Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Oilers in a nutshell

It's Christmas party season again, and with Christmas party season comes Christmas party banter, some of which might touch upon the Edmonton Oilers, especially if you're at an office shindig. For some, not knowing your Ladislav Smids from your Ales Hemskys might cost you the embarrassment of your colleagues, or worse, your next promotion. For those of you that wisely don't watch every single game, here's a handy cheat sheet on each player:


Shawn Horcoff- Hardest working man in hockey business. In the top 3 per cent of the league: 21st in the league in points, 11th in even strength points, and up until about a month ago web board fans still wanted to trade him for a "real" number one centre like Patrick Marleau.

Jarret Stoll - Great cannon and plenty of hustle, but he busted his noggin last winter and lost a step. It's okay though, he and Craig MacTavish chatted over about it over a cup of coffee. But wait, then he got benched. Up and down year that's been mostly down.

Andrew Cogliano - Speedster slated to be either a one-dimensional fringe player and good prospect this year, but he was too strong on the puck to send down. Think a swarthier, play-making Todd Marchant. A nice surprise.

Marty Reasoner - Seemed poised for to be a decent number 2 centre but broke his leg a few years back and has settled nicely into a checking role. Really smart, seemingly down-to-earth guy, but his ragged skating reminds me of a man drowning.

Sam Gagner - Perhaps the second most talented guy on this team? He's 18 and small, so he has to go into the corners like some sort of rogue elf loaded up on dexterity and guile (is that a D&D attribute?). He's also directly responsible for about 6 of the Oilers shootout wins.

Left Wing

Dustin Penner - Spent the first part of the season looking like Brad Isbister too much. Needs to lay off the Twinkies, use his size more and "get real" as my dad use to say to me when I was 16. To his credit, he's looked better as of late, especially when protecting the puck in the opposing zone. Still way better than Todd Bertuzzi.

Raffi Torres - In dire need of on-site sports psychologist.Total headcase usually scores two goals against Vancouver and then skates around aimlessly for 10-12 games before getting another point, usually against Vancouver. Bonus feature: he injures people

Ethan Moreau - Gritty, perennially injured captian. Last played when Michael Jackson's Dangerous was released.

Geoff Sanderson - Nice pickup for a fourth line checker, although perhaps tradeable. Excels at whizzing around the ice, but it's all perimeter. Has big, bushy eyebrows.

Right Wing

Ales Hemsky - Oddball skilled player: he actually likes going up the middle at full speed, making him the likeliest candidate for a career-ending knee injury. He also rocks. Not a point-a-game player because he sometimes forgets to include his teammates or gets a move ahead of himself and gives up the puck too much.

Fernando Pisani - In a downtown ceremony, Pisani was awarded the skeleton key to every woman's panty drawer after the 2006 playoffs. Best checker on the team, and I think he might have one of the best - and most underrated - wrist shots on the roster. A big factor in the team's recent turnaround.

Kyle Brodziak - Basically a younger, better scoring version of Marty Reasoner.

Robert Nilsson - Punk kid likes to turn over the puck and make plays more complicated than necessary, but he's one of the few Oilers with a quick, decent shot. Really clicks with Sam Gagner. Hard to complain about a kid with an 8-game point streak.

Patrick Thoresen - Small Norse walk-on is a good two-way player that can't seem to score in the NHL. In danger of being shuffled out of the lineup if the Oilers start to lose again.

Zack Stortini - Zack is very nice young man.


Sheldon Souray - Really expensive soap opera star that does some things well (shoot, hit) and some things not so well (staying healthy, carrying the puck, defending one-on-one).

Joni Pitkanen - Gigantic, unfeeling machine that can move the puck. Has a reputation for being a locker room weirdo, albeit a high-scoring weirdo. Top 25 in points for a defenceman in an off year.

Steve Staios - A big ball of scar tissue that the Oilers throw on the ice to block shots. A real heart and soul guy that has surprisingly been on the wrong end of plays this season. At 34, maybe it's time to cut back his 22 minutes a game?

Tom Gilbert - Cornerstone defenceman. Slick and effortless, and gives Oilers fans a warm, fuzzy just-swallowed-some-Tylenol 3s feeling whenever he collects the puck in his own zone. I'm not sure if Gilbert's even been caught pinching on a rush once this season.

