Coyotes at Oilers, G45/07-08

It looks like Phoenix finally got some players who can help Shane Doan win hockey games. In fact, judging by the scoresheet a few nights recently I’d say the Coyotes’ best forward may not be Doan.

The hockey media isn’t covering it much what with Mats Sundin and Toronto having to face the most difficult minutes in world history since D-Day, but 99′s crew are kicking up some dust in the desert.

Phoenix currently sits in 10th place in the Western Conference, 3 points up on Edmonton with 3 games in hand. If the situations were reversed, we would not be talking about a team 3 behind with 3 more GP.

Their goaltending has tightened up since Brian Burke sent them that goalie with all the weird syllables. A player I’m looking forward to seeing (should he play) is young Keith Yandle.

For the Oilers, Robert Nilsson draws back in and it looks like Smid-Grebeshkov will be paired together and will make certain it’s an exciting contest.

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60 Responses to "Coyotes at Oilers, G45/07-08"

  1. pboy says:

    Has there been an update on how long Tarnstrom will be out for with his back? Playing the “minuses waiting to happen” twins together just doesn’t make any sense to me at all. I would rather see Rourke back up and let Smid learn his craft in Springfield, than continue watching the twins run around in their own end, coughing the puck up and forgetting who their man is on any given play. It’s actually inexcusable to me that MacT keeps throwing these guys out onto the ice together game after game. I guess the silver lining could be that both Smid and Grebs come back into camp next year with a little better understanding of what is expected of them but at what expense?

    Next year, if we sign everyone we need to get signed, we should have Pitkanen, Gilbert, Souray, Staios, Greene, Smid, Grebashkov, Rourke, Chorney and Bisallion all in camp. Considering that we can’t have more than 7 of those guys up at any one time, I wonder if Lowe is looking at dealing one of Smid or Grebashkov before the deadline this year?

  2. rickibear says:

    Horcoff an allstar! Yeh!

  3. grease trap says:

    I’d love to hear the rationale behind playing those two together.

    Does MacT figure on playing them as few minutes as possible on the softest minutes possible?

    Still pretty risky.

  4. RiversQ says:

    grease trap said…
    I’d love to hear the rationale behind playing those two together.

    Well, it’s much easier to set the matchups when you have just one pairing (or line) to hide.

    Trotz used to do this in Nashville with Hamhuis/Suter/Weber in their first couple of years. Just play them together and give them the easy minutes and they won’t hurt you everywhere else.

    We’ll see what MacT does on the matchups, but this isn’t totally nuts.

  5. pboy says:

    I realize MacT does his best to hide them with the soft minutes but when they are on the ice and so are Gagner and Stortini, you can look for the puck to either be in your net or 2 minutes of PP time is quickly upcoming for the other team.

  6. Andy Grabia says:

    I’m intrigued about Rourke not playing. He looked a hell of a lot better than those other two have looked. If the goal is to win hockey games, #5 and #37 shouldn’t be playing right now. They aren’t NHL ready.

  7. Lord Bob says:

    If the goal is to win hockey games, #5 and #37 shouldn’t be playing right now. They aren’t NHL ready.

    The goal’s not to win hockey games, though. At least, not this year. I think we all realise this.

    I do think that Smid is NHL-ready, but he’s NHL-ready in a “throw him out with a Jason Smith type and he won’t murder you” sort of way, as we saw last year with Staios. He certainly can’t babysit a high-event guy like Grebeshkov at this stage of his career, as we’re seeing.

    Would the Hot Doorknob do better alongside Smid? Hell yes; he doesn’t take any risks so he’d be in a decent position to cover up Smid’s occasional sophomore brainfarts. But nobody believes Rourke is the long-term solution, and two or three years now we’re going to need Grebeshkov to have that experience.

  8. grease trap says:

    Why can’t they all be like Gilbert Gilbert?

  9. Dennis says:

    During yesterday’s scrum, MacT was asked how do you develop players and try and win all at the same time. He basically said the main goal is to develop players.

    The Oilers are coy about coming out and saying this is a rebuild but every move outside of Souray has been geared towards ’09 and beyond. That even goes for Penner because though we gave up a first in ’08, the brass believes he’ll be ready to soar when the kids are coming around.

  10. Stuart van says:

    Pitkanen, Gilbert, Souray, Staios, Greene, Smid and Grebeshkov make the team. Rourke, Chorney, Bisaillon (and Roy?) are in the A. If Chorney lights up the A, maybe they move him up mid-season, at which point I think Grebeshkov would be traded.

  11. heed says:

    pitkanen is out with the flu and tarnstrom draws in tonight. i’m hoping at some point smid sits instead of tarnstrom but i guess we have to wait until pitkanen gets well.

