Monday, 30 January 2012

Trading Day - 3/5 Shawn Horcoff

You're joking.

No, I'm not.

There's interest in this player. We'll just have to swallow up an awful contract to do it.

He's one of the best third-line centres in the league.
Knows how to win a face-off, great leader on and off the ice, once had a point-per-game season, plays powerplay minutes and penalty kill minutes.

The effeminate everyman.

His contract, as you may have heard, is incredibly overpriced. He's paid like a first line centre. He plays like a third line centre. Maybe even a second line centre.

We'd have to swallow up a contract to make this thing work.

Beyond that, I don't think that trading Horcoff would be the best bet for the Oilers. Is Belanger an upgrade over him? Isn't his leadership an essential part of moving forward?

I could see teams that are struggling with depth at cente, successes on the road and/or in need of leadership and an everyman. Think Winnipeg or New York ...

I'm not going to even explain - this is preposterous and you know it. We'll have to swallow a bad contract, but we'll get rid of him. Sorry, Scorecoff.

Winnipeg doesn't really have anything that we could trade him for...

New York? Redden and picks? You never know...

Let's face it. He's not going to get traded, not right now. Because the team I see trading with us for Horcoff is Columbus, and they're not buyers. 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Trading Day - 2/5 Sam Gagner

Different look? Same Gagner.

He's a legitimate player.

Let's look at the draft pedigree of this character. Taken at 6th overall in past drafts include esteemed players such as Paul Coffey, Ryan Smyth, Vincent Damphousse and Mikko Koivu. Other "decent" players include  Derick Brassard and Cory Stillman.

Oh, and some guy nicknamed Foppa. 

Beyond that top 5, I would say Sam Gagner is the 6th most talented and proven player to play at his draft pedigree. He occupies that spot in terms of points per season.

He also happens to be only one year older than Jordan Eberle. He's 22.

He can play all spots on forward, he's improving at the wings, and he could definitely be a serviceable second line centre now, and as a "prospect", a first line centre in the future.

The fans also inexplicably want to trade him at every opportunity. If we're going to draft Grigorenko, who is in all ways an upgrade of Gagner, I sympathize.

He's tiny. He's not the biggest guy, and he's never been to the playoffs. Is he cursed or something?

Beyond that, I don't really think the Oilers want to trade this guy - he's developed some chemistry with Hall, and it's fantastic to have two scoring lines in the NHL. He'd make a great second-line centre after Nuge.

Who's interested?
Well, tonnes of teams, I'd think - for sure, teams lacking offence and/or depth -- Florida, Montreal, Dallas, and even... Calgary.

Florida - this team could and will make the playoffs... but after that? Is there any hope in the Sunshine State?
Well, outside of the top line of Fleschmainn, Versteeg and the other guy, they don't have much depth-scoring. And they certainly have the assets to pry Gagner out.

Montreal - Any team that employs Gomez for scoring is in dire need of scoring. As a quasi-Montreal fan, I want to see this team succeed, but they don't have the scoring. Pacioretty needs someone to feed him the puck. Playmaker, that tis what Gagner is.

Dallas - Their core is aging. Do you think they could use more scoring? Absofreakinglutely. This team needs a kick to get into the playoffs, and Gagner would be it.


Calgary - Heh. We wouldn't...

Florida - Gagner for Kulikov. Straight up.
It would address our need for defence and their need for scoring. Giving up Kulikov is a steep price for success, however. But with him injured and the team still winning, I could see this happening.

Montreal - Gagner and our first next year for PK Subban 
They don't like him right now - and trigger happy Gauthier might just buy this deal.

Dallas - Sam Gagner for Jamie Oleksiak.
Proven talent for potential destruction here. Oleksiak is a monstrosity. Imagine that on our blue line...

Calgary - Sam Gagner for ... ...
They seriously have no one we would want, as of right now. They're all too old and not-our-style to play. Sure, they're talented. But they don't buy into the speedy Oilers model of the future.

Coming up soon... 3/5 Shawn Horcoff

Monday, 23 January 2012

Jan 23: San Jose at Edmonton. Another one

Game Day

Pictured above is the void.