Ladislav Smid - Seems tougher this year, which was one of the question marks about him playing in the league. But he also absolutely stinks at stretches, showing no urgency or simplicity with the puck. Still, he's a decent skater and looks good when he gets some open ice. At only 21, there's still plenty of time for him to make the Pronger trade seem a little less one-sided.

Denis Grebeshkov - You'd think a slick Russian with a tinted visor would have more than 4 points. Prone to some of the dumbest turnovers I have ever seen, but has been fairly decent overall facing some quality opposition.

Dick Tarnstrom - He'll never again score 52 points like he did in 2004 with Pittsburgh, but he's a decent passer and more physical than I remember in 2006. Excellent depth defenceman that likes to collect butterflies in the summer (this is unverified and probably untrue).


Dwayne Roloson - His SVP has slipped under .900, but I still think he's a good goalie. When he's playing well, which is most of the time, Roli is a rebound vacuum. Bad goalies are never rebound vacuums. But indeed, this year he has had his share of bad nights and bad goals. Too many of them. As the de jure Number 1 goalie, he deserves some slack and should get some starts to rediscover his form.

Mathieu Garon - Kevin Lowe's best pick-up of the off-season. Garon's reflexes have been ahead of the play on most nights and he's become the shootout goalie of the NHL. Plus, he can do the splits. If he's ever going to emerge as a starter, it's this season -- if he can stay healthy.


Andy Grabia said...

All this, on a Saturday? Your commitment has no bounds, my friend. Well done.

Andy Grabia said...

guile (is that a D&D attribute?)

No. Well, it may be nowadays, but those losers play with cards. Pfft. All a real player needs is his trusty six-pack: 4d, 8d, 6d, 10d 12d, and 20d.

His SVP has slipped under .900, but I still think he's a good goalie.

Borderline Matty statement. Alert. Sounds awfully close to Jim Matheson. Abort. Abort.

mike w said...

Borderline Matty statement. Alert. Sounds awfully close to Jim Matheson. Abort. Abort.

Heh heh.

Paras said...

I realize he's not the most popular defenceman in the 'sphere, but what about Matt Greene? (I'm not immune from the same omission, of course; I completely forgot he existed until just now, when the release about Sanderson and Tarnstrom being activated I was reading also happened to mention Greene's existence on the IR.)

Still, I mean, you did include Mr. Glass...

mike w said...

I banked on missing someone there. Although I was trying to stick to the active roster...

Baroque said...

Guile was an attribute when I played (many, many years ago).

But my gaming group made up attributes (and weapons and monsters and entire planets) whenever we had the need. How else could a mage control a comet enough to plow it right into the Death Star before it could reverse the polarity of a wormhole? The rules don't cover that stuff. :)

Baroque said...

(Qnd what about a second d10 in a different color for rolls up to 100?)

David S said...

"Zack is very nice young man."

Heh heh.

Chris! said...

Here I was all primed to do a post because I thought you'd be too busy ironing your cummerbund, Mikey. But I see you've got it covered so I'll just take a knee.

Also, it's cold as hell and twice as snowy here in TO tonight, so I think I'm actually going to stay home and watch my, what, fourth full Oilers game so far this season? If there's not a game thread happening elsewhere in the Oilogosphere tonight, I say we MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

Andy Grabia said...

If there's not a game thread happening elsewhere in the Oilogosphere tonight, I say we MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

Please do it. I'm going out with Loxy and Cosh, so can't chirp in, but I love coming home and reading them.

Oh, and thanks for reminding me that Torres is gonna pot two tonight, Mike. That made my day.

I so don't remember Guile as an attribute. Man, I'm old.

teebeeplayer said...

Fellow old-schooler dorks would remember the attributes as:


i don't know what's nerdier: playing the game all the time in grade 8 (1984), or remembering all of this now.

anyhoo, since i've outed myself as an ex-fantasy role player and junior high nerd/outcast, i might as well take it a step further and throw some totally arbitrary oiler attributes just for the fun of it (and maybe start some shit) keep in mind, these are from 3-18.

Stev Staios

str: 12
int: 8
wis: 10
dex: 7
con: 19
cha: 4

i feel dirty and nerdy all at once...

Chris! said...

"I so don't remember Guile as an attribute."

Come on, people, Guile was most certainly not a D&D attribute. The ability categories were Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma — unless you were playing with an AD&D character sheet, then there was also seventh stat for Comeliness, which differentiated between the character's ability to charm and his or her flat-out attractiveness.

