Oilers at Red Wings, G33/07-08

This is Willie Huber. He was the 9th overall pick in the 1978 Entry Draft and a pretty famous junior. He’d played on a Memorial Cup team, he’d played in the WJC’s in ’77 and ’78 and he was rated by the Hockey News as the 4th best prospect in the 1978 draft.
He was a huge man, 6-5, 228. For pretty much all of his playing career he was the tallest and heaviest man in the NHL, and his injuries were always pretty serious: cracked ribs, broken cheekbone, torn MCL in his right knee and it was that injury (among other things like contract issues) that saw his career fade.
Willie Huber debuted in October 1978, and he retired in the spring of 1989. That’s 18 years ago.
He is 4 years older than Chris Chelios.
You can do this with lots of players.
Chelios was drafted in 1981, 40th overall. Among the players taken 1-39 that season were Dale Hawerchuk, Bobby Carpenter, Ron Francis, Grant Fuhr, Tony Tanti, Al MacInnis.
Chris Chelios is as old as the hills and twice as dusty. He’s old enough to be the father of many of the Red Wings, and he began showing up in the Hockey News in the 1970s! He played U.S. High School Hockey, he played in the Saskatchewan Junior League, he played U.S. College hockey and he played on the 1984 U.S. olympic team and the 2006 team, plus two more in between.
Chris Chelios is coming up on 1600 NHL games, is 46 years old and I honestly wonder if his goal is to pass Gordie Howe (who was 51 years old when he played for Hartford in the NHL 79-80).
Chris Chelios’ career has spanned the lifetime of some of the people who will read this blog today.
Incredible.

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78 Responses to "Oilers at Red Wings, G33/07-08"

  1. Nelson88 says:

    I used to watch Chelios as a Moose Jaw Canuck. That was a hell of a long time ago. He was a disagreeable bugger even then. Would still take him as a settling force on the Oilers D though.

  2. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Everyone knows those old school guys don’t change equipment much. Imagine that funk?

    “Hey, rook. Carry my bag.”

    “Please, not again, Mr. Chelios. My hair is starting to fall out.”

  3. Doogie says:

    His rookie picture is in black and white! ;) Seriously, though, how Montreal could ever have traded him over “image” is ludicrous. Ronald Corey ruined that franchise.

    I just recently used Chelios as an example in a presentation I did for a kinesiology class, regarding training in extreme conditions. Remember that Detroit News story from this summer about his workout regimen? In there, he mentioned that he likes to work out on an exercise bike in a sauna for up to an hour, or until he drinks two gallon jugs of water. According to his trainer, the only player who can keep up with him in fitness testing is none other than Our Man Scorcoff.

  4. looooob says:

    Not to mention even though Chelios was drafted the same year as a guy like Al MacInnis, he’s a year and half older than Macinnis

    I was an undergrad in Montreal in the late 80s. Chelios seemed like an old man even then,wooing the girls at university parties

  5. Oilman says:

    In other news about old hateful bastards…Roger Clemens is in the mitcel report…and I thought Christmas was on the 25th!

  6. speeds says:

    It’s kind of funny.

    When I hear about some sport (that I don’t follow or know anything about) where a 46 year old is competitive with 25 year olds, I tend to imagine that the sport is either not very popular or not very physical/athletic.

    But when it happens in a sport I follow, I change the explanation to either “What a wonderful athlete/freak of nature Chelios must be”

  7. Matt says:

    Drafted the same year as Tony Tanti, who had a very respectable career (5 straight 39+ goal seasons, 287 career goals), and who HASN’T PLAYED AN NHL GAME IN OVER 15 YEARS.

    It is truly mind-boggling.

  8. goldenchild says:

    So in the beginning of the trip if you would of told the team they come out with 3 points they prob take that right? so now with 3 in the bank already for the trip, what kind of effort does Mac T get out of them? maybe because its a short trip it doesn’t affect them as much but 3rd game in 4 nights if they are satisfied with the first 2 games tonight could get ugly.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Roger Clemens is a cheat. I am now fulfilled.

