Saturday night was one of those nights we’ll remember for a long while–winning a big game against a superior opponent is a tough assignment–but tonight’s game is just as important. The Calgary Flames may be minus Jarome Iginla but that doesn’t mean they’ll lay down for the upstart Oilers. It is–as they say–a huge game at Rexall tonight.
CALGARY IS SIN CITY
Jim Matheson got the story yesterday–all of it. A very good article in the EJ laid it all out for Oiler fans in regard to Laddy Smid and contract.
- Smid: “I’d like a five years, around that term. Yeah five years at $3.5 million (a season), that would be nice. I’d be more than happy with that. Obviously you look around and see what other guys are making. I do think we’re getting closer (to a deal). Negotiations are pretty good right now. We have three days left and I’m really hopeful we’ll get a deal done. Obviously we have to have something done by Wednesday. I would hate to be traded. We have a great thing going on now and I’d hate to leave.”
I’ve been hard on Smid over the years, he learned on the job at the NHL level and that wasn’t fair to him or the fanbase. However, if he’s willing to sign that contract then Oiler fans like me should understand it for what it is–a substantial reduction in what he could get on the free market and a massive gesture to the Oilers and the fanbase. I don’t think we can see it any other way.
UPDATE: Oilers just tweeted out a 4-year deal at $3.5M a season. Great contract.
CALGARY IS FULL OF LOLLYGAGGERS
Oilers called up Anton Lander, but he won’t play tonight. He’s here as insurance.
- Krueger: “Bringing up another player puts pressure on people, keeps the other 12 forwards honest. He’s a versatile player, a good depth player. He can move up and down the lineup. The six points he had (Saturday) doesn’t hurt.”
Oilers have a 23.8% chance of making the playoffs this morning, and a win tonight puts them into the “real chance” to make the post-season category. What’s more they are on track with reasonable expectations at this time:
2012-13 PROJECTION (48 GAMES)
- TOTAL GOALS FOR: 131
- TOTAL GOALS AGAINST: 138 (including 7 EN goals)
- GOALS PER GAME AVERAGE: 2.73 (2.52 last season)
- GOALS AGAINST PER GAME AVERAGE: 2.88 (2.83 last season)
2012-13 ACTUAL (34 games)
- TOTAL GOALS FOR: 85
- TOTAL GOALS AGAINST: 92
- GOALS PER GAME AVERAGE: 2.50 (2.52 last season)
- GOALS AGAINST PER GAME AVERAGE: 2.71 (2.83 last season)
Minus 7 projected, minus 7 in fact after 34 games. It’s been a crazy year, but the Oilers are finally scoring at reasonable levels 5×5, and they also boast the 4th best powerplay and 7th best penalty kill.
- Taylor Hall 2.94
- Sam Gagner 2.16
- Jordan Eberle 1.89
- Ales Hemsky 1.59
- Shawn Horcoff 1.52
- Nail Yakupov 1.39
- Magnus Paajarvi 1.39
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.29
- Lennart Petrell 1.22
Hall’s number is tied for 10th in the NHL among regulars, and 3rd among western conference players who have been in 20 games or more (he trails Matt Cullen and Jonathan Toews). Hall–at 21–is ripping up the toughest hockey conference on the planet 5×5. Coach Krueger has him getting supreme zone starts and the qual comp suggests Hall is getting a push there too, with the result being some quality even strength scoring. That’s a nice number for Samwise, too.
CALGARY IS NOT HELL, BUT YOU CAN SEE IT FROM THERE!
“With the 83/84 season, the Oilers revolution in playing style began to make its influence felt on the league. The tight defensive style of the Islanders, depending on big players and clutch-and-grab tactics to slow opponents down, was proving ineffective against the Oilers as teams tried to hold them in check. Sather had emphasized speed and finesse in building the team, and the Oilers could not be stopped by trying to stand up to them at the blue line, or clogging the neutral zone. They played a creative, high tempo passing game that took the action aggressively to opponents. Five up was how the style came to be described, Oiler forwards were on top of opponents defensemen and the Oilers defensemen moved up to engage the forwards. “
Douglas Hunter, the Glory Barons.
This is a huge game, ladies and gents. Tonight, the Edmonton Oilers can win and move into a playoff spot as we head toward the deadline. The Oilers could add–Streit, Glencross, a center–and could subtract too. It may be wise to do both–but first they must win tonight to give themselves the very best chance available to them.
Godspeed, young men. Thanks so much for giving us something real to cheer for, after so many, many days, months and years of losses. After a generation on gravel, you’ve finally reached the blacktop.