Friday, April 29, 2011

Oilers Update - Eberle Pots Two at IIHF World Championships

Edmonton Oilers' forward,Jordan Eberle, scored 2 goals to lead Canada to a 4-1 victory over Belarus in Slovakia.  Eberle tapped home his first of the tournament 3 minutes into the game.  With less then 11 minutes in the 3rd, Eberle struck again with a power-play marker.

John Tavares had a goal and assisted on Jeff Skinner's tally in the 2nd period.

James Reimer earned his first win of the tournament setting aside 21 shots.  Oilers net-minder Devan Dubnyk has yet to see his first game in Slovakia.

Canada will now go on to face France this Sunday at 7:15 am.

Forward Magnus Paajarvi, is the only other Oiler present in this year championships.  The young Swede will play his first game with the Tre Kronor tomorrow against Norway.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oilers Update - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Top 5 Prospects NHL 2011 Draft

The staff at NHL Central Scouting revealed their top eligible players available for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  On top of their list is Red Deer Rebel, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  Hopkins is a 17 year-old who hails from Burnaby British Columbia.  The centerman completed his 2010/11 year by collecting 31 goals and 75 assists for 106 points in the regular season.  Despite being knocked out of the play-offs by the Medicine Hat Tigers, Hopkins managed to tally 11 points in 9 games.

Hopkins shoots left, stands at  6'0" and weighs 160 lbs.  While there is a great deal of interest for the young sniper amongst the NHL, his stature becomes an instant knock, especially towards the Edmonton Oilers who have the option to take a pass on the Rebel.  There is no doubt that the Oilers are interested in a first line centre, however in my opinion the Oilers are in desperate need of a big, mean bona-fide sniper who isn't afraid to stand in front of the net.  

On the flip-side, Hopkins brings incredible vision and possesses high-end skill and has the ability to be an offensive scoring threat.  In fact, Hopkins was recently compared to "Burnaby" Joe Sakic which to my mind are very big shoes to fill.  Yet, to couple Hopkins with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle has the potential to become a very lethal first line which could become one of the best in the league.

Should the Oilers draft Hopkins, Oilers fans will probably not be able to see him take to the ice in time for the 2011 year, as he could find himself back in Red Deer for some seasoning.  

While I believe that Hopkins could really improve the quality of the hockey club, I feel that GM Steve Tambellini will over look the top prospect and instead, will try to improve the back-end at the draft (Adam Larsson).  The overall goal for Tambellini is to create a team who will find themselves a position in the post season next year.  In other words, there is no more fail and Tambellini will do his best to improve the make-up of the team through the draft, and also part ways with some underachieving veterans; Curtis Foster and Steve MacIntyre instantly comes to mind.

Next up...Adam Larsson

Friday, April 15, 2011

Oilers to Draft 1st Overall.

For the second straight year, the Edmonton Oilers will have the first pick at the 2011 entry draft in Minnesota.  The New Jersey Devils initially won the draft, and moved from 8th spot to 4th (the highest the winning team could reach) and as a result cemented the Edmonton Oilers to remain in 1st.  

Here is the list of the top 6 teams for the 2011 Entry Draft.
1) Edmonton
2) Colorado
3) Florida
4) New Jersey (lotto draft winners)
5) New York Islanders
6) Ottawa Senators

The speculation can now finally begin as to who the Edmonton Oilers will pick first at the draft.  At the moment, many people believe that it has come down to two players: Ryan Nugent Hopkins and Adam Larsson.

It is no secret that the Oilers are in the market for a goal scoring, first-line centerman, and Red Deer Rebel, Ryan Nugent Hopkins is on the top of scouting list.  Hopkins stands 6'0" and 160 lbs soaking wet and finished the year with 106 pts (not including play-offs). 

However, the Oilers are also kicking the tires of Adam Larsson who is currently ranked to go second by Scouting Services. Larsson currently plays for the SkellefteĆ„ AIK in Elitserien of the Swedish Elite League.  The Swedish defenceman stands at 6' 2.5" 201 lbs and appears to be ready to step into the NHL in time for the 2011 season.

Naturally, Steve Tambellini has been mum as to who he will pick, yet the aforementioned players could fit in well within the organization.  

