Oilers at Avs, G44/08-09

This is Don Ashby. His nickname was “Ants.” Ashby was a high pick (#6 overall) by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1976. This was at a time of extreme transition in the Leafs organization so Ashby moved up the depth chart and became a starter before he was ready to carry a big load.

It did not go well. Toronto (an organization that would make some questionable moves during this time, like drafting Doug Jarvis and trading him the same summer. Who does that?) seemed to be bringing in kids six at a time every month or so during these years and Ashby became so frustrated with the Leafs he quit for a time.

Eventually he was sent away to Colorado to play for the Rockies. On February 25, 1980 he was traded to Edmonton for a very unhappy Bobby Schmautz and played well for the Oilers, scoring 10 times in 18 games.

In 80-81 he played some with the big club but spent most of the season in the minors (Wichita Wind). The club had a wonderful playoff, taking Salt Lake City to 7-games despite being overmatched.

Driving home from that playoff series, Don Ashby was struck head-on and died from internal injuries on May 30, 1981.

The Edmonton Oilers are in tough again tonight against the Colorado Avalanche. Those two teams and Minnesota have games-in-hand on the suddenly struggling Vancouver Canucks and a win tonight for Edmonton would erase the frustration of bleeding out one drop at a time against the demons in Minnesota. I will go ahead and predict that Ryan Smyth kicks ass in this game. He’s hot (6 points in his last 3 games) and the Avs seem to be putting things together a little bit (despite their loss last night).

The Oilers can still cover the bet (alone in 8th at the break) but winning tonight is vital. History tells us the Oilers will get out of Denver with fewer than 2 points tonight. They won in Washington for the first time since the Nixon administration and lost to Minnesota to keep that tradition alive.

Can they win a NW road game in January? You know the answer.

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213 Responses to "Oilers at Avs, G44/08-09"

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  1. shepso says:

    @Dennis…yeah, that goal was a beauty. As was his mullet in those days.
    When I see the inconsistent, lethargic, often effortless Oiler team playing right now, sometimes I think back to those days and remember that they never pretended to be great, they just went out and played their asses off every night. They were consistently mediocre but sometimes I am convinced that they sure had more heart…

  2. Dennis says:

    Shep:

    Ron Low and his promises of 100 hits a game!;)

    Yeah, I guess I was younger then and had a lot less cares but the Oilers from say the ’97 season until ’03 or ’04 are the ones I really clung to. I was 15 when they won their last Cup and then 91 and 92 was fun but I only got to watch all the playoff games.

    When I got older and bought a dish then I could watch basically all the games – while drinking all the beer I wanted in the process:) – and then you learned all the tendencies. So, it gets to the point that when Dan Cleary scores a PP goal off a fortuitous bounce off the boards in Dallas G2 in ’01 AFTER Tommy Salo lets a goal in to Mike Keane that make a horse vomit, you start to think that the tide might swing. And when the Oilers roar out in the third period in G5 and score three goals to take the lead – with one of them coming from young Eric Brewer for fucksakes – well then you feel like staying in bed when Anson Carter makes a bad line change and that game ends up going to OT:D

    Back then I was all about Weight and Smyth and Guerin and the MGM line – Moreau’s first game as an Oiler was a HNIC tilt vs the Dys and he was put with Marchant-Grier and they instantly meshed.

    PS: I also hated Tommy Salo

  3. Loxy says:

    Coach, I disagree that Moreau brings no positives, but the negatives outweigh them. He’s second on the team in hits, and first among forwards in shot blocks. But he also leads in reckless penalties, and is getting murdered by the Corsi and scoring chance metrics. As for his brand new skill, faceoffs, so far he has compiled a less-than-stellar mark of 3-17, 15%.

    Well said, Bruce.

    I just wanted this posted again in case it gets lost at the bottom of page 1 comments.

    Also… 6 points separating 5th and 13th. Who makes it in?

  4. shepso says:

    @Dennis: I was even younger then you were the last time we tasted sweet victory, all of 9 years old. I think I made a poster from all the articles in the Journal. Had that thing on my wall for years. But really, aside from that and running out on to the golf course at the Edmonton country club to get Gretzky’s autograph while he was attempting a putt on the 17th when I was 4, I don’t really remember the dynasty all that well, just that it happened and it was sweet. The years I remember most were those same years you mentioned. My dad and I had the season ticket split pack which got us something like 15 games a year, from like 1992-1998, really dark times for the franchise. My first playoff series was Dallas ’97. I think I went to game 3? Maybe that’s why I have so much love for the late 1990s and the Ron Low era (but please, lets strike the Burnett days from memory forever!). The hits, the energy, the game stealing Cujo saves and even the (pre-Comrie/Belarus) Salo. Those teams never pretended they were going to win the division, they only wanted to do as much damage to the opposition as they could. If they won, bonus. Low expectations, but hungry, passionate fans, energetic players and lots of hits and heart.

  5. danny says:

    Man how amny times did I have to ask for the big guy with thick glasses to change the channel at 11 or 12 am for Oil games?! SJ games always stick out the most because the 3rd period you are verrrrry uncomfortable hoping they arent gonna kick you out since the staff and kitchn has long since retired for the night.

    I got my first dish around ’01 and until now, have enjoyed the vast majority of Oil games on the tele. This season Ive subscribed to hockeystreams.com because we have cable and last year digi-cable centre-ice was f’n terrible.

