Blues at Oilers, G30/07-08

This is Bob Gassoff. To this day the name will spark memories in the city of Medicine Hat. Gassoff played in a more violent era of hockey history, and he was one of the reasons the game was so violent.

His PIMS yearly look ridiculous now, and they looked large then too. In 72-73 he led the WHL in penalty minutes with 388, and then added 152 in 17 post-season games. Both were all-time records when he set them.

He was a pretty good defenseman, good enough to be drafted 48th overall in the very strong 1973 draft. St. Louis had him play 45 games in the minors before he arrived in the NHL.

He was a good NHL player, won the Blues team MVP in 76-77 and he was listed as being a key player for St. Louis in each summer’s hockey yearbook.

To quote hockeydraftcentral: Memorial Day weekend in 1977, Gassoff and his pregnant wife, Diane, had been invited to a postseason barbecue at teammate Garry Unger’s 200-acre farm near Gray Summit, Mo.

At roughly 6 p.m., Gassoff joined several others in riding motorcycles around Unger’s property. Unger would later say he remembered wondering if it was a good idea for Gassoff to ride the motorcycle because he had been drinking and didn’t have any riding experience. Gassoff drove out of Unger’s property on a gravel road that merged into to a winding road leading up a hill to Villa Ridge, Mo.

Gassoff wasn’t wearing a helmet and had no license plate on his motorcycle, so he decided to take a short run up the hill and come right back. On his way back down the hill, he collided head-on with a car driven by a man named Douglas Klekamp.

The crash killed Gassoff, although Klekamp walked away uninjured. In October 1977, Gassoff’s widow filed a $3 million lawsuit against Unger, his wife, and Klekamp, whom the suit alleged was one of Unger’s employees running an errand for the Ungers. Unger describes Gassoff’s death as one of the most devastating moments of his life.

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105 Responses to "Blues at Oilers, G30/07-08"

  1. Pat H says:

    Wow, what a sad story. On a lighter note, Garry Unger is a name quite familiar to me, but also before my time. I didn’t realize how solid he was, statistically at least. Looks like he had about 8 consecutive 30+ goal seasons in the 1970s.

    I’m also quite amused by the stats at the tail end of his career, when he played overseas in the BCHL. 86-87: 30gp 238pts.

  2. Rob... says:

    Pat, I had to check those stats…WOW! That year his team had 4 100point players and the second highest point producer had 191pts!

    Sad story though, where do you come up with them LT?

  3. heed says:

    heads up. stoll and torres are going to sit tonight and thoreson / reddox are going to play.

  4. PunjabiOil says:

    Hope that move doesn’t cost them a W

  5. digger says:

    Stoll and Torres healthy scratches.

    I guess we know why Reddox was called up, then.

    To be a fly on the wall in that pressbox…

  6. goldenchild says:

    Listen these guys prob should sit but shouldn’t 46 be sitting right next to them?

  7. heed says:

    To be a fly on the wall in that pressbox…

    stoll – see that girl down there?

    torres – yeah…

    stoll – i’d nail her

    torres – dude, she’s like 50

    stoll – I AM THE MILF DESTROYER!

    torres – uh..ok..is just me or does stortini even look like a better player when he doesn’t have to play with us?

    stoll – i hope it’s just you

  8. jon says:

    Great… first regular season game I can make this year and we’re scratching two our NHL vets… At least I’ll get to see Reddox in the NHL I suppose, though that’s subject to his icetime.

  9. dubya says:

    Stoll and Torres healthy scratches.

    Sooo cute…those two do everything together!

    Best. Couple. Ever.

  10. Rod says:

    46 escapes the PB? The guy that has no business being on a shut-down line stays in the lineup? Wow. Only reason I can think of is that MacT didn’t want to single out 14 or 16 along with 46, so they’re both out.

    From the standpoint of winning tonight’s game, this move doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Isn’t 14-16-34 a ton better than 14-16-46? That move alone makes the team better than last game. Couple that with a Thor-89-12 combo, and 46 landing in the PB. What am I missing? That the Oilers didn’t have enough guys with under 80 games experience? Are we trying to set a record in that department or something?

    MacT claims he spoke to Stoll and Torres about “the specifics of it”…yet Stoll indicated otherwise (didn’t confirm/deny it was about effort or willingness to compete, wasn’t told how to get back in the lineup).

    MacT claims it’s about consistency for Raffi, night in and night out. On its face, fair enough. Raffi is clearly not consistent. At all. Thing, what reason in the world is there to believe a raw rookie will be more consistent?

    “Zach has exceeded expectations”. Well, my expectations were absolutely zero, so to me, that’s not saying much. “Zach’s really played above my level of expectation for him at this stage of his career”. Who cares MacT? Pisani in that spot would be better.

    How about the expectations of ticket holders that the team will ice the best lineup they can? This isn’t a road game MacT. Oiler fans have paid good money to watch this team. The final 20 games last season were awful (due largely to injury). The injury bug hit again this season, forcing the team to ice more young guys than you can get away with in the NHL. Now you’re intentionally making them greener yet? Wow.

    How does this make sense? Somebody, please enlighten me.

  11. godot10 says:

    //How does this make sense? Somebody, please enlighten me.//

    Expectations for young players are low. Expectations for veterans are higher.

    The Oilers are below .500 this season because Stoll and Torres have underperformed. Over 25% of the season has past.

  12. Black Dog says:

    Well … um. I’ll give it a try.

    The thing about this team since Day 1 this season is that all form was out the window. Pedigree was not supposed to count.

    So, Thoresen, Pouliot, Smid – all sent out at the beginning of the year, despite being regulars last year.

    Roloson sits in Garon’s place.

    The Mass. Transit.