  10. Oilman says:

    Roger Clemens getting a 22 month sentence, or even better, 22% on the HOF vote…would be sweet poetic justice!

  11. Loxy says:

    Drafted the year I was born.

    Wow.

  12. Art Vandelay says:

    He was wrecking hotel rooms as far back as 1984? Keith Moon would be so proud.

  13. DBO says:

    Wow, Mike Richards signs a 12 year $69 million deal. $5.75 mill per year. Man, that’s a lot for the next few years, but could be a bargain later on. the issue becomes, will he be worth it in 5 years or so.

  14. PunjabiOil says:

    Turn on team 1260, apparently something about Katz being back in the mix will be announced.

  15. DBO says:

    Just tuned in. Commercial. Another offer? Arena project?

  16. DBO says:

    Looks like they’ll be an announcement around 3 pm edmonton time.

  17. Daniel says:

    My RSS feed tells me that Patrick LaForge is supposed to be on Oilers Live at 3:00. What’s up?

  18. PunjabiOil says:

    Paul Romanek: IT…IS….OVER….KATZ

  19. Bruce says:

    If Roli’s trying to win MacT’s heart back, that sure is a strange way to show it.

    That was terrible.

  20. Lowetide says:

    Adn Staios in a plus minus free for all. Nice hit in the neutral zone, Grebeshkov second to the puck and then falls.

    However, as you say, terrible goal on Roloson.

  21. Bruce says:

    Give Penner an assist, whether he officially gets one or not. All Hasek saw on that play was big blue buttocks.

  22. Bruce says:

    Great play by Pitkanen, but that pass by Nilsson was something special. Wow.

    This team is fun to watch.

  23. honkey says:

    Nilsson and his point streak continues, high quality play by both him and Pitkanen.

    I hate those Red Wings, the refs always gives them alot of power play to get back in games when they are down.

  24. Bruce says:

    Now this weird. Oilers waive two defencemen in two days, and next game MacT is afraid to go more than four-deep.

    Is that what a sigh of relief looks like? Grebs, Ladi, wake the hell up.

    Luckily Roli shook off the early stinker, and the Oil brought their offensive game once again. One thing this game isn’t, is dull.

  25. Dennis says:

    Mitchel Report: not sure if this is true or not but my buddy told me that Mike Lansing and FP Santangelo were named. No surprise to me. Segui was one of my favorite players but he blew up one winter and those mid ’90′s Expos had a few guys that looked suspicious.

    1st period: It looks like Roli’s reaching the Salo Stage where he lets in at least one terrible goal a game yet can inexplicably make difficult saves.

    On the 25 goal, in the words of Dick Enberg, “Oh my.” Seriously, not a guy since Tom Poti who could do that and not even Poti could make it look that smooth.

    The PP goal was pretty much how the club envisioned it in the summer time: 44 gets the shot off and the Oilers score helped by a 27 screen.

    Overall, the Wings outchanced the Oilers for sure but for some reason, I felt good about this game once I started watching it.

  26. Andy Grabia says:

    San Fernando with a beaut. This line is looking real nice.

  27. danny says:

    Ferrrrnannnndooooooo

    Whats the most recent scoring streak an Oilers player has had?

  28. uni says:

    WTF is going on with Calgary tonight? 9 goals and it’s not even the 3rd yet.

    Also I need to get Centre Ice…and a TV.

  29. Lowetide says:

    Gagner catches Cogliano in points tonight. Two things on that:

    1. I’m reading Gare Joyce’s scouting book and MAN does everyone love Voracek. I’m on page 233 and that guy is going to be a stunner based on “saw him good” and the stats are ridiculous too. Still, our man Samwise seems to be holding up his end.

    2. The key to that line is Pisani. Two guys who looked like mown gopher 2 weeks ago, add Pisani and it’s Tinkers to Evers to Chance.

