Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Preparation for War #4- Can We Get Excited Yet?

Tonight is the fourth stage of the Oilers Preparation for War™ when they will face the Winnipeg Jets Phoenix Coyotes down at Rexall Place. One of the many things to look for in tonight's game will be how strong Jeff Deslauriers plays. This would seem as though his last chance to prove the goalie he is(but by looking at what Dubnyk has played, roughly a whole game already with probably another start) it would seem that Deslauriers is the odd man out in the crease.

The lines for tonight(courtesy of Dan Tencer) are as follows:

Magnus Paajarvi - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky
Dustin Penner - Andrew Cogliano - Gilbert Brule
Liam Reddox - Colin Fraser - Ryan Jones
Alex Giroux - Ryan O'Marra - Colin McDonald

Ladislav Smid - Alex Plante
Taylor Chorney - Tom Gilbert
Richard Petiot - Kurtis Foster

Jeff Deslauriers
Martin Gerber

Lines one and two are what many expect to be lines one and three when the season offically starts next Thursday. I am curious to see two things: 1) Can Sam Gagners foot speed keep up with King Magnus and The Pardubice Prince. If Sam shows up with a strong showing tonight there should be no reason why he doesn't hit 65 points this season. And 2) Who gets cut from camp after this game either tonight or tomorrow? We still have 37 players in camp, some of which don't have a snowball's chance in hell of making the team(e.g. Alex Giroux, Taylor Chorney, Ryan O' Marra). Renney needs to find 25 or so names that either have a spot locked up or are serious contenders for a spot.

One little neat quote I read on this morning from Jordan Eberle about the competition between the young guys "It's more of a friendly competition, you see a guy do well and you're excited for him but at the same time we are competing for jobs. It eleveates each other's games." Seriously, how do you read that and not get excited about this then Eberle trying to out do it with this and then a beauty play here. The competition between the "Big 3" should leat to some exciting hockey this season regardless of where the team finishes in the standings.

My score prediction:
Oilers: 5
Yotes: 3

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Preparation for War #3- Guess who's back?

.....Khabi's back. Yes that is correct folks, for the first time since last November, team MVP Nikolai Khabibulin will appear in an Oilers uniform. He should be all nice and rested with no distractions right? What's that? He was charged and convicted with extreme DUI after being pulled over on Super Bowl Sunday? That's fine though, he already served his jail time right? What? He didn't because he appealed the conviction? Sigh.....

The Lines for Tonight

Taylor Hall (4) - Shawn Horcoff (10) - Jordan Eberle (14)
Dustin Penner (27) - Gilbert Brule (67) - Linus Omark (23)
Alexandre Giroux (12) - Jared Aulin (47) - Ben Ondrus (25)
Teemu Hartikainen (56) - Chris Vande Velde (54) - Zack Stortini (46)

Ryan Whitney (6) - Jeff Petry (58)
Jim Vandermeer (2) - Theo Peckham (49)
Jason Strudwick (43) - Johan Motin (39)

Nikolai Khabibulin (35)
Martin Gerber (29)

My player to watch for tonight will be Chris Vande Velde, as I believe that he is entrenched in a battle with Andrew Cogliano for the position of 3rd line center. I know some of you Cogliano fans might not want to think about it but, I believe that if Cogliano can't figure out his face-offs at the NHL level then he will be sent down to Oklahoma City to master his craft there. It would make sense for not only the team but for Cogliano to do, why have a 3rd line center who can't win faceoffs? There can be a case made for putting Gilbert Brule at center, and Cogs at wing, except that Cogs is a player that prefers playing the middle of the ice. I know it's still pre-season and so on and so forth and I won't make a judgment for another week or so.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Preparation for War #2 Recap- King Magnus is Crowned

Last night was supposed to be all about Taylor Hall, apparently a one Magnus Paajarvi didn't get the memo. It was a great game for the future of the club, Hall scored his first official goal on a bad clearing attempt by Dan Ellis(I guess money isn't the only problem Ellis has.) and Magnus scored three, not one, not two, but three goals on Mr. Ellis. Here is his first goal, a change up that Ellis should have had. 
His second goal was scored on a nice feed from Penner, who has underrated passing ability, on the power play from pretty much blue line, on his off wing? Apparently Paajarvi is one of a few players that can play both left and right wing, and look good doing so. I know a one Erik Cole said the same thing and yeah.....

His third goal was a thing of beauty, shorthanded, streaking down the right hand side, took a snap shot that apparently Mr. Ellis should have had(I respectfully disagree with Ray Ferraro)  (skip ahead to the 1:17 mark) I don't think I can remember so much hype around three young guys like this ever(Did Toews and Kane have as much hype?).

Other Thoughts From Last Night

  • It's going to be hard for Hall to be my goat on the year, but to avoid taking the easy route for that(Horcoff, Rekhabi), I feel that Hall just won't live up to expectations this year and thus for every post he hits, or every net he misses I will "Baaaaaa" at my moving pictures box. 
  • It wasn't just me, but Hemsky looked like he was trying to feed Hall all game, probably a good thing since I have a feeling that #4 will be on the left side of #83 this year. 
  • Dubnyk had a nice bounce back game after the questionable half game against Vancouver, Deslauriers didn't look too bad either. The second Tampa goal was not his fault, I believe Smid should have knocked Ashton on his ass. 