    Do I agree with it? Not sure. Everyone knows Raffi is inconsistent and everyone knows that Stoll has been awful. If they had ten goals apiece (reasonable?) then this team would be ahead of where it is now. And they got torn up pretty good Wednesday night when they were supposed to be shutting down Crosby.

    Yes Stortini should not have been in that role.

    Yes Horcoff, Hemsky, Torres or Pisani would have been a better choice for a matchup.

    But these guys have to be better or this team is going absolutely nowhere. I guess that’s it.

  13. Rod says:

    Agreed those two have underperformed. I just don’t see how tonight’s lineup is better for the move.

  14. goldenchild says:

    Rod i agree 14-16-34 is instantly a much better option as a checking line but if you are going to bench 14 and 16 to make a point how in the fuck does 46 escape this wrath? MacT has me completely baffled with the Stortini lovefest this season.

  15. rickibear says:

    Rod: If the young guys don not score but end up even at plus minus. Then the line up is better.
    Thoerson was our best Pk GA/60 guy last year.
    Reddox is suppose to be a bit of an agitator.
    My only concern is critical faceoffs in our own zone.

  16. rickibear says:

    and for 3.2M less!

  17. Rod says:

    rickibear: I have no problem with Thor in there. I just would have pulled 46 to do it:
    14-16-34
    28-89-12

    That’s way more solid than whatever we’re going with tonight.

  18. Rod says:

    Here’s the career games played of tonight’s apparent roster:
    Horcoff 456
    Reasoner 412
    Hemsky 302
    Pisani 271
    Penner 130
    Nilsson 78
    Thoreson 70
    Stortini 48
    Brodziak 44
    Cogliano 29
    Gagner 28
    Reddox 0

    That’s a grand total of 1868 games played. For twelve players.

    Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk alone surpass that:
    Weight 1089
    Tkachuk 1001

    Press box:
    Torres 304
    Stoll 234

    Let’s say the top line stays intact tonight:
    27-10-83 — that’s three of the top five in experience
    At this stage Reasoner is no better than 4th line (sorry Loxy)
    So, the only remaining forward with over 100 games is Pisani. In his fourth game back.

    Perhaps MacT got tired of trying to hide the kids, so he made it impossible. Can anyone assemble a reasonable looking set of lines from this mess?

    Here’s my crack at it:
    12-10-83
    28-13-51
    27-89-34
    Rx-19-46

    Yes, it’s an undeserved bump for 12…but how else can you balance this out.

  19. Dennis says:

    I was gonna do a pregame over at Ty’s site and get into this a little more but the GF’s home and wants to go to for supper so I’ll post the truncated version here.

    There’s only so many rods that a coach has these days. The first is decreasing icetime and the second is healthy scratching a guy. And that’s pretty much it.

    Mact’s done the icetime shaving and now he’s brought out the last weapon. For my money, there’s a finality about healthy scratching young vets like 14 and 16. This isn’t a case where you scatch an older guy because the writing’s starting to appear on the wall one word at a time, ie Linden in Vancouver. Look at the GP of 14 and 16 and show me the last time guys like that, who should be in their or nearing their prime, were scratched. Would that list be long? I’d bet that it’s not and this is why I think it’s a bit jarring and is possibly the first hint towards 16 being dealt.

    Now, I remember a time when Smyth was scratched in the playoffs, ie ’99 season when he was a three year vet, so it’s not like I haven’t seen this before. But, these fellows guys are in their fourth year of pro, not counting the lockout A season in ’05, and it’s a bit of a shock to me to see both guys getting the axe.

    I’m not sure if it’s too early or not but MacT’s played one of the only two cards he’s got and if this doesn’t work, then I think a trade’s right around the corner.

    Overall, Stoll’s had a smackdown coming for a long time. Personally, I would’ve played given him 3rd or 4th EV pivot time plus yanked away his PP time. But whatever happened, the guy deserves it. He’s doing nothing offensively and I think MacT even did him a favour by putting him in a role, ie shutdown, where counting stats aren’t as important. But they got light up and now that’s done.

    As for Torres, he’s not scoring either and he’s not getting a lot of scoring chances so in that regard he’s not a whole lot better than Stoll. But he’s not a GA sinkhole either so it’s hard not to look at this as him being the baby being thrown out with the Stoll bathwater.

    For most of his career, for better or for worse, 14 has been attached to 16. It started off becuase they were looked to for secondary offense with macT being loathe to break up 83-94 and except for the ’06 run when Raffi proved his EV chops by playing tough min with Peca-Pisani, it’s continued to do this day.

    As for the timing of this move, it’s a move you can only make at home because this team has enough trouble matching with 14-16 in the lineup, yet alone with them. I suspect 10/83 plus will get ridden super hard at EV for tonight and then the two boys will be back on Mon.

    And, yes, Stortini’s caught in the other zone on the 2-2 goal and he’s shaking Roli’s hand on the 3-2 so he can’t get out to take his check and yet he doesn’t get the gate tonight. That one’s baffling

  20. godot10 says:

    Torres and Stoll weren’t scoring. So MacT gave them a chance to check.

    If you can’t score and you can’t check, what use are you?

  21. Rod says:

    godot10: Uh, you just described L Column.

    BTW, nobody is saying 14-16 have been playing great, but who said they couldn’t check? True, Crosby burned the line (L Column included). Is that unusual or something?

    Point is, as Andy said at BoA, it’s Reddox and Stortini instead of Stoll and Torres. On a team short of veterans at the moment. Makes no sense if you’re trying to ice the best lineup possible. Anyone else concerned about defensive zone draws tonight? Which means the coach isn’t trying his best to win this game (right on the heels of the coach making lousy match-up decisions vs. Crosby). End result is the coach indirectly punishing the players in the lineup tonight to send a message to Stoll and Torres. I suppose if the two were satisfied with their game it makes sense. I don’t get that impression though, today’s interviews included.