  30. Mustafa Hirji says:

    Whats the most recent scoring streak an Oilers player has had?

    In terms of points, Horcoff is currently at 7 games, and Hemsky and Nilsson are now up to 6, and 7 or so.

    If you mean goals, I think Horcoff has had goals for at least 3 games in a row up to last game.

  31. Dennis says:

    12-89-34: Fernie’s Kids

  32. Lowetide says:

    Fernie’s kids, I like it.

    Now THAT was a nice play by Penner at our blueline. Thank goodness I endorsed the offer sheet.

    :-)

  33. Lowetide says:

    There’s Jarret Stoll’s season right there. Probably the best footspeed we’ve seen from him, though.

    I think he’ll be okay.

  34. Andy Grabia says:

    WHY, exactly, is Grebeshkov out on the ice at the end of a PP, with the Oil up 3-2, after he’s only played 6 minutes all game? WHY?

  35. uni says:

    Cause MacT is a man that lives a life of Danger.

  36. Bruce says:

    The key to that line is Pisani. Two guys who looked like mown gopher 2 weeks ago, add Pisani and it’s Tinkers to Evers to Chance.

    Mown gopher? I love it. Love the frequent baseball references too.

  37. dawgbone says:

    Anyone checking out the Flames and Lightning?

    Everytime I’ve switched the channel, Paul Ranger is fishing the puck out of his net. He’s -5 so far tonight… Shane O’Brien is +4… what a screwey night.

  38. KlingonHockey says:

    Extremely impressive period of hockey by the Oilers so far. Consistent shot blocks, takeaways, body checks and they’re skating aggressively.

    Nilsson has really impressed too. The guy has cleared the zone numerous times and moved the puck up ice.

    Good to see Stoll trying too, “rubbed” a few guys off there and showed some speed, mind you he really should’ve driven to the net on that opportunity.

  39. Andy Grabia says:

    If we lose this game, it’s on Roli.

  40. Lowetide says:

    Geez, Roloson has a blind side right in front of him. I believe I’ve seen him on the Yellowhead.

  41. uni says:

    6-6 in that Tampa-Calgary match. Man alive that’s a crazy night. Ranger is one of my fantasy D too haha.

  42. danny says:

    Dwayne Jeykll and Tommy Hyde

  43. Lowetide says:

    Gagner stopped. THAT might be the biggest news of the day.

    Well, no.

  44. Lowetide says:

    Hemsky!

  45. Lowetide says:

    Oil win. Ho-hum.

    Are we in first yet?

  46. speeds says:

    Pretty decent night for Huselius:

    3G, 2A, for 5 pts, +6

  47. Andy Grabia says:

    What a great day…

  48. honkey says:

    Good thing we didn’t gave away a point to a team that is fighting for 8th place.

    Now they just have to start winning at Rexall too.

  49. speeds says:

    5 pts out of 6 on this road trip? 3 games in 4 nights, against 3 of the top 5 teams in the conference?

    Yeah, that’s not bad. Too bad they lost the PIT game, had they won that and everything else gone the same, they’d be in 8th right now.

  50. Ribs says:

    I think we should seriously start campaigning for shootouts in the playoffs…

    …..eeew…..

  51. Bruce says:

    Wow, what a game. Lots of things to like tonight — Roli except on that walk-out play (twice!!), Gilbert and Pitkanen, and Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance were great. Fernando has settled those kids down, and tonight for the first time I can say I’m excited by what I saw in Robert Nilsson. Gagner, too (though not for the first time).

    On the down side, Denis Grebeshkov was the worst player in the league tonight. And bad as he was, he did nothing as mind-numbingly stupid as what Sheldon Souray did late in OT, 15 seconds from a shootout, where Oil happen to be 8-1. Souray jumps all the way into the corner, ignores the teammate behind the net, ignores the teammate up the boards, and does a blind spinnarama pass into the slot, which of course is gobbled up for a wide-open 2-on-1 and yet another golden opportunity to lose in OT. Worse still, he lollygags his way back up the ice as Detroit busts out. To this fan that would be completely unacceptable from a 21-year-old rookie; from a 31-year-old veteran it demonstrates an almost jaw-dropping incomprehension of the game. I mean really. Souray was cavalier with the puck all night (3 GV, plus he was responsible for 2 or 3 Detroit TK by being very soft on the puck).