The void is occupied by blank space, a vacuum of nothingness, and, if you're into that kind of stuff, everything.

Or, if you are an Oilers fan, the void is the place Belanger's offence exists within. The void is the place where uninjured Oilers go.

The void is the place where the Oilers make the playoffs. Solitary tears, ladies and gentlemen. Solitary tears.



Khabi? Dubs?

Glorious Prediction - Oilers break out of the slump. 5-1.
Realistic Prediction - Oilers don't break out of the slump. 3-1 Sharks.
LPH Prediction - Whitney slots in and out in record fashion. Oilers lose him for the season. Hah. *sniff* Hah. 6-0 Sharks.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Trading Day - 1/5 Nikolai Khabibulin

First things first, let me preface this:

This is not a list of players that I want gone. This is a list of players that the Oilers will get a return for/the Oilers would be willing to trade.

The Lowdown
At first, it looked like this was going to be the year that Khabi broke down and gave the reigns to Dubnyk.
But after October, it looked like this was going to be the year, where Khabi poured vodka over his detractors and set them on fire and won the freaking Vezina.

Now, it looks like it might be the first. Again.

After a stellar showing, Khabi breaks down. Makes us play a game where we had no business playing in St. Louis, and then lets the whole team down with goals 3 and 4 last night in Calgary.

He hasn't won in the New Year. Then again, have we helped him?

The Pros
His GAA is through the roof for a (virtually) last place team. Without a semblance of defence, he has a 2.45 GAA. That's right, that's only 0.02 behind Pekka I-make-7-million-dollars Rinne and ahead of standouts like Mike Smith, Jose Theodore and Tomas Vokoun -- all playing on teams that are in the playoff hunt and considerably better than us.

His save percentage? 0.918, good for 18th in the league. Better than all-star Carey Price and usually all-star Roberto Luongo.

The Cons
His age and contract, previously considered the biggest problems to his movement. He's 39 now, and he's at the second last year of a hefty contract that pays him 3.75 million for a cap hit.

Not to mention the fact that Khabibulin still makes most games exciting in Edmonton. He's often (Read: St.Louis) the only reason that we have any chance in a game - trading that away means we're definitely heading in the direction Steve Tambellini said would not happen ... another first overall pick.

Beyond that, he's played poorly as of late - do you think he'd make it based on his previous season play alone?

Who's Talking?
Teams that - with solid goaltending - could actually win the freaking cup.

Don't shoot me, but I'm talking about Toronto (I know - don't break yourself laughing there), Winnipeg (see the Toronto note), and by all means lesser, Tampa.
Lol all you want. Fact is, they were second last when we drafted Hall.
Look where they are now.

Toronto - James Reimer would take them into the playoffs. But he's hurt. And a concussion isn't the kind of thing you can shake off - he's a significantly worse goaltender now than he was last year.
Toronto fans, watch him play and watch him during his worst games last year. You'll see the similarities.

Jonas Gustavsson is not the goalie of the future they were hoping he was. Watch the game last night against Montreal, the team that employs Scott Gomez to score goals. His short-side is wider than a Zamboni. And teams know that. They definitely do.

Toronto has solid defence, the most dangerous duo outside of the twins in Lupul and Kessel, and could actually do some damage in the playoffs.
The thing preventing them from getting there? A decent goaltender. Oh, and the lack of CapSpace.

Winnipeg - What a surprise - a quasi-successful rebuild. Yeah, yeah, you naysayers. It is, after all, Atlanta in silk stockings. They have a home-ice advantage now, that's got to mean something.

They have one of the league's unheralded superstars in Evander Kane. He's like Hall when he gets on the ice, you can't take your eyes off of him.
They have one of the league's underrated talents in Andrew Ladd. Horcoff should take notes from this guy, a talented leader, dammit!
They have Burmistrov, the epitome of an enigmatic Russian. Shows up one game, leaves the next.

What they don't have is quality goaltending, night in and night out.
Pavelec is decent, not fantastic. They need a legitimate starting goaltender, not an up-and-comer, to make the first round and beyond. 
Khabibulin might just be their guy - remember, he started his career there.

