Saturday, 31 December 2011

Mid-game New Years Eve: Edmonton at Long Island

Game Story?

Both the New York Islanders and the Edmonton Oilers suck.

In the 70s and 80s, these teams were the talk of the NHL. Double dynasty. If this matchup happened in 1982, people would be lining up in Madison Square Garden just to watch these guys... who are in Long Island.

They might now. The last 3 number one draft picks are here. Michael Grabner and Jordan Eberle are here. 
Youth movement is in full swing.

Lines?
Whatever it is, Corey Potter looks like he's back in form.

Hall - Nuge - Ebs
Smyth - Horcoff - Hemsky
Gagner- Belanger- Jones
Eager - Lander - Hordichuk

Potter-Sutton
Peckham-Petry
Smid-Gilbert

Dubnyk (a little shaky, no?)

It would be a cop-out to predict something midway through the game :)

Happy New Year

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Dec 29: Edmonton at Minnesota, 6:00 PM, SNET-W

Game Story

Dud on dud
The Oilers started their journey of wonder with an exceptional 5-3 loss. Woot.

On the other side of the coin, the Wild have lost 8 straight, their latest being against Nashville, 2-1, in a shootout.

The Oilers have a win against the Wild.

CAN THIS BE TURNAROUND DAY?


Lines
Hemsky is a game time decision. If he comes in, Hordichuk will be likely coming out.

Plante suffered a concussion off that hit from Weise. He's out. Teubert draws in.

My hunch is Dubnyk starts. Nothing more than a hunch.

Hall-Nuge-Eberle
Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky/Gagner
Jones-Belanger-Eager/Gagner
Hordichuk/Eager-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Petry-Peckham
Potter-Teubert

Dubnyk
Khabibulin

Predictions
Glorious Prediction - Oilers fans point to this day, sipping from the glory of making the playoffs, as the day everything turned around. Oilers use this 6-0 drubbing of the Wild to propel themselves through this road trip and into superstardom.
Realistic Prediction - We score a point on the powerplay - Eberle is in on the goal and so is the Nuge. Heatley scores in the dying seconds of the game. Oilers still win 3-2, just this time, in OT.
ELPH Prediction - Oilers fans, drunken and dazed, point to this date as the day they truly drafted Ryan Murray. The Oilers can't even put down the 8 times winless Wild and lose a trap filled hockey fest 4-1. Of course, Eberle scores. 


Tuesday, 27 December 2011

WJC Tournament Rundown - Also-rans

Latvia
The Latvia hockey team, seen celebrating a 3-0 loss

The Good
They're not that bad. Kristian Pelss is a decent prospect for the Edmonton Oil Kings, where he has been seen to score some pretty goals. Plus, Latvia has had some history with goaltending in the past, and has been known to produce some quality players!

The Bad
They're not that good. Besides a few standouts, they're not excellent by any means of the measuring stick. They're better than most of the world, but where it counts, they aren't going to be able to compete... You say they kept the game between Sweden close? Damn!

I don't give the Latvians enuff credit here. If anyone can pull off an upset, it's these guys!

Oilerwatch
Remember that Kristian Pelss I had mentioned above?

Damn straight!

Denmark
This goalie exhibits an exceptional ability to grasp air

The Good
They qualified for this tournament. They beat out Germany, France, Italy and Austria. Good for them!

Their powerplay is well coached - see that they scored two goals against He-Man and "young-gun" Jack Campbell.

The Bad
They, in fact, kept it close against the Americans for a whole period!

But, unfortunately, they may be looking at regulation. Aside from the 'Nucks prospect, who, in fact, is fantastic (insert Great Dane joke here), they're simply not good enough to compete with the big boys. As displayed by the Americans, they aren't big enough, skilled enough, or trained enough to keep up in long bursts.

Oilerwatch
Nada.

Best of the Worst?
Sorry Denmark

Really, nothing much to add besides "Sorry Denmark". These Latvians almost made it into the Dark Horse pile. They have some good prospects, they played solid hockey, mind you, against the Swedes, and I would mark them down as a team who might actually make games entertaining against the medium skilled teams!

Plus, their fans are kind of awesome.

Predictions!
Pool A
1 Russia
2 Sweden
3 Slovakia
4 Switzerland
5 Latvia

Pool B
1 Canada
2 USA
3 Finland 
4 Czech Republic
5 Denmark

If you're wondering where the playoff schedule is, it's not here... yet. Because, of course, some team (CANADA) could get a bye (not joking, its Canada). When that hullabaloo is sorted out a post shall come with the bracket predictions.