Tomorrow: More about Ryan Nugent Hopkins 

Lastly it was a pleasure to meet actor/director Kevin Smith in Las Vegas Nevada. Kevin Smith is a huge Edmonton Oilers fan, and was seen at the NAB Show earlier this week, discussing about AVID Editing.  I managed to get a photo with Smith who was decked out in his Oilers clad.

Upon taking the photo with him, I said "GO OILERS" and he promptly laughed.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Oilers Update - Controversy leads to Oilers Loss

Guess what?  Oilers lose! 

The young Oilers of Edmonton lost 4-3 to the Colorado Avalanche in overtime to end yet another abysmal season, on the night when Adam Foote played his final game as an NHL'er.

Teemu Hartikainen, Kurtis Foster and Liam Reddox found the back-of-the-net, yet it was Colorado's David Jones who ended it all with a backhand...all thanks to a missed call. 

Leading into the overtime goal, Liam Reddox was in the middle of controversy when he was sent off for tripping Adam Foote.  Seconds prior to the penalty, Foote committed a few obvious fouls upon Hartikainen which were overlooked.  Clearly some favoritism was giving towards Foote who officially announced his retirement recently. 
"It was obviously disappointing in OT, being the culprit to take that penalty. I thought we were playing old-school rules out there the last couple of minutes,” said Reddox of the veteran's grab on Hartikainen.
"I knew they weren’t going to call a penalty,” Hartikainen said. “I was pretty angry about it, but I knew because he had such a long career and was such a great player, I could understand why they didn’t call a penalty."
Except the missed calls, lead to the trip, which lead to the loss...
"It’s tough, you’re trying to play the right way,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “I don’t know if a guy earns those things over time or not, but if you’re not going to call that one, then don’t call the other one. Just erase the tapes and let the teams decide who is going to win the game.”
Hartikainen recorded his 3rd goal of the season, and blue collar forward Liam Reddox finally broke his (60 plus) game scoring drought when his shot trickled past Peter Budaj.

Reddox who lost his job to Ryan Jones at the start of the season, knew that he had to make some sort of a lasting impression amongst the Oilers Brass.  His goal coupled with his hard work throughout his short tint in the show, may or may not give him the opportunity to stick around once the Oilers return to the ice in September.  However, like George Costanza...leave on a high note.  
Too bad that he spent he spent his final shift in the sin-bin.
"It’s nice to get that goal out of the way and move on from there,” Reddox said. “Hopefully I can score a lot more for the Oilers."
“Initially I didn’t think it was my goal, that’s why there wasn’t much of a celebration. If I knew it was my goal, I would have been jumping up for joy.”

Coming soon: Oilers on the bubble! 
Just because the season is over doesn't mean that Oilers Update will keep you out of the loop. 
Stay tuned, this is a year-round blog.
Antony S Scandale.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Oilers Update. Avs vs Oilers - Next Year!

This afternoon, the Edmonton Oilers will finally put to rest another dismal season as they play their final game versus the Colorado Avalanche at 12 pm pacific.

As soon as the game ends at roughly 2pm pacific time, the entire Oilers organization will immediately make the necessary preparations in time for next fall, spear-headed by Head Coach Tom Renney. 

"We want to put ourselves in a position, and you hear this from teams like ours, where we're playing games of meaning in April," said Tom Renney. "You want to win now, you really do.

"We understand that. But you have to have the right people in place that have the ability to cope with this process and that is the operative word."

"We have to put as many great young players in this lineup, with due process, as we can. That does take time. Turnarounds take a lot of patience, but they also take perseverance and a little bit of luck."

There has been ample amount of room for the young kids to step in and create a name for themselves.   However, there are questions which need to be answered rather quickly about a few bodies who appear to be propped upon the picket fence.  

One example is Jason Strudwick who after 14 years in the NHL is uncertain about his future as player, nevermind an Oiler. 

"It's something I honestly haven't thought a lot about," Strudwick said. "It's a situation I'm very familiar with. It's something that, I think, when I first started this one-year contract run eight or nine years ago, I was a little more concerned. But at this point, you can't control a lot of it, you just have to play hard during the season and let things sort out."