    I can only hope that if this fan found that type of play unacceptable, the coaches did too. That just cannot continue.

  52. honkey says:

    Poor Tampa, they really need a goaltender right now. They have maybe the best offensive player in the whole league and still only 10th.

    And let us also pray that Vokoun shut out Blues tonight.

  53. PunjabiOil says:

    They played well, and really limited Detroit’s scoring chances. Roloson was a sieve on goals 1 and 3, and this game had no business going to the shootout.

    THE POSITIVES

    Row-bert Nilsson – This guy has arrived. Not even the assist that made me excited – rather his strong defensive play. His willingness to come back to make the checks. Excellent games

    Sam Gagner – He’s getting comfortable at the NHL level. High hopes for him in the future.

    Jarrett Stoll & Raffi Torres – They’re a good couple. Both had solid games today.

    Dustin Penner – his skating has remarkably improved. He’s showing hustle, protecting the puck well, and generally the puck is pinned in the opposition’s zone when he’s on the ice.

    Ales Hemsky – Great drive to the net. In previous years, he’d curl back.

    Ladislav Smid – had a bounce back game.

    MacT – whatever his system was, he limited quality scoring chances

    The So-So’s

    Dwayne Roloson. He simply has to stop goals 1 and 3. Still, 39 saves and 3/3 in the shootout

    The TERRIBLE

    Sheldon Souray – good grief, was he a dummy out there tonight, save the PP. Very slow skater, poor lateral and backwards skating. A dummy play with 18 seconds – a poor pinch and then he pulled a ”Patrick Stefan” leading to a 2 on 1 the other way. That’s why the ‘Sphere has been advocating limited ice time for Souray at EV, and log up minutes on the PK and PP.

    That being said, 5 out of 6 points on a 3 game road trip against Dallas, St. Louis, and Detroit. Not to mention 3 games in 4 nights. Also, Detroit was 7-0 in their last 7 games. Just a tremendous boost to this hockey club.

    What I liked seeing was Gagner p *ssed as f *** on the bench, after the 3-3 goal. Actually, the whole bench was dejected. That’s what I want to see from these guys.

  54. PunjabiOil says:

    Pretty decent night for Huselius:

    3G, 2A, for 5 pts, +6

    Good. As his and Langkow’s numbers get better, it will be more difficult for the Flames to sign these guys – with nearly 40M already committed in cap space for next year.

    …Iginla though, damn what a player.

  55. Asiaoil says:

    I’m quietly having one big old snicker after another this season watching this team play better than any of our anointed number guru’s calculated possible. You simply cannot add up 20 individual stat charts and pronounce that this is how a TEAM will play – just too many intangibles like injuries, chemistry and luck.

    I’m not surprised by Penner coming on now that the SCF hangover is wearing off – or that Pisani makes such a big difference on any line he plays on. Get Moreau back and pick up one more veteran forward from the Pisani/Moreau tree to help out the matchups and things will get interesting. Souray is still being dumb but I have hope that Huddy will eventually be able to work him into something useful at ES.

    I still see a 8-9 finish for this team – but damn the kids (especially Gagner) have been way way better than I ever thought possible. He’s a liability at ES – but even being able to tread water at his age (he’s still barely 18) bodes very very well for his future. Cogliano should be sent down and I’d try MAP again since some size and a bit more experience could be useful. Let Schremp keep working on his issues this season. He’ll be better off longterm and winning the AHL scoring title would up his trade value more than 5 minutes a night in EDM.

