breaks and some bad luck. That should really drive home the message.

  15. Dennis says:

    Sounds about right, Lain.

    Which means it’s not something I’d expect will happen.

    Every shift that 12 gets to play without doing anything, it just makes me wonder why he’s getting a push that few have gotten before him.

    Probably even going back to our pal Rita, for that matter.

    Hard to fault 46 for what’s happening tonight but if 14-16 are off the map GF wise, we’ve gotta move just about everything else around.

    Look, there are a couple of reasons why the Oilers could get beat and outchanced tonight.

    - Col has a great group of forwards which makes them hard to match against.

    - Col’s an excellent home team

    - Col’s been playing poorly so they were due to zoom someone

    - Edm’s just not that good and it’s hard to get any kind of favourable match on the road

    - Edm hasn’t been sucking as much lately as they should, which means they were due for a bad game.

    So, put that all together, you can see how we’d lose tonight.


    I’d say I haven’t missed more than 25 games in the last 10 years. Sad I know;) but it’s a hobby of mine and if the games are televised, I’v e watched them live or I’ve taped them.

    So, I can honestly say I’ve never seen a worst 40 minute effort. Not even in ’97 when CuJo was standing on his head most of the time or even early in the ’98 season when the Oilers were just drowing before they pulled the Hamrlik and Guerin trades in late mid to late Dec.

    I know that the Wonderful Lowe has given MacTavish a bucket of shit and asked him to paint a house but still, this effort is embarrassing.

    So, in going back to your idea for the latest route for Mass. Transit, Lain, there’s only so many vets we can trade so, yes, let’s shake up the kids and see if we can keep down the GA.

  16. doritogrande says:

    Holy shit, I was right.

    Enter Garon. Sympathy pull for Roloson.

  17. Ribs says:

    I managed to miss the first two goals but they look about as pretty as the last two. I was playing some NHL07 on the PS2 before the game (Oil/Avs). I ended up winning in OT 6-5. So there is still a chance! Hah, now if only I didn’t have goals from Bergeron, Smith, and Smyth’s OT winner.

    This is just ugly hockey. Plain and simple. I mentioned in the last games thread that the Oil would neat to tidy themselves for this occasion but it looks like they’d rather roll around in their own filth instead.

    Torres looks downright horrid. Nilsson looks almost as bad, and Grebeshkov is falling down by himself this game.

    Gagner looks like he’s meshing a little bit better with Hemsky and Horcoff, so that’s a plus. Too bad they can’t score any gad danged points.

    I’m not sure what MacT can do here with his club ging into the third. Knowing him though, he’ll probably roll Reasoners line for the better half of the third and look sternly down upon his benched Nilsson, Penner, and Torres.

    Horc and Hemmer to the rescue?

    And for craps sake, put some defensemen on the PP. Grebs and Stoll look retarded out there.

  18. Dennis says:

    Two things:

    - Gagner should not play on the road unless it’s against a team that only has one line to worry about it. It’s as simple as that

    - Roli isn’t Luongo so considering that Roli’s hot streaks won’t last as long as RL’s, I get the feeling that we wasted a great effort from Roli tonight. If the rest of the team had showed up and limited the chances to resemble a game where humans weren’t playing robots, he would’ve given us a great chance to win.

  19. Lowetide says:

    Well the good thing is that there’s no sugar coating it. MacTavish won’t say “how the hell does anyone expect us to win when there are 5 rookies in the game” but we know it.

    And I’d walk a mile for Hemsky but he’s been lazy tonight, a complete fraud from what I saw.

    Shame on him.

  20. doritogrande says:

    LT, you’re a psychic.

    Torres finally got Zach Stortini a point.

  21. Ribs says:

    Well, as I figured, Reasoner and friends played a bigger role in the third. I didn’t expect Penner to get MacT’s man-love but I suppose he does that from time to time as well (See JFJ last season, ugh). What Cogliano did to deserve MacT’s wrath puzzles me a bit though.

    I often wonder what this team could be with a coach less interested in perfection and more interested in winning.

    Torres still looked like crap. I don’t care if he shoved an ugly one in.

    Grebs was pretty decent in the late third. I guess that’s something for him.

    Pitkanen can skate. Nothing new. How many times was he the first one to crash the net and then be the first to defend against the puck going the other way? Too many for any good team.

