Flames at Oilers, G46/07-08

Tonight is something of a perfect storm for the Edmonton Oilers and their skill players. The “men” on the Oilers (players like Sheldon Souray, Ethan Moreau, Dustin Penner and Steve Staios) are going to be asked to carry a large physical load with all the kids who will be in the lineup.

The Oilers seem to be getting healthy up front, but another night of Flames’ defensemen using Ales Hemsky as a ragdoll will probably have the expected result (a few games out of the lineup for 83).

The real concern for me is a kid like Sam Gagner who might get caught by a headhunter like Phaneuf. It is open season on Oilers forwards, as the team has no real response and “team toughness” can’t do much from the bench.

Moreau has been told not to fight, Souray’s injury means he can’t, Raffi’s crazy hits are in the pressbox and Dustin Penner +Steve Staios just isn’t enough.

The one thing I worry about with the kid Gagner is a severe concussion or knee injury at a young age. A guy like Phaneuf (on a night when there is no answer to him) or Regehr is a very dangerous thing to a team with a gifted 18-year old in the lineup.

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50 Responses to "Flames at Oilers, G46/07-08"

  1. PDO says:

    Solution: Tell Regehr early to watch it, get Stortini to run Huselius through the end boards, and say Tanguay is next if you try to pull anything…

    And if you get two minutes, who cares? It’s about the rest of the season, not one god damn penalty.

  2. Matt says:

    72 NHL players have drawn 13 or more penalties this season. I’ve drawn 18, and am the *only one* of the 72 who plays D. Who am I? (Hint: I have ugly hair, but look good in a Flames jersey anyway.)

  3. grease trap says:

    Let Penner finish a check fullbore into the end boards. He doesn’t have to fight, he only has to follow Newtonian physics.

  4. MetroGnome says:

    PDO: I honestly hope Stortini is on the ice at the same time as Huselius or Tanguay.

    Phaneuf has a lot highlight reel hits, but I don’t remember him ever really *hurting* anyone, beyond a missed shift or two. Regehr is definitely the guy to worry about on that front.

  5. Pat H says:

    I agree with your general sentiment, LT. Personally, I would add that we already exposed some youth to injury. Stoll, last season – twice. Granted, he’s no Gagner, and a bit older, but still…

    Pdo said: And if you get two minutes, who cares? It’s about the rest of the season, not one god damn penalty.
    I dare you to tell that to MacT.

  6. matt says:

    I believe that Phaneuf would headhunt and likely hurt Gagner. I also believe he would run away from, say, Hemsky like a little girl.

  7. Dennis says:

    I’m wondering if we’ll see MacT run 19-16 plus vs the Iginla or will he finally go power vs power.

  8. Lowetide says:

    If the Iginla line has success early, would MacT run out Reasoner-Moreau-Pisani in a ‘shades of 2000′ line?

  9. gary b says:

    i wager at least one of DIon’s parents was a Muppet.

  10. PDO says:

    How much better is this team if we had Jan Hejda playing here instead of one of 5 or 37? Watching those two together could make a grown man weep…

  11. PunjabiOil says:

    Stoll is looking better out there. The speed, the intensity, the drive – it’s coming back.

    Horcoff and Hemsky were doing there job.

    Souray doesn’t get enough credit for his defensive play in the ‘sphere.

    Feels good to have a solid goaltender that you’re comofortable /confident in.

    Was Moreau this good 113 games previously?

  12. honkey says:

    Was really looking forward to see this game on ESPN360, but for some reason that game is not working today :(

    Guess I have to rely on Rod and 630Ched tonight.
    Lets hope they beat those Flems tonight.

  13. kinger says:

    Honkey said…
    Was really looking forward to see this game on ESPN360, but for some reason that game is not working today :(

    What is this ESPN360 you speak of? Is it a pay service? Can you get it in North America?

    You can always watch the game on sopcast. For more info check out my blog:

  14. PDO says:

    It’d sure be nice if the Refs would call the hooking on both teams…

  15. Lowetide says:

    You have to give MacT credit: Gagner is getting his minutes. He’ll pass 600 minutes for the season tonight.