Now hurry up and make your goddamned saving throw, my parents are picking me up in an hour.

And pass the ketchup chips.

Chris! said...

Shit, TB beat me to it. And we both even listed the cats in the correct order they appeared on the character sheet. NERDS!

(Also, dude, email me at the CONTACT US address below; I'm back in Edmonton next week for Christmas and we should hook up and not play D&D at all.)

nullterm said...

Awesome post, but you need to add Greener!

Scarlett said...

I want to hear some locker room weirdo stories about Joni!

And I hear Raffi is out with a knee injury (possibly more than just a few days).

sacamano said...

I'm with Scarlett -- what's the dealeeo with Joni in the Showers?

Scarlett said...

Does he keep dropping the soap??

Chris! said...

Oh man, the Oilers are playing out of their minds tonight. That Pitkanen rush was insane.

nathan said...

encouraging first five minutes, that's for sure

Anonymous said...

Penner way better than Bertuzzi?? In what world is this? Penner is a lumbering fat-ass with hands of stone and no mean streak. His improved play has come from soft minutes and a lot of luck. One of the worst signings in NHL history and one of the biggest reasons for a sucky Oil team for the next 4 years. (biggest reason being in the following order. 1. MacT 2. Lowe 3. Souray. etc...)

nathan said...

what the hell goofy thing was sanford doing in net after the period ended?

Baroque said...

I told you it was made up! :)

We had to hand-write our own sheets to cover all the other oddball things we had to keep track of.

My group thought WAY outside the box - the normal six attributes weren't enough for us (especially if we had to redo characters for multiple gaming systems since we had a disturbing tendency to surf from one realm to another every few weeks).

Chris! said...

I didn't see it, what happened?

And jeez, Pisani looks like he lost a bunch of weight. It's amazing how quickly he got back in the game.

Also, good period. Powerplay is still alternating immobile and scrambly with little results, but their transition game five on five was really impressive and Vancouver looks outmatched in their own zone. Pisani and the kids are going to walk all over that Alex Burrows line.

d said...

I'm not fond of Kelly Hrudey's haircut. Yuck to the bangs!

Spill the beans on Pitkanen.

nathan said...

as soon as the period ended sanford stood up and did a little epileptic seizure dance

nathan said...

apparently crosby needs practice geting it up?

David S said...

Good thing Andy's out tonight. He'd have a stroke when Mandel comes on to talk about the "new arena".

On the other hand, if he's watching in a bar, there's gonna be beer all over the place.

Chris! said...

Was that The Prez we just saw cheering it up in the obligatory pre-commercial fan shot?

Anonymous said...

Oil lose 3-0 , and the slide resumes...

Chris! said...


d said...


Why, why, why? 2 min. to go!!

Ugh!!!! I am sooo ticked off!!!

Anonymous said...

Bullshit Oil goal. Souray was beat and took a 2 hander to get the puck...

David S said...

Man do I miss the days when you could rough guys up in front of your net and not have to worry about getting called for it.

Oh well, here's to playin' for the shoot-out.

d said...

Why can't they just win in reg?

Let's skip the OT and get to the SO, please and thanks.

Oooooo, so close.

Yay, fight!!!

Chris! said...

That Christmas techno song they plaed before that faceoff was the lamest thing I've ever heard.

d said...

I'm going to have a heart attack.

Chris! said...

Another shootout. Unreal.

nathan said...

That was a sweet OT.

the sieve said...

I have the game recorded on my PVR, and I haven't finished watching it. The second period just ended and it's 0-0. I've purposely averted my eyes from any comments, but I will add this: if the Canucks lose in another goddamned shootout, I'm going to drive up to Edmonton and pee on that statue of Wayne Gretzky.

Chris! said...


d said...

I love yooouuuu Pisaaaaniiii!
You, too, Horcs!!!!!

Keegan said...

I know we may be due for some luck but 10-1 is batshit crazy!
The legend of San Fernando grows.

Chris! said...

Yeah, it's too bad there aren't any shootouts in the playoffs.

But hey, what was an amazingly fun game to watch. There's a lot of talent on this Oilers team.

Anonymous said...

Man, what a disappointment for us Nucks fans. This was our game and we outplayed the Oilers from the 2nd on. I dont know why we suck in the shootout, but truthfully it is starting to sully the NHL. No offense meant, but most of you Oiler fans know that your team is not very good. There record is an abnormality and casts a shadow on the legitimacy of the league. Anyways though, it is nice to see Oil fans lookin up, after so many years of pain, its good to have hope again.