Bleeding out? Oilers at Canucks - The Rundown


FINAL 3 - 5






The Oilers were outscored 3-0 in the first.

Truly, they started playing hockey in the second, so props to them for scoring three goals.

The Bold
Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continue their strong play. Jordan Eberle had 2 points on the night, while the Nuge kept up his PPG pace.

The Meh
Khabi wanted two of those goals back. That would have made it 3-3.

Potter was to blame, I believe, on the second goal. Then again, his point shot was deftly deflected by Jonesy.

The Awful
Plante's nose after that hit. Ouch! Godspeed on recovery!

Also, the glass team. Seriously? It was as long as an intermission to fix that. Then again, I don't have your skills, so props for running on the ice. That was epic.

The Beautiful
The pride of Sherwood Park, Alberta. Till he beat the Oilers in the Cup Final.

Nice to see him get his first NHL goal!

Even more epic he scored it against the all-time leading point scorer... for goalies, Martin Brodeur.

Yes, that's right. Cam Ward. Take a bow, sir, my beauty of the day!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Dec 26: Edmonton at Vancouver, 8 PM, SNET

Game Story
Damn

Oilers fight 'The Man'
Look at that win. 

Then look at every single one of those losses.

The Oilers started excellently, beyond excellently. In fact, people were even saying this team had enough to make it into the playoffs Then, of course, reality happened.

Now, according to the Canucks page and various NHL sources, we're the bottom of the league.

Time to stick it to the man? I. Think. So.

Lines/Injuries
Musta been an awful Christmas for poor Hemsky - he was sick, and well, being sick stinks. He's still sick, so Hordichuk is in.

Ryan Whitney is out. Not because he's not doing well, which is a valid reason, but because HES INJURED AGAIN OMG OMG ZOMG.

Plante has been called up to replace him.

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Smyth-Horcoff-Jones
Eager-Belanger-Gagner
Hordichuk-Lander-Petrell

Peckham-Potter
Smid-Gilbert
Petry-Plante

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Predictions!
Glorious Prediction - OILERS WIN WOOT. The Canucks continue their poor play of late and let in an early goal to Jordan Eberle, and find themselves chasing and trailing the speedy Oilers. Goals from Ryan Jones, Alex Plante, Ryan Nugent Hopkins and Lennert Petrell means the Oilers win 5 - 0.
Realistic Prediction - My hunch? Oilers are better than they showed in November. Here we go, time for a win streak.
Oilers take this one in a shocker 5-4 in OT. Hall scores.
ELPH Prediction - Hah. Oilers.
Mason Raymond's natural hatter destroys the back of the Oilers as we drop yet another game 4-1. Ebs scores.

WJC Tournament Rundown - Dark Horses

Finland
See what I have on my stick? PSYCH

The Good
Mikael Granlund (as pictured doing the routine "flip behind goaltender who is in the butterfly" move) is probably the most talented player in the tournament. Solid defensively, does tricks like that offensively, he's a Finnish Flash for sure. Brother Markus make for an exciting tandem up front. Plus, his linemates bring a wealth of experience. Never hurts.

Finland's goaltending has improved steadily as well through recent years, so that should prove to be good, right?

The Bad
They're plain, otherwise. Like Sweden and USA, they don't have any glaring faults, except maybe their defending, which is still quite good.

Their game against Canada, the horrendous loss, proves they have a little more ways to go to becoming a powerhouse.

Oilerwatch
Samu Perhonen, an Oilers 3rd round pick, was once thought to be a lock for one of the three spots open for goaltending. Yeah, no.

Ville Pokka, however, should the Oilers improve and get a draft spot somewhere near 15-18, could be on the radar.

Czech Republic
All signs point the team is moving in the right direction

The Good
The Czech Republic are icing a rather talented roster. They've got size on the D, talent up front - separate from the concussed Martin Frk - and athleticism in net. That's good, right?

The Bad
They're in the same group as the USA, Canada, and the Finns. That does not bode well for any dark horse, let alone the second tier. Finland is making their push into the favorite section, USA likes to dominate, and Canada has not shown in recent history that they are going to take a step back from gold or silver. Yikes.

Oilerwatch
YES.
David Musil. Lowetide cites him as a draft steal - I would say his draft pedigree is approximately right where he was, 31. Defensively sound young defender, and that could be a boost for the big squad moving forward!
Slovakia
Slovakia, after realizing Patrik Stefan has officially retired

The Good
They have very good placement. Russia is the only real dominant threat in their pool, the real sure bet. These guys can be the upset makers against the Swedes, who may just lose their dominant favorite status to the Finns. With Switzerland and ho-hum Latvia also in their pool, they might just slip into the next round via mercy.

