Tom Gilbert has impeccable timing for bad penalties

January 7, 2011 Leave a comment

With just a shade over five minutes left in the last nights game and with the Oilers holding onto a 2-1 lead and already short a man Tom Gilbert got called for shooting the puck over the glass. In Gilbert’s defense the puck was bouncing and was up on edge when he shot it so it’s not as if he total control of where the puck went after it left his stick but while defendable, it was a bad penalty to take at just about the worst possible time. Luckily the Oilers were able to kill the resulting 1:39 two-man advantage and hold off the Islanders for their first win in eight tries.

It’s good that Gilbert’s penalty didn’t cost the Oilers in this case but I couldn’t help but think that the whole situation had a familiar feeling to it. As it turns out I was right. Read more…


Beware of the December winning streak

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

At times I almost forget that last years 30th overall Oilers club wasn’t among the NHLs bottom feeders from day one of the season. In fact for the first couple of months of the year the Oilers were in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. And fueled by an impressive five game road winning streak they were actually two games above the 0.500 mark – well the pseudo NHL version of 0.500 anyway – with a 15-13-4 record on December 15.

But as soon as the team got back from that road trip things went from okay to terrible in a hurry. The Oilers dropped their next seven games before posting a win against the mighty Maple Leafs on December 30th. To prove that the seven losses before that game weren’t a fluke the Oilers would manage to lose their next 13 games and not win a single game in the month of January. All told it would take the Oilers 28 games to match the 10 points that they got on that 5 game road trip. Read more…

I love that little red headed bastard

January 5, 2011 Leave a comment

How can you not love Liam Reddox? At 5’11” and just 178 lbs he’s probably been told more times than he cares to count that he isn’t big enough to play in the NHL. If you made a list of the most talented players within the Oilers organization you wouldn’t find him anywhere near the top. And yet Reddox is a guy that simply gets things done when he’s inserted into the lineup.

Reddox’s games isn’t flashy but he fills his role to a tee. Last night he skated alongside Brule and Omark and even though he was on the ice for just 11:28 but he managed to contribute in that time. He made a great pass from behind the Wings net to Brule in the slot for the Oilers first goal. He skated his ass off all night and his four hits were the most any players was credited with. If you’re looking for a downside to his game last night you could find it on the Wings third goal where he probably should have picked up Draper as he was streaking to the net; but one mistake shouldn’t colour the whole game. Read more…

There is a time and a place for composite sticks

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

In the world of professional sports, technology advancements can help give an athlete or a team a competitive advantage that could be the difference between winning and losing. Swimsuit technology has gotten so advanced that FINA (the international governing body of swimming) has had to ban certain types of suits to ensure a competitive balance in the sport. Golf has been impacted by new club technology and advances in golf ball technology as well. The result is the ball is being hit farther than ever before and golf courses need to be lengthened just to keep up. Augusta National, the home of The Masters, was lengthened in 2002 and 2006 and now measures 7,445 yards; up 520 yards from 6,925 yards just a few years earlier.

And of course technology has changed the game of hockey too. New materials have led to lighter equipment. The Reebok Edge jersey is a technological advance over previous versions. But in the game of hockey technologies biggest impact has been on the hockey stick.

Once upon a time hockey sticks were made of wood, now most players use a composite stick. Composite sticks are lighter and more flexible than there wooden counter parts. I don’t know if it has been scientifically proven but most players believe they can shoot the puck faster using a composite stick. A lighter, more flexible stick would tend to back up that claim. But these sticks aren’t all upside; there have drawbacks too. Chief among them is that they break far more frequently.

And it’s their lack of durability that makes me question why they’re used by so many NHL players. Read more…

Happy 20th Anniversary Takko Bell

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

In sports (and life too) there are moments that you never forget, moments that are frozen in time. The proverbial “Where were you when?” moments. Most Oiler fans know exactly where they were on August 9, 1988 when Gretzky was traded (sold) to the Kings along with McSorley and Krushelnyski, for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, $15 million in cash, and the Kings’ first-round draft picks in 1989, 1991, and 1993. I was nine years old when that trade happened and I doubt I will ever forget the excruciating details of that day.

I don’t think anyone would dispute that the Gretzky trade is the biggest trade in Oilers history and it taught all Oiler fans a very important lesson: eventually everyone will leave this team. Nobody is safe from being traded. See the Smyth trade just hours before the Messier jersey retirement ceremony as an example. But not every trade can be a forever memorable, earth shattering deal and in Oilers history there have been plenty of other trades far less memorable than Gretzky’s. There have been good trades (trading with the Blues for Pronger) and there have been bad trades (trading Pronger to the Ducks). And there is one trade that stands out in my mind as just kind of funny. The trade I’m referring to is the deal between the Oilers and North Stars that involved Bruce Bell and Kari Takko; thus creating the Takko Bell trade and it happened on this day 20 years ago. Read more…

Look out New York we’re coming to get you

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Make no mistake, the Oilers have New York clearly in their sights. No they aren’t looking for payback with the Rangers for the Avery fueled incident that capped of Sundays 8-2 loss. No the Oilers are looking at Islanders and their hold on 30th place in the NHL.

The Oilers are 4-10-3 on the season (only the Islanders with a 4-11-3 record are worse), they’ve lost their last five games by a combined score of 30-8, there is almost no energy from the team on the ice, and now Khabibulin has been placed on the injured reserve with a groin injury. Groin injuries are a tough injury for a goalie to get back from. With Khabibulin’s injury history I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be gone for a while. This is what people mean when they say “from bad to worse”. Read more…

Ex-Oilers are killing the current Oilers

November 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Through the Oilers first twelve games a rather strange pattern of ex-Oilers contributing heavily for their new club in games against the Oil has begun to emerge. Reasoner did it. Brodziak did it. Torres did it. Even Cleary joined the party last week and help the Wings sink the Oilers.

This morning I mused on Twitter that O’Sullivan might be good for a three point night tonight. Derek Zona was on the same page and suggested that a game against the Oilers might be just what O’Sullivan needs to snap out of a goal scoring slump.

All of which got me to thinking – just how big has the contribution from ex-teammates of the Copper and Blue been this season. As it turns out the impact is pretty big. Read more…