    BTW, if they’re trying to trade Stoll, making him a healthy scratch for the first time since junior doesn’t exactly increase his value. Doesn’t really increase their chances of re-signing him either.

  22. Vic Ferrari says:

    I suspect that this has a lot more to do with what somebody said than how somebody played.

    Of course we’ll never know, because the Edmonton media will write/speak as they’re told. If a Calgary reporter hadn’t blogged on the Staios/MacTavish set-to earlier in the year we would never have known. And even after it became public knowledge the Sargent Schulz media here in Lawrence, Kansas were the only Oiler fans who were oblivious.

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so damn sad.

  23. Lowetide says:

    I don’t believe it. Suspect one or both will draw in by opening faceoff. It’s irresponsible for MacT to nail a Denver boot onto a 1974 Gremlin.

  24. Vic Ferrari says:

    I hope you’re right, LT, and I expect that you are.

    Part of me hopes that MacTavish goes through with it though. I suspect that he and Lowe would really lose all remaining control of the veterans if they did. That would be interesting to watch.

  25. Andy Grabia says:

    I suspect that this has a lot more to do with what somebody said than how somebody played.

    Mike posted on this yesterday. It was talked about by Millard and Stauffer. And I feel the same way you do, Vic. Those two could have been benched for the past fifteen games, if not more. The timing of it means this is about punishing them for questioning MacT’s coaching, not winning hockey games.

  26. heed says:

    The timing of it means this is about punishing them for questioning MacT’s coaching, not winning hockey games.

    if the story has any truth to it, it also seems to suggest that another player was criticized in this latest spat. stortini may not be the most talented guy in the world but he does his best. his best may not be good enough but that is another issue all together. given the seasons that both these platers have had, they are the last guys who should be calling out their fellow players.

  27. Rod says:

    Oh sure, Stortini tries. Can’t skate, can’t shoot, can’t fight, but he tries. Keep the 4th liner in the lineup then, on the shut-down line of all things. Great plan. Didn’t take a lot of foresight to see that plan would fail…but when it did, Stortini is praised by the coach. Probably because he tries.

    If all Oiler fans wanted was a bunch of players that tried, the Oilers should just ice a team of 18 year olds. They’d give it their all, every night. Wins? Not so much.

  28. namflashback says:

    By all indications, as a coch MacT expects from his players:

    - coachability — willingness to learn
    - decision making skills — manage reward and risk
    - performance/effort in synch with the right point in development — likes those that are ahead of the curve (Cogs, Gilbert)

    He’s using the stick he has, because he can’t afford to have these two continue to underperform. We know the Crosby show wasn’t the only reason — it’s just the perfect one right now.

    Any fool (including MacT) know that he is endangering the ability to win the game.

    I see one of two results:
    - If the young-uns can gut out a win, it shows both them and 14-16 some jam
    - If the young-uns lose out, it speaks to the role 14-16 are supposed to play. MacT probably wants them to be a little bit mad at him and prove him wrong.

    It’s a last ditch gambit, but as we saw with MAB, MacT expects the veteran player to improve on the things they can improve on with smarts, focus, and efforts.

  29. godot10 says:

    //godot10: Uh, you just described L Column.//

    Stortini isn’t a veteran.

    If you are a veteran and aren’t scoring, then you better be able to play a shutdown role.

    What do Stoll and Torres expect…Hemsky and Horc to do everything, score and take and toughest defensive minutes.

    Torres was given a good long shot on Hemsky’s LW and he did F-all. So he better stop whining about checking, and the teammates he is asked to check with.

    MacT gave both guys nearly 1/3rd of the season. The Oilers are not in a playoff position because of the play of these two.

    The Oilers can miss the playoffs just-as-well playing young guy who play to their potential than veterans who don’t.

  30. Vic Ferrari says:

    Thanks for pointing that out, Andy. I usually read everything at CinO, but saw the headline on that one, and frankly I’m all Crosbied out right now, so I had skipped it.

    The thing that pisses me off is that had have had a few breaks lately, and at this point I think they have a legitimate shot at staying out of the bottom five in the NHL. And here is MacTavish still fucking around.

  31. Rod says:

    Ditto all that Vic. Every word.

    (I know, I’m shocked too :)

  32. Rod says:

    godot10: Don’t suppose Stortini played a role in the Stoll and Torres’ inability to check (as you put it). Slot Pisani with them instead of L Column, and MacT would have a legit shut-down line. That’s the point.

  33. heed says:

    everyone on this site knows that this team goes no where unless both these guys pick up their game. they’ve had 30 games to do so (okay 29) and have yet to deliver. on this young team, they are as close as we have to veteran leaders. they should be leading by example not calling out the players and the coach. i am as pissed off as everyone else about what this move means to our ability to win but at some point these guys have to take accountability for their own performance.

  34. godot10 says:

    //godot10: Don’t suppose Stortini played a role in the Stoll and Torres’ inability to check (as you put it). Slot Pisani with them instead of L Column, and MacT would have a legit shut-down line. That’s the point.//

    Torres and Stoll are veterans…they shouldn’t need Pisani to baby sit them. Pisani is babysitting Gagner and Nilsson for now.

    Raffi…play better and you won’t have to play with Stortini.

  35. Rod says:

    legit shut-down line
    Before I get cracked on for that, I meant to say a “better shut-down line than with 46″. With 34 they’d be a line with a decent chance of shutting down someone. Legit as it gets this season anyway.