Tampa - this season is a write-off, just like ours, because the Eastern Conference is a lot less tight in comparison to the West.

But they have Stamkos, they have Hedman, they have St. Louis, they have Lecavalier. This team shouldn't suck. Hell, it almost made the big dance last year. Could Khabi do it? It would improve over Roloson...

Possible Trades?
For his age and contractual size, don't expect the moon. And if I know Tambellini, he's not shopping him for some reason about pride and yatta yatta- one of the other reasons the chump needs to be fired.

But let's look arbitrarily. Big deal time.

Toronto: Nikolai Khabibulin, Curtis Hamilton and a third round pick for Jussi Rynnäs, Mike Komisarek, Cody Franson and a conditional second round pick in 2012. (Condition being a place in the conference finals). Blockbuster

Why? The only player who's proven anything for either team is Khabibulin. Hamilton is a sacrifice, a great prospect. The pick is for Toronto - they don't have many. We have Los Angeles'.
Komisarek is a flash in the pan and a salary dump. 
The real deal is for Jussi Rynnäs, quite the good goaltending prospect that's ready to make an impact now, and Cody Franson, a decent prospect who's found himself in the doghouse in T.O too many times and wants out.

Winnipeg: Nikolai Khabibulin and a second round pick for Ondrej Pavelec and Paul Postma. Likeliest

Why? Goalie swap at the top --> Winnipeg gets the goalie to win now. That's a steep price, but Khabibulin has been an elite goaltender on a crappy team. That's the kind of return we're looking at.

Tampa Bay: Nikolai Khabibulin for Eric Brewer and picks.

Why? Former players go home to the places where they had the most success - Khabi had a cup here, and Brewer was a Top-2 defenceman here.

Beyond that, we better be getting picks.

Trade or no trade?
His value is never going to be higher.
TRADE. Thanks for the year, Khabi, and best of luck where you go. May you assist the rebuild by not being here.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Suckasaurus Rex: Calgary at Edmonton

Game Story

I don't need more words than that.

Maybe a picture post.

As I reply, the Oilers are losing (incredibly) 2-0 with just 10 minutes ... gone in the first period.

Are you kidding? Is that a trick question?

We had a good run without Belanger - then Potter goes and curbstomps Hall's face.

Do you know what our prospects are for this game?

If you so desire...
Eager-Offensive Dynamo Belanger-Hordichuk



We lose. Hall could change that. Eberle could change that. They won't.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

HAH We won. WIN STREAK? Edmonton at Columbus, SNET-W, 5:00 PM

Game Story
Just sayin.

Oilers win game, obviously winning Stanley Cup?
Heck no.

We obviously still are in the hunt for Yakupov. We did just win one game.

But Eberle looks to be back either tonight or Thursday.

If the Oilers get a spirited matchup tonight, and get the wunderkind back by tomorrow night, we could be in for, well, a win streak.

For this team, that couldn't buy a win these past few days, it's kind of incredible. Just kind of.

Injured stiil are Barker, Nuge, Whitney, Gilbert, . Really? Only that many people?

And Belanger, who must be wearing bad luck around like a clove of garlic. Seriously, mate, we won without you in the line-up. I smell correlation.

That's that of thatness.

Smyth-Horcoff-Paajarvi (who, I might add, had a whale of a game)
Jones-Lander-O'Marra (?)


Dubnyk? Khabibulin?
Glorious Prediction - Oilers take this 5-0, with THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF EBERLE.
Realistic Prediction - Seems like everything is going great, plus a bad team, but I don't know. I'm having some reservations about our ability to win the game in the first few. We win our second straight game after regulation, this time in a shootout, the winner by Paajarvi. Crazy.
LPH Prediction - We lose. A kick in the nads, because its Columbus we're losing to.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Hah. Jan 15: LA at Edmonton. 6:00 PM. SNET-W

Game Story

Diagnosis - failure
My optimism was clearly unfounded.

