Wild at Oilers, G62/08-09

The story of this season could still be “Oilers finally turn a corner” but at this point I think most fans firmly believe there is something wrong.

At some point it doesn’t matter if Kevin Lowe didn’t gather up the horses, or if Craig MacTavish got stubborn on too many kids.

At some point this organization has to convince the fanbase that there is a plan, our brain trust is better than the other brain trusts.

The Edmonton Oilers always appear to be smoothly run, a tight ship moving forward and a proud brand. The Edmonton Oilers fan is having a crisis of confidence, apparently made even more troubling because no one in charge appears to notice.

Win. Or fix it. Do something.

R. F. N.

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449 Responses to "Wild at Oilers, G62/08-09"

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  1. bookie says:

    Just watched MacT’s comments on Nilsson and he was very complimentary and supportive. He basically said Nilsson was trying, working hard, doing all that was asked of him, but just strugling on points. So, he said sometimes a one game rest helps young guys like that find their way. Its clearly not a punishement so much as time for reflection.

  2. kris says:

    Just to clarify, I’d prefer to keep Penner and lose MacT, but since that isn’t going to happen…

  3. bookie says:

    Penner produces well, has good numbers, but either looks or is lazy.

    I think its both, sometimes when he is working hard and moving, he still looks slow due to his size. There are many examples though where he just won’t go into a corner or where he doesn’t skate for an open puck. So, I think its both.

    Maybe a different coach could get 100% out of him…

  4. Black Dog says:

    kris – I wonder what his value is; the perception of Penner in the MSM is that he is lazy and a huge bust.

    I have read that opinion put forth by Duhatschek and LeBrun lately, I believe, and have heard it said by Bob MacKenzie, iirc.

    And he was getting cut up tonight on HNIC. When they were talking about Moreau being out in the last minute v the BJs Hrudey said better him then Penner because of the latter’s play.

    So … if that is the prevalent opinion in the media I would say its likely the opinion amongst hockey people as well.

    The problem with Penner is that his numbers are good in many ways but its obvious he’s just scratching the surface.

    He has plenty of talent. He’s a smart player. He should dominate with the size of him.

  5. bookie says:

    Black Dog – all good points, I just sometimes wonder if we are the product of groupthink…

  6. Black Dog says:

    bookie – that’s good re: Nilsson

    He’ll be drawing in next game now I would say.

  7. Coach pb9617 says:

    Penner produces well, has good numbers, but either looks or is lazy.

    Clearly, the answer is to cut off your nose to spite your ego.

    Nono, cut of your nose to FEED your ego.

  8. Black Dog says:

    bookie – that’s a valid point re: group think

    Once the mob gets going … ;)

    I think everyone liked Moreau back in the day but he’s not what he once was.

    I think I could accept him fading away and I really don’t have many problems with him myself except for the penalties.

    But the coach never calls him on it so what can be expected?

    Anyways lets just hope he’s ok. I made a couple of cracks there and I feel pretty badly about it. I figured he lost a few teeth or something.

    His poor wife is probably a mess right now.

  9. Black Dog says:

    Replay of the Canadiens game.

    Bob Cole – “they’re changing on the fly which is the custom these days”

    I love Bob Cole. The custom these days.

    Unlike a few years ago when we wore onion on our belts. Because that was the style at the time.

  10. bookie says:

    If a Player is gone for the season (like Vish and perhaps Moreau now) does this open up the cap space for a team or is it just ‘tough luck, play with a cheaper team’?

  11. kris says:

    Sounds right BD.

    My guess is somebody is willing to take a shot that his potential will emerge again. GM’s love potential, especially if the player has shown flashes, as Penner has.

    But the MacT-Penner situation seems to have come to logger heads. Penner isn’t a kid like Nilson who should expect to get benched. He’s likely embarrassed and angry, and I wonder if he’s going to demand a trade.

    If the yahoos on the radio are any indication, my guess is that Penner is getting hassled around town too. (I seem to remember that was part of Arnott leaving. Is that right? Anyone remember?)

    If he demands a trade, it’ll poison the room until the demand is met.

  12. bookie says:

    Bob Cole – “they’re changing on the fly which is the custom these days”

    WOW, how old do you have to be to say something like that…”This new thing of goalies wearing masks looks like something that will just become a part of the game.”