    As for tonight, they indicated on the radio that it’ll be Thoreson between Reddox and Stortini. As the checking line. Ouch. Time to cover your eyes folks.

  36. Rod says:

    Torres and Stoll are veterans…they shouldn’t need Pisani to baby sit them. Pisani is babysitting Gagner and Nilsson for now.
    Are you serious? It’s not about Pisani babysitting Stoll and Torres. It’s about icing a checking line that isn’t doomed to failure.

    As for babysitting Gagner and Nilsson, have you read any of my posts? Put Thor in the game instead of 46, and you have a responsible forward that can play with 89-12. They even scored a goal on the weekend.

  37. Vic Ferrari says:

    Anyone else catch Georges’ bit on 1260? Yowza!

    Obviously there is no love lost between MacT and BG, and most of Laraque’s comments were valid and interesting. And he knows and likes Stortini, apparently he helped teach him to fight.

    But his remark about the Pens players joking about the Oilers running Stortini out against Crosby … ouch! Usually that stuff stays in the room.

    Then again, this is the same coach that, in October, decided that he should run Grebeshkov against Iginla. Then a shift later play Grebs on the first unit PP. Then, on little rest, get Grebs out there against Iginla for the all important shift-after-the-Oilers-PP.

    In that entire time Staios never saw a second of ice time. He was on the bench, presumably thinking, and not happy thoughts.

    I mean we see Lidstrom used this way in the playoffs and in big games. Pronger as well, in fact for the last two months of the season he was being shorted on PP time to have him ready for the shift-after.

    But Denis Effing Grebeshkov, in freaking October?! Jesus, pass the ether.

  38. Lowetide says:

    Chimera has had a few rips on MacT over the years too, which is interesting.

    Laraque has clearly burned a bridge though, there goes the coaching career.

    :-)

  39. Rod says:

    Yeah, that Georges interview was something else. Was quite surprised Rishaug reacted so negatively to a good quote. Then again, he wasn’t holding the mic so maybe that’s why he was ticked.

    Was an odd thing to hear, but it validated everything I’ve been saying about L Column on the checking line, so of course I loved it.

    That Grebs thing vs. Calgary was crazy. Tonight has all the ear-marks of a repeat. Get the ether ready. Failing that, a reprise of the CiO drinking game should suffice.

  40. digger says:

    Yeah, I caught all of that.

    To me it did nothing but reinforce how much BG utterly despises MacT, and that he won’t think twice about throwing a guy he supposedly knows and likes under the bus in a public setting, if it means he can get in an extra dig.

    Georges? A nice guy.

    Bit of an idiot though.

  41. Vic Ferrari says:

    I remember on Oilfans there was a poster who claimed to be a friend of Chimera and would offer up bits and pieces about fitness testing and offday activities, etc.

    Every once in a while he would offer up some inside information from an unnamed source, and inevitably it pointed to MacTavish being either a fool or an ass.

    His ‘unnamed source’ in the room remains exactly as mysterious to me as Stauffer’s inside source from last season. :D

    In any case, just going by that it was clear that Chimera and Mactavish didn’t get along. I always liked Chimera, played hard, left some marks on the boards, fought without being asked. I didn’t like that trade to PHX, though I never thought that he would become so useful. Seeing the way that Hitch uses him, and the way that division rival coach Andy Murray used him in the WHC’s last spring … clearly this is a player that has earned the respect from some serious, technical coaches. Good for him.

  42. Vic Ferrari says:

    Georges? A nice guy.

    Bit of an idiot though.

    That’s baseless. Laraque’s rebuttal to Rishaug’s defence of Stortini in the checking role was spot on. That could be Roger Neilsen talking at a coaching clinic for crying out loud. Granted with a heavy french accent.

    Do you take issue with any of the specific comments? Is everyone who says something that you disagree with an idiot? Is it the accent throwing you, or something else?

    All good questions, Digger. And I didn’t call anyone an idiot while saying it. :D

  43. godot10 says:

    //Are you serious? It’s not about Pisani babysitting Stoll and Torres. It’s about icing a checking line that isn’t doomed to failure.//

    Horcoff had to carry Penner and Nilsson out there against the Sedins in a couple of Vancouver games.

    This isn’t the playoffs. Pisani isn’t in shape yet. Moreau is still hurt. Stoll and Torres are veterans…they should be pulling their weight, and sometimes that means carrying a young guy on their backs too.

  44. Vic Ferrari says:

    Jesus, I’m listening to Gregor downplay the “Torres vs MacTavish” words. Apparently it was a caller to his show, sitting behind the bench, that called in with the info.

    Ace reporter Gregor has now decided that was all just taken out of context. Ryan “bootlick” Rishaug has done his own research and come to the same conclusion.

    Gregor is off his nut now, in short, this brilliant hockey decision (and it’s PURELY a hockey decision, dammit!) by MacTavish has elevated MacT form super-duper status to super-dee-duper status in the humble opinion of the great Jason Gregor.

    And as much as i love to snipe at the pollyanna Edmonton media, props to Stauffer for staying on course. When the others try to project themselves as wise by defending Stortini from the wrath of the great unwashed, Stauffer is quite rightly pointing out that it’s MacTavish’s decision to play him against the other team’s best players that is the real issue.

  45. digger says:

    Do you take issue with any of the specific comments? Is everyone who says something that you disagree with an idiot? Is it the accent throwing you, or something else?

    The ACCENT throwing me?

    Disregarding for a moment the irony here, I’m not precisely sure what a comment like this is meant to accomplish.

    For the record, Roger Neilson would never have gone on the radio and happily chatted about how his team was laughing about the other team’s decisions regarding lineup combinations. THAT’S my issue.

    If I think he’s an idiot, it’s only in the context of how he can spout off like this without much thought about how it’s belittling a fellow player.