I was in such a shock that I couldn't even coherently put sentences together to describe the amount of suck that last game was.

I, like many other Oilers fans, just stared into the abyss that our team is. 

There's the exception line, obviously, with Taylor Hall, Scrappy Gagner and Ales Trademe Hemsky. 

The rest of the team can't put a pass together or are so underutilized that even if they could, people who really, really, really, really can't score (love you to pieces, Belanger, but your stick is where offence goes to die) take their ice time.

We couldn't beat a team that was dictated by the rest of the league to be worse than us.

Diagnosis for the imminent future? Failure. Lots of it.

We know about Hall-Gagner-Hemsky

I hope for this

Why? Horcoff can't shoot to save his life. Smyth doesn't have the legs in him to skate with Horcoff. Paajarvi has a shot and has legs, he's just had Belanger as his linemate.

Lander came back with some bite last night. He put the puck past Hiller, only to have it WRONGFULLY DISAVOWED from him. 

As if that changed anything throughout the night.

The defence is in shambles, they'll assemble as they wish.

The time has come.

ELPH [Exciting Last Place Hockey] has been permanently replaced by LPH [ELPH without Exciting].

Glorious Prediction - A win, ladies and gentlemen, would be glorious. Oilers take this one 4-3. Pancakes gets notified to go back to the locker room and await further instructions, only to find he switches teams midway through the third.
Realistic Prediction - I cannot hate this team. Hatred, of course, requires passion. And an impassioned performance by the majority of the team last time against Anaheim has left us all with a bitter taste in our mouths. Hopefully, Hall gets a goal to make things interesting late in the third, but 3-1, with Brown getting the empty netter, is the way things will go tonight.
LPH Prediction - Hah. We can't score. Futility continues as the Kings get a 4-0 win, mainly on the backs of Mike Richards, who willed the Kings into action against the Flames.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Jan 13: Ducks at Oilers, SNET, 7:30 PM

Game Story
In other news, Ducks no longer Mighty.

It's as if...
It's as if the schedule asks us to get better. Finally, a break. No trap hockey, no Detroit Red Wings, no away games at places with awful ice where Nugent-Hopkins goes and separates his shoulder. 
And No Jamie Benn preventing Eberle getting to the All-Star Game.

We get to play the Ducks. They're worse than us.




Khabibulin (likely + it's his 39th birthday today! Happy Birthday Rehabibulin!)

Injuries? Hah. Nothing of note. Just some kid named Eberle. And that other guy, Nugent-Hopkins or something? And approximately 3 of our top 6 defensemen. That's right - most teams would not want a Smid-Teubert first pairing.


Glorious Prediction - OILERS HAT TRICK! And guess who? It's gonna be a late Christmas gift from Father Smythmas! Oilers take this one in a romp 7-2.
Realistic Prediction - No. I'm having a good feeling about this here. Oilers are going to take this one 5-3, with an empty-net goal by Paajarvi. He can do something. But with that line-up, that's the best he can do.
ELPH Prediction - We're going to win man. We're going to win! I feel it.
Unless the Ducks play like the Ducks - deal with it, this team is underperforming - they should be exceptional with the best first line in hockey*. But we make it close! I can only see the Ducks winning in OT, 4-3.

*Hockey sees as hockey does. They aren't.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

WE GOT A POINT! Devils 2 - Oilers 1 [OT]



We got a point.

That's a loss to any team.

The Good
That Hall kid is a keeper.

Jones played well too...

On the offensive side, Petry had a whale of a game...

The Meh

The Awful
Potter's penalty. We take like all of three penalties all game, and the one we give up at the end hurts us the most. BUT WE GOT A POINT why should we be sad?

The Beautiful
The announcement of the all star team included Jordan Eber...

The kid is 7th in league scoring. The kid is better than a substantial portion of other all-stars. I'm sorry - he deserves to go. So I'm go to protest by not putting up a beauty. Eberle deserves it.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Jan 11: Devils at M.A.S.H Corps

Game Day
If you didn't get the hint, the Oilers are injured.

Do we even stand a chance?
No Nuuuuuuuuuge.