The Bad
They're simply not as good or better than anybody else. They have talent, that's for sure. But, I mean, not enough to compete with the Russians, the Canadians, or the American squads.

Oilerwatch
Double Martin trouble here - Martin Marincin and Martin Gernat.

Marincin is the returning shocker, really. Nobody knew who he was, but as a rookie, dominated the WHL, causing many Oilers fans to rightfully begin the Cult of Worship of Stu the Magnificent Bastard.

Gernat, however, is the Marincin of this year. Nobody knew who he was, and as a rookie, is dominating the WHl. Seriously, you can't take your eyes off this kid when he plays. He's good. The CWSMB grows ever larger.

Switzerland
This is totally going to come back and haunt the team, isn't it

The Good
They are listed in the dark horse section.

Seriously, they have talent. People doubt the Swiss are, well, any good at all, but they have some clear talent to keep up with Slovakia, Czech Republic and Finland. Heck, they could surpass various facets of some crazy good teams through hard work.

The Bad
They're overrated. They have Sven Barstchi, who I believe is one of the more overrated prospects in the system. Not simply because he is a Flame! Just because he's their only prospect...

Beyond that, no Benjamin Conz means they are in tough for goaltending. The man is a machine.

Oilerwatch
Nothing.

The best horse?
Tee hee

Finland, by miles. They could be in medal contention. I believe, at this point, they are followed closely by Slovakia, who benefits from the group placement. Switzerland and Czech Republic remain tied at third for unimportance.

Poor guys.

Speaking of which, Latvia and Denmark will be featured in tomorrows WJC Tournament Rundown, along with my final predictions for the tourney. Oilers post coming soon.







Sunday, 25 December 2011

WJC Tournament Rundown - Heavyweights

Canada
Seriously. There are more minutes to a game than the last one.

The Good
They're made of Canadian juniors. 
Seriously, this is the team to beat AT ALL TIMES. You don't want to play them, because they've always got a home crowd, they're the biggest, they're arguably the best trained, and most often the most skilled.

Otherwise, they have a strong forward corps loaded with talent, such as Mark Scheifele and Ryan Strome. Plus, they have returnees from the last World Juniors, which is almost always good.

The Bad
Except the returnee in goal. Look, I know that M. Visentin stole the reigns from Olivier Roy last time around in the WJC. But honestly, after the meltdown against Sweden and that low-profile bust during the finals, I don't know about this kid. It's not going to get any easier in front of a rabid Edmonton/Calgary crowd.

Our defence doesn't look as solid as it once did, and we don't have any real draft-pedigree stars, excluding Ryan Murray.

All in all, the bad is that we're not absolutely certain that Canada will crush anything and everything it touches.

Oilerwatch
Tyler Bunz is an excellent young goalten... Well, that's just ridiculous.

Nobody.

USA
Jack Campbell - USA finally found the anti-aging serum

The Good
Likely the most threatening veteran squad in the whole WJC. Seven returning players bring a wealth of experience to this team, including the aforementioned Jack Campbell, who the majority of Canada remembers as that guy who stole gold from Canada in 2010. Crazy good.

They might also be the strongest team defensively. Look at Jarred Tinordi. Man-hulk, really.

The Bad
Really, this is a solid team up front with the likes of Emerson Etem and Nick Bjugstad. As noted, defensively sound. And their goaltending, well, has been proven excellent.

But are they the best at anything? Jack of all trades, yet masters of none?

Oilerwatch
Yes. Once again, nothing worth noting.

Russia
I simply can't Nail his name down.

The Good
They've got two guys who could very well go No. 1 and 2 at this year's draft, Nail Yakupov (as seen in his glory above) and Mikhail Grigorenko.

They've got the scariest (by miles) forwarding corps in the whole darn tournament. That, in itself, is exceptionality in itself.

The Bad
This team is a total departure from last year's gold medal winning squad, that, say what you want about Canada/Visentin gifting them the medal, was incredibly solid in all three zones.

This is the team to beat up front, but defensively? Its offense's shine hides their flaws, quite plainly.

Oilerwatch
Hah no. The way we are playing, though, Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko.

Sweden
Sweden has never been regarded as the same since 2000,
where they brashly signed up their best player in two spots.

The Good
They're, uh, beefy.

Seriously. Watch Canada-Sweden highlights - these guys are monstrously good on the puck and off of it. To physically own Canada is quite exceptional, and if they can bully other teams around, then they have a very good shot at the tournament.

Plus, they were solid enough to beat Canada.

The Bad
It's not "the" year for Sweden. Sweden's chock full of talent every year. 