    Hemsky got just over 700 his entire rookie season.

  16. honkey says:

    ESPN360 is for us European, it’s the CIO webfeed.
    Yeah using sopcast today but 250k is not nearly as fun and good as 800k and good quality.

    Ohh Cogliano, always expect a pass from Hemsky when you have an open net. Instead of 3-0 and a victory those ****ing Flames cut it to a one goal game with a lucky bounce.

  17. Devin says:

    Why is Gagner constantly on the ice against Iginla? It’s just idiotic coaching there by MacT. Seriously, if you’re going to sit your 4th line why not move 51 up to RW in 89′s spot at the very least.

    Early on it looked like MacT was really gunning to win with the 10 line coming out after kills. But then I see 12-89 out against Iggy. MacT is losing me with some of his bench moves this season.

  18. Lowetide says:

    The Oilers seem to be less about winning hockey games and more about experiments.

    Like “just how overmatched IS Sam Gagner against actual NHL players?”

    This entire 100+ games after the Stanley run reminds me of that line in Airplane when one of the guys suggests to Leslie Neilson that they should turn on the runway lights so planes can land.

    “No,” says Neilson. “That’s just what they’ll be expecting us to do.”

  19. dawgbone says:

    Keenan also has last change, and you can bet he’s looking for that matchup.

  20. Devin says:

    Actually MacT has last change, but you wouldn’t know it with the way he runs his bench. Still, nice to see the top line consistently dominating anyone they play against. Remember that guy who used to play LW on that line? Me neither.

  21. mc79hockey says:

    Wow, I just switched over to the Sharks-Ducks game and who’s on the ice with 45 seconds left in a 3-2 lead for the Sharks? Alexei Semenov. I had about six seconds to mull this over before he tipped Doug Weight’s shot past Nabokov.

  22. dawgbone says:

    Yeah, I’m dumb… that’s what I get for watching a WHL game in Calgary.

  23. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Devin flirting with heresey there…

    For the most part, a decent, tight checking hockey game for the 2 periods I watched. I’ve cut on Hemsky before, but I have to give him his due on that goal. I love that pump stride to get around the D and protecting the puck, not just relying on speed. Bonus points for bitchslapping the net after the goal – kinda like an NBAer slapping the backboard after a dunk.

    Garon’s hot. If they can keep winning 3 and 4 games for every one they lose…

  24. PunjabiOil says:

    Post game thoughts:

    1) Garon was spectacular. He’s getting infront of the puck and making some of the more difficult saves look routine. The Oilers should be thinking hard about extending his contract in July.

    2) Horcoff – just a wonderful hockey player. If you taped the game, check out ~1:47 [remaining] in the 3rd period.

    3) The 1st line does a great job spending more time in the opponents zone

    4) How we missed Ethan Moreau

    5) Cogliano looks much better when surrounded by two veterans

    6) I like Pitkanen’s game. Doesn’t make too many mistakes

    7) .500 and 3 straight wins in regulation [4 overall].

    8) Hemsky is taking that next step. He’s at a .923 PPG. If he finishes over .900, I’ll consider it as a successful season in the career development category.

    9) MacTavish and Lowe weren’t kidding when they said they’re not trying to win right now. Gagner had a terrible game tonight, and MacT kept throwing him to the wolves.

    1) TOI:
    Horcoff: 22:32
    Stoll: 18:17
    Staios: 24:07
    Pitkanen: 23:11
    Souray: 24:06
    Gilbert: 21:48
    Gagner: 15:23

    Meanwhile, Nilsson was the victim tonight – only 5:45 of TOI tonight.

  25. PunjabiOil says:

    11) Stortini is playing how Jacques should be

  26. Ribs says:

    Great game. It was fast and most of the momentum was in the Oilers favour. For a battle of Alberta matchup, I’ll take it.

    Garon – Please don’t get hurt. Pretty, pretty please?