Tania said...

anonymous. are you smoking BC cigarettes. Tell me what the Canucks have done in the last decade that didn't involve the Sedins? Until you had Luongon your team was a joke in net. And don't get me started on your defense.

Lookin up after so many years of pain? Funny, I go to GM Place whenever the Oil or Avs are in town and I look up and see no Stanley Cup champion banners.

Go fuck a duck you tool.

I'll tell you why you suck in a shootout. The Sedin twins can't shoot or pass with only an individual player on the ice and they heavily rely on a 37 year old the fans forced them to sign to be their saviour.

Oh yeah, brilliant tantrum by Sandford.

Anonymous said...

That last guy was really lame. Man, that was his game er their game, rather. So, So many years of pain. 30 yrs. now for Van. Nothing like a below .500 shadow casting abnormalitry. eat gay

Kirk said...

Looks like you should hop into your jalopy sieve...


Ghost of Christmas Past said...

"Christmas techno song"???

Are you perhaps referring to Run-D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis"?

Man, get educated, you dink.

Par said...

"eat gay"? Tell me that last one was a parody. People don't actually write that for real, do they?

Although, for the record, I'd like to mention that we're now an exactly .500 shadow casting abnormality, whatever that means.

the sieve said...


The jalopy is warming up as I write this. Expect Youtube video soon.

I'll post the link here.

You bastards.

Chris! said...

I know Christmas in Hollis. I don't think we're talking about the same song, unless Run DMC sounds like the Rednex.

jared said...

Now look what we've done. Anonymous was trying to be nice to us irrational, foulmouthed fools. He used the words 'no offence meant' before telling us that our team was casting a shadow over the legitimacy of the league. And we insulted him. He was only trying to help us face the reality that the Oilers aren't a good team. I don't think I can put into words the deep shame and disappointment that we all must feel that he won't be around anymore.

Farewell, anonymous. It was great while it lasted. And thank you.

At least we'll always have fever4flames over at BoA.

Tania said...

"real hockey"? Is that what you call the canucks? I wasn't referring to this year's, or last year's canucks. I was referring to the last ten years, since you were adding past play in your analogy of tonight's game.

Real hockey are canuck fans, instead of chanting "go canucks go" chant "Oilers suck". Yeah, let's talk about irrational.

Anonymous "dude", the canucks didn't win a cup. The Vancouver Canucks, since 1970, have only made the Stanley Cup Finals twice.

As for Edmonton being in igloos, referring back to the glory years of 1915 when the Vancouver Millionaires won, your argument is weak.

And coming here saying that you were trying to be nice while calling the team weak and saying the Canucks deserved a moral victory. As for players that wouldn't crack the line-up on 29 other teams, yet another example of nuck fan idiocy. Are you saying that the nucks wouldn't trade for Horcoff if they had the chance? Please.

There's a tree in Stanley Park that needs planting. Go make yourself useful.

Man, nuck fans bring out the worst in me. I was asked the other day, who I dislike more, the nucks or the flames and I could honestly say, the nucks, because of their fans.

Meh. I shouldn't be arguing with a fool who's whining about a loss in a shootout doesn't diminish the fact that the Oilers won! boo yah.

heed said...

if the Canucks lose in another goddamned shootout, I'm going to drive up to Edmonton and pee on that statue of Wayne Gretzky.

i saw a bunch of leafs' fans "hamming it up" with that very same statue...if you decide to follow through with your threat...i will say the same thing i said to them..."it's as close as you will ever come to the cup so go hard..."

Andy Grabia said...

I can't even begin to describe the gloriousness of tonight. Scorcoff. San Fernando. I've never been as sure of anything as I was when I saw 34 was taking that last shot. I knew the game was over. Just fucking knew it. The whole bar went, "oooohhhh!!!" as soon as they saw the back of that magnificent bastard's jersey. When do we make him Mayor, anyway? I'm starting a group tomorrow.

And I knew I was right about the D&D attributes. Thanks TB and Chris!.

Mike, Chris, Dave, Sacamano, my Oilogosphere brothers and sisters...GOILERS!!!!

the sieve said...

Now why the hell did I go and say I was going to do that? Oh right, booze. Fuck.