  56. KlingonHockey says:

    Yup, Souray isn’t being used right. Both the player and the team think he’s a stud #1 (the highest paid player after all…). Souray clearly isn’t and he does a pretty poor job faking it when he tries to make a play under pressure, like Lidstrom, and instead has the puck taken away for an odd-man rush.

  57. HBomb says:

    The thing that impressed me the most tonight didn’t even result in a goal.

    On that PP early in the 2nd, when Hemsky blew by Lidstrom and damn near scored on Hasek….how often do you see a five-time Norris Trophy look like the turnstile at a Led Zeppelin concert?

    Hemsky’s pretty much putting up a point every night. At some point he’s going to go on a run where he scores 15-20 points in 10 games and he’ll be back above the PPG mark.

    Book it.

  58. Dennis says:

    Souray is absolutely fucking brutal. A lot of how he played is MacT’s fault because as much as I can rail on Smid, if you don’t believe in him, then HS the guy and bring in Tarnstrom so that Souray isn’t playing nearly 19 min at EV!!

    That’s just unconsionable.

    One major problem with Souray is that his lateral movement is atrocious. On the PP he needs tonnes of time to get his shot off if he has to do it himself. And he can’t be trusted to handle the puck.

    At EV, he thinks he should be the puckmover when the truth is that he needs to be paired with a guy that can move the puck which allows Sheldon to be the muscle.

    Watching him tonight, last year’s -28 was no mirage.

    Brutal.

    Rest of the D: I absolute loved the games of 24 and 25. 77 was good too but he got a bit nervous at times. But the other two were money. Best game from Staios in a long time. 37 deserves to sit if 23′s healthy. 37 just blew up tonight

    Forwards: Fernie’s Kids are guarenteed for a couple of scoring chances tonight and that blows me away. As much as we all Thought 34 would make a difference, no one thought it would be with two guys as green as 12-89.

    Not an overly great night for 27-10-83. One of those games where Horc tried to do what he could and worked hard in the D zone but not much on the go offensively. Hemsky looked good though and has anyone noticed the board chemistry between him and 27?

    14-16-28 had some good jam but didn’t get a lot done. 14 was out there banging around but didn’t get much done. But I did notice he was great at contributing to the breakout. Stoll had some flashes and actually had two real scoring chances. If that happens in the next game, then we can probably look for him to actually score a goal. I didn’t notice 28 and that’s a good thing

    13-19-51: they’re a 4th line and Cogs is drowning. You used to notice him all the time and now you don’t even know he’s out there.

    Roli: tonight just didn’t make any sense.

  59. dubya says:

    27 min per night, 2 points, and even in 2 games on the road after returning from injury. Absolutely brutal.

    Expectancy bias runs rampant. I’m not saying Souray is Pronger, and that f-up at the end of OT was a Grebeshkov-type move, but some of you are looking really hard to find fault. Shocking that you find it.

  60. RiversQ says:

    Asiaoil said…
    I’m quietly having one big old snicker after another this season watching this team play better than any of our anointed number guru’s calculated possible.

    Were you snickering when this team was getting thrashed for about a month?

    This team is still negative in goal differential and now 6-16-11 with the standard W-L-T standings. That’s obviously not a good team. They swing those things around and start winning some games in a wholly sustainable fashion, then you can snicker all you want.

    You simply cannot add up 20 individual stat charts and pronounce that this is how a TEAM will play – just too many intangibles like injuries, chemistry and luck.

    Yeah, because that’s exactly what the “stats gurus” were doing. The injury caveat gets thrown in all the time and every second Vic Ferrari post is about luck.

    Get over yourself.

    I would say the unexpected developments have been Gilbert, Nilsson and Brodziak on the positive side. Gilbert because he has been all that. Nilsson because after a slow start, he has managed to rack up some points and hasn’t been punished in his own end which is the surprising part. Brodziak because he’s been a rock all year long; the highlight reels are few and far between, but he brings a solid game every night.

    The injuries, Stoll, Pouliot, and Smid have been the negative surprises. I’m not so sure Torres has been as bad as his numbers(hard to decouple from Stoll) but he has to be considered a disappointment too.