It's simply not the level of talent iced by USA, Canada and Russia this year. Sorry, Sweden. Solid all around, but unlike the US, no special standouts.

Oilerwatch
OSCAR KLEFBOM - Yes, we finally got one to support. The kid, taken 19th overall last year as part of the Penner *snicker* trade, he's going to be a stalwart defender on the blue-line for the Swedes, and hopefully the Oilers soon.


Favorite of the Favorites?

USA, followed closely by Canada, then Russia, and finally Sweden.

All four teams are leagues beyond their counterparts, with the noted exception of Finland, but the USA, solid at every position, gets the nod over the always dangerous Canadians (*sniff*), explosive Russians, and physical Swedes.

I'm cheering for Canada, no matter what.

Posts coming tomorrow about the darkhorses, Finland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Fine - I guess Switzerland too.

The day after contains posts on the also-rans, poor Latvia and Denmark. They did what they could.

Who are you cheering for?!


Friday, 23 December 2011

Ebs and Flow: Wild and Oilers - The Rundown


FINAL 1 - 4






Boo yeah.

Oilers - Beat - Something.

That's cause for celebration in itself.

The Bold
What a game by Khabibulin! Stellar throughout, well, except that goal in the third. Damn Heatley!

And a roar back from Smyth! Wrap around goal like he usually does.

Oh yeah. That Eberle kid. Did alright.

The Meh
The Wild did not play a co-hesive game.

Petrell was up and down, hence, the meh. He technically gave us the backbreaker 3-0 goal, but he probably is looking at a suspension for that hit. Yikes.

The Awful
Pooh - we won a game, thus spoiling ELPH and the fall for Yakupov. Who cares?

The Beautiful
What's with all these singers playing hockey?

Well, you could watch the very boring shot Justin Bieber makes on Jonas Gustavsson, or, you can watch the class act that is Michael Buble bear in on Luongo, go to the backhand, roof it, hit the post, and fall.

Entertainment :D

My beauty of the day.

Enjoy the holidays!




Thursday, 22 December 2011

Dec 22: Minnesota at Edmonton, 7:30 PM, SNET-E

Game Story

Best in the West?
The Minnesota Wild found themselves atop the Western Conference for more than 2 games. Heck, they found themselves to be the best in the whole league. Ridiculous.

This is the team that re-invented trap hockey.
Minnesota.

Shudder at that thought.

Anyhoo, they haven't won in 5 games. The Oilers haven't won in 4.

Something's got to give tonight.

Lines/Injuries
Hemsky is sick.

Not like "man, that dangle was sick" like he's been prior to this season, but more like "I need a nap and I think I might have caught the flu watching you" sick. 

If he plays, Petrell will sit - Hordichuk and B-eager draw in against the hard-hitting, face-crushing Wild.

Lander was practicing on the third line - does this mean he'll move up in lieu of Belanger? Not likely.

Predictions
Glorious Prediction - Oilers snap 5 game home-skid, 4 game NHL skid with a resounding 5-1 victory. RNH, who hasn't scored in 5 games (legasp), will burst with 2 and 2. Ebs, of course, tallies 3 points.
Realistic Prediction - Keep predicting we'll win and we will! Although all signs (the fact we're playing on Sportsnet Edmonton, the channel we have yet to win on) point to a loss, I'm just going to wing it, say that the Oilers win on Taylor Hall's mad-hatter 3-2.
ELPH Prediction - The worst kind of loss. 2-0. One of them was an empty netter, the other a powerplay marker. Oilers fans are treated to lovely trap hockey for the whole game.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

FREEDOM: Red Wings and Oilers - The Rundown


FINAL 3 - 2






WOO!

Would you look at that, the Oilers lost a game they were expected to lose. But we played well, actually.

The score, for one, might not give us credit :)

The Woo!, by the way, is not a "Exciting Last Place Hockey" Woo, its the woo that can only be cried at the end of exams - so I can finally take my Christmas exam-free break.

The Bold
Jonesy.

Eberle.

The team, actually. We played good team hockey. For once. Sure, there were lapses. 3, in fact. 3 goals where, sure, had Khabi had his glove an inch down, or had Whitney not gaffed, but hey! We actually looked like we were trying.

The Meh
Whitney doesn't look any better than Barker. That's saying something.

We were winning with Barker. We're not with Whitney. That Gaffe is part of the reason we lost.

The Awful
What was with those refs? The trip during the powerplay of Hall? Are we allowed to slew-foot now?