    I have to give some more credit to Ethan Moreau. He has been playing like a man posessed since his return and I can’t believe that I actually WANT to watch his line when it’s their turn at bat. i seriously do not remember him ever playing as well as he has in the last few games here. It’s pretty wild.

    Hemsky deserves some love this game, even if I think the Flames played him a bit more delicately than they have in the past. The way he can lose a defender behind the net by stopping and turning on a dime continues to amaze me.

    Souray looked like a keeper tonight. He seems to be fitting into MacT’s plans for him more and more.

    Pitkanen – Crazy bastard. Only he would be seen behind the opposing teams net on a penalty kill. Other scary moments include one rush where Zach Stortini had to cover for him for half a second before Pitkanen zoomed back into position.

    Gagner – looked like a 9 year old scrambling around and icing the puck every time he got a hold of the black discus. I guess he’s got to learn sometime!

    Gilbert – Damn, is this kid smart. I watch to see where he is looking and he is always ahead of the play. SIGN NOW!

    Pisani looked good with Moreau and Cogs could and least keep up to them. May be a good line to keep together for a while.

    So yea, good game. Now let’s see if they can roll with it and help distance themselves from two of the Crappier-than-Oil teams this week.

  27. Bank Shot says:

    It seemed like the Nintendo line was out there every second shift against Hale and Warrener. Hemsky just cut around those two at will, like they were table hockey cut-outs.

    Stoll, Reasoner, and Gagner did pretty decent against Iginla. The Oilers outchanced them, and the goal against wasn’t the forwards fault.

    Staios was kind of rough around the edges again. I really wonder if his knee injury last season didn’t slow him down some. I could have swore that he was a pretty strong skater previous to this season.

    Gilbert has continued to look a bit shell shocked recently. I guess he was bound to come back down to earth somewhat after playing like Jesus when the Oilers really needed him to because of injury. Still his ocassional mess ups never seem to cost the Oilers.

    Everyone else was pretty good. The score would have been 5-1 edmonton with any luck around the net.

  28. honkey says:

    I liked Grebeshkovs game, I only watched the 2nd half of the game but he was great with puck in his own end. While under pressure from Flames forechecker he still managed to find some nice breakout passes to Oiler forwards.

    Lets keep on winning, it’s kinf of fun.

  29. Dennis says:

    I’d say this was the closest we’ll get this year to enjoying a playoff game and it’s the most nervous I’ve been watching a game since the ’06 run. Of course, I know this win won’t help us into the playoffs but I hate the Flames and the hatred was evident between the two teams early on so I quickly got caught up.

    Other stuff:

    - Suck on that one, Rehgr. For one night, at least, Hemsky owned him. He scored one of the goals of the season plus he took a huge hit to set up Penner for a shovel chance. Hemsky’s currently playing at the level where every shift is potentially noteworthy

    - Gilbert is a smart fucker. There’s no reason in the world why this guy shouldn’t develop into a damn fine dman.

    - Nice game from Smid as well. He did a great job lugging the puck.

    - For the other scrubs, Souray is an interesting fellow. he’s not looking as foolish as I thought he would when defending but he creates nothing at EV. I don’t think that’s a huge surprise but I thought I’d mention it.

    - Horc is indefatiguable

    - Pitkanen is either stupid or he has the guts of a burglar. We’re protecting a lead with six min left and the guy’s still jumping into the play. I love the fellow but I think we could get even more from 77 if we gave him another partner because you always have to be on your toes when he’s playing alongside you.

    - For some reason, the 51-46 tandem works. And give the Hugger his due, Zach went out tonight and hit some people and made a point to drill Ugly, thus causing Phaneuf to Marchment himself out of the play and give us a three-on-one,and by my eye, the puck was in the O zone on 46′s shifts far more than it was in the D zone. And that’s what matters.

    - Speaking of what matters, Oilers bought and paid for this win by virute of outchacing the Flames. Kipper came up with four or five outstanding saves and Ugly made one in the last min and the trouble Garon found himself in was his own doing.

