The Edmonton Oilers get a tough test tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes. The home team is 5-5-0 in their last 10, the visitors 4-4-2. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ilya Bryzgalov is middle hurt; he’s bad enough for the Oilers to call up Jason LaBarbera to backup DD tonight, but not so badly they needed to place him on the IR (poor Corey Potter was sent down today in order to make room). I don’t think there’s a huge difference between Dubnyk and the Russian, but there are plenty of Oiler fans who are freaking out about it. I’d prefer Dubnyk, but that’s based on cheering for him over the years. I like goalies who stop pucks, so if they can find one of those it’s all good, and I think they have two now.
The Barons play tonight, Ty Rimmer apparently getting the start. That means 1,000 goalies have played for the Barons this season.
- Jason LaBarbera 2, 1.93 .953
- Richard Bachman 8, 2.37 .925
- Laurent Brossoit 4, 2.26 .922
- Tyler Bunz 4, 3.15 .914
- Olivier Roy 4, 3.29 .897
- Ilya Bryzgalov 2, 3.03 .880
It’s funny, the Barons have enjoyed solid goaltending all year long (Roy and Bryz are subpar) and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next season with this group (and Chet Pickard who is also in the mix). Brossoit and Bunz would be the odds-on to be retained but remember the key now is to identify the kids who are attached to the new GM.
Which means Brossoit.
- Dallas Eakins: “I don’t fault him totally for the shorthanded goal. We had a player there who was coming to support him, then he screwed off on him and he was left all alone. But the other play later, the guy blew by him and we thought Grebby was having trouble with the speed. We felt it was time to control his minutes.”
I like this quote, it’s true and yet he doesn’t call out the player responsible. I think that probably gets the coach more support than anything—he defended his guy while telling the truth and didn’t throw anyone else under the bus ala Tom Renney with Sam Gagner—and he doesn’t lose his player.
Grebeshkov’s an interesting player. Oiler fans can’t stand him, but you can see why he gets the minutes. Grebeshkov can move that puck, which is central to the Eakins system. I think we may see Klefbom or Marincin some time in the next few weeks.
- More Eakins: “Would I like the kid to be there? Absolutely, but I know when you get excluded from something, it usually burns your butt. It lights a fire inside of you. I remember when I talked to Darnell and told him we were sending him down (Soo), I saw the fire starting to burn. I’m sure this will be the same and it might be a great, great motivator for him.”
Music! I think Nurse got screwed, but that happens in choosing team Canada every year. If he uses this as a reason to play with an edge, to shove it where the sun don’t shine, it’s all good from here.
- Nurse: “Obviously I’m disappointed. You work for it. I could have probably put a little more effort to make the team, but I’ve put that behind me now and now my focus is here in Sault Ste. Marie and the rest of the season.”
I love this kid. He doesn’t point the finger at others, there’s no ‘poor me’ in him. LOVE IT! Godspeed, Darnell Nurse.
LAST 10 GAMES (forwards)
- Jordan Eberle 10, 6-4-10 +1
- David Perron 10, 6-4-10 E
- Taylor Hall 10, 2-7-9 E
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 10, 2-7-9 E
- Sam Gagner 10, 2-5-7 +1
- Nail Yakupov 10, 3-3-6 -2
- Ales Hemsky 10, 2-3-5 +1
- Ryan Smyth 10, 1-3-4 E
- Boyd Gordon 9, 1-2-3 -2
- Ryan Jones 5, 0-1-1 -2
- Will Acton 6, 0-0-0 -2
- Mark Arcobello 5, 0-0-0 -1
- Luke Gazdic 5, 0-0-0 -1
- Jesse Joensuu 10, 0-0-0 -5
It’s all coming around now, there’s really no one out of place (save Joensuu, and he seems to be doing better by eye). The top line is performing well, Perron’s outstanding, and the second line is finally delivering (Gagner’s been better and Yakupov is posting crooked numbers). We’ll forget this later, but during the tough times this year Boyd Gordon, Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky were men and deserve to be acknowledged for it.
LAST 10 GAMES (defense and goal)
- Justin Schultz 6, 2-1-3 +4
- Phil Larsen 4, 0-3-3 -5
- Corey Potter 6, 0-2-2 -2
- Nick Schultz 10, 0-2-2 E
- Jeff Petry 10, 0-1-1 +3
- Andrew Ference 10, 1-0-1 +2
- Anton Belov 10, 0-1-1 -1
- Denis Grebeshkov 3, 0-1-1 E
- Taylor Fedun 1, 0-0-0 +1
- Devan Dubnyk 9, 2.37 .917
- Ilya Bryzgalov 4, 2.11 .939
Nice numbers here too, the goaltending has been rock solid in the last 10 games, and the defensemen are beginning to recover from the early-season calamity. Notice specifically Schultz the younger and Petry, it’s also interesting to see the veterans Ference and N Schultz doing well.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A big day on the show! TSN 1260, 10 this morning. Scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy from Cult of Hockey. Yakupov, Defensive coverage, turning North.
- Corey Pronman from Hockey Prospectus and ESPN. Nurse omission, Connor McDavid, 2014 draft.
- Sarah McLellan from Arizona Republic. Coyotes have some injuries and some question marks.
- James Mirtle from the Globe and Mail. We’ll talk about the Leafs and their market correction.
10-1260 via text and @Lowetide_ on twitter. See you on the radio!
Slepyshev and Yakimov both made the Russian list, so there will be prospects for Oiler fans to follow at this year’s World Juniors.