  61. Asiaoil says:

    Oh Riv don’t be so defensive – it’s getting too easy to make you come storming out of your cave all frothy around the mouth :)

    I was getting blasted by name as a naive optimist at the start of the season so I’m having a bit of fun. I don’t need to “get over” myself since I wasn’t forcasting with great certainty how the Oilers would suck their way to a bottom 5 finish. I just thought they would be decent enough for 8th-10th place with a bit of luck – pretty much right where they are. The bean counters laughed at the thought – so be it :)

    Of course luck and chemistry plays a huge role – but that was my point as well. The Oilers luck has not however been all good this year – having Souray, Moreau, Pisani, Pitkanen, and Tarnstrom out at the start of the season and surviving was a grade A large achievement. A bit of puck luck in the shootouts seems fair given that – but I think they will still finish around where they are now.

    But get Moreau back and add the strong even strength forward with size that I’ve wanted since day 1 of TC and they may be able to push for a playoff slot – but even if they miss – there is plenty to be optimistic about this bunch.

  62. PunjabiOil says:

    Welcome back Asia.

  63. Bruce says:

    Expectancy bias runs rampant. I’m not saying Souray is Pronger, and that f-up at the end of OT was a Grebeshkov-type move, but some of you are looking really hard to find fault.

    Q. How do you spell expectancy?
    A. $27,000,000.

    I don’t think I’ve said one word about Souray pro or con ’til tonight, I just thought I would forget about the 19 PPG and the -28 and all the negative shit I keep reading about him and judge 44 on what he does for the Oilers. Which tonight was some pretty bad things with the puck, and some pretty OK moments without it.

    I’m glad you agree that the play in OT where he made a blind centring pass to the LD — that would be you, Sheldon — was horrendous, it was like he thought it was 2003 and the only way to get the bonus point was to gamble at the end of OT. A veteran player needs to be a little more savvy than that.

    Personally I hope he makes it. He came to my wife’s school quite a few years ago when he was breaking in with the Devils and by all accounts conducted himself extremely well and won himself a bunch of young fans. But that and $7.75 will buy you a plastic cup of stale horse piss at Rexall. He’s gotta do it on the ice.

  64. Asiaoil says:

    Thanks PJO – you must be a happy camper today with the Katz news – good day for the franchise……

  65. goldenchild says:

    I know its another shoot win but 3rd road in 4 nights and to get 2 points there is a pretty nice accomplishment for this young group. Sure is nice to have 34 back. Robert Nielsen is having the quitest 7 game scoring streak in NHL history but still good to see him having some success, as flawed as he may be as a player the Oilers need him to have some success. good signs all around.

  66. Tyler says:

    I’m just going to make a note of this thread in a month or so. We’ll check back in on how Asia is snickering once the Oil stop winning every shootout and once the shooting percentage/save percentage die down after this hot run. I mean this is nice, piling up points and making a run to…twelth in the WC right now? The Preds are three points back with 4 games in hand? 22nd in the NHL? Three points out of the bottom five? With all of the teams between them and the bottom five having games in hand? Fuck, I guess anything counts as a success if you set the bar low enough.

  67. Vic Ferrari says:

    There is reason for optimism now, for sure. Especially with the ownership situation in the background. Last night’s game was their best of the season I think, they had their legs and the Wings didn’t. They were outchanced, but not by much. No small feat in Detroit’s building.

    I mean if they were even average at the shootout (5W-4L) they would be 29th place overall. They’ve had a tonne of help from the goalposts as well, which should continue to some extent, at least if they continue to get outplayed. But they’ve had terrible luck with injuries. Probably balances out about even so far, certainly no worse than that.

    Right now they are on pace for a tough under 80 points, which is lower than any blogger or commenter in the sphere predicted. They need to improve, specifically the young guys need to improve, and most of them should.