No Gibbs.

And, as my dear friend told me is by far the most important, no Ebersqueeeeeeeeeeeeeee. His esteemed presence is lost upon us, ladies and gents.

We have one competent offensive line (the possessed-by-the-spirit-of-Richard Hall, Gagner, Hemsky), one competent defensive line (Smyth-Horcoff-Jones), and a, well, MASH corps of everything else.

Hall - Gagner - Hemsky



Everyone, I believe, is injured.

Glorious Prediction - Coming off a loss in Calgary? BOO YEAH. Hall gets a hat trick, 9-2 all over again.
Realistic Prediction - Man, this team couldn't buy a win. Well, do you think it could? .......
No. Chance. Oilers 2 - NJ 5, with an empty netter.
LPH Prediction - To add insult to injury here, Brodeur gets a shutout. 3-0 NJ

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Saturday Randoms - Pre-game (January 7th)| EDM at DAL

This sums up the past few days.

About the Oilers.
About the Canadian squad.

Everybody - simply close, but no cigar.

The Oilers had great efforts in both Buffalo and St. Louis for long stretches of the game. Which, of course, is impressive. Then, they go and lose that game.

Canada wakes up too late in the game, realizes they're down 6-1, and attempt to mount a comeback that runs JUUUUST short. 

Russia realizes they're in the gold medal game in Overtime. The defencemen, so bewildered by the fact they might win gold, cough up the puck to Mika Zibenajed, who pots that puck past the only Russian who thought that this was a big game the whole game, Sergei Makarov.

Ce n'est pas un pipe.

Game Story
See? Star-gazing!

The Oilers are attempting to salvage a little something from this roadtrip.

I'll be happy if we don't get Calgaried (9-0. Lovely game to watch. 'Cept if you're a Flamer.)

Tom Gilbert is out for his third game, but he should be back relatively soon.

Cam Barker is one to two months away! Huzzah!

Oh, and some kid named Ryan (expletive) Nugent (expletive) Hopkins got injured and out 3-4 weeks.

Those heartless devils that hit him... I blame the icecrew.

Glorious Prediction - After watching Boston? Nothing more than that could be glorious. 9-0. Eberle hatter. Pure glory.
Realistic Prediction - I don't know, maybe the few losses before that we were so close in, I believe we're winning a game we have no business winning. The Dallases and Phoenixes of the league can boss us around, so really, we shouldn't have a shot at winning this. But you know what? I take the Oilers 5-4.
LPH Prediction - That's right. The E got eaten. We've reached that point in our hockey prowess. We can only beat Chicago or Columbus for sure. Dallas owns us 4-1, just like the New York freaking Islanders.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

WJC - EXPLAIN YOURSELF and Predictions

What happened?
Skate the right way damn it!

The United States were my *logical* pick (I still cheer for Canada - look at that Mark Stone go!) to win this freaking tournament. They're now playing against the likes of Denmark, Latvia, and Switzerland for not getting relegated into oblivion.


Who do you blame? Who do you ask? What explains that anomaly?

They had experience. They had the best defending corps in the world juniors, everyone thought. They had some kind of skill up front, with the likes of Emerson Etem, Miller, and company.

Here's my take.

They played Denmark first. It ruined them.

They saw Finland as a crappy team that they could play their back-up goaltender with and still romp. The Canadians could do it, so could they!

Wrong move. Gibson, as we saw, was a lot worse than Jack Campbell, who played his heart out and gave them a chance in every minute of that Czech game. They lost the Finnish game, and all of a sudden, they had their backs against the wall.

Then they ran into a wall painstakingly built brick by brick by Petr Mrazek, who, if you note, has been drafted by the (expletive) Detroit Red Wings. HOW DO THEY DO IT?

Out of all of this, if you want someone and something to blame, blame the expectations and the coaching.

They were expected to destroy Finland. They crumbled. They were coached poorly during the Finnish game. They crumbled.

At the end of the day, the intangibles killed them. And Petr Mrazek.

I simply can't. I'm assured that Finland will beat the Swedes, because every team with Oilers prospects has been destroyed and Finland is pretty freaking awesome. 