    But then it gave him another chance to put his former coach in a bad light, so I guess that trumped all else.

    Anyway, good day to you.

  46. Gord says:

    // they indicated on the radio that it’ll be Thoreson between Reddox and Stortini. As the checking line. //

    I am really looking forward to this – Thoresen is going to be on the opposition before they have a chance to blink (I’m expecting another goal from him). Stortini is going to muck in the corners & I want to see why Buchberger is a big fan of Reddox.

    And it is about time MacTavish kicked some butt. Stoll has not produced either offensively or defensively with prime ice time. Torres has only had about 3 good games all season.

    Those two were supposed to show leadership both on the ice & in the dressing room – those two were in Game 7 two years ago & were supposed to lead by example.

    Instead (if the rumors are true) they are bitching at the coach in front of the other players – the #1 rule is that the soldiers carry out the General’s orders without question.

    I do not care if the Oilers win or lose tonight – all I know is that I am impressed with MacTavish for kicking some butt…

    But my gut feeling is that we are going to win…

  47. Slipper says:

    The toxic twins have been sent up to the pressbox for a Friday night game?

    I hope that all the mirrors and framed glass are fastened securely to the walls.

  48. Rod says:

    //Horcoff had to carry Penner and Nilsson out there against the Sedins in a couple of Vancouver games.//

    What does that have to do with a checking line doomed to failure (i.e. one with L Column).

    //This isn’t the playoffs. Pisani isn’t in shape yet.//

    Uh, you might want to check the TOI number before jumping to conclusions. Here’s the numbers from Wed. vs. Pittsburgh (head to head vs. Crosby 5on5 in parens):
    - Pisani 17:19 (almost four minutes vs. Crosby)
    - Stortini 10:06 (all but three minutes vs. Crosby)

    Exactly how is Pisani unable to handle Stortini’s minutes?

    //Moreau is still hurt.//

    Relevance? Moreau is LW, so is Torres. They won’t make a checking line. 14-16-34 make a much better checking line thatn 14-16-46. Peiod.

    //Stoll and Torres are veterans…they should be pulling their weight. and sometimes that means carrying a young guy on their backs too.//

    Uh, never said they weren’t under performing. Merely that a checking line with 46 is doomed to failure. The guy can’t skate well enough to be a “shut-down” type of player. Then the veterans get benched when Crosby scores (that’ll thin the league out in a hurry).

    BTW, what happened to putting players in a position to succeed? If you want a checking line to actually succeed, how about you put a winger capable of checking on said checking line? Pisani wasn’t available 10 games ago, but he is now (and was against the Pens). Thoreson is also available to draw in with Nilsson and Gagner (the babysitting you’re so worried about).

  49. Lowetide says:

    Gord: If that’s the checking line, you should look forward to -5 beside each of their names.

    Is this HAPPENING?

  50. Rod says:

    Oddest thing I heard on Stauffer’s show today was that some in Oilers management see Stortini as a Buchberger reincarnated. What? Bucky could skate (and therefore check). Stortini? End of comparison. Stop the insanity. Get L column off the checking line.

  51. Rod says:

    Brownlee indicated that will be a line. Whether that’s the checking line remains to be seen. Regardless, we’re in for a bumpy night.

  52. Rod says:

    Er, I’ll complete that thought. Brownlee indicated that Reddox, Thoreson, Stortini would be the checking line. They must have practiced together. Brownlee also said whoever they play against will be rather happy at the turn of events. No kidding.

  53. digger says:

    Is this HAPPENING?

    The Magic 8 Ball is saying “yes”, by the looks of it. ;)

    Grab some popcorn and crack open whatever beverage turns your crank on a thursday night, shenanigans are sure to be afoot.

  54. Lowetide says:

    Except it’s Friday. Is it a full moon?

    This is like batting your pitcher cleanup.

  55. digger says:

    Except it’s Friday. Is it a full moon?

    This is like batting your pitcher cleanup.

    LOL, yeah I guess I’m the idiot now.

    What can I say, functioning on 4 hours sleep + being away from my wife and kids for the last 6 weeks = LOONY TUNES.

  56. digger says:

    Actually, I’m rather fricking stoked now.

    Since I’ve newly discovered it’s friday, I no longer have to go to work tomorrow!

    If I had any alcohol left in the house, I’d be drinking it!

    Perhaps I could huff some paint?

  57. Lowetide says:

    digger: lol. The “full moon” comment was in regard to MacT pulling these guys from the lineup.

    This is serious, guys. If MacT does this he’s basically humiliating Stoll and Torres and he may never get them back.

    You can say “they’ll play for their money or they’ll be traded” but bottom line here is that MacT is taking a terrible risk at a time in the season when it is not prudent.

    You divide your house through pride. MacT may be cutting off his nose to spite his face tonight, and he may also have 15 or so coach killers by tomorrow morning on this roster.

    Curious doesn’t begin to describe this.

  58. Steve says:

    So Liam Reddox will be the thirty-second player dressed by the Oilers this year (Moreau, presumably, will eventually become the thirty-third). And this is a team that hasn’t made a single trade all season. This must be a record of some kind, no?

  59. Rod says:

    This is like batting your pitcher cleanup.

    Gold LT. I just *knew* you’d have a concise way of capturing this madness.

    You divide your house through pride. MacT may be cutting off his nose to spite his face tonight, and he may also have 15 or so coach killers by tomorrow morning on this roster.

    Curious doesn’t begin to describe this.

    Agreed completely. Maybe somebody told MacT there’s no Santa and he’s gone off the deep end.

    Whatever the cause, as you said, he’s probably lost Stoll and Torres for good. Which also means their trade value just went in the dumper. Consequently, they’ll be here. How many other players he’s ticked off remains to be seen.