  12. dubya says:

    Pitkanen out with flu…Ovechkin extension

    Ovechkin to Edmonton for Pitkanen!

    d27 (good as done)

  13. grease trap says:

    Dear god, I hope not.

  14. grease trap says:

    Let me clarify: Ovechkin would be awesome, but we’d have to sell the farm to get him. Then what?


    That’s what.

  15. dubya says:

    Let me clarify: Ovechkin would be awesome, but we’d have to sell the farm to get him. Then what?


    That’s what.

    No way, they’d defintely want the Hockey Jesus included in that deal. He can do this crazy lacrosse move, you know.

  16. Ribs says:

    After years of watching Bergeron and Greene together, the new Slippery Slopes don’t surprise me at all. I think they are playing where they deserve to play if they are staying with the club for any length of time.

    Speaking of Greene… where the heck is that guy? Ha, I don’t really care.

    Did you guys hear that the shoot-out competition is going to be judged this year? Pretty lame. I wonder who the judges will be?

  17. doritogrande says:

    ribs, not only is what you said about the shootout being judged true, but the kiddy game is 3-on-3 and one of the competitions is a goal scoring goalie shoot-off. *insert F-bomb here*

  18. PunjabiOil says:

    Some interesting quotes in a NY newspaper today [as per David Staples blog]

    He admitted to being unhappy about the way he was handled by MacTavish last season and said he felt sorry for his former teammates when they finished last season losing 18 of their last 20 games. “I was talking to a couple of them,” Bergeron said, “and they were like, ‘Oh, my God. It’s like a boot camp. It’s painful.’”
    Trying to explain why he became a scapegoat for the fans, especially on Edmonton’s sports talk radio, Bergeron said, “After losing Chris Pronger, they were looking for someone who could be the guy on the back end, and they thought it was me. I was young and not ready for that. I’m still learning a lot and having my rollercoaster ride. It’s a tough job to be the No. 1 defenseman on the team. We had the best one in the league for a year. Obviously, I’m not as good as him.

    “It was just unfortunate. It’s such a hard living. People expect a lot from every one of us. Which is right. I didn’t feel like I was playing as good as I could here anyway, so, I understand them having some frustration at me.”

    Well, Nilsson won’t be part of it tonight, but you know what he means. As for Bergeron, he will be part of it, and he was prepared for the booing he expects to receive. With a laugh, Bergeron said, “I don’t really care. I’m not an Oiler anymore. I still have some good memories from here. It’s an old saying: ‘Talk good or bad, but just talk about me.’”


    Call it coincidence, but Nilsson is experiencing similar problems with MacTavish now. Last week, he was playing on the top line, but MacTavish sat him against the Rangers on Saturday and will send him to the press box again tonight as a healthy scratch against the opponent he most wants to face.

    “I don’t know what’s going on,” Nilsson said after being the last Oiler off the ice this morning. “They want me to get a little bit of practice in. I’ll be back next game. He didn’t say I was playing bad or anything, but it would have been fun playing against the New York teams.”

    While in Bridgeport, Nilsson found it difficult to stay motivated because he didn’t believe Nolan ever would give him a chance. The Islanders’ coach generally prefers to rely on proven veterans, and Nilsson wasn’t alone among Islanders prospects in wondering about his future in the organization.

    “It’s frustrating, but I must say, if you would rip it up and dominate the AHL, I think Ted Nolan would give you a chance,” Nilsson said. “But he trusts his old guys. They were in the playoffs last year and look like they can get in this year. So, he does something right… I’ve put all that behind me. I’m in Edmonton, and I think everything will work out great here. We’re the youngest team in the league. It’s fun to be a part of it.”

  19. PunjabiOil says:

    That’s the stuff you want to read in newspaper.

    In the past, when former Oilers came into town, we’d usually get something of substance from their mouths…..but now?


    Only occasional blurbs from out of town newspapers or the Canadian Press articles.

  20. Andy Grabia says:

    Looks Smid has replaced Pitkanen on the number one pairing tonight. Shudder.

  21. Lowetide says:

    2-0 and a stunning save by Garon off York.

  22. CrazyCoach says:

    The NHL All-Star Skills contest is a joke. You know I don’t care what some dumb hillbilly in Nashville has to say about the game. I like the fastest skater competition and the hardest shot competition.

    As a fan of the game and a coach, I like to analyze those skills to breakdown and show my players. I learned more about the biomechanics of shooting from watching Al Iafrate than I did from all the Hockey Canada videos put together.

  23. Gret99zky says:

    What’s with Kerry Fraser deciding that when the net is off it’s okay to keep playing?

  24. PDO says:

    Has anyone ever seen a penalty shot and a 5 minute major awarded on the same play? Is that even in the rulebook?