Tom Renney, can't speak on Strudwick's behalf nor can he point out his fate.  But he did offer his true feelings about the defenceman's professionalism.  

"He's a real, solid person in every way," said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. "The way he treats his teammates, the passion he brings to the game and just the wherewithal during his career and knowing everything from a players' perspective and how he shares that with everyone."

Another season with the Oilers probably won't hurt the club since the club is in dire need veterans, like Strudwick.  He brings a soft, collected demeanor to the locker room and treats his teammates like gold.  Players such as him are hard to find.

"He's been awesome," said defenceman Theo Peckham. "My first good stint in the NHL, I was partners with him for a while and he made it so much easier. He's one of the older guys on the team and he's so approachable. He doesn't just go about his business and just leave everybody to themselves.

Other players who remain in question are Steve MacIntyre and Colin Fraser; one could also add the likes of Gilbert Brule and of course Ales Hemsky who's contract expires next season.  

As Oilers nation waits for next year, Taylor Hall spoke on behalf of his club and offered this statement to the fans. 

"I think next year is the year where we try to make the playoffs," Hall said. "If any player comes in here thinking they want to have another rebuilding season, then that's not fair to fans, that's not fair to the organization..."

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Oilers Update - Paul Lorieau- Wild Win

The Edmonton Oilers organization bid adieu to Paul Lorieau last night at Rexall Place.  The anthem singer who has been with the club for 30 years, was accompanied by this his extended family to witness his final performance.  After singing the Star Spangled Banner, Mr. Lorieau raised his microphone to allow the fans to sing.

The Minnesota Wild came into Rexall Place and devoured the Oilers by a score of 3-1 in a fight filled match.

Oilers Defenceman, Theo Peckham set the tone of the hockey game, 7 seconds after puck drop and whooped Clayton Stoner. 

“I just wanted everybody in the rink to know that just because we’re going to miss the playoffs, we’re not giving up,” said Oilers defenceman Theo Peckham.   Later, Steve MacIntyre played the role of bouncer and punished Brad Stuabitz for his questionable hit on Magnus Paajarvi. 

“I want to be there for the boys. It’s who I am. I didn’t think it was that great a hit and I tried to make it right." said Big Mac "I was hollering at Maggie to come off.”
“It’s a really fine line with me,” said MacIntyre. “You’re either all in or you’re sitting back saying, ‘OK, what should I do here?’ 

It's about time Steve MacIntyre took to the ice to play cop. There have been multiple times in the season where his services were needed most.  But I digress.

While the fight was there, there was no offensive response from the Oilers who just can't seem to find a way to best the Wild.  A feat which has Renney and company dumbfounded.

“I don’t know why we can’t beat them,” shrugged Renney. “It’s not like they’re in our psyche. These things happen. I remember coaching in New York and we beat New Jersey eight times one year.”
Finnish rookie Teemu Hartikainen scored the lone goal to tally his second of the season. 

The Edmonton Oilers will wrap up their season when they visit Colorado tomorrow a high noon pacific.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Oilers Update - Wild vs Oilers - Paul Lorieau

With only 2 games remaining in the Oilers dismal season, Tom Renney is certain that his club will bounce back after their debacle against the Flames 48 hours ago.  However, the Head Coach is now looking forward to next year; and he has made it quite clear that success begins now and continues in the off season.  Despite having clenched 30th overall for the second straight year, it is very obvious and promising that the Oilers will improve.

"There's a mindset that goes along with winning, there's an attention to detail that goes along with winning, there's an investment made in the off-season, so that you have the type of start you're looking for that is required before you start winning," said Tom Renney. "Turnarounds take a lot of patience but they also take perseverance and they take a little bit of luck, there's no question about that, but they also take that need to seize the opportunity, seize the moment, and learn how to win properly, and I think we're on the right track with that."

Jordan Eberle is in a four way tie with Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky with 42 points.  Rookie Magnus Paajarvi has 33 points and 2 shy from Andrew Cogliano.  Then there is Linus Omark who has been beyond exceptional in recent games.  The Swede has only played 49 games and has collected 25 points since his Oilers debut.  One can only wonder if he would be one of the top scorers had he played all 82 games.