    Is Stortini really the hill he wants to die on? Wow.

  60. digger says:

    Yeah LT, I know. It’s a baffler to think MacT will be sitting Heckyl & Jeckyl out.

    IMO this decision is a watershed moment for the season, and MacT’s basically going all in with a pair of snowmen.

    It’s always a spectacle, watching this team on and off the ice.

  61. digger says:

    This is like batting your pitcher cleanup.

    Remeber when Joe Niekro hit that home run from his knees off his brother Phil?

    Maybe MacT’s looking for a similar kind of magic, lol.

  62. Gord says:

    // And this is a team that hasn’t made a single trade all season. //

    You can bet dollars to donuts a major trade is coming soon – as soon as Tarnstrom & Souray are back in the line up.

    One (or two defensemen) plus one or both of Stoll & Torres are going in a “3 for 1″ or “4 for 1″ to get a “big name” left winger…

    That is why Lowe is testing everyone – that is why he has kept Thoresen playing no minutes although he got his goal in one of his first shifts – that is why Grebs & Gilbert got almost no PP time the past few games even though they were kicking butt.

    Stoll & Torres were given major opportunities to prove they could lead by example – they both failed.

    How they react to tonights demotion decides which of them is part of the trade package…

  63. Andy Grabia says:

    Damn, I missed Le GG’s comments. Does 1260 archive their stuff?

  64. mike says:

    Grebsekov to Thoresen to Reddox. That would have been so cool if that went in. Then another great play by Cogs and Thor, just before StL scores.

    bummer.

  65. Andy Grabia says:

    Good to see Stortini-Reddox-Thoresen out there against Brad Boyes. Awesome coaching.

  66. Scott says:

    Looks like the rookie shut-down crew is a bust.

  67. Dennis says:

    The Blues aren’t giant killers on the road, nor are the Oilers giants, but they have their heads above water at Ev so not the best team to face having just one line to count on.

    Stoll’s had this coming for a long time. MacT said consistency was the issue with Torres and that’s true. But at least that shows that he Can be good. Meanwhile, MacT said the deal with 16 was competing.

    There’s no goof way to spin that.

    I’m not saying that MacT shouldn’t have played these cards but once you do, there’s nowhere else to go.

    On to the first period.

    Basically everyone did their job but macT. Murray got Kariya-Boyes-Weight out against our fourth line on at least two shifts and maybe even three. But when that didn’t happen, the Oilers owned them. Best period I saw in a long while from Gagner and the Oilers outchanced them about 8-3 I’d say.

  68. digger says:

    Well, the first period is over and the world didn’t come to an end.

    In fact, I’d say the Blues are fortunate that this game is tied. Outshot 14-6, with numerous odd man rushes against them, 1 solid post by Horcoff, and lots of loose play in their own zone.

  69. Dennis says:

    Yeah, Andy, seems like there’s a real story here if someone wants to tackle it.

    In other news, Cal Nichols just opened a Unicorn farm.

  70. Lowetide says:

    Hemsky is ridiculous. I thought MacT would role 9 forwards. 1st period TOI:

    Cogliano 6:23
    Hemsky 6:07
    Penner 6:07
    Horcoff 5:45
    Gagner 5:19
    Nilsson 5:17
    Brodziak 5:09
    Reasoner 5:09
    Pisani 4:11
    Thoresen 3:57
    Reddox 3:27
    Stortini 3:09

    Sweet Georgia Brown. Cito Gaston would be proud.

  71. Dennis says:

    Look, Pierre Lebrun is wearing jeans!!

    In other news, I still hate JD’s guts. I can’t ever forgive him from the old hot stove when Jayne was a Rag and every fucking thing someone brought up, JD would connect it with, “you know, guys, I was talking to Wayne today.”

    It would go something like this, and keep in mind it was back in the early 00′s:

    Strachan: “Brian Burke has never won a playoff round.”

    JD: “You know, guys, I was talking to Wayne today and he actually knows Brian Burke and has spoken to him”!

  72. digger says:

    A goalie getting a ‘holding the stick’ penalty?

    Okie dokie…

  73. Andy Grabia says:

    Ah, Kevin Quinn, way to fill us in on the big controversy in Edmonton this season…the poor ice. I wish these guys just wore Oilers logos on their lapels.

  74. Gord says:

    // I thought MacT would role 9 forwards. //

    When things do not make sense – try to figure it out.

    As I stated earlier, a lot of weird on ice strategies have been going on – the only logical reason is that MacTavish was ordered (by Lowe) to test everyone out.

    A major trade is occurring when Souray & Tarnstrom get back…

  75. Andy Grabia says:

    Look at all that ice-time for 85-46-28 in the second. MacT must have really wanted to give them a chance tonight.

  76. Dennis says:

    Well, that’s 1-1 on the sheet, 1-1 when it comes to the posts and 1-1 in terms of periods won and lost.

    Man, the ice is fucking terrible in Edmonton. The Oilers are certainly making enough money to the point where they can afford a new ice plant, right?

  77. digger says:

    Man, the ice is fucking terrible in Edmonton. The Oilers are certainly making enough money to the point where they can afford a new ice plant, right?

    Methinks that wouldn’t jive with “The Plan”. ;)

    I’ll bet the Oilers can think of half a billion reasons why that wouldn’t be such a hot idea.

  78. Andy Grabia says:

    There was a short story about it in the Urinal today, Dennis. I thought it was because of the mild weather, but it’s been cold here for two weeks now. Just another reason for us to buy the EIG a new rink, I guess.

  79. Andy Grabia says:

    Game over.