  13. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: lol. I think it was Bob Cole (may have been Dan Kelly) who used to say “at this time we’d like to say hello to all the shut-ins tuning in” every broadcast.

    I always imagined some poor bastard with the (hack hack) black lung hearing that and giving the television the finger.

  14. bookie says:

    “We can’t bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell them stories that don’t go anywhere. Like the time I took the fairy to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe so I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. Give me five bees for a quarter you’d say. Now where were we, oh ya. The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because if the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones.”

  15. Black Dog says:

    Kris – hard to say

    There will always be a taker and his contract is not outlandish.

    If MacT stays Penner has to go.

    It will be this summer. They have to get better and shed some salary. Not easy to do.

    So dump Penner and there’s over 4M off the cap but then your LW depth is absolutely nil.

    beauty line bookie

    And I’m off.

  16. kris says:

    “Like the time I took the fairy to Shelbyville.”

    I think that would be ‘ferry’

    Although, Grampa Simpson does have a habit of dreaming about crossdressing…

  17. Black Dog says:

    Beauty LT. Hilarious.

    That’s what I’m talking about bookie.

    Ok, now I’m really off.

    Happy to see the Oilers come east this week, maybe I’ll get some sleep. ;)

  18. Ribs says:

    I think it is pretty relevant to the issue, not wearing a visor is dumb and it is basically rooted in machismo…

    I don’t think that’s true at all. It is a very strange transition from nothing to a visor and many guys just don’t like it or don’t stay with it long enough to grow accustomed to it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beer leaguer or an NHLer, you want to play your best on the ice, and a visor can hamper your performance drastically. You can call it machismo but most guys will take the risks associated over never being able to play hockey the way they know they can ever again.

    Forcing junior players to wear visors has been very effective and it will continue to dwindle the visor-less players as time goes by. The visors that are being made today help the cause as well. I use an Oakley visor and it is very clear.

    In any case, I’m not sure a visor would have helped in Moreau’s incident. The counter of course is that it couldn’t hurt either… and I can agree with that.

    Interesting game tonight. The Oil were winning a lot of the battles early and it looked to be paying off before they decided they had done enough and relied on Roli to save them.

    The Poo Boy was good tonight. He looked motivated and I think it rubbed off on Gagner for some of the game.

    Grebeshkov looked solid. Motivated and all over the place. I was pretty impressed with him.

    Souray was quiet. Against Minnesota, it might be a good thing.

    I wish Penner would just get along with everyone. Very lazy tonight but honestly it’s kind of understandable.

    Cogs with some bursts. Always good.

    PM Bouchard still gets his auto-point. The curse must not have been lifted. Dammit.

  19. cartooncolin says:

    I suppose talking about the irony of having that young blind boy sing the anthem would be in bad taste …

  20. Coach pb9617 says:

    Checking the shift charts, I notice that Gagner did not see the ice for the last ten minutes.

    This isn’t coaching.

  21. Ender says:

    @Coach

    I think Gagner got hurt as well. That’s the only way I can figure it since they put Brodziak in his place immediately after that backhand attempt right in front of the net. Gagner was playing way too well to get benched.

    Well, unless MacT was just terrified of faceoffs and icing.

  22. kris says:

    Some of you might have seen it, but there’s more good news:

    The schedule shows only two more games on back to back nights and only two more games against truly dominant teams: one with the Wings, the other the Sharks.

  23. Jonathan Willis says:

    No further word on Moreau yet, eh? Hopefully he isn’t seriously injured.

    As much as I’ve taken shots at Moreau, his scoring output 5v5 has been good this year, and he has played the tough comp. I think the worst thing is just seeing MacTavish’s use of him, and the lack of punishment for his penalties.

    That’s neither here nor there though. I do have a ton of respect for Moreau’s willingness on the ice (and I don’t think it’s open to question), and I sure hope he’s OK.

    As for the game in general, it’s amazing how that “W” changes things, isn’t it? Because if they’d rolled out with a loss (which, Roli excepted, they richly deserved) we’d be freaking out but it’s okay that they imploded in the 3rd because they got away with it, right?