I don't want to predict Canada and Russia. By all means, Russia should lose, like they should have lost to the Czech Republic/Petr Mrazek. But I'm not going to take anything from them. They're good. 

I'm cheering for Canada. Let them win in peace.

B2B Jan 3 - Edmonton at Buffalo

Game Day
Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo...

Identical under-achievers?
Well, obviously not.

They both have a new owner.
Both went out in pursuit of high priced free agents.
Both against the salary cap after free agent signings
Both got off to hot starts
Both are now disappointing their fan bases.

But of course...
Only one team has Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Ryan Nugent Hopkins.

Hell, we don't even have Ryan Nugent Hopkins because he went and injured himself...


Nugent-Hopkins' self-inflicted hillarious bonanza and Gilbert's pasting into the boards means Teubert and Josh Green (former Oiler from the first decade of this century) are in.

The Oilers got in at 3 AM in Buffalo, so the lineup is simply a speculation...




Glorious Prediction - At their most glorious, they will win without injuring any part of themselves. Eberle suffers without Nugent-Hopkins on the power-play, only tallying 3 points in a 4-1 win.
Realistic Prediction - We're tired. Buffalo has Vanek and Miller. Be afraid. This is going to be a borefest. Oilers drop this one in everybody's favorite format, the shootout. 2-1 Buffalo SO.
ELPH Prediction - Hemsky gets injured. Buffalo destroys us 5-1. Double kick to the gonads, as we lose and now can't trade him.

B2B Rundown - Blackhawks, Oilers Jan 2

FINAL 4 - 3

Yeh yeh.

That's right, laddies and gents, the Oilers won.

The Bold
Taylor Hall was flying!
Eager bounced back!
Hemsky had some dandy moves.
Smyth was Smyth.
The team played well, really. Dubsy!!

The Meh
... except for Khabibulin. Someone obviously told him that we desperately needed the win last night, and then he went and continued that deal with whichever god he made that pact with at the start of the season (you know, the one where he got all of his skill back?), which most obviously required human sacrifice.

Why on earth did you pick Nugent-Hopkins (our most important forward) and Gilbert (our most important D-man)?

Plus, if you guys watched that game last night, dear lord, there were about 6 players injured or sore after that game. Plus Ryan Jones, who has a bruised heel bone.

Wow - I hope the deal means we get a playoff spot.

The Awful
Carcillo's hit. Bad man.

The Beautiful
Nothing much happened last ni- oh you say there were 2 quarterfinals and an outdoor game? I see...

Lundqvist's save on a dumb penalty to save the game absofreakinglutely awesome - my beauty of le jour.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Jan 2: Edmonton at Chicago, SNET-W, 6:30PM

Game Story
No, seriously, sir, I simply don't care.

The Oilers, I will argue, couldn't win with this guy in or out of the lineup last year, mainly because the Oilers were simply awful everywhere.

New Khabibulin? First line that exists? Teemu Hartikainen? This, ladies and gents, could be freaking fantastic.

Then again, we're playing Chicago. They're good. They're incredibly good.

The Macblen... uh, I mean, the Renblender, or whatever permutation of that you would like to change it into, was in full swing
Smyth - RNH - Eberle
Hall - Horcoff - Hemsky
Gagner - Belanger - Jones
Hartikainen - Lander - Eager

Man, Eager got duped and trolled last game - we know how Brad Staubitz felt that game where Hordichuk made him take that 4 minute major. Damn. Eager needs to bounce back with skill and size. Always take the moral high ground. Can't lose then.

Only another 6 game skid from having only ELPH predictions. Shall the countdown begin?
Glorious Prediction - We come into Chicago's house and smoke 'em 9-2. Ebs trick. RNH 5 assists. Boo yeah.
Realistic Prediction - We're going to get a point. I feel it. Just not 2. 4-3 OT loss to Chicago.
ELPH Prediction - HAHAHAHAHA. Chicago, knowing how it feels to lose 9-2, destroys us on the road 6-1. Ebs gets a goal on the power-play. Heh.