  80. Lowetide says:

    I think 3-1 is about right for this game. Oilers had a nice period in the first but the Blues, like all other NHL teams, have more NHL players than the Oilers.

    It seems so obvious, and yet Stoll and Torres in the PB make it even moreso.

    It’s like a study in the obvious.

  81. Andy Grabia says:

    It seems so obvious, and yet Stoll and Torres in the PB make it even moreso.

    85-46 haven’t played since about the 30 minute mark, and the Oilers are losing. I’m sure 14 and 16 have not learned anything other than that their coach is losing his mind.

  82. Lowetide says:

    Well Dennis said it earlier but there’s not very much road now for MacTavish before the cliff.

    It’s up to the players, and he just lost him two.

  83. Andy Grabia says:

    And then they get a shift, and take a penalty. Guess who’s going to be laughing their asses off at the bat tonight?

  84. Lowetide says:

    Sweet Christ Gagner’s lovely.

  85. uni says:

    I have no idea cause I’ve not seen the goals. But both of Nilsson’s goals are because of the excellent passes from Pitkanen and Gagner that only Mr. Magoo wouldn’t score on, or did he take nice shots at least?

  86. Lowetide says:

    That Kariya’s a pretty nice little player.

  87. goldenchild says:

    Nice job Penner

  88. Andy Grabia says:

    Couple more NHLers, and that game is ours. Damn. I thought Gilbert had that one.

  89. goldenchild says:

    Does the Edm press have the Balls to put this L squarely on the coach?

    I still don;t get the end game, embarassing 14 and 16, risk losing your vets who have been through battles with those 2 to save face for Stortini? Or am I missing something?

    You would have to think a trade is coming with at least one those 2.

  90. speeds says:

    I have no idea cause I’ve not seen the goals. But both of Nilsson’s goals are because of the excellent passes from Pitkanen and Gagner that only Mr. Magoo wouldn’t score on, or did he take nice shots at least?

    The Pitkanen pass, maybe.

    The goal tonight, that was not an easy finish. Hard pass (right on the tape, to be sure), but across the body and with pace.

  91. rickibear says:

    UNI: Mr. Magoo! You mean Raffi Torres
    LT: Problem is the two he lost aren’t worth anything.

  92. Lowetide says:

    Some nice things tonight for the Oilers, they are lost from the top (MacT) down but nice to see some pride.

    At this point, the only thing left to do is trade someone, a more veteran player. Suspect it’s Torres, worry it’s Horcoff.

  93. Dennis says:

    Well, LT, what I said was MacT’s played his big card and now we’ll see whether the boys respond.

    If they don’t come out and play a damn good game on Mon in Dal, we’ll know it didn’t make much of a difference.

    But:

    1: maybe there’s not a damn thing anyone can do for Stoll. Maybe the guy’s just gonna search his way through this season. It looks more and more that way every game.

    2: Maybe MacT throws the 14-16 duo a bone by giving him 34 on their starboard saide and all of a sudden, heavens to grundo, that duo looks better!!! I mean that’s the way everything goes, right? Throw Pisani on with anyone and it goes better.

    As for tonight, these are the kinds of mistakes you’ll see and the lulls in play you’ll have to watch when a team’s this young. Oilers have some good young guys but there aren’t any Malkin’s or Crosby’s here so there’s only so much elevation to our kids.

    But, you know, like I said in LT’s latest Lowe thread, this is the way Kevin likes it. Stack the team with kids and thus put off the judgement for another seven years or so. In between, we should all sit back and listen to stories about how guys can’t give us maximum effort ON the ice because they came into camp so out of shape, they’re using up a lot of their juice working out OFF the ice.

    Welcome to Edmonton where the story’s been the same for every year besides ’06.

  94. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I question the timing. This is a time not far removed from a three game winning streak and the coach seems to have boiled over because of some verbal in a game in which the new 99 flexed his muscles.

    For a coach who is so smart, he looks pretty average tonight.

  95. Dennis says:

    Well, I know we’re all looking for the day when both 34 and 18 are back and the vet contingent’s increased ever so much, but as soon as 34 came back, that made a 16 benching easier to take.

    At least from my end.

    He’s been doing nothing for awhile, creating virtually nothing at EV. And I think MacT did have a favour by giving him the shutdown role because then the onus isn’t on the counting stats.

    I think Torres has way more of a beef than Stoll.

  96. Lowetide says:

    Well, fine then. Put Stoll up there for a night, make up some minor tweak. But Torres isn’t nothing even though he’s struggled and this is (imo) about something else altogther.

    Said this before and will say it again: if I didn’t know better, it looks like they’re TRYING to finish in the bottom of the west.

  97. Slipper says:

    I think this was a long time in the making guys. Stollichnaya and Bad Habits are due some much needed seperation. For the good of their own careers and the good of the team, they should be playing hundreds of miles away from one another.

    I have a feeling that recent events are the result of a alot of questionable behaviour and habits, on and off the ice, that up until now have been ignored by the likes of Lowe and MacTavish. Those two douche bags played in the EIGHTIES. In EDMONTON. They hung at dives like the GRINDER. So I’m pretty sure they’ve got a pretty good beat on their players, in and out of the rink. I’m thinking the good old boys in them thought that Raffi and Jarret could be left alone to grow out of their youthful misbehaviours.

    These two guys have also been pretty freaking ineffective for second tier minute forwards, at this stage of their careers. I’d argue that the team’s been pretty discreet and sensitive to the two of them on the public record. Coddling, almost.

    Best case scenario is they come back spitting mad and play their asses off. Then I’d turn around and deal them off when the buying is high and rid the team of two Columbian white mamba sized headaches.