    And who is this guy that replaced Bryzgalov? I like him ;)

  25. Andy Grabia says:

    What’s with Kerry Fraser deciding that when the net is off it’s okay to keep playing?

    I’m more concerned that they keep changing the rules. FIrst they call off an Oilers goal, even though the puck was loose and the whistle wasn’t blown. Then they give Sloan the penalty shot. Then they decide, after Gretzky has yelled at them, to give Souray five minutes. Then the decide, at the end of the period, to give Souray a game misconduct as well.

  26. doritogrande says:

    pdo, it’s actually a penalty shot, 5 minute major AND a game misconduct. Look that up instead, because I’m sure it’s a first.

    Souray deserves a suspension for that two handed chop. Dirty hockey that is.

    5′s looking damn good when paired with a real defender.

  27. Ribs says:

    Schremp named to PlanetUSA AHL All-Star game. It’s um, kind of an accomplishment… I think. He’ll get his first chance to play with the great Toby Petersen anyway.

  28. Gret99zky says:

    I’m sure the league has a perfectly good explanation as to why the officiating is that brutal.

    Make up your mind (major, misconduct, etc.) but don’t make stuff up as you go.

    It seems Gretzky has more pull in this league than I thought.

  29. Bruce says:

    Souray deserves a suspension for that two handed chop. Dirty hockey that is.

    Just five, a game and a penalty shot? I think Souray should face the firing squad, his wife gang-ravished and his children sold into slavery.

    Funny, I watched the Boston-Montreal game where Thornton just hauled off and suckered Hamrlik with a bare fist — not a hockey play — and he got two minutes. The officiating in this league is just brutally inconsistent.

  30. Andy Grabia says:

    Funny, I watched the Boston-Montreal game where Thornton just hauled off and suckered Hamrlik with a bare fist — not a hockey play — and he got two minutes.

    Thornton is back with Boston?

  31. doritogrande says:


    It’s Scott, not Joe.

  32. Bruce says:

    Stick that in your Corsi number. Talk about against the flow of play.

  33. doritogrande says:

    Robert Nilsson’s making a strong case for never leaving this lineup again. Goal and an assist halfway through the game.

    Bye Bye Bryzgalov.

  34. Bruce says:

    Actually it’s Shawn Thornton. Sorry for the confusion.

  35. PDO says:

    Rawbear has got to keep his head up there… he looked like he was out on his feet.

  36. Ribs says:

    Tom Gilbert long-term needs to be priority #1 for Kevin Lowe. For real.

  37. Bruce says:


    it’s a miracle

  38. Bruce says:

    Right on about Gilbert. Little plays like that little Plan B he just pulled in the defensive left corner there would put a few ten-year veterans to shame.

  39. PunjabiOil says:

    I’m looking at the last half of the schedule – seems much easier than the 1st half.

    My season’s goals are: anywhere from 8th-10th giving strong positive vibe for next year. And the Flames losing in round 1.

  40. doritogrande says:

    The Russian! You know it’s a bad night for Wayne when that happens. Can we get JFJ up from Springfield for the third period? Maybe he’d be able to bump the 600-pound gorilla tonight given how Phoenix is playing.

  41. Lowetide says:

    dorito: lol. Jacques hell, let’s get RITA in there!!!!

  42. PunjabiOil says:

    Completely random:

    Vanek’s stats [6th in team scoring]

    41 12 13 25

    Lowe was right. “Some of the best moves are the ones you don’t make”

  43. Lowetide says:

    Which is the 4line tonight?

  44. doritogrande says:

    LT: I’m giving it to 89-16-19. They’re the ones who haven’t scored.

  45. PunjabiOil says:

    I liked Nilsson’s work on the PP in the first period.

  46. Black Dog says:

    Funny how adding two bonafide NHL players (three if you include Stoll’s renaissance) up front and one on the back end will start to pay dividends.

    Now if MacT would just keep Tarnstrom out there on the third pair and pull the trigger on a deal for Nagy we might be looking at a legit team here.

    (By legit I mean top ten in conference. I’m feeling good [thank you John Jameson] but not that good)


  47. Black Dog says:

    Oops – Lowe to pull the trigger on a deal there.

  48. Bruce says:

    I think Grebs’ ears are burning from all the shit I been writing about him. A goal, an assist, +4 to this point. I have no explanation from the natural world …

  49. Lord Bob says:

    Not a half-bad night from Bobby Nilsson, the next Ladislav Nagy. Way to make me look good (for the first time ever), Robert!

  50. Lowetide says:

    Gagner may never get another point.

  51. Lowetide says:

    It’s a fairly uneasy 5-2 lead with a minute to play.