    Stoll looked a little more lively in the third. It’s a shame he can’t work out a shot that isn’t so predictable to goalies.

    Staios, enough with the hooking already!

    AGH! Molson is going to need to make something stiffer than beer if more games like this are on the way.

  22. goldenchild says:

    Could Jani Rita play on the 2007 Oilers?

  23. Pat H says:


    Roli isn’t Luongo so considering that Roli’s hot streaks won’t last as long as RL’s, I get the feeling that we wasted a great effort from Roli tonight. If the rest of the team had showed up and limited the chances to resemble a game where humans weren’t playing robots, he would’ve given us a great chance to win.

    I agree. On a related note, while I know that it’s easy to play armchair coach, I truly think that MacT just has no conception of what constitutes an effective goalie pull. Lemaire, on the other hand – well, let’s just say that MacT should have taken notes on what Lemaire did when we last played Minny.

    Is it not pretty simple? It’s not necessarily about a goalie letting in soft goals (though that can be a cause, obviously). But if your team gets scored on twice in 25 seconds, or if you’re shelled like we were after the 1st, doesn’t it seem reasonable to shake things up? Give the skaters something to think about? I can’t recall the last time I ever saw MacT make an effective pull – a pull that ultimately worked out to the benefit of our team.

  24. Bank Shot says:

    The worst part of this whole nightmare is that there won’t even be any changes.

    GM just got a new contract, he’s best buddies with the coach, trades are seemingly impossible to make.

    How can Phoenix be doing better then the Oilers when they have 6 rookie forwards in their lineup and spare parts for veterans. Chicago is about in the same boat. Disgusting.

  25. Pat H says:

    addendum: I realize, of course that MacT gave Rolly the ‘mercy pull’, but by that point it was far too late for it to be of any effect, other than to give Rolly a break.

  26. PDO says:

    AGH! Molson is going to need to make something stiffer than beer if more games like this are on the way.

    Cold shots?

  27. Ribs says:

    Do they come in a Big Gulp?

  28. Ribs says:

    ..or you know, man-sized format?

  29. Bruce says:

    I can’t recall the last time I ever saw MacT make an effective pull – a pull that ultimately worked out to the benefit of our team.

    There was this one bizarre sequence just before Xmas 2005, when the Oil had a wild five-game winning streak where they made all these comebacks and kept winning by scores like 5-4 and 7-6. During that streak there were three consecutive games where MacT yanked the goalie (the Conklin-Markkanen-Morrison merry-go-round) midgame and the Oil came back to win all three. Three straight goalie pulls, three straight wins. I remember it well cuz I’ve never seen that before or since.

  30. Bruce says:

    I’d call up Pouliot, Schremp and Thoresen and send out Nilsson and Stortini and give Gagner a few games in the pressbox.

    Still not feeling the love for Stortini, eh, LT? I thankfully missed the game tonight, but looking at the stats I see Zack’s first plus of the season, the first assist of his career, a blocked shot, and a faceoff win. This is a versatile guy!

    I’ll bet you didn’t know that Stortini has now taken 6 faceoffs in his career and not lost any of them.

    Anyway, on a night when your plus players are the unlikely foursome of Stortini, Torres, Grebeshkov and Rourke, you gotta take silver linings where you can find ‘em.

  31. Pat H says:

    Bruce: Thanks for the history lesson. I vaguely remember that, way down deep. I guess it’s a little too easy to make categorical criticisms when things are as dismal as they are now.

  32. Rod says:

    Wow, that was an embarrassment for 40 minutes. Ugly effort aside from Roli. Not sure how Gagner gets singled out of that mess. It’s not like anyone else generated much of anything in the first two periods.

    Hopefully it was a case of getting all the weird crap out of the way in a single game (Brodziak pounding the crossbar on an open net the most frustrating example).

    If nothing else, we’re one game closer to Pisani’s return. Considering he should be back soon, and that the team was on a recent roll (winning 5 of 8 isn’t all that bad for this crew), an airlift might be a bit premature. Or at least an overreaction to one truly awful game.

    If Pisani comes back in Ana, I’d guess they’ll keep Stortini in the lineup. Not that he scares any of Ducks, but if they don’t dress him there, they might as well send him to the ECHL. Wait a sec…that’s not a bad idea.