    I’m going HD satt next season. I blame a bit of my sandbagging lately on the laptop shite.

    welp. i just finished my last beer, the game is over, the better half is asleep and i should do the same. A plough dropped a frickin huge ice-boulder on my car and i need to go fender shopping tmw. fun times in the martimes.

    Next time theres a G7 SCF, lets pool the funds together and get a limo-hummer watch the game and drink our faces off. lol.

  6. RiversQ says:

    Smid looks better this year but he’s hardly doing all that well.

    He’s still well into the minus in Corsi and he’s got a pretty hefty SV% behind him.

    I’d also say the underlying numbers don’t really bear out that Staios is killing him either.

    What always concerns me with Smid going forward is that the dude generates no offense whatsoever. (Smid is dragging down Staios’ EV offense if you can believe it.) The faceoff shifts don’t seem to indicate he’s moving the puck all that well either.

    Still, I’d agree he’s coming around and might be a 2nd pairing guy by the time this is over. The fact that he’s mostly useless offensively should keep his cost down indefinitely too.

  7. Loxy says:

    RiversQ!

    (Just using this thread as my personal way of saying hi)

    Hi!

  8. PDO says:

    Dennis hated Tommy Salo?

    That’s earth-shattering ;).

    Figured I’d throw this up, just for the sake of throwing it up…

    Horcoff:

    On for 225 D-Zone draws and 170 offensive (55). His shifts have ended in his own zone 144 times and the offensive zone 161 (-17). He’s been on for 24 goals for and 20 against (+4), and the Oilers have out-shot their opposition by 42 with Horcoff on the ice.

    Gagner:

    On for 115 D-Zone draws and 150 offensive (-35). His shifts have ended in his own zone 128 times and the offensive zone 155 (-27). He’s been on the ice for 22 goals for and 19 against (+3), and the Oilers have been out-shot by 13 with Gagner on the ice.

    Cogliano:

    On for 116 D-Zone draws and 160 offensive (-44) His shifts have ended in his own zone 134 times and the offensive zone 159 (-25). He’s been on the ice for 19 goals for and 16 goals against (+3), and the Oilers have been out-shot by 37 with Cogliano on the ice.

    Brodziak:

    On for 162 D-Zone draws and 77 offensive (85). His shifts have ended in his own zone 117 times and the offensive zone 81 times (36). He’s been on for 13 goals for and 14 goals against (-1), and the Oilers have been out-shot by 55 with Brodziak on the ice.

  9. Duke Phillips says:

    shepso: here you go.

  10. Coach pb9617 says:

    Coach, I disagree that Moreau brings no positives, but the negatives outweigh them. He’s second on the team in hits, and first among forwards in shot blocks. But he also leads in reckless penalties, and is getting murdered by the Corsi and scoring chance metrics. As for his brand new skill, faceoffs, so far he has compiled a less-than-stellar mark of 3-17, 15%.

    The hits stat is BS. The Oilers stats guy must be buddies with THE CAPTAIN because I’m not seeing where the count is coming from. And if he does, big deal. The hits seem to drag him out of the play.

    I’d also say the underlying numbers don’t really bear out that Staios is killing him either.

    Not statistically – Staios is actually killing him with his patented behind the net “hot potato” play.


    On for 162 D-Zone draws and 77 offensive (85).

    Lord. Jim Dowd where are you?!

  11. Bruce says:

    Still, I’d agree he’s coming around and might be a 2nd pairing guy by the time this is over. The fact that he’s mostly useless offensively should keep his cost down indefinitely too.

    RiversQ: That is a key point. Smid’s making steps in the right direction, he certainly looks like a real NHL defenceman in the making, and just because his entry level contract is expiring doesn’t mean he’s got a Big pay day coming. His stats are nothing if not modest. I mean if the Oil wanted to lock him up into his UFA years that would cost some, but say a two-year extension should be pretty reasonable. Whereas Grebeshkov is going to be expensive next time cuz he’s putting up numbers.

    I don’t suppose Smid will ever be any great shakes offensively, but in time he’ll start to put up a few more points as his QualTeam improves (currently -0.18, playing with the third or fourth line most of the time and Staios all the time). His shot is horrible, but he’s got good hands and is a decent although hardly a visionary passer. He can also move with the puck pretty good. In his current assignment he mostly just takes it to centre and dumps it in and lets the muckers muck. But when he decides to drive to the net with it as he has shown occasional flashes, he can be a real load. Still, it’s hard to envision an upside of more than 20 points; his potential value is as a Volchenkov-style hardrock shutdown defender. (I hope.)

  12. Rob says:

    Mjsh said: “My thought when they left on the trip was that they would win two out of the three. Obviously, tonights game is the difference maker. I think Rolly starts again and Oil win 3-2″

    GOOD CALL!

  13. Dennis says:

    Danny: I never heard that much bad stuff about digital cable CI. I’ve been thinking for years that I’d swap my dish gear for the cable.

    PDO: nice work on that breakdown!

    Bruce: i feel like every day I wake up there should be an email in my in-box from Lain that goes like this:

    Dear Dennis,

    You were right about the Pronger package and, yes, Smid doesn’t have a fucking clue offensively.

    :D

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