"If you reflect back on this entire season, as much as it's been tough and we've had nights where we haven't looked very good, I think for the most part you can say that this team cared. There's a lot to be said for that. Let's not end it on anything other than a positive note with our effort."

The entire City of Edmonton can also see glimmer of hope.  There is no question that most Oilers fans are appreciative of the re-build and they all seem to understand the process will be long an arduous.  Tonight the fans of Oil Country will get a chance to watch their squad play their final game of the season at Rexall Place; and also bid fare-well to anthem singer Paul Lorieau. 

"The anthem is a tradition, and the music has to be respected. If you're going to take it on and modify it because of your own vocal shortcomings, you should be singing something else."  Paul Lorieau.

Since joining the club 1981, singer Paul Lorieau will sing his very last anthem tonight at Rexall Place.  Mr. Lorieau, is known for classic black tuxes and accapella style.  Most importantly, he will be remembered for his consistent, flaw-less performances. 

"When I sing, something special happens, which makes it impossible to repeat the anthem in any way, shape, or form. Every one is different."


Fare-well Mr. Paul Lorieau

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oilers Update - Oy-lers! Flames Win Miss Play-Offs

The Edmonton Oilers had one important thing to accomplish last night in Calgary: Beat the Flames.  Instead a tired bunch took to the ice and got absolutely demolished by the home team who were desperate to reach the post season.

Lead by Jerome Iginla's Hat-Trick, the Flames spanked the Oilers 6-1 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.


Regardless of the loss, Oil Country did receive a small victory, when both the Blackhawks and the Ducks officially snuffed the Flames out of the play-off race.  The aforementioned teams needed to lose their games last night in order to give the Flames a chance at Lord Stanley.

Perhaps Iginla and Horcoff will tee-off together next week.

"It’s hard, especially in the second period, looking up and seeing the scores,” said Flames captain Jarome Iginla, “It took the energy out for a while, realizing that we worked hard and got ourselves back in it, but we were going to fall short. It was tough.
“I really thought we were going to find a way to squeak in.”
“We needed help but didn’t get it. Watching the San Jose-Anaheim game between periods was tough, but we did our thing here,” said Flames Coach Brent Sutter.
The loss will guarantee the Oilers to finish dead last for the second straight year; which to many doesn't come as a surprize.  Heading into the draft, the Oilers can now expect to receive either Draft Pick 1 or 2 ,depending on the results of the lottery.  However, every player on the squad needs to understand that there are positions to be filled for next year; and with two games remaining, every player needs to go balls-out and prove their worth.
“No excuses, we played like crap,” said Jim Vandermeer. “Maybe coming off a couple of big wins, we were feeling a little too good about ourselves, maybe looking for a little easier game, but that type of effort can’t happen."
Head Coach Tom Renney couldn't agree more and echoed Vandermeer's sentiments and frustration.
"It’s nice of a veteran player like Jimmy to man up. We did play like crap,” said Renney. 
The only player who gave a crap was Nikolai Khabibulin.  The Russian net-minder kept the game at zero's while setting aside 20 shots to the Oilers measly 3 in the first.  In total the veteran stopped 47 shots.
“He had a game in the 20 minutes,” said Tom Renney. “He had as many shots in the first period as some guys see in a game. It was a great performance by him and we left him alone far too often.
Magnus Paajarvi got the lone goal for the Oilers and now has 33 points with 15 goals.
The Oilers will now face the Wild this Friday at Rexall.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oilers Update Flames vs Oilers - Battle of Alberta

After knocking off the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, tonight the Edmonton Oilers will now face the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome, for the final time this season.

The Calgary Flames are literally in a do-or-die situation as they now sit only 2 points back of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks for the 8th and final spot in the west.  The Oilers on the other hand have one last chance to play spoiler; and finally diffuse the Flames' play-off hopes with a win tonight.

Head coach Tom Renney is just itching to see how his club will respond against their southern enemies.

"This is such a great rivalry and it's a great opportunity to be a part of the Battle of Alberta and I think our guys have identified with that all year long," said Tom Renney.

"And I think, too, with how we handled our last game in Edmonton (against Calgary) we want to make sure we're better than that for 60 minutes."

Losses by the Blackhawks and Ducks, coupled with two road wins have given the Flames that one last mulligan for post season hockey. 