  24. Coach pb9617 says:

    Optometrist friend said any kind of cut to the eye itself is a minimum of a month and up to six.

    Looks like the 78-13-34 line is back together.

  25. quain says:

    As for the game in general, it’s amazing how that “W” changes things, isn’t it? Because if they’d rolled out with a loss (which, Roli excepted, they richly deserved) we’d be freaking out but it’s okay that they imploded in the 3rd because they got away with it, right?

    Yes. I am positive this win will prevent the threads before next game from accruing 50+ Fire MacT comments. It’s nothing but sunshine and lollipops from now on!

    By the way, they really need to stop training with Chad Moreau. I mean, what is this? Three years in a row where Ethan has had a season ender? That guy doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.

  26. Woodguy says:

    Unlike a few years ago when we wore onion on our belts. Because that was the style at the time.

    My car gets 3 rods to the hogshead and thats the way I likes it!

    Well I guess we get to see what we wanted to see……Is this team better defensively without the Captain in the lineup.

    With Pisani back, MacTavish was trying get 18-13-34 out against the toughs. Be interesting to see if that continues without 18.

    Also,

    If someone on the board is close to God please put in a word for Ales’ foot.

  27. Dennis says:

    Given the situation, there’s no way you can feel good about a game where you get outchanced 2-10 in the third period of such a big game.

    You can’t trust this team and that’s the bottom line. They played a very good first 40 min at EV bu then they fell down the shift over and over and over again in the third period.

  28. PunjabiOil says:

    Well, that really dampened the mood (Moreau’s injury).

    I’d trade the Oilers playoff birth if it meant Moreau will be able to recover from his eye injury.

    Just a terrible sequence of events.

  29. HBomb says:


    I think everyone liked Moreau back in the day but he’s not what he once was.

    Being one of the biggest critics of 18 this year, I can say for sure this is the case.

    My Oilers 3rd jersey with the 25th anniversary crest is a Moreau jersey. In that frantic scramble in March 2004 to try and make the playoffs, the guy was a bull. Damn, we had Smyth-Torres-Moreau-Isbister-Chimera down the left side. What depth that was.

    Guy hasn’t been good this year, but an eye injury? I would not wish that on anyone. As such, tonight Ethan, this is for you.

    I was at the game tonight, but did not drink, other than about four or five bottles of vitamin water. Captain Morgan and I had a bit of a run-in last night…..

  30. Black Gold says:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?name=Zach+Parise

    Guess who’s on pace for 50-50-100?
    is that interesting or is that as relevant as a kick in ur nuts 3 years ago?

  31. bookie says:

    a visor can hamper your performance drastically

    Ok, lets check the logic of that. If that were true then it should drastically hamper the performance of all of those players playing WITH a visor. As such, players like Crosby or Ovechkin could simply whip off their visor and add another 10 goals+ a season.

    Or, those marginal players in the AHL could simply shed their visors and pick up that little bit more to get them to the NHL.

    The same arguments were made regarding goalie masks, helmets, and at some point in the past somebody probably said that putting a ‘jock’ on crippled performance. In the ‘real world’ people ranted against seat belts, hard hats, bycycle helments, etc. Anyone remember this – “Its less safe to wear a seatbelt than it is to wear one” – as though facts never mattered.

    The reality is that there has been no drop in play as player have adopted helmets and visors. BUT it does hurt your ‘tough guy’ image when you screw that visor on your helmet. For most younger players, they are part of a culture that ‘permits’ you to be tough and wear a visor. For most of the older crowd, its like admitting that they use a few beauty products to care for their skin, its downright embarrassing.

    Visor tech is so impressive now and the NHLers have the best available, no fogging, clear, new visor every game if they want so that there are no scratches.

    I think that is simple ‘cultural resistance’. Resist change at all costs.

    I accept that wearing a visor is probably strange on day one (after not wearing it), but I suspect its like thong underwear, if you give it a try for a few weeks you get used to it and then you start to like it. You will have to ask LT about that one though :)

  32. Coach pb9617 says:

    By the way, they really need to stop training with Chad Moreau. I mean, what is this? Three years in a row where Ethan has had a season ender? That guy doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.