    - Garon didn’t whiff on any gimmes but his rebound control was off for most of the night and his stickhandling ranged from suspect to sucking. I’m wondering if he isn’t due a bad game because he kicked out some rebounds tonight that either found the skate of 25 or the stick of 77 and I’m thinking things will even out just a little.

    - Memo to 13: when you’re playing with Hemsky, “He can make that pass.” Whatever pass you think he can’t make, well he can make it. Adjust accordingly.

    - Gagner vs Iginla. Devin was right about the logical move being to supplant 89 with 51 once the game got down but for some reason MacT’s willing to let ships sink for the sake of 89′s development. Outside of that awful pass in the first period, I didn’t think the kid played all that badly and the young bugger worked his ass off in the final period. And at the end it didn’t cost us. That still doesn’t make it right though and I’m waiting for that house of cards to fall.

    - Oilers should smoke LA on Tues and then they get to go on a trp through what I imagine is the worst division in hockey. I still don’t think they’ll make the playoffs but if they finish somewhat hot, it gives them something to build on come October.

    -Lastly, you won’t hear me complaining too loudly about reffing but in a game where the SOG were so close, how does Cgy hold a 5-1 PP adv? That was just rotten.

  30. Dennis says:

    Just remembered something here and also wanted to comment on something I read.

    Yes, Gilbert has been making one odd play a game and, yes, for some reason it hasn’t been costing us. We’ve seen some weird stuff this year. Things like Nilsson creating one chance a game and turning it into a scoring streak and you can throw the Gilbert thing in there too. But, Gilbert starts so many bloody breakouts with that quick little Lidstrom pass that it’s easy for me to overlook other stuff.

    Moreau has to lead the Oilers in career goalposts hit. Seriously, it’s uncanny. When he isn’t taking dumb penalties, the guy’s very useful.

    - I forgot for a secon the times that 89 iced the puck. Good eye on that. Don’tget me wrong, I think macT’s madder than a 17th century syphylettic, sp, for thinking gagner can hang with Iginla but the kid really did pour some serious sweat into that duty.

  31. Lowetide says:

    I hear you on Gagner, Dennis. He’s not really using his talents for the role he’s playing but the game must be slowing down at some level. It’s a high-wire act and he’s bleeding enough that any normal man would put an end to it but MacT appears to be decided on role for 89.

    Do we have a precedent? Was THIS what Ron Low wanted Satan to do?

    And I’m only partly joking.

    The Oilers are on a nice roll here, this is probably the highlight of the season.

    The whole season.

  32. Devin says:

    LT and Dennis — All I can figure is that MacT wants to put 89 on the Hemsky track. He wants him to be a power-v-power player and not just Marc Savard redux (though even he’s been playing tough mins this yr). I just don’t see why 89 needs to be learning things the hard way at 18 when we could draw out the development curve and enjoy a dominant year of him at 27 yrs old instead.

    How many pts out of a playoff spot do the Oil need to be heading into March so that MacT stops this madness? If they’re 5 pts out (as they are now, disregarding GP)? Or do you think he just… doesn’t know he’s being silly? Scary to contemplate. I wonder if they won 10 of their next 15 if you’d see more of 23 and 12 and less of 5 and 89?

  33. Bank Shot says:

    Maybe MacT and Lowe are trying to keep Stoll’s contract size under control. Stick him with Stortini and Gagner and send him over the boards against the murderer’s row.

    I agree with Dennis about Gilbert’s mistakes and how it’s easy to forgive them. He still doesn’t make that many compared to most other D-men. It’s just kind of weird to see him make mistakes after a lengthy stretch of what was almost perfect hockey from him.

  34. Lowetide says:

    That’s the things that has me scratching my head.

    Look, MacT is no dummy, he must feel the kid is a quick study and can handle the -20 he’s going to end up with at season’s end.

    Or maybe he has a line in the sand and won’t let him go below it (kind of like when MLB managers don’t pitch their 9W-19L pitchers come into a game they can lose).

