Thursday, January 04, 2007


Oilers Game Day-Stars

Record: 25-15-1Record: 19-18-2

• The Oilers have a great opportunity to snag some points against the Dallas Stars tonight, if they so choose. Dallas played a late game last night in Vancouver, and it went to the shootout. They are also without the services of Mike Modano, Brendan Morrow and Eric Lindros. If ever a team was ripe for the picking...

• The story tonight is the return of Petr Nedved. Personally, I think he's going to have a positive impact, especially on the powerplay. And for what will in the end likely cost no more than $200K, the risk was worth it. But the proof is in the pudding, so we'll see how much gets eaten tonight. It will be interesting to see how MacT rolls Nedved out. Will Hemsky stay on the first line with Horcoff and Smyth, or will a Czech line of Sykora-Nedved-Hemsky be created? Scenario one has Joffrey Zoolander playing with Nedved and Sykora, and scenario two has him playing with the first line. The line of Torres-Stoll-Pisani should be, better be, kept intact. Nedved might even start off with limited ice at even strength, and get some heavy powerplay time. MacT's propensity for having one defensive-minded player on the ice at all times could also lead to some bizarre combinations. Events in the game will likely dictate how it all goes down tonight, with a more stable place in the roster being established against the Canucks on Friday and beyond.

• For all the grief Marc-Andre Bergeron has been getting in the Oilogosphere and beyond, he has to be given his props for the two outstanding plays he made the other night against Florida. One was a diving poke-check that broke up a breakaway chance, the other a tape-to-tape outlet pass to Ales Hemsky that set up the Oilers second goal. Both plays were beautiful; Bobby Orr couldn't have done better.

• Points need to start coming in on a consistent basis. Already this season, the Oilers have played absolutely horrible games against, and consequently lost to, Phoenix, Detroit, St. Louis, Colorado, Columbus, and Chicago. They choked on a point against Anaheim with 16 seconds left, and had at least one point taken from them by Mick McGeough and the NHL on November 3rd against Dallas. January is a killer month for the Oilers: one game each against the Canucks and Ducks, and two against San Jose, Calgary, and Minnesota. Then it's off on a seven-game eastern road trip at the end of February, back to the Western Conference in March, and a six-game road trip to end the season. With the Northwest Division being as tight as it is, there isn't much room for failure. The Oilers currently have 40 points in 39 games, and sit 10th in the Western Conference. Imagining that the playoff threshold is around where it was last season, the Oilers are going to need to rack up 50-55 points in the next 43 games to secure a playoff berth. Like I said, they need to start rolling in, every single night, from here on in.

Prediction: 5-3, Oilers. Smyth, Stoll, Pisani, Sykora and Nedved. Nedved gets a goal and an assist in his return. Eddie The Eagle wins the Gold Medal by shutting out the Lames, and all is well in Oil Country, at least for one night.


Then it's off on a seven-game Eastern Conference road trip at the end of February

Maybe you should have said East Coast road trip, as I know you are aware that the greasers only play five road games in the Eastern Conference all season...

Eddie's gonna have his wings clipped tonight, cause hey, if the Oil can beat Florida with the way they are playing right now...

Go Flames!

Thank-you. I did know that, and will fix.

Third option - I think Barnes was kicking around at the Journal - Hemsky stays with Smyth and Horc.

Pisani plays with Sykora and Nedved.

I guess Zoolander ends up with Torres and Stoll.

Not sure if I like that. Guess we'll see how much Pisani meant to Stoll and Torres if this is the case - although Stoll has certainly been quite fine on his own lately.

As for pudding, I'm a big fan, butterscotch especially.


And congrats on the victory in the hot-oil first round Andy. I've said it before and I am sure I will say it again.

Andy Grabia is a sexy beast.

Will Nedved have a huge impact on the Oilers' PP?

I'm not so sure. First of all, he's most certainly not the same player he was in 2003-2004. Secondly, he has not been a PP producer in recent memory. In fact, he's produced just one year in the last five years with a PPP/hr rate that was north of 4.0 and that was in 2000-2001 with the Rangers.

The only thing that anyone can latch onto is that he played pretty well on the Oilers' PP for 16 games in 2003-2004.

Personally, I think his PP impact will be Oatesian.

The drivers of the PP (Hemsky, Smyth) will be the same ones that did it last year and if they get the icetime they'll get it together with or without Nedved. This is a far better bet than wishing and hoping for a return to 16 games in the Spring of 2004.

Incidentally, is there any good reason that Hemsky is not clearly #1 on the team in PP ATOI? He's playing less per game than he did last year and this team doesn't have Pronger eating up 6.33 min of PP time/game. That's incredible.

What will you offer me for Nedved in the hockey pool, Graby?

According to

LINEUP UPDATE (11:54 AM): Nedved will be playing on a line with Petr Sykora and Ales Hemsky. As a result, Ryan Smyth will play with Horcoff and Joffrey Lupul. The Stoll-Pisani-Torres line remains in tact with the fourth line being Reasoner, Jacques and Pouliot.

Right now? I wish we had Bill Guerin or Radek Dvorak instead of Joffrey Lupul. I would have preferred to see them simply slot Nedved with 71/15, at least to start. 94-10-83 is a line I like for power-on-power matchups (not as much as 94-10-34, but you simply don't want to bust up the STP line right now).

We'll see how she goes...

rivq, no - there is no excuse. Hemsky should be double-shifted, or given a 30-second breather before going out again. Each and every PP. Then double up Pisani at ES while Ales catches his breath.

sweaty0 - the three czech line probably isn't one to try on the road, or against a healthy team. A beat-up Dallas at home is probably the only place to try it. this line will probably get MAB/Greene as its defence. Enjoy the action.

I wish we had Bill Guerin

He'd look good with Smyth & Horcoff
I wonder what it'd take?

And for the bad joke that nobody is making:

Well, people *have* been talking about how we don't really have a checking line. Now we have a Czeching line.

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Wow. 2-0 early. Smytty is officially on fire.

Nedved? Power Play? weee...


Did I just see that? What an unreal situation on the Hemsky goal. Wow.

Patrik Stefan... world-class boob.

That was hilarious.

I think the hockey gods just got even for McGeough.

That was probably the funniest play I've ever seen.

I think that finish gave Grabia a heart attack

Yup -- the hockey gods settled up for Magoo tonight. I can't cheer for the Oilers, but that sequence might be the play of the year.

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