    Horcoff isn’t a first line center, Penner is fat and the coach lost the room.

    Guy hasn’t been good this year, but an eye injury? I would not wish that on anyone.

    Aw come on – no one does. We wish that he would voluntarily stick his arm in a snow blower, not get speared in the eye by someone on the ice. It doesn’t change how things have panned out thus far though. All of a sudden everyone is apologetic for harping on Moreau, like their harping caused it. Listen, Moreau’s head isn’t in the game anymore and his coach is using him incorrectly and he can’t handle it. Yes, the injury was unfortunate and is sad for a long-time Oiler, but it doesn’t change the truth of the situation with his bad play, bad penalties, bad leadership etc. The two situations should be separated. I’m looking around and there all of these posts now talking about how he’s not been that bad and how he still has try – just because he got hurt. He still deserves the criticism of his play, injury or not.

    That being said – get well soon Ethan.

    The Islanders are a mess and this article might explain the Comrie and Campoli trade. Gordon is screwing over the vets in favor of the kids. It’s like bizarro Edmonton world.

    With Moreau down, I’m wondering if Peckham comes back or a forward comes up? Strudwick looked like he found Grebs’ stash of acid last night, but there’s no way that old rough and ready would sit Strudwick for a kid. So is it best to keep the kid around for insurance or let him play in the A? I wish Roy hadn’t fallen off the face of the earth this year – he would be ideal to have around right now.

  33. Schitzo says:

    Coach – your link has failed, can you repost?

  34. Coach pb9617 says:

    Sorry about that.

    Scott Gordon, the Anti-MacT

  35. Mr DeBakey says:

    Everyone who ever thought they’d see this headline
    “Reddox carries Oilers past Wild”
    put up your hand.

    That’s what I thought.

  36. Phil says:

    Well put, Coach. I think that it’s a very Canadian thing that we don’t speak ill of someone who’s been a victim of bad luck. But you’re right, criticism of Ethan’s play this year shouldn’t be tempered by the injury.

    But, I think that when something like this happens, it snaps us back to the realization that hockey is just a game, and there are more important things in life (vision, family, etc.). With this realization, there’s also some self-examination going on, and we might find that we throw around words like ‘hate’ and ‘terrible’ and ‘abomination’ when describing hockey players, when in fact, that’s probably going overboard. People back peddling now is just their way of saying they’re a bit sorry for being so harsh on him, now that he might have given his eye and career for the team.

  37. Coach pb9617 says:

    Reports are now that the Guerin trade takes the Islanders under the floor because of the guys that are on LTIR. Snow has to find about a million and a half in salary to get them over the floor.

  38. PunjabiOil says:

    Someone on HF said that he got an update that Moreau is fine and it’s nothing too major.

    Hope he’s right.

  39. Coach pb9617 says:

    People back peddling now is just their way of saying they’re a bit sorry for being so harsh on him,

    If you’re sorry, say you’re sorry, don’t change your tune to avoid saying sorry. Pride goeth before the fall.

  40. PunjabiOil says:

    Could we be acquiring Jokinen?

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Wanted+forward+score/1342022/story.html

    “He’s a centre who loves to shoot, which wouldn’t hurt Hemsky. Jokinen agent, Mark Gandler, said Edmonton would be a good fit. The Florida Panthers traded Jokinen because he didn’t get along with then coach Jacques Martin.”

  41. Coach pb9617 says:

    Upon a second viewing of last night’s game:

    1. I knew that Roloson was shaky, but lordy. 45 SOG, 43 saves and I counted exactly 31 ‘stable’ saves, where he held the puck easily or directed it harmlessly away.

    Yikes.

    2. Gilbert is sneakily physical. He doesn’t wreck people, fight people, or scrum after the whistle, but when the puck goes to the corner, he throws half-step hips into people to seperate them from the puck.

    3. I don’t see what Penner did to get the hook. He coasts once and lets a puck go by at the end of a shift right before a line change. The coach just hates the guy.

    4. I didn’t see a single instance of Grebs having mobility problems which means he has Stortini genes when it comes to ankles.