    But it LOOKS like the coach has fallen asleep and doesn’t realize the kid is roadkill.

    bank shot: The Oilers ALWAYS trade their veteran Dmen the moment they slow down 1 mph. Niinimaa was a shadow when they sent him away, and I think maybe they felt Jason Smith was showing signs of age.

    I think Staios gets traded.

  35. Bank Shot says:

    I really wouldn’t have a problem with them trading Staios, but they’d kind of have to be able to get a top four guy back or be able to sign one in the offseason if they want to compete next year.

  36. PunjabiOil says:

    LT: For a team that already seems to lack veteran defenceman, who do you figure they will get to replace Staios?

    I don’t think he’s done by any means – I honestly believe being partnered with Smid hurt his game. Is it a coincidence he logged up 24+ minutes tonight [tops on the team] and had 7 blocked shots?

    The contract isn’t unlivable either – I have a feeling they’ll hold onto him for at least another year.

  37. Dennis says:

    Lain, I thought the exact same thing tonight regarding the high point. I mean, they’ve got six games coming up agianst less than stellar opp so they should be no less than two games over .500 after that’s done.

    But when the post break starts they have a tough go so that will probably take us back to earth. o, taking out the Flames at home while playing an honest to goodness home game is probably as good as it will get.

    Regarding 89, really not sure wha to think. The guy’s just 18 years old and you’re asking him to play shutdown with a guy coming off an injury plus another guy that hasn’t been an offensive threat in years? I guess I could think that MacT’s trying to teach him early but if that’s the case, the guy’s certainly on the accelerated program.

  38. Bruce says:

    The Oilers are on a nice roll here, this is probably the highlight of the season.
    The whole season.

    Geez LT, do you have to put a damper on every little spark of optimism? For damn sure it’s nice to win three in a row, I mean three real wins, not three shootout “wins” like our only other winning streak of the season. Back then all the Negative Neds in the ‘sphere were talking about how the Oil were getting outshot and outchanced and outposted and outrageously lucky, and the subsequent run of one-goal losses supported that view.

    But there’s not too much lucky about the current run; the Oil very nearly beat the Rangers in 60, then thumped the Islanders, and jumped on Phoenix so early that the subsequent flow of play was almost irrelevant. I only saw tonight’s game up to Hemsky’s highlight-reel goal (wow!) but the Oil were more than holding their own in an extremely high-paced game. And as Bank Shot said:

    The score would have been 5-1 edmonton with any luck around the net.

    So maybe there really is room for optimism instead of assuming things are going to go straight back to hell. I mean, if Dennis can say nice things about Smid, anything’s possible, right?

    Now maybe Cal Nichols is right and Kevin Lowe really does have a plan; for sure it’s hard to tell sometimes, but I can tell you one thing he didn’t plan was missing Pisani and Moreau for the first 2 or 3 months of the season. The presence of both guys has made the Oilers at least respectable. With those two guys anchoring the second line and 10-27-83 earning their $$$ on the #1 line by generally carrying the play and outscoring the other guys, well that’s over half of every game where the Oilers are at least holding their own.

    The young guys bring positive things to the table as well as mistakes; while they are getting killed at times there’s other times they do OK; some of them are true split personalities like Dr. Ladi and Mr. Smid.

    Then there’s Monsieur Garon who has consistently played as well or better than the guy at the far end, something which all the Corsi numbers in the world don’t account for. In some ways it’s the opposite of the 2005-06 pre-deadline team, our goalie’s been stealing the odd game and giving none back, but it’s beyond the point of being a fluke; this guy’s good!

    Meanwhile the team in front of him is getting better; on its good nights they can be a fun team to watch. No doubt there will be more hills and valleys, but this team is already far removed from the one that imploded after the trade deadline and is on the rise. I for one plan to enjoy the ride.

  39. Steve says:

    This entire 100+ games after the Stanley run reminds me of that line in Airplane when one of the guys suggests to Leslie Neilson that they should turn on the runway lights so planes can land.

    “No,” says Neilson. “That’s just what they’ll be expecting us to do.”

    That’d be Robert Stack. Leslie was in the plane that was trying to land.