    Then if Pisani returns vs. LA, Nilsson should draw back in with Stortini the odd man out.

    Either way, it should be 14-16-34 for the first few games at least.

    Yeah, I’m focused on Pisani’s return rather than discussing the Avs game. Anyone that saw that excuse for a game would understand why I’m moving past it. Gotta find my silver lining somewhere.

  33. Kev says:

    Stortini won all 6 of his faceoffs? I’ll be tucking that little nugget away…

  34. dubya says:

    Anyone think it might be time to try 27-10-83 again? Penner is playing a stronger puck possession game and getting the puck out of his zone effectively enough to play tough minutes with 10-83. And his skating has improved tremendously since the season start, I thought he actually somewhat swift a couple times last night. Down to a single chin, too!

    Tough minutes to the top 2, Reasoner baby-sitting, and lots of PP time for 89.

  35. heed says:

    i don’t think that breaking up the sanderson, reasoner and brodziak line is a good plan. this is probably the only line we have that even approaches consistency.

    unless you count the conistent suck of any line involving torres and stoll. the wife noted last night that she can’t understand how both of these guys have fallen so far so fast. it’s like they completely forgot how to play hockey.

    i have a distance memory of stoll getting open on the power play for a booming slapshot. now there is no open or no boom. get this guy off the point on our second unit and give the time to anyone…even hot door knob. has anyone else noticed that he is our only positive +/- player? that can’t be good.

    nilsson had 2 decent efforts since called up but has disappeared completely. is it time to call up the hockey jesus? i say bring the kid up and let him sink or swim on one of the top lines. he will probably sink like a stone but seeing the excuses from all the schremp-lovers will be worth it. i mean the only difference between schremp and gretzky is that gretsky had sather and schremp has mact? i mean it is obvious. isn’t it?

    ps all that being said, it’s awesome to see captain mullet earn his $3.5M pay check this year. he’s getting paid $6.5M! are you kidding? someone who gets paid that much should be able to get points playing with anyone. he plays with sakic? wow…this guy sucks!

  36. Dennis says:

    Nilsson really hasn’t been doing much, outside of that three game segment in Min, Col and Cgy when he was really clicking with 10-27.

    No surprise but it looks like 10 was making that click because Nilsson hasn’t shown anything since.

    I guess the reason why MacT’s sticking with Rowbear is that he’s not coming up minus.

    And with Pisani back any day now, he probably figures it’s pointless to bring forth another kid.

    That’s the only thing I can think of right now.

  37. Bruce says:

    Stortini won all 6 of his faceoffs? I’ll be tucking that little nugget away…

    Zack (Quick Draw) Stortini? Who knew??

    I have to say that might be the most bizarre stat I’ve come across all season. I was flipping through a friend’s NHL Guide the other night and noticed that there’s the odd guy out there with a career faceoff rate of 100.0%, and the two or three guys I noticed (defencemen mostly, e.g. Deron Quint) all had taken exactly one faceoff, and won it.

    So when I looked at last night’s game sheet I figured, ha-ha, Storts just won his first faceoff, but checking the game-by-game log I find he’s gone 3-for-3 in each of the last two seasons. So maybe Stortini, who barring his PiM totals almost defines the term “small number statistics”, is the current NHL record-holder for most faceoffs won without a loss or something. It’s a self-defeating stat, cuz as soon as you display any competence you’re going to start taking more faceoffs, and poof!

    Anyway, I went through the game logs and discovered that Stortini has taken two faceoffs against Jason Arnott and one each against Michael Holmqvist, Trevor Linden, Mathieu Lombardi and Ben Guite. 3 of the 6 were in the defensive zone, 1 in the offensive. I didn’t look them all up in the play-by-play log — the stupid goddamn refresh “feature” on NHL.com that sees the need to update year-old stats every 20 seconds is very discouraging; when will the NHL ever develop something resembling user-friendly information?? — but the couple I could locate were not in garbage time or anything, e.g. last night’s was early in the second period, Oiler defensive zone, score 2-0.

    However, I do note that the Oilers
    lost all five games in which Stortini took (and won) faceoffs, a 100% correlation, so we should probably blame Stortini for those losses. :)

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