Nothing, however, comes close to the Miller call, or non-call. Argument ensues, and the ref forgets about Darryl Helm bursting in and getting a shot on the goalie. Not only should that be delay of game for shooting after the whistle (I distinctly remember Hemsky getting called for that a few years back, which is interesting, because the only time he shoots is when its illegal), but Helm mighta scored. What would you do then - oh right. Intent to blow.

The Beautiful
Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin - Brad Marchand

Fantastic.

Montreal gaffe, again, and then you get this little dangle, with hands like silk, my beauty of the day.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Dec 19: Detroit at Edmonton, RSW, 7:30 PM

Game Story
Not saying he's made of titanium. Probably just an aluminum-carbon alloy thing.

Detroit - the exact opposite of a doctor's order
Yeah. The Oilers have been, well, abysmal of late.

The Red Wings have been, well, not abysmal.

If there exists a team that the Oilers would like to play right now, to get back into the groove, it would be Columbus. Or Anaheim. Hell, send us Chicago! We can score 9 goals against them from time to time.

Not Detroit.

Oh god, not Detroit.

Lines/Injuries
The only change for the team is the insert of one Lennert Petrell and the demotion of Darcy Hordichuk. For anything other than to partially stop the best powerplay in the league as of late.

Seriously. You put Datsyuk and Holmstrom and Lidstrom's set-shot and Zetterberg together and expect anything less than beautiful coaching by Babcock and your teams is now losing 8-2. Sorry, Los Angeles. 

Hall - Nuge - Ebs
Smyth - Gagner - Hemsky
Jones - Belanger - Horcoff (Because you can never have enough faceoff men)
Petrell - Lander - Eager

Lidstrom (JUST KIDDING)
Whitney-Potter
Peckham-Petry
Gibs-Smid

Khabi

Predictions
Glorious Prediction - The Oilers come out, with all guns, arms, appendages swinging, and rope-a-dope the Wings to a 6-2 excite-fest. Eberle becomes player 51 in an Oilers uniform to score a Mad Hatter.
Realistic Prediction - In fact, this is one of those games that nobody expects us to win. Or show up. So we will. Boo-yeah. 4-3 OT Oilers.
ELPH Prediction - This was almost my Realistic Prediction. That's how bad I feel about the game. Oilers get roasted alive on a spit while the ghost of Kirk Maltby laughs as his beloved Red Wings kill the few Oilers that show up tonight 7-2. 


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Oilers lose hot potato to Sharks - The Rundown


FINAL 2 - 3






Both teams played horrendously.

Sharks gave away pucks like nobody's business.

Oilers gave away pucks like nobody's business.

Antti Niemi doesn't comprehend rebound control.

Khabibulin played his heart out and still lost.

The Bold
Taylor Hall ran the game last night. When he was on the ice, all eyes simply fell on him. He's dazzling, he's a bonafide star. IF HE STOPPED GETTING INJURED ASAFAKJA.

Ryan Whitney looked a "little" better.

Also under the "bonafide super talent" zone - Ryan freaking Jones. Penalty killing machine, shot blocker, goal scorer, short-handed marker, set up man...
WHERE DID WE FIND HIM?

The Meh
RNH needs to improve at the dot. Good against awful teams, bad against fantastic teams. That puts him in the middle. The kid needs some sort of skill to stay on this team long term. Gosh.

The Awful
The pairing of Potter and Peckham. Peckham plays the hard-nosed, in your face, I-will-manhandle-you-if-you-touch-me,-Havlat, game.
Potter tried to be physical, but he's not as solid defensively. Change up that pairing, cuz it wasn't working last night.

Peckham's penalty, I heard many people say, sealed the deal. No, no it didn't. Horcoff's weak defensive half-assed play sealed the deal. He's one of our most solid defensive forwards right now. That's why it was a little disappointing, and I blame him for that goal.

The Beautiful
It was between Eberle, Elias and Havlat for goals last night. Since Havlat's and Elias' goal were basically the same, I'm giving this one to Ebs.

Wizard.

Watch Eberle's goal here - my beauty of the day
Havlat's here
Elias' here.

You decide. Which of the three was better?

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Dec 17: Edmonton at San Jose, HNIC, 8:00 PM

Game Story
It is said Roloson used this save to steal Cheechoo's youth and skill 

Who are we?
These Oilers, as one blogger put it, have entered the third phase of 2011-2012. The first phase was the brilliant October.
The second phase was the dismal November.

I believe, dear blogger, that those phases are also known as months.

Anyways, the Oilers may very well be entering the "long-haul" stretch, when we find out if these Oilers were toying with us in the beginning and actually do still love the cellar or these Oilers are for real, and were just taking a little time off for the lulz.

