Avalanche at Oilers, G68/08-09

In the long history of a sports franchise, there are usually only a few sharp turns and building is a slow, slow process. I think you have to be a real fan to endure years and years of hardship or stupidity before someone arrives with clarity, direction and a big pot of blind, dumb luck.

Early in their existence the Quebec Nordiques were a good team, a championship calibre team. I used to collect WHA cards and watch the TV games and the Nords quickly became a recognizable brand. The Vancouver Blazers and the Ottawa Nationals might come and go, but the Nordiques had people everyone recognized on their team and they won hockey games too.

The second stanza would be the early NHL years, and for Quebec it was a time of smart drafts, the Stastny’s and trying to beat the Habs to the top of the division. The third (and final Quebec) stanza involved being bad enough to draft high and being lucky in that the Lindros trade went Philly’s way.

The most successful movement in the piece came in Denver, the Sakic era. Led by Burnaby Joe and one of the most unique players in the game’s history (Forsberg), the Avalanche won two Stanley’s (1996 and 2001) and were also noteworthy in that if they got to the dance they won it.

The fifth change is the one we’re in now. Sakic can’t do the chores and Forsberg’s achilles has been found, the Avalanche have good players but they’re hurt or struggling and the club is wasting some very good seasons by veterans (including a very nice season by Ryan Smyth).

If I’m an Avalanche fan, my bet is that the Denver side is pushing for a division title before the Oildrop. Clarity and direction are powerful things.

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293 Responses to "Avalanche at Oilers, G68/08-09"

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  1. Black Dog says:


    Penner not being on the PP or the first line.

    Cole playing out of position.

    Cole playing with Brodziak and Moreau.

    Pisani playing centre.

    Pouliot not playing centre.

    Smid playing on the wing.

    Kotalik playing out of position.

    Strudwick playing, Smid in the PB.

    Now, its been said many times and I agree that this team is a flawed one.

    But I’m not even mentioning the PP/PK disasters.

  2. Black Dog says:

    Ah Slipper, he’s washed up. And greedy too. And he cried at the airport.

  3. Bruce says:

    Oilers with 12 shots on net and have had 14 blocked. Colorado with 17 shots on goal and have had 19 blocked. Not a whole lot of space out there.

  4. pboy says:

    I believe MacT said in Toronto, that due to the importance of these games, the team doesn’t have time for someone to round into shape. I hope that applies to Kotalik the same way it applied to Dustin Penner. ALess is doing absolutely nothing out there. I’d really like to see Horpensky for the 3rd but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’d also really like to see Ian Lappiere wearing an Oiler’s jersey next year but I probably won’t bother holding my breath for that either.

  5. Black Dog says:

    Bruce, not fun to watch but the Oilers are playing pretty well I think. A break or two and they’d be in better shape.

    Stastny’s injury killed the Avs. They’re not as bad as their record. They’ll get a nice pick this summer.

  6. pboy says:

    Anybody hear about a Will Ferrell as George W. Bush one man show that is being broadcast tonight on HBO? I just set the PVR to record it but I didn’t know anything about it until now. That has to be good though.

  7. Bruce says:

    Oilers are playing pretty well I think.

    15 giveaways, 2 takeaways. ugh.

  8. slipper says:

    Honestly, I didn’t think the AVs would sit pat all season long with Budaj and Raycroft. Maybe they would have moved for a real goalie had the injuries not crept on them. Couple that with the inclusion of Granato as head caoch again and there’s a good argument that this was an intentional tank job by Colorado management.

  9. Quinn says:


    Sorry about the hating on MacT (and inadvertently pissing you off earlier). I am with JW that this season has soured me on him and I AM overlooking the great stuff he has done.

    Mostly it is the Penner thing – I identify with the guy and what his work experience must be like.

    Thanks for straightening me out!

    BTW, can’t believe the Oilers are being outshot by a team below them in the standings (where’s that damn tilde thing).