"We came on the road, won two big games, and it's tightened the gap up for us," Flames Coach Brent Sutter said Wednesday. "Now we're right there again. Let's see what happens with other games. Let's get ourselves ready for our next opponent."

Sophomore Goaltender Devan Dubnyk has been red hot for the Oilers in his last two starts after stopping 76 out of 77 shots.  However, Dubnyk will ride the pine tonight as Nikolai Khabibulin will hover above the blue paint.

"I'm going to go with Khabi tonight,"  said Renney. "I'm going to make sure he gets a couple of games down the stretch here and see how that plays itself out at the end of the day." 

Defenceman, Taylor Chorney will draw into tonight after being side-lined since Feb 22nd with a knee problem, however fellow D-man Tom Gilbert will once again sit out due to a back problem.  Also, forwards Gilbert Brule and Colin Fraser are still out with injury until some time.

Flames vs Oilers tonight 6:38 Pacific Sportsnet West

Oilers Update. Canucks fall to Oilers 2-0

The road to the Stanley Cup goes through...Edmonton? 

After being man-handled by the Oilers on their turf a few nights ago, "the contenders" coasted around Rexall Place disinterested with vengeance, and elected to go for a Sunday skate.

Die hard Canuck fans were eager to see their team go out with guns-a-blazing, but in fact got an eye-full of a squad who perhaps wanted a night off.

"We expected to be really pushed tonight, we expected that we’d have to bring everything that we possibly could to win this game,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “We fully expected that Vancouver would be a much better team than they were at home and we were equal to the task again. Whether they were or not is inconsequential to me, I don’t care.
“What I care about is the effort that we brought and our attention to detail. It was really taxing for them tonight and we really came through.”
The young Oilers displayed another fine performance against their divisional rivals.  Since puck drop, Edmonton out worked, out chanced and literally swarmed Vancouver to earn a hard fought 2-0 win. By the end of the first period the shot clock registered 8-4 for the Oilers; including a very late goal by Ryan Jones.  With less than a second left in the period, Jordan Eberle threw the puck on net which ricocheted off of Jones' leg for his 18th goal of the season.  For Eberle, his assist now ties injured Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky, and Taylor Hall with 42 points.

“I thought as a team we were great,” said Jones. “It’s been a continuation from the game the other night. We did a great job continuing to keep the game simple, taking it to them and limiting their time in our end.”

“The odds were stacked against us pretty high in these two games against the Canucks.  "I don’t think anybody was giving us much of a chance and it would have been easy to sit back and believe that, but it was exciting to say, ‘no way,’ ’’ Dubnyk said of his second shutout. 

Late in the third, the Raffi Torres dropped Jordan Eberle with what appeared to be an elbow-head shot.  Ryan O'Marra took exception to the hit and dropped the mitts to dance with Torres.  Both players were sent to the box for fighting but Torres was assesed an extra elbowing penalty along with a game misconduct.  

“I was finishing my hit and he’s got his head down, we were both going for the puck. If I don’t finish my hit, I’m out of a job,” said Torres.

Eberle continued after the hit and was then robbed by Luongo on the ensuing 5 on 3.

“We were going for the puck, he left it, and did get me in the head. But I’m feeling fine.” said Eberle after the hit. 

“I do think it’s the kind of hit the league’s trying to crack down on." 

Soon, after the Torres hit, Aaron Rome and Alex Burrows decided take a couple of dumb cross-checking penalties, to hand the Oilers an extra 4 minutes of 5 on 3 action.  During the long man advantage, Linus Omark drove hard to the net and accidentally/on purpose found Magnus Paajarvi sitting alone on the door-step and beat Luongo late in the game.  

Oilers win 2-0.

Notes.  Steve MacIntyre did not play a single shift in the game.  Tom Gilbert was a late healthy scratch and did not play.  His situation is unknown at the moment.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Oilers Update. Going for two straight. Oilers vs Canucks

The Oilers have one goal in mind: go for two.

After being embarrassed by the worst team in league last Saturday, it is almost inevitable that the Vancouver Canucks will dress their top players (including Luongo) to reciprocate with an equally embarrassing result.  