    Can they get Burke’s draft pick as high as tenth overall? With good goaltending, good health, and a bit more than their share of the bounces from here on out I think it’s possible. Of course I wouldn’t be daft enough to bet money on that, but it’s still very possible. And they’re worth cheering for now, with Katz creating some light at the end of the tunnel.

    Right now the Kings are bleeding scoring chances against. The Coyotes have better goaltending but can’t score, and CHI and STL have been playing above their heads. I think that they can finish ahead of three of those teams if the dice roll the right way. And probably one of the stronger teams has a spate of terrible goaltending or bad luck.

    Perhaps most importantly, the Oilers need some separation in the standings in the Eastern Conference. Ideally about five teams out there are sellers at the trade deadline.

  68. Bill Needle says:

    It must be said that the Oilers began turning it around right after they gave up on Pouliot and Jacques. While they were replaced with equally green players, at least those green players have been visible.

  69. jon says:

    Our veteran players start to get healthy, and miraculously the rookies start playing better and the team starts winning games. Funny how that works.

    The team has started to turn things around, and I think the current run has us at 8-4-1, and going from dead last in the league to tied for 22nd or so. If we can keep a similar, even slightly lower pace for the next 15 games we could be moving above Anaheim in the standings.

    All this combined with new ownership on the horizon… Christmas really has come early this year.

    I don’t look forward to the post-New Years hangover.

  70. Asiaoil says:

    Vic – good summary overall and I pretty much agree with it. A lot depends on how healthy the vets stay after Christmas. We are shy on experience to begin with and the injuries hurt. Moreau’s return will help the matchups a lot – and getting another big winger who can do some damage at ES would also be very useful – but we’ve needed that since day 1.

    The biggest thing for me though is the goaltending – better than average hides a multitude of sins – worse than average can throw a good team down the toilet as we saw in 06. If we stay relatively healthy and Garon/Roli can keep it up then we should be good for 8th-10th in the WC.

  71. Vic Ferrari says:

    asia:

    That seems a bit optimistic to me, but that’s probably the better way to be.

    I think jon is a sharp guy, but his post above seems a touch unreasonable as well.

    It’s a matter of how you see the game. I remember the last full game day thread that I read at HF boards, it was years ago. The Oilers had played well but were trailing one of the big clubs late in the game (I think DAL, but it may have been DET or COL) in any case the HFboarders were out for blood. Everyone on the roster had been traded or demoted and everyone on the coaching and mgmt team had been canned by fandom.

    Then someone fired a turnaround shot off the bottom of the bar to tie it up, goalie had not a chance. Cleary I think, not sure, and if he could do that regularly he’d be chasing Bossy’s records. Then late in the game Niimnimaa had the puck come to him at the right point, the winger came out and took the shooting lane so he just shot to the side of thier legs, all of our coaches have taught us to go board side with that, but Janne went slot side, and it ricocheted off of someone’s knee (they couldn’t have gotten out of the way if they’d tried) and went in. Oilers won.

    All of a sudden there were literally hundreds of posts offering bouquets to every fucker who ever wore the oildrop. It was crazy. Shit happens for crissakes.

    If I’d continued to read game day threads I wouldn’t have been able to take anyone seriously.

    And now, over the last ten games, the Oilers have a shooting percentage at even strength that kicks the ass of everyone in the NHL not named Boyes, Lecavalier or Iginla (+ linemates). The WHOLE TEAM is averaging that clip. Fans that think that will continue have been smoking the drapes.

    Th guy/girl who thinks “damn, their shots are going in right now”, well they have a place close to my heart. Because that’s what actually has happened. No magic, none at all.

    The future beyond this season looks bright though. Especially if the Oilers become a have team, and can jettison bad contracts. And more importantly, if they earn the reputation as a team that wants to win. It’s in Katz’s hands now, if the minority owners are willing to let go.

  72. jon says:

    Sometimes you have to be a bit optimistic. A victory over Detroit is one of those circumstances. ;)

    My last post is what I’d like to see, but if I were pressed to make a wager, I’d say Anaheim drafting about 9th-10th overall is realistic, which I’m fine with.