  10. Councilman Les Winan says:

    Pboy, I hadn't heard anything about it either, but I noticed it in the listings a couple of days ago when I was looking for episodes of Eastbound & Down to record.

    I've seen plenty of good W. impressions, but Ferrell's makes me howl.

  11. Dennis says:

    Chances were 7-6 Oil; 6-6 EV and 1-0 ST.

    Not a whole lot happening and awful to watch.

  12. Bruce says:

    Interesting score from the World Baseball Classic:

    Puerto Rico 11, USA 1

    Called by the mercy rule after 7 innings. Bwaahahahaha!!!

  13. Dennis says:

    Avs are truly toothless and the Oil look the same. You would never say the Oil are scrambling to make the playuoffs; perhaps it’s efforts like these that put them in taht position though;)

    PBoy: The Globe and Mail gave the Bush special two thumbs up. It’s basically the filming of a play he’s been doing that was written by McKay

  14. Quinn says:

    What do you call that line? Horpiser?

  15. Bruce says:

    I’m still waiting for the MacBlender to produce the Lavatory Line. Pisser, Horc and Poo.

  16. Black Dog says:

    slipper – I think they would have as well; with Stastny and Sakic in the lineup this club is in the playoff mix, probably in the second tier of contenders just as they were last year.

    Bruce, man, wow, I have never seen you this sour. They’re a young club and a flawed club and they’re hanging in there this season. They’re the better team tonight and for the most part they’re trying to make things happen against a veteran club that’s happy to hang back.

    Its not great hockey, no, but I haven’t an argument with what they’re doing. At least they’ve tightened up their shit.

  17. Quinn says:

    That was hilarious!

  18. Black Dog says:

    I can’t believe they traded Smytty.

  19. slipper says:

    And if they had extended him in the summer of ’06 we could have had him for what? 500K more than Penner?

  20. Black Dog says:

    Arggh. The PK.

  21. Black Dog says:

    What was he asking for in ’06? ~ 5?


  22. Bruce says:

    BDHS: Sorry, I’m really not enjoying this at all. 46 minutes in, we got 13 shots and appear to be fresh out of ideas. And we still can’t kill a goddam penalty.

  23. Black Dog says:

    Bruce – no apologies necessary, your enthusiasm has so clearly waned these past couple of weeks, its awful to see.

    I recommend a night out with the wife, a nice dinner, a couple of glasses of wine. Whenever the next game is. ;)

    The try is there. The Avs are not making this easy.

    And of course there is the PK.

  24. Bruce says:

    If Colorado plays to the level of its opposition every night, why are they in last place?

  25. Quinn says:

    Where’s Pennerrrrrrrrr!

  26. mc79hockey says:

    I swear, I sometimes think that the Oilers view the goal of PP as being passing it around the perimeter.

  27. Black Dog says:

    Too fat.

  28. Bruce says:

    BDHS: The last couple of weeks, I missed the Toronto game (a.k.a an actual Win), have seen the team blow leads against the Habs and Preds and blow entire games against shitty teams like Ottawa, Atlanta, and now it’s another struggle against last place Colorado. The team continues to flounder badly on home ice no matter how putrid the opposition. And we STILL can’t kill a goddam penalty.

  29. Black Dog says:

    Well, PP does stand for perimeter passing.

    That was awful.

  30. Black Dog says:

    Bruce – coaching? Personnel? Execution?

    What’s your take?

    Don’t get me wrong. Before the season I figured they would be where they are but I think they should be home and cooled, even with the team they send out there. I think that’s on the coach but there are those who disagree.

  31. Bruce says:

    Ales Hemsky was outstanding in the first 8 minutes. Where did he go?

  32. Bruce says:

    What do you know?

  33. Quinn says:

    phantom penalty

  34. Black Dog says:

    Did Horcoff play that entire PK?

  35. Bruce says:

    this is more like it

  36. Steve says:

    I assume we’ll lose in OT.

