at Edmonton (24-22-4)
8 p.m. MT
Nope. Can't say I like the looks of things for the Oilers one bit tonight. Not only do we have the usual makings for a tragically comic blowout loss — a visiting sub-.500 team on a winning streak, third string goalie in net — but add to that the fact that the third string goalie in net for the winners-of-four-straight Columbus Blue Jackets is Ty "Fucking" Conklin, and man, I can't shake the feeling that we're in for a world of hurt.
Signed in the off-season by a team that already had a fairly deep goaltending situation with 32-year-old rookie Fredrik Norrena and perpetual "goaltender of the future" Pascal Leclaire ahead of him on the depth chart, I imagine Conks figured he would never see the light of the NHL day again. But with both Leclaire and Norrena felled by injury, the league's arguably least technically accomplished goaltender once more finds himself entrusted to a starting job in the big show. And though this stint is only a game and a half old heading into tonight, he seems to be making the most of his opportunity, allowing 3 goals on 53 shots and picking up a win last night in Vancouver.
Tonight's game will be determined by this man alone. Either the Oilers will remember just how godawful Ty's lateral movement is and run up the score in an embarrassing 5-2 Edmonton victory, or Conklin, armed with the motivation to shut down the team that tossed him away like an old piece of fruit, plays out of his mind to serve up a humiliating 4-1 Columbus win.
... unless, of course, Hitchcock opts to give Conklin and rest and instead give 22-year-old Tomas Popperle his first-ever NHL start. In which case the Oilers are unquestionably fucked.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Posted by Chris! at 12:11 PM