    Still, good to see that your taste in movies is every bit as good as your taste in music and hockey teams.

  40. Lowetide says:

    Damn. Robert Stack. I should have remembered that.

    On Staios, I still like the guy but this is when the Oilers say goodbye to these guys (deadline of the year two feet comes off their fastball) and the one thing I never really worry about is Kevin Lowe with 1.5-2.5M to spend on a free agent D.

    It’s the one thing he’s really, really good at.

  41. pboy says:

    Line in Airplane when one of the guys suggests to Leslie Neilson that they should turn on the runway lights so planes can land.

    “No,” says Neilson. “That’s just what they’ll be expecting us to do.”

    That’s got to be one of my all time favorite lines from any movie.

    Who do you guys think projects to be a better player, Smid or Grebs?

  42. dawgbone says:


    MacT at his best during the post game press conference, talking about the too many men penalties.

  43. Bank Shot says:

    Who do you guys think projects to be a better player, Smid or Grebs?

    I think Smid easily. His errors mostly consist of watching the puck too much and not being all over his guy in the slot. Its fairly easy to fix that kind of stuff with coaching.

    When Ladislav gets all caught up to the speed of the game, he’s going to be a big bruising body, that can skate and pass. Pretty nice combination of talents.

    Grebeshkov suffers from the brain cramps which is probably incurable. How long has everyone been waiting for Torres to make the next step? You can’t teach players how to think, and while Grebs may eventually smarten up, I’m pretty skeptical of it happening. Also for a guy that kind of needs to produce offensively to solidify a spot, Grebs sure doesn’t utilize his talents very well.

  44. Dennis says:

    Lain, normally I would be inclined to agree with you on the “finding cheap dmen” idea but after the Oilers shit the bed on Hejda, now I’m not so sure.

    But, I do agree that Staios is likely out the door come deadline, if only because money’s tied up in 44, money needs to be tied up in Mssrs. 25 and 77 and the Oilers believe in Smid and Greene and maybe Grebs as well. If those six plus a cheap vet make up next year’s D corps, I won’t be in the least surprised.

    Also, speaking of money, Horc needs to be extended and I’m starting to think that I’d like to have Stoll for one more season. If we signed him for two years and then dealt him summer of ’09, he’d give us next year while we had one more year to break in 13 and 89 and get them ready for his EV min. Going forward I’d imagine the pivot depth chart will be 10-13-89 with the latter getting the soft min and I’d be fine with that. But, I think we need the Stoll security blanket for one more season and I’d be fine with that. Jarrett’s been consistent enough lately in both his physical play and his ability to generate scoring chances that I think this year was a blip and we can expect ~60 points from him next year.

    Finally, considering that Cogs seems to be the best bet for the second tough min behind Horc, even though right now MacT’s feeding Horc the soft, wouldn’t it make more sense to have Cogs playing with the shutdown 16-19 tandem while Gagner goes with a guy in Pisani he’s had chem with plus the old vet Moreau? Then again, maybe Cogs is playing centre because it helps us more going down the line with the expectations taht he can carry some mail.

    Finally, Bruce, I don’t mind praising anyone when they play well and last night Smid played well. I haven’t looked at his home/road splits but I think he played 13 min last night in a third pairing EV while the the big four played anywhere from 17-19 apiece. So it’s clear that for now he should be on the third pairing and he’s getting that break because Souray’s not getting killed at EV. Scary thing is I think we’ll see those together next year at EV.

  45. Dennis says:

    Interesting that you talk about Smid vs Grebs because not to piss off Lain, ie anyone who has his picture in the Journal more than Jim Matheson is not a guy I want to rankle;), I’m not sure if Albelin works.

    Smid has good size, occasional mean streak, excellent skater and sometimes good pass. But he has no shot to speak of and lacks offensive vision. Who are we looking at as a comp?

    I will agree that it’s easier to say Smid could stop his errors than Grebs. Young Denis seems to have a hunger for the chancey, flashy and boneheaded play and like the man said, that never did leave Bergy’s game. But you could handle it from Bergy somewhat because he could score goals and that’s sometimes Grebs can’t do.