The Sharks haven't started as excellently as they had hoped - they, instead, decided to trade spots with Minnesota. Minny's ripping up the Western Conference with what seems like a good chunk of Sharks. The Sharks, mind you, haven't played as many games as the majority of the Conference and still sit 8th. Someone give that Marleau some Hart!

Lines/Injuries
The major Oilers injury remains Barker, out long term. If and when he is back, we'll have a 100%* healthy team.

Omark is also injured, but the cast-off getting his cast off next week. Which, we hope, will merit his re-addition to the main squad.

In the mean time, filling the quota for Swedes on the AHL team, Paajaarvi has been sent down to the minors. Not only does this help our AHL team, but Paajaarvi getting excellent first-line minutes against tough competition is exactly the spark he needs. Can't wait for him to catch lightning in a bottle and release the thunder up in the NHL. We're rootin' for ya.

The Render (Renney Blender) was in full action at practice today - the Kid Line was reunited, with Smyth being promoted to the second line and Gagner centring Father Smythmas and Hemsky.

4-93-14
94-89-82
10-20-28
16-Lander-55

The defence pairings remained the same...
77-5
6-58
44-49

And, of course, Khabibulin.

Predictions!
Glorious Prediction - As history has proven - the Oilers, especially when the Kid Line is put together for the first time in a long time - go destroy the opposition and run away with the game. Oilers 5-0 Sharks, with a well deserved shutout for Khabi
Realistic Prediction - Oilers woes continue, especially against this talented Sharks squad. Marleau gets 2, including the winner in OT -- 4-3 Sharks.
ELPH Prediction - Oh boy. Bad game is bad, as Boyle and Thornton roast the Oilers to a 6-1 romp. RNH with the only Oilers goal - on the powerplay, most obviously.








*An Oilers team 100% healthy is actually impossible.


Friday, 16 December 2011

Coyotes beat Dubnyk, Taylor Hall, not much else - Rundown


FINAL 2 - 4






The score, actually, neither flatters nor reflects poorly the Oilers and the happenings of last game.

The Coyotes got a goal taken away from them, then got a gimmie from both Belanger and Dubnyk.

Taylor Hall scored twice, which was pretty freaking awesome. Dynamic players do dynamic things.

Too bad.

The Bold
Taylor Hall!

Dubnyk, aside from goal number 4, played excellent hockey - had he won the night for the Oil, the pad save on Shane Doan would have been on every highlight reel. Train robbery.

The Meh
Change up?!?!

Hemsky's effort grew in the game from "not-trying" to "almost-trying". He actually was in the zone of "trying"... for the last 2 minutes of the game.
We want consistency. We demand results.

Gagner looked absent. Where's the swagger when he put the team on his back and played some incredible hockey just a few games ago?

The Awful
The whole game.

Smyth played better, Nuge was Nuge, Eberle was Eberle, and we still lost.
Outworked
Outplayed
Outlasted.

The Beautiful
Its not even from yesterday.

But, well, it's the hot topic in the NHL.

Patrick.
Freaking.
Kane.

He's gonna get Hextall'd if he tries this again. But, while he lasts, enjoy him psychologically torturing poor Backstrom here, my beauty of the day.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Edmonton at Phoenix, Sportsnet Edmonton, 7:30 PM

 Game Story
They make quite the defensive pair

The Oilers got back Hall and Potter.

The Oilers have a Phoenix team that's on the second game of a back to back, a taxing game in Anaheim they dropped on Wednesday night.

Can something finally give?

Injuries/Lines
The big injury is... wait, Hall's back? You'd think I would have talked about that already...

Well, Corey PowerPotter... Oh, that too.

Cam Barker is still out!! WHAT NOW?!

Dubs will get the start - strange - but Khabi's not injured - thank the good makers.

14-93-89
4-10-83
94-20-28
...
uh...
Petrell-Lander-Eager

Whitney-Petry
Gibbers-Smid
POTTER-Peckham

Dubnyk

Predictions
Glorious Prediction - The Corey Power Potter Play connects with 1 G, 1 A,  2 penalty minutes - Hall scores twice, and the Oilers dash out of this one with an absolutely lovely 5-2 win.
Realistic Prediction - One of those few teams that can really own us physically (that actually try, I mean, there are 29 teams that can, only a few choose to), the Coyotes entertain their crowd of millions hundreds of thousands 13 with a 3-1 ho-hum win.
ELPH Prediction - Hall's not 100% - leaves the game during the third period. All 'ell breaks loose, as Khabbi isn't 100% and Dubnyk's hopes are crushed when he's fleeced for 7 goals.