  37. Coach pb9617 says:

    Even the refs are dumping on Dustin.

  38. Quinn says:

    And then they ignore the hook. Yeah, I’m a homer.

  39. Bruce says:

    Why the F@#$ is Strudwick out there in the last minute of a tie game?

  40. Black Dog says:

    Ok, offensive zone faceoff after a timeout.

    Against a team that is deadly in extra time.

    And you put out 51, 18 and 34.

    Wouldn’t you put out 10, 83, 27?

  41. Black Dog says:

    Another point.

    Hanging around. Hanging around.

  42. Bruce says:

    Oh joy. Overtime.

    We really need to get the second point out of one of these.

  43. Quinn says:

    Only if you had a desire to win games, Black Dog. The Oil feel comfortable not aiming for that.

  44. Councilman Les Winan says:

    Bruce, BDHS, you’re not alone.

    I wondered both of those things myself.

  45. Lowetide says:

    Quinn: You didn’t piss me off. However, there isn’t enough beer on the planet to ease the pain of cheering for this team.

    Your Edmonton Oilers: sending a generation of men to AA!

  46. Quinn says:

    I’m looking for the shoot-out with our first three being Staios, Studwick and Pisani (all jam all the time).

  47. Black Dog says:

    Love Crawford. Big point for the Avs as they get the moral victory.

    Um, and also the actual victory Squeaky.

  48. Icecastles says:

    Just got home in time to see OT… what there was of it. I see CBC is back to saying “Rolofson”.

  49. Lowetide says:

    Marc Crawford as a player was exactly as good as he is as a color guy. Man this team must hate winning.

  50. Quinn says:

    I’m thinking I would rather watch Dyson vacuum cleaner commercials than the agony of OT losses.

  51. Councilman Les Winan says:

    Some interesting stats about the Avs:

    Only team in the NHL not to lose when ahead after 2 periods, and yet the only team in the league without an empty net goal.

    12-1 in overtime & shootouts.

    They must consistently suck in the first 2 periods.

  52. Lowetide says:

    Quinn: From their website-In 1978 James Dyson was determined to develop the technology for the first vacuum cleaner with constant suction.

    Sounds like pretty much the same thing.

  53. Black Dog says:

    My beer league team won a series a few years back by tying a game. Since then our mantra has been “Tie’s as good as a win, boys.”

    Apparently its catching on.

  54. Bruce says:

    By my count that’s 10:45 of OT hockey the last two weeks in which the Oilers have been outscored 4-0.

    That’s -22.33 per 60.

  55. Quinn says:


  56. Black Dog says:

    Playing for the shootout, Bruce. Playing for the shootout.

    Kotalik shines in the shootout. ;)

    And somehow they remain in a playoff spot.

    14 games left.

    Off to bed lads. Have a good night.

  57. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    “Lowetide said…
    Quinn: From their website-In 1978 James Dyson was determined to develop the technology for the first vacuum cleaner with constant suction.

    Sounds like pretty much the same thing.”

    Classic LT.

  58. slipper says:

    Can someone explain to me what the hell a “layering” is and how teams use “three layerings of defense”.

  59. Bruce says:

    Playing for the shootout, Bruce. Playing for the shootout.

    Too bad there’s those pesky 5 minutes of OT to get through first. Which we can never get through.

    Second straight weak goal on Roli in the extra session. Bad rebound, bad scramble, and right through the wickets it goes. Again.

  60. pboy says:

    Slipper: Keep in mind, that Marc Crawford is an unbelievable moron. That should answer your question for you.

  61. St George says:

    Can someone explain to me what the hell a “layering” is and how teams use “three layerings of defense”.

    Essentially, it is how many players are stacked up between the puck carrier and the goal.

    For example, in the first play Hrudy was talking about, there were two D, a forward, and two more forwards thus:

    X X
    X X

    Giving you three “layers” between the puck and the goal.