  98. Bruce says:

    Wow, am I glad I missed that game. Usually I enjoy catching up through reading the blogs but today not so much. Some of you guys need to take a Valium. If I were a Flames fan reading this shit I’d be laughing my ass off.

    If Stoll and Torres quit on MacTavish, and more importantly their teammates, on the basis of one (mostly deserved) benching, then they’re not worth having around here anyway. I think it’s more likely that MacT will have gotten their attention, and they’ll respond to the tough love with better performance.

    I don’t mind a coach laying down the law once in awhile. Ever watch Ken Hitchcock in action? If MacT indeed loses the room with this one manouevre, then he will be walking the plank one day soon and the Oilogosphere can have a party.

  99. Lowetide says:

    Bruce: Almost to a man, the blogosphere has been squarely behind MacTavish for years. That includes some questionable roster decisions AND a powerplay that looked D.O.A. for most of the decade.

    So to say there would be a party if he went is a bit unfair imo. That said, maybe he’s made the right move here and they run off 6 in a row.

    The most encouraging thing for me last night was going away from Stortini as an option against quality NHL players. He’s years from carrying the mail in that department.

  100. Ribs says:

    Well, I guess we won’t have to worry about teams going after one of our RFA’s this summer…

    Iteresting move from MacT. I’m not sure it was a deserved sitting as I thought Stoll was at least trying to get things going. I think he led the team in hits for a couple of games there. Torres could probably sit out half of the season and end up with the same amount of points so I guess his sitting could be a deserved one.

    I didn’t pay too much attention to this game but it looked like the young guys were getting some room on the ice for a change and making some nice plays.

    It’ll be interesting to see what develops before the next game. Did MacT’s bold move pay off?

  101. MetroGnome says:

    If I were a Flames fan reading this shit I’d be laughing my ass off.

    Unfortunately, living in this glass house as I am, I can’t afford to be lobbing rocks.

    The Flames have enough problems of their own. At this point I find the Oilers issues interesting but not laughable.

    You know who Keenan put on the ice against Crosby in the final minute of a 2-2 hockey game? Boyd and Nystrom. Honestly. It was an offensive zone draw, but Sid ended up with a glorious scoring chance anyways.

    It’s just as strange down south these days.

  102. Bruce says:

    Bruce: Almost to a man, the blogosphere has been squarely behind MacTavish for years. That includes some questionable roster decisions AND a powerplay that looked D.O.A. for most of the decade. So to say there would be a party if he went is a bit unfair imo.

    OK, my bad, I have only been around the sphere for a few months and the natives are definitely restless. No argument on the powerplay either, though questionable roster decisions are the domain of pretty much any coach. (see metrognome’s comment just above)

    In the current instance I think MacT deserves a little credit for taking a stand. In calling out his players he is also putting his own neck on the line to some extent. That type of leadership takes balls. Maybe it’s the wrong call, and I guess, as Rod likes to say, time will tell. My bet is that those two will be given lots of ice time and responsibility in the immediate upcoming games and be given every chance to prove MacT “wrong”. I’m pretty sure he’d like nothing better.

    The most encouraging thing for me last night was going away from Stortini as an option against quality NHL players. He’s years from carrying the mail in that department.

    I don’t really disagree, although I will say (again, but for the last time) that I was pleasantly surprised by how he handled that for the most part. From the official statistical record, 46 kept his shifts short, didn’t take penalties, didn’t cough the puck, and didn’t bleed minuses until the third period against Pittsburgh, at which point the experiment was declared over. Obviously the coach thought the Pittsburgh collapse wasn’t just his problem, either.

    I still think Stortini is a coachable, developing player, and frankly I found some of the comments above about this kid over the top to the point of being borderline offensive. I think most of us can agree, be we Stortini fans or bashers, that this guy is a role player, for the most part a minor role, and he’s not going to be much of a difference maker. And surely none can argue he’s doing his level best to fulfill whatever role he’s assigned. Fact is the team was mostly successful while he was in that particular role, which may be a total coincidence, but based on the actual results I don’t get going on and on and on 15 different times in the same thread about how bad he sucks. If he’s the biggest problem we got, we should be in a lot better shape then we are.

    I’m frankly a lot more concerned about what his erstwhile linemates are doing, and will do next. With their experience and salary, those guys need to be difference makers.

  103. IceDragoon says:

    MacTavish is bat**** crazy.

    That said, I look at his current roster.

    A little crazy keeps the insanity away.

    I’m not too worried about Torres. He’s easily led… including… astray.

    He found his game while playing with Horcoff.
    go figure ;-D
    Then he and Hemsky tried to carry Stoll to some +s. Hemsky’s frustration was obvious and MacT was right to reunite 10 & 83.

    I am worried about Stoll. He’s erratic; has delays in his read and react; his focus is static and choppy, not engaged and fluid. He needs help.

  104. Lowetide says:

    Louise: I think they’ll deal him at some point. Horcoff at 1C, with Reasoner handling the mentor work and Cogliano and Gagner scoring against the soft parade is a nice depth chart moving forward.

    Plus of course the kids are just going to get better.

  105. IceDragoon says:

    So…

    Do we prop up Stoll with Pisani and hope some GM thinks it’s all 16; meanwhile sacrificing to the hockey gods so our own GM isn’t seduced into a fat extension; and thus, leaving the kids unchaperoned? Yowza!!!

    Until Pisani was on his wing I didn’t like the experiments with Gagner at centre at all… way too much responsibility. I just wanted Sam tucked into about 10 minutes of RW a night. But he’s looked more effective with 34. – duh! There’s some solid trust there. Nilsson is noticeably calmer too. Do we take that away from 89 & 12 for Stoll?

    Guess we’ll have to wait on MacT’s next move.

    L8r
    Louise

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