    I wouldn’t mind giving him one more season but if he’s still doing this stuff a year from now I’d cut bait. Plus, if 25-77 are signed then we have two bonafide puck movers and then we don’t have to spend time developing young puck movers who will undeniably make mistakes during their maturation.

  46. Bruce says:

    Finally, Bruce, I don’t mind praising anyone when they play well and last night Smid played well.

    Yeah I know, Dennis, just saying anything’s possible, inc. Smid playing well. I know when you say so it must be true.

    I haven’t looked at his home/road splits

    I just checked out the +/- splits from nhl.com. Smid is -3 at home, -8 on the road. (Strangest split on the team btw is Torres, -8 at home and +4 on the road.)

    but I think he played 13 min last night in a third pairing EV while the the big four played anywhere from 17-19 apiece. So it’s clear that for now he should be on the third pairing and he’s getting that break because Souray’s not getting killed at EV.

    Agreed, he should be on the third pair while he’s breaking in, and so should Grebs. The trouble ensues when they’re both doing it at the same time. Both guys are a little erratic to say the least but when they’re both on top of the wave, as now, they can hold their own.

    Souray, meanwhile, has been something of a pleasant surprise in that after reading the blogs all season I was expecting him to be the worst player in the league and he’s actually not that bad. Really slow, to the point where he doesn’t have to worry about losing 1 mph off his fastball cuz when it comes to skating he’s a knuckleballer to begin with. But he battles and makes lots of positive plays, my main concern with him is when he has the puck in our end. But I think he’s fairly solid on the second pairing, and surely he’ll score a few goals as the season wears on.

    I worry more about Staios who has struggled all year, battling but losing the battles, with a team-worst -13 to show for it. It’s hard to be too critical with a guy who blocked 7 shots last night, but if the Oil decided to put him on the block and give, say, Rourke some ice, how much worse would they be?

  47. Dennis says:

    I think they’d be worse because it’s possible that 24 has been helping Souray’s game and that if you ask any of the other guys to jump up and play those extra min, they wouldn’t be able to handle it.

    I’d go out on a limb and say that Raffi’s splits are that extreme because at home MacT played him against tough opp but on the road coaches wouldn’t target him as a guy easy to score on. So, they’re spending their time trying to get their best out against lines with Gagner and Cogs. Also, Raffi didn’t play many games with 34 in the lineup and he didn’t play either game with both 18-34 in the lineup so during his road games, there were lots of lines to run at besides his.

    BTW, I’m also shocked that Souray isn’t getting limbed considering he’s playing second pairing min with us in what I’d consider to be a tougher division than the Northeast, and he played third line pairing for the Habs last year.

    But, I don’t know how much offense you’ll see out of him at EV or how much you’ll see while he’s on the ice. He just doesn’t know how to step up like a 25 or 77 does.

  48. pboy says:

    Apaprently Cujo has signed with the Flames. A rested Kipper could be the difference between the Flames winning the division and squeaking into the playoffs.

  49. Master Lok says:

    I’m not sure if Albelin works.

    Smid has good size, occasional mean streak, excellent skater and sometimes good pass. But he has no shot to speak of and lacks offensive vision. Who are we looking at as a comp?

    Eric Brewer?

  50. Bank Shot says:

    Smid has good size, occasional mean streak, excellent skater and sometimes good pass. But he has no shot to speak of and lacks offensive vision. Who are we looking at as a comp?

    Maybe Eric Brewer with better stickhandling. I wouldn’t give up completely on Smid’s offence though. Lots of D take awhile to figure out that aspect.

    Souray probably looks better in the Oilers system because they are more defensively focused. Montreal games are always pretty exciting to watch, and I think they need D-men that can thrive when left to fend for themselves.

    The Oilers seem to do a pretty good job of keeping opposing forwards from rushing their D at a million miles an hour, and they basically give the other team the cycle which Souray isn’t that bad at defending against given his reach and strength.

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