  62. Bruce says:

    Interesting comments by MacLean and Hrudey on Hemsky. Thoughts?

  63. knighttown says:

    They say teams break the season down in 6 game segments. When you saw Nashville, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Atlanta and Colorado, you’d have to have hoped for 5 wins.

    One? Just shocking.

    Vancouver pulled away last week and Columbus sealed the deal this week. Someone is about to go on a run from the Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, Edmonton group and I think it will be Dallas. The Oilers chance was from March 1st to now.

  64. Lowetide says:

    Eberle’s season is over and he’s on his way to Springfield. Poor bastard.

  65. Coach pb9617 says:

    Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
    You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away

  66. St George says:

    I’m with them. Hemsky is clearly not an elite forward, and at his age, it is not clear he is going to make the leap. He can be entertaining as hell to watch, but holy sundry vicissitudes.

  67. St George says:

    Nashville 7-2-1
    Edmonton 3-2-5

    Not looking good for our boys.

  68. danny says:

    Bruce, im watching/listening from the office, didnt get the postgame.

    What did they say about 83?

  69. knighttown says:

    Since the San Jose game the Edmonton Oilers have been outscored on special teams 16-3. In that span they have not won the special teams battle in a single game.

  70. hunter1909 says:

    Someone actually watched the game??

    I wish the Oilers were sitting where the Avs are tonight. Lottery team, by the look of it.

    Don’t worry, Colorado might only end up with Hedman.

    I’m also pretty sure there is some undersized/soft player out there with issues for Oilers to draft with their first pick.

  71. DBO says:

    Will ferrall as george bush ” your welcome America” was awesome. very funny. And from the look of these posts I’m happy i missed most of the game. Caught the last 5 minutes. Am getting tired of saying “at least we got a point”.

  72. Quinn says:

    Interesting to see the last two months of debate over Penner here and on other blogs re-cap-ed in 2 minutes by Maclean, Hrudey and PJ Stock. Mind you, Stock is a mimbo. Like, seriously.

  73. St George says:

    danny – they talked briefly about why Hemsky was on fire for the first 5 minutes and then disappeared. They showed a clip where he went offside and then appeared to pout afterwards, with the speculation being that he wasn’t reacting well to not getting the puck.

    Like Quinn said, they also covered Penner twice – it was like Ron McLean had been reading this blog, as he made the point that the Oilers were, from a statistical perspective, better with Penner on the ice than in the pressbox. Hrudy and Stock seemed to think he wasn’t “giving enough”.

  74. Bruce says:

    Knighttown: Wow. I knew it was bad, but that is BAD.

    Danny: Here’s an approximate transcript.

    Ron: If you were to hang this game on somebody, Ales Hemsky, I thought after he missed those two chances in the first five minutes … not that I want to point the fingerat Ales Hemsky.

    Kelly: You can point the finger at both Aleses. … Watch the top of the screen, we’re going to see Hemsky … he goes offside, and the frustration is setting in, look at his face right here, he bangs the glass, he wanted the puck right there and I understand that. But in the first period we were joking a little bit, Ryan Smyth dragged his leg to stay onside and Marc Crawford was saying what a smart play and we were saying what player wouldn’t? Well you know what, Hemsky didn’t try to stay onside and I think he was trying to prove a point “I’m open, I have speed, give me the puck!”

    Ron: What did Gretzky always say?

    Kelly: The offside is the most selfish play in hokcey.

    Ron: He had those chances early but I thought he was a real disappointment the last 40 minutes.

  75. hunter1909 says:

    I think I enjoyed the 2004-05 lockout more than this season.

  76. Dennis says:

    Not really sure what to say about 83 other than it’s been a long time since he put together a great stretch of games. I don’t think anyone’s gonna doubt that, along with the fact that he’s as inept on the PP as the rest of the hacks.