  52. Ribs says:

    Stortini with the sleeper-hold! Yea!

  53. Bruce says:

    Boynton had that coming… he ran Stortini from behind earlier, and that sure looked like a head butt. Kudos to Zack for holding his peace earlier — the Oilers scored on that powerplay — and the double minor at the end, while unjust, was meaningless.

    Pretty good night for the big guy, who wound up +2, drew a 4-minute powerplay that led to a third goal, hit a post and got robbed out of an assist on another quick whistle. Pretty eventful 8 minutes. That whole “kid line” played well.

  54. Oilman says:

    Yeah….Boynton disguised that head but pretty well, but that piece of shit knew what he was doing

  55. Bruce says:

    How many heads could a butthead butt if a butthead could butt heads?

  56. Ribs says:

    I posted my list of RFA’s that I feel K.Lowe should at least be putting feelers out for now instead of later…. here.

    I am moving on to my list of UFA’s that I feel Lowe should be putting feelers out for. The Oilers don’t look to be playoff bound so a UFA trade must come with a signing but I think it could happen if the circumstances are right. If a team knows they are going to lose a player to free agency, they may try to get something for him before the deadline.

    Martin Straka: Making $3.3M this season.

    +: Skates fast and hard and has proven he can play with the best of them. Plays a two way game and scores goals when the opportunity arises.

    -: Smallish foward that has a history of injuries. Older player of the bunch.

    Trade: If the Rangers look like they are going to miss the playoffs, Straka will be a huge commodity for the Rangers and will likely go to a contender. They have a seed as of today and are probably not looking to trade at this time.

    Kristian Huselius: Making $1.4M this season.

    +: Highly creative, excellent skater, makes everyone around him better.

    -: Doesn’t shoot as often as he should. Can be played physical at times.

    Trade: Oiler/Flames trades happen very rarley so Lowe would have to make it convincing before Sutter would move Huselius to Edmonton. Not likely. He will also command a fairly hefty raise which the Oilers probably wouldn’t commit to.

    Brian Rolston: making $2.432M this season.

    +: Has one of the best shots in the league. Can skate and kill penalties. Great on the powerplay.

    -: Could end up costing more than he’s worth. Needs to gel with linemates before he can have personal success.

    Trade: Depends on his price and what room is left for Minny after signing Bouchard. The Wild are likely to make a playoff spot so the chances are that much slimmer because of that.

    Sean Avery: Making $1.9M this season.

    +: Forechecks hard, skates hard, and hits hard. Irritates opposing players to no end. Has some offensive touch.

    -: He’s Sean Avery. Goal scoring going downhill as he ages.

    Trade: Ha, wait a minute, don’t trade for this guy! Get him free if you want him.

    Radim Vrbata: Making $1.225M this season.

    +: A heady player who can put the puck in the net. Goal count goes up every year he plays (On pace for 37G this year!). Can play both wings.

    -: Not very aggressive and has some history of being inconsistent in play.

    Trade: If Phoenix can’t sign him they should get something for him. Once thought of as a throwaway guy, he could prove to be a valuable player with the right team.

    Ryan Malone: Making $1.45M this season.

    +: Can play Center or Wing. Has some offensive flair and plays a sound defensive game.

    -: Has been inconsistent at times but some would argue it was due to the team he’s with. Isn’t going to score 20+G per season. Doesn’t use his size to his advantage nearly enough.

    Mike Johnson: Making $0.75M this season.

    +: Plays a sound positional game.

    -: Too old to be a difference maker at this point. Internet hype has doomed him to failure.

    Trade: May be picked up by a contender, but probably not.

  57. Ribs says:

    I do plan on making a couple more lists of guys I believe Lowe should spend at least a few moments considering when thinking about trades.

    If Lowe dreamed up the Pronger trade into existence (the Blues one), I must assume that he doesn’t pass over many things no matter how crazy they may sound.

  58. Bruce says:

    From CBSSportsline:

    St. Louis Blues RW Mike Johnson will have shoulder surgery on his injured left shoulder next week and will be out for the rest of the season, TSN reports. Johnson has not played since sustaining the injury in a game on January 2nd against the Edmonton Oilers.
    (Updated 01/10/2008).

    Maybe the “Internet hype” will die down a tad now.

  59. Ribs says:

    Hah, I didn’t know he was out that long Bruce, good call. That makes him COMPLETELY useless.

  60. Dennis says:

    Great job by the Oil to open the offensive floodgates and allow me to watch a game in peace for once:)

    Also nice to see Garon be able to let down a little and give up a goal like that Boynton marker without it killing us.

    Nilsson was back and in the right places with puck luck abd 51 finally cashed in on some of his chances.

    Looking forward to the BOA on Sunday.

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