***By the way, today is ultimate test day - My prediction that we'll lose versus Sportsnet Edmonton. Which one is cursed? Find out tonight...***

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Wednesday Randoms

I'm not going to post a rundown of the Calgary game. If you would like to read about the torture that was Saturday night on HNIC, read the last Calgary post. It was remarkably and eerily similar.

Here comes the Cavalry
This guy

That guy, posted above, was once a first-overall pick. Trust me, had he been playing the whole season, the kid would be up there with Eberle and RNH as one of the league's leading scorers. Too talented to simply be simple.

He's dynamic.

He's fast.

He might just be the solution to that Hemsky question.

Hall - Horcoff - Hemsky... can they dig it?

This guy

Corey Potter.

Once upon a time, he was "the diamond in the rough of the free agency". Seriously. Barker didn't really pan out, Eager was kind of here and there, Hordichuk is also hit and miss.

Corey Potter was dynamite on the power-play, hence he has now changed his name to the Corey Power-Potter Play*.

He got injured and got hurt.

Ho hum.

He's back.

Well, why does that happen to us?

The Coyotes have been 2-5 in their last 7. They're on the second game of a back to back.

We're rested.

We're reloaded.

Cheer, rejoice! It's the holiday season, and things might be looking a little up... :)

 - If you're wondering about the exceptionally delayed post, it's because I'm getting through rolling finals over here at University. Just had the Bio Exam of Doom. Dear god. I will be back posting tomorrow, of course, for the pre-game blog - as always! 

*As per Mark Lee, just so you know.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Edmonton at Calgary, HNIC, 8:00 PM

A Time for Redemption?
Exactly like this one.

The Oilers had a great October, the Flames, well, didn't.
All of a sudden,  the Flames are now three points back of the Oilers.

Chaos should now ensue.

Lines/Injuries
Taylor Hall continues to be out for the Oilers. He, by all accounts, should be back conscious and kicking rear end by Thursday in Phoenix.

Sounds good.

Oilers Lineup

Sam Gagner-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Jordan Eberle
Ryan Smyth-Shaun Horcoff-Ales Hemsky
Ben Eager-Eric Belanger-Ryan Jones
Darcy Hordichuk-Anton Lander-Lennart Petrell
Ladislav Smid-Tom Gilbert
Ryan Whitney-Jeff Petry
Theo Peckham-Colten Teubert
Khabibulin might actually get the nod tonight over Dubnyk. Be careful not to ride him out.

Predictions!!
Glorious Prediction - Last night, my glorious prediction was the goose-egg shy of a bundle of glory. Tonight, I predict an Eberle-tastic night. RNH finds himself atop the point categories for a fleeting few seconds with his second straight multi-point night - getting himself 4 assists as the Oilers roll over the Flames in the Saddledome 7-2.
Realistic Prediction - Now that the glory is out of the way, I expect the Oilers to put everything into this game. Why? Because they didn't last week. Change is going to come, and Nugent Hopkins will be the reason for it. Oilers take this one 3-2 in OVERTIME.
ELPH Prediction - It's gonna be bad. The Oilers are going to be gassed by the third period and watch the lead that Samwise had carefully crafted disappear. 4-2 Flames, with Bourque getting the empty-netter with over a minute to go.

Finally! Colorado at Edmonton - The Rundown

We won the freaking game.

FINAL 1 - 4






The Bold
First line clicked. Power play clicked. Samwise the Great restored hope in millions of Oilers fans around the world with his sick dangle. Moves like that have not been seen from the young Sam since his rookie season. Looked a little Kane-esque, don't you think?

The Awful
In fact, although the score shows a 4-1 ownage, the team was kept in it because of Khabibulin (recurring theme, no?). Because of Khabi, we existed last night and exited with a great romp.

Teubert can hit, but he sure as hell can't change.

Paajaarvi needs someone slicker on his line than Petrell. I'm still for reuniting Tre Kronor. Four lines that can score = absolute insanity.

The OutofControl
After watching the Oilers beat themselves, it was nice to see an opponent do the same. The Avalanche had awful pinches, awful giveaways, and poor Semyon Varlamarov (that guy with the goalie mask on that we scored on) was left to dry out a bit too often.

Unfortunate for him. Forever, he'll be compared to whoever the Caps take in the first round. If the Avalanche continue, it might as well be Nail. *shudders and collapses with the thought of Ovechkin-Backstrom-Nail*

The Beautiful
Dustin Byfuglien, you unspellable monstrosity.

As a defenceman, what are you doing there?