News from the Oilers this morning: Tyler Pitlick was assigned to Medicine Hat of the WHL, I can't wait for them to come he to Lethbridge so I can get a first hand look at both Pitlick and Bunz. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Preparation for War #1

Guess what ladies and gentlemen? Hockey is back! That is correct folks, the Oilers begin their prep work for the 82 battles of the long war that is the NHL regular season. Tonight marks the first of two preseason games vs. the Vancouver Canucks.

The Oilers Front

Fans expecting to tune in to tonights game and see all of the "Big 3" will be
severely disappointed. But have no fear....

.....for Eberle is here. Yes, that is correct, Jordan Eberle will be on the top line for the might Oil tonight with Alex Giroux and the 6 and a half Million Dollar Man at center. The rest of the Oilers lines are as follows:

Greg Stewart/Brad Moran/Zack Stortini
Colin McDonald/Ryan O'Marra/Teemu Hartikainen
Steve MacIntyre/Chris Vande Velde/Ben Ondrus
Ryan Whitney/Jeff Petry
Jim Vandermeer/Theo Peckham
Taylor Chorney/Jake Taylor
Devan Dubnyk
Martin Gerber

The Canucks Front

Someone must have forgot to tell the Canucks that this was just a preseason game as they decided to ice a line up that looks like their opening day roster. This is the team they will put forth for tonight:
D.Sedin/H. Sedin/Shirokov

L. Sweatt/Connaughton/ Ramsey


Should be a fun one. GOILERS!!!! *crashes into mountain of beer cans*

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why Hemsky should have an A, Predictions and More.....

    A couple days ago Smokin' Ray of Oilers Jambalaya wrote a piece on whether or not Hemsky should be one of the "A's" of the team. While I do agree with him when he says Gagner and Penner should have one, I'm not so sure about Whitney and leaving a letter off the jersey of the guy who has been without a doubt our best player the last 3 seasons. One knock against Hemsky is his work ethic, last on the ice and first off for practices, etc., etc. I for one am one of those people who could honestly care less what players like Hemsky do for game prep, as long as they show up and play to their best of their ability night in and night out. I think the time we should be concerned is when Hemsky, the guy who never plays healthy, stops trying and looks unmotivated, like Penner during the MacT era. All in all I see Hemsky as a player who might not try in practice, does give it 110% when it matters, if that isn't enough to retain the A on his jersey, especially on this team, I don't know what is.

Prediction Time....

With most of the rosters set I think now is a good time to start to look into the crystal ball and see how the 30 teams in the league will finish.

1. Chicago...Let's face it, are they really that much worse?
2. Los Angeles..... They are where Chicago was last year.
3. Vancouver.... Weak division
4. Detroit.... Somehow is always this good
5. San Jose.... Losing Nabokov will hurt them alot
6. Phoenix...... They seem to do things right?
7. Nashville.... Somehow always end up with 35 or so wins each year, I don't know how though....
8. Colorado.... Barring any "Sophomore Slumps" should be good
9. Calgary.... BAHAHAHAHAHAHA Jokinen...
10. St. Louis.... Will just miss the playoffs
11. Dallas..... Not quite a playoff team yet
12. Edmonton..... Not as bad as everyone thinks
13. Minnesota..... So Backstrom is kinda good, who else do they have?
14. Columbus...., What is happening there
15. Anaheim.... Losing Niedermeyer will hurt, alot

1. Washington.....They play in a very, very weak division
2. Pittsburgh...... Yeah....
3. Buffalo...... Miller and Meyers are just too good
4. New Jersey.... With Kovy they are a very good team
5. Boston.... Solid all around team
6. Philadelphia.... Goaltending may be an issue, but they still have CFP on D
7. Tampa Bay..... Stevie Y did wonders with this young team, will be the most surprising team in the league
8. Toronto..... Yes, they have good enough D to cover questionable goaltending and a decent group up front
9. Montreal..... Price just doesn't have what it takes to win enough games yet
10. New York Rangers..... yeah.....
11. Ottawa.... Alfie is getting old, they are nearing a rebuild I think
12. Atlanta....Terrible team
13. Carolina.... See Atlanta
14. New York Islanders.....Have they ever made a good draft selection, they have been in the top 5 alot
15. Florida...... Dale Tallon is going to make this team very good, eventually......

Stanley Cup Champs: Washington

Other things.......

  • So apparently Souray takes back what he said 5 months ago, I wonder if he changed his mind watching the Big 3 play last night
  • Of those Big 3, I do expect Paajarvi to have the best season and Hall to have the worst, nothing against Hall but Magnus has been playing against men for the last few years
  • One player I expect to have a better year than last is Shawn Horcoff. He will regain his "Scorecoff" form and will be playing with one or two of the Big 3
  • Linus Omark won't make the team, sorry to disappoint, but he will light it up in OKC and be the first call up for sure.