    5. I said it last night, but Pisani has his jump back. He seemed to get strong, very strong in the third.

    6. There were 26 defensive zone faceoffs taken last night — Horcoff took 16, Brodziak took 10. Cogliano and Gagner took zero. I’m guessing this is a trend that will continue until Walz comes in. Brodziak was 6W 4L and Horcoff was 50% in the defensive zone – that’s really great work. They both started shifts with the other two lines and shifted off after the puck left the zone.

    7. Horcoff was 17+ ES TOI. He took 31 faceoffs, the rest of the team took 36. 16 of 31 faceoffs were in his own zone. The coach is going to kill that guy.

  42. Dennis says:

    I like players who are bargains, can handle the toughs or eat the soft.

    I also don’t like sacred cows.

    18 doesn’t land in any of the first three catergories but he lives in the last one.

    I’m glad the guy’s fine physically but I’d still love it if we dealt him.

  43. dawgbone says:

    Sort of lost in the shuffle last night but I think Pouliot had his best game as an Oiler last night.

    He looks so much better when he’s not tied up with 18, and he seems to have a pretty damn good nose for where he is supposed to be, especially on the offensive zone forecheck.

  44. HBomb says:

    Well, if Moreau’s out for a few, I think we see 13-78-34, finally.

    The other intriguing possibility, however, is 85-13-34. I’ve gotta say, I am not a big believer in the guy having Pisani upside, but after watching him live the last two Saturdays, Reddox is starting to grow on me.

  45. Scott says:

    I thought that LTIR was optional? If that’s the only problem NYI should be fine.

  46. Dennis says:

    DB: I’ve watched 78 closely and I’d say it’s the best game I’ve seen him play in terms of driving the net. He had a chance in tight on the left side and he also drove to net to bat a rebound on goal. There was also a nice play where he found 26 in the slot early on and of course he made a that nice play to 89 in the third.

    He made two excellent plays in the D zone – once where he dove to break up a pass and another when he tracked all the way down to the goal-line and then found the puck and carried it out – and I thought he was doing a lot of that when he got his final re-call last year.

    So, all-around I’d say he’s played better but offensively, I wouldn’t have a problem saying it’s his best game. Like i said before, the guy had three chances alone in the first period so that’s pretty solid. And there’s no question he had an extra gear in the first period.

    HB: take the 12 forwards last night and it seems like everyone outside of 51 can find themselves in the top nine. I imagine 12 comes back in for 18 and goes back with 89-26. 78 slides down with 13-34. 85 stays with 10-83 and 27 plays with 51-46. Also, no doubt 85 leaves it all out there.

  47. Dennis says:

    Scott: last I read on Guerin, the other team had to make a final decision?? That makes no sense to me unless the isles jumped the gun and pulled Guerin without having the final return package in place.

  48. Doogie2K says:

    By the way, they really need to stop training with Chad Moreau. I mean, what is this? Three years in a row where Ethan has had a season ender? That guy doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.

    I assume you’re kidding. Other than maybe the shoulder, none of Ethan Rifles’ injuries can be blamed on overtraining.

  49. Ribs says:

    Ok, lets check the logic of that. If that were true then it should drastically hamper the performance of all of those players playing WITH a visor. As such, players like Crosby or Ovechkin could simply whip off their visor and add another 10 goals+ a season.

    Hey, you never know, but that’s not what I was getting at.

    The NHL has many stories of guys who have tried visors off and on and haven’t been able to adapt to them. Sundin’s face has been carved to pieces several times and he still doesn’t feel comfortable with the shield. Guys like Getzlaf and Conroy have tried to make the switch as well and it just hasn’t stuck. I’ve played hockey with tons of guys who feel the same way. Your vision is just not going to be the same with a sheet of plastic 2 inches in front of your eyeballs.

    It’s not that these guys don’t want to use the visors. They go out and buy the rather expensive things and hope that they can grow into them but sometimes it just doesn’t work. I know when I made the switch it was very akward at times. My peripheral vision seemed skewed occasionally and the ridge of the visor often got in my sightline. Over time I learned to compensate but a clear view is always going to be better.

    In any case, players growing up with the visors are going to feel more comfortable with them and the hinderance will dissipate as time goes by. There is something more than just machismo at work with the guys who don’t wear them is what I’m trying to say. I’ve seen and heard of it too many times to be convinced otherwise.

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