    At this point, this season is more about watching some of the assets on D (Gilbert, Pitkanen) and F (Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, Brodziak) appreciate and looking forward to next season.

  73. RiversQ says:

    jon said…
    Sometimes you have to be a bit optimistic. A victory over Detroit is one of those circumstances. ;)

    True there. Detroit is one of a handful of teams that makes a mockery of the Corsi metric, but despite that it was pretty obvious the chances were about even after two periods and probably finished +3 or so in favour of Detroit. You can’t complain about that.

    At this point, this season is more about watching some of the assets on D (Gilbert, Pitkanen) and F (Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, Brodziak) appreciate and looking forward to next season.

    That’s six assets right there. That’d get you Pronger and a handjob.

  74. Bruce says:

    we could be moving above Anaheim in the standings.

    Let’s see, we got Souray back, they got Niedermayer back …

    Hard to envision the Oil passing the Stanley Cup champs in the standings, but let’s hope the Ducks take their sweet time turning it around since every week they spend spinning their wheels improves Edmonton’s draft position.

    Meanwhile every Oiler win, lucky or no, drives down Anaheim’s spot. Except when they are playing each other these are independent threads, but both are interesting to follow.

    I’ll take Vic’s word on the specifics of shooting percentages, there’s no way they are anything but lights out with 41 GF in the last 13 GP. (46 GF if you count shootout “goals”) Oilers have scored 2 or more real goals in every one of those games, a stretch of consistent production which may not have happened since the 80s.

    One of these days, or weeks, we’re going to run into hot goaltending. That said, during this run the Oil have pumped multiple pucks past Luongo, Leclaire, Giguere, Turco, Hasek … so they must be doing something right.

  75. Asiaoil says:

    Vic – sure it’s been a wierd season with some things going very right (shooting % and shootouts) and some things going very wrong (injuries to vets). But with Moreau back plus a trade that jettisons some non-critical assets like JFJ, MAP, Roy, JDD for a bigger checking line RW – that would set up these lines:

    1) Penner Horcoff Hemsky
    2) Torres Gagner Pisani
    3) Moreau Stoll Trade
    4) Nilsson Cogliano Reasoner Brodziak

    That would give us two very dependable ES lines (1st and 3rd) plus a 2nd line that only has Gagner as a weak spot. But Gagner is a good passer and would be supported by 2 vets who are both good ES guys and shooters (Torres and Pisani). I think that line could do some real damage against the weak sisters. The 4th line is mix and match but still has some decent players on it.

    Continued good goaltending, good health and a big checking RW are needed to stay competitive. MacT can also start playing to win every night with matchups/lineups after Xmas instead of auditioning young guys or disiplining vets.

    As for the picks we gave up for Penner – really who gives a **** unless we finish bottom 3. This team is absolutely loaded with young talent and big power forwards like Penner are insanely hard to find. Penner has already exceeded what I expected from him this season – and if he can continue his decent ES play and keep improving his conditioning and skating – he will be very successful and a fixture on the top line.

    The Katz effect should also not be discounted. The EIG has always been a collection of little fish rounded up to save the franchise – it’s both unwieldy and perceived as small-time and penny-pinching by everyone outside of EDM (rightfully so I might add). A young, rich, smart owner creates an entirely different vibe for the team – and the young talent on this squad plays right into that. As long as the deal holds things look good going forward.

  76. jon says:

    Yeah unfortunately the return of Neidermayer without any D going out means that Anaheim is likely challenging Detroit for dominance of the west by the time playoffs roll around. Teams beating them are going to have to rely on shutting down their somewhat paltry offense.

  77. Master Lok says:

    A lot of people only see Pisani as a 3rd liner who scores 30 points per season and wonder why he got his 2.5 million contract. Is it coincidence that he’s been on the Oiler’s most consistent line two of the last three years? He makes other players better by doing the little things right.

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