Sick eye for the back of the net, Byfuglien uses the goaltender as the ultimate deflection in the Jets win against Carolina. Boom. Watch the beauty of the day here!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Ho-hum. Colorado at Edmonton, 7:30 PM, TSN

Game Story

Well, well. The teams that drafted unos and dosos last year re-unite in a battle of Northwest Division absenteeism.
The Oilers and the Avalanche had spectacular Octobers before collectively deciding to screw it. Both teams find themselves in the thick of things outside the playoffs.

 Can either of these teams get it together and put a streak in to relive that glory they once had almost attained?
Can either of these teams make it to the big dance? 

Lines/Injuries
Gagner/RNH/Eberle - > The Smurf Line
Smyth/Horcoff/Hemsky - > The Old-Folks Line
Eager/Belanger/Jones - > The Leftovers Line
Paajarvi/Lander/Petrell - > The Two Swedes and a Finn line

Gilbert/Smid - > The Shutdown Boys
Whitney/Petry - > The Old Man and the P
Peckham/Teubert - > Give(away) and Take(thebody)

Khabibulin
Predictions
Glorious Prediction - I don't know what happens, but Paajarvi wakes this team up off a sublime pass from Teubert. On the ensuing breakaway, he pulls a Forsberg. Fans rejoice as he finally scores. Eager gets in a heated fight. Oilers win 4-0.
Realistic Prediction - Seeing that the Oilers can do no worse than last game, Smyth picks this team up, the Old-Folks line kicks things together, and the Oilers squeak out of this one with a 4-2 win.
ELPH Prediction - Seeing that the Oilers can do AS worse as last game, various Oilers fans shield their eyes when the Avalanche take a boring one 2-0. Yay.

Why do I bother?: Carolina @ Edmonton - The Rundown

Oh for crying out loud.

I've seen a lot of horrible games from these Oilers. Few, and I mean, few compare to what I saw two nights ago.

I could post, well, you know, the score, but there's no point.

We broke the Hurricane's winless streak. Pats on the backs for all of them.

We beat ourselves in spectacular fashion. Heck, even Smyth and Jones, the holy mullets, weren't bloody skating.

Being a fan of the Oilers that game, you actually wanted them to lose badly so that someone would fight someone and it wouldn't be like Sutton's accidental bully-tackle. It was one of those games that was painful to watch. It made you wretch a little.

I bothered picking the Hurricanes just so we would win. Screw that.

Aside from the game, I just want to take a look at this season.
We had probably the highest point in three years, the Chicago game where we destroyed and pillaged.
We might have just had the lowest point in three years, where the whole team that got an entire fan base rabid and excited for hockey started playing pylon ball instead of hockey.

ELPH Oilers, like the years before, never got me hoping. They never had skill, or a veteran presence consistantly. The bright spot was looking forward to the future.

This season, with that start, everyone in the nation was hoping.

And then, they go do that.

Will the real Oilers please stand up?


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Carolina at Edmonton, 7:30 PM, TSN

Game Story

'Canes Staal-ing?
If the Oilers can't win,

Then the Hurricanes seriously can't win. 

This team just missed the playoffs last year, with Calder Trophy wunderkind - Jeff Skinner and exceptional, probably one-of-the-best-Canadian-goalies-in-the-league Cam Ward, and obviously, one of the great Staal brothers, Eric Staal!

It's been bad for the 'Canes - Staal is going through an awful slump (perhaps brought on by something other than hockey), Ward isn't saving their bacon, and Skinner isn't being super-human, simply human.

By human, we mean 23 points. Which is kind of insane, just so you know.

Lines/Injuries
As per practice, the line combos are gonna be
Smyth-RNH-Eberle
Gagner-Horcoff-Hemsky
Paajarvi-Belanger-Jones
Eager-Lander-Petrell

Whitney - Petry
Smid - Gilbert
Peckham - Sutton

Dubnyk

Hall's still injured, but he's close to returning. They're mum on when he's back, but I'm betting Thursday next week with Phoenix. Well - maybe eeeeeeven Saturday night with the Flamers.

Predictions!!
Glorious Prediction - 29th overall team vs high-octane offence? Dear lord. Oilers romp with an 8 goal outburst. Eberle gets hatty. Paajarvi breaks slump. Dubnyk gets a shutout too. Why not? ITS GLORIOUS
Realistic Prediction - Kirk Muller is yet to win as the coach of the Hurricanes. He's a good coach. The Oilers act as horrific streak-busters, but we do eke out a point. 3-2 shootout.
ELPH Prediction - Staal wakes up. Everyone should be afraid. Hat trick breaks him out of the slump like a fish back in water. 6-2.