    The big picture has me worried that there’s just not gonna be any relief. Lowe escaped the axe just in time to eat breakfasts eight times a week but he lasted long enough that his right-hand man went on to CBJ. MacT looks untouchable as well and although I’ve got LT’s back on this club always being unbalanced, I no longer have MacT’s when he refuses to even change things on a PK that’s sucked for ~70 games. We don’t block shots and we don’t use six forwards and we don’t pressure down ice and then he stands at the microphone talking about the unit’s ineptitude looking like a yokel.

    Some of these things he can change. then he goes tonight and breaks up the 89-78 combo and doesn’t put 27 back with 10-83 either.

    I think he’s making enough of the wrong calls that he has to go.

    In terms of making the playoffs, I know just about everyone here belives in goal differential so they’ll believe we don’t deserve it over Minny. But as to who makes it, I feel Nsh shot their wad with a great run that ended about five games ago and I think it comes down to three teams for 7-8: Dal, Edm and Min.

    Edm and Min’s remaining sked remains inversed regarding home/road splits btu you know it’s those HTH games that will decide it.

  77. Bruce says:

    Dennis: Are home games supposed to be, like, an advantage?

  78. Bank Shot says:

    Can someone explain to me what the hell a “layering” is and how teams use “three layerings of defense

    That’s where the Oilers’ forward, defenseman, and goalie lay on the ice to block a shot, and the opponent passes it cross ice for a tap-in.

  79. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Dennis said…

    In terms of making the playoffs, I know just about everyone here belives in goal differential so they’ll believe we don’t deserve it over Minny. But as to who makes it, I feel Nsh shot their wad with a great run that ended about five games ago and I think it comes down to three teams for 7-8: Dal, Edm and Min.”

    You mean the Nashville team that is 7-2-1 in their last ten and is tied with the Oilers or that other Nashville team?

  80. Ribs says:

    well, the good news is that Rexall finally had some good ice for a change.

  81. hunter1909 says:

    This team is like the remedial class at my old school.

    A third line center playing 1st, about to get all star money, a coach who patently makes elementary hockey mistakes that most of us fans can see, an old goalie who’s getting played right into the ice…


    Edmonton Oilers: The team everyone wants to play against.

  82. Rod says:

    Got another take on the 83 offside thing Hrudey and MacLean highlighted (note, I didn't see the game–heard the 3rd on radio and flipped on the tube in time to catch the Avs skating off the ice…).

    After their discussion, I replayed that segment over a couple times, and I think they're partly right. 83 was frustrated and selfish in that sequence. Not good.

    Looking a bit deeper, my question is, what's 83 frustrated at:
    - 89 for picking off the breakout pass intended for 83?
    - 89 for not passing the puck ahead?
    - the blender? (linemates at this point of the game were 89 & 19)
    - the coach? (for all of the above)

    Speculation here, but I doubt Hemsky shows that frustration at a teammate. I think he was upset at the situation (must-win), and the coach pulling out the turbo-blender.

    Why? Hemsky's undoubtedly aware the games and points are critical. Meanwhile, the coach–who claims there's no time to fool around–is essentially pulling straws. Of course MacTavish is hoping the line changes work, but the chances are slim. The guys aren't used to playing with each other, as exemplified by that particular offside. Horcoff wouldn't have taken the pass, or he would have dished to Hemsky.

    By all accounts, 83 was flying early. By the end of the 2nd, his line was: 19-89-83. So, he was no longer with 10 or 27 (or his buddy 21). Hemsky's production drops apart from 10 or 27, and plummets apart from both. The offside was late enough in the game the Oilers were trailing 2-1 (if I remember right). There's a lot of building blocks for frustration there…

    To be clear, it was wrong for Hemsky to show the frustration after the whistle. No room for that.

    With it clearly on display though, anyone else think he was upset at the coach? (rather than Gagner)

  83. Black Gold says:

    There’s one way to find out and I think there are a lot of ppl around that would support it.

  84. Asiaoil says:

    Little bits of evidence start building up – keep it up Oiler mgmt – and Hemsky asks to be moved this summer. He’s probably more sick of this BS than anyone.

  85. hunter1909 says:

    Asiaoil: Hemsky asks for a trade, then Lowe/Tambellini haven’t got time to get a good deal for him, because they “haven’t got time,” ala Pronger.

  86. Lowetide says:

    Far be it for me to be overly dramatic but come the hell on. How does Hrudey know what Ales is thinking. MAYBE he was frustrated because he’d gone offside for crying out loud.

    I’m thinking this team is about ripe to go on some kind of good streak now. Gagner is coming around, O’Sullivan is showing some signs, and Hemsky can’t be this bad for long.

  87. oilerdago says:

    LT: Where’s Stan Weir when we need him?

  88. Dennis says:

    LT: Well, if I’ve learned anything from logging chances this seaseon, it’s that you get what you pay for.

    Unless you’re Moreau;)

    So, 83′s outchanced the last two games so that indeed might be a good sign. Regarding the line he was on, though, just an absolute mess made by MacT last night. He breaks up the blossoming 89-78 combo and refuses to go back to 27-10-83. 19-13-34 had a GF against the Thrash but he goes and breaks them up for some reason. Was that all an excuse to get 18 back into the top nine? It sure looks like to me. 18 played nearly six min more at EV last night then he did vs Atl.

    So, what was the difference?

    At 5-on-5, Oilers outchanced Atl 21-16 and last night they outchanced Col 18-16. They finished even on Thurs night and last night they were +2 so it honestly looks like it was worth it.

    The problems with this team are three-fold:

    1: we still aren’t getting any goals from the 10-89 combo
    2: PP is awful
    3: PK’s worst.

    I read Barnes this morning and I wonder why I even bother. He goes by Souray’s quote of “how they play down to the level of their comp” when the sphere’s own KnightTown has proved that the Oilers can hold serve – beat the lesssers- but they ahve a devil of a team breaking serve – beating the best.

    Also, barnes doesn’t mention that the club IS doing it’s work at EV but it’s the ST that’s killing them.

    NO ONE talks about the difference in the PK. We USED to use six forwards and this allowed us to go high tempo because we had the manpower. We USED to blocks shots.

    What do we do know?

    51-10-18-34, rinse and repeat. Sit the fuck back and allow a shooting gallery.

    Fish the puck out of our net.

    Go fuck yourselves.

  89. Lowetide says:

    He just scored on a penalty shot against the Leafs on the NHL network! Guy is everywhere.

  90. Coach pb9617 says:

    Some of these things he can change. then he goes tonight and breaks up the 89-78 combo and doesn’t put 27 back with 10-83 either.

    He’s cornered himself with Dustin. If he puts Horpensky back together, and they go nuts again like they did when they were first united before the first blender breakup (remember Hemsky was 1.2 PPG, Horcoff .96 PPG and Penner .75 PPG) then how does he look? He’s all but directly blamed Penner for the season thus far.

  91. Bruce says:

    the sphere’s own KnightTown has proved that the Oilers can hold serve – beat the lesssers- but they ahve a devil of a team breaking serve – beating the best.

    KnightTown did make a very solid case supporting that, but that was last week sometime, and since then the Oilers have lost games to Ottawa, Atlanta and Colorado, all of whom are a dozen or more points outside of the playoff picture. KT projected 6 points from those games, instead we got 2. Souray’s quote might be a cliche, but this morning it’s true. In fact, we’ve played down BELOW the level of the competition in recent games, judging by the way the bad guys keep walking away with the two points.

  92. Smarmy Boss says:

    Dennis – Bruce: I hate all the Can teams outside of Ott; always have except for Que and Winnipeg. In ’04 I cheered for Cgy over Van and look where that almost got us;) Then me and my cousin cheered like fools when TB won in G6 at Cgy and the rest of the house weren’t pleased.

    I was thrown out of my best friends father in-laws house for cheering for Tbay in that game.

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