Place your bets now because tonight promises to be mean, nasty and perhaps unrelenting and you can almost assume that the Canucks will be foaming at the mouths.  Yet with 4 games remaining, the Oilers will continue to press hard and hope to implement the same style of play as  witnessed last Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada.  

No mercy will be present.

“We have to be ready, be alert and on our toes,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney about Tuesday's approach. “We can’t stand around and watch what Vancouver is going to bring."
“We have to make sure we don’t get consumed by their reputation and what they’ve achieved. This is all about us having an opportunity to play a real, good team and play within our structure.”
“These guys are capable of being unbelievable any night and they didn’t lock up the President’s Trophy by accident,” said Devan Dubnyk. “They’re capable and we have to know that and be prepared for it, understand what we did right the other night that worked for us and continue to do those things while expecting a harder push from them as well." he said.

"With a year like this, given our circumstances, you look for those little opportunities that you can feel good about and allow yourself to feel like we're going in the right direction, and this is another opportunity against a great team and that's how we'll approach it. The only reason we had success in Vancouver is because of that, quite honestly," said Renney.

Chris VandeVelde, is expected to play on the first line with Teemu Hartikainen and Jordan Eberle.  The rookie from Minnesota has been a magician on the face-off dot since his NHL debut. VandeVelde has earned a respectable 56.7% on the dot and continues to turn heads amongst the organization and of course the bench boss.

I like the way Chris sees the game and processes the game and makes decisions. More often than not he’s on the right side of the puck,” said Renney.

Hartikainen - VandeVelde -Eberle
Paajarvi - O'Marra - Jones
Reddox - Cogliano - Omark
MacIntyre - Jacques - Strudwick

Defenceman Jason Strudwick will play right wing, since Gilbert Brule (undisclosed) and Colin Fraser (foot) will be scratches for tonight.

Canucks vs Oilers tonight on Sportsnet West 6:08 pacific time!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Oilers Update - Oilers Snip Skid in Vancouver

Just when we all thought that 30th spot was engraved on the Oilers' tombstone for the 2010/11 season.  Cemented in dead last, the young bucks of Oil Country continued to meddle with their draft fate after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 at Rogers. 

But what are they doing? 

Oiler Nation is itching for another bona-fide, #1 draft choice and those kids go out and defeat "the contenders" when someone like, centre Ryan Nugent Hopkins is waiting to hear his name go first this summer. Heck, even defenceman Adam Larsson would look great on the back end next year.  

No. It was supposed to be lose by design...right?  

Instead, the Edmonton Oilers decided to allow for King Kong to descend from their aching backs as they finally posted win #24.  Last night's win keeps the team in the basement, yet they are now 7 points behind Colorado for 29th spot.  With four games remaining, mathematically, the Oilers could in fact win the rest of their games and move one point above the Avs with 67 pts (should the Avs lose their remaining games).

We still want the number 1 pick...yes?

"You come into a game like this and nobody expects you have to have a chance. You use that as motivation,” said Dubnyk after recording 40 saves. "The way things have gone, you don’t want to just look at wins and losses, otherwise you’ll drive yourself crazy,” he added.

Rookies, Teemu Hartikainen, Magnus Paajarvi, Linus Omark, Chris VandeVelde and Jordan Eberle are reminders that this club can't afford younger players.  This team needs to grow and reach their potential; and trying to obtain Hopkins or Larsson is simply not the answer; and here is why.

The aforementioned players were lights-out last night, as they all combined for 7 points. Omark was the most dangerous player for Edmonton.  The Swede scored his 5th and helped set-up fellow countryman, Paajarvi while using his trade-o-mark "no look pass" from Gretzky's office. 

But what changed in the locker room?

"Wow, what a team that showed up today,” said Paajarvi who was flying all night. “This was really, really fun. You could feel it before the game, everybody really, really wanted this. It shows that no matter who we’re playing, even though they won the President’s Trophy we still beat them.”

Curtis Foster opened the scoring on the PP when he shattered the peanut butter jar on the top shelf. Again on the PP, Jordan Eberle calmly walked the crease line to fool Cory Schnieder short side.  Finally, Omark swooped in unattended to tap in Hartikainen's pass to earn his 5th goal of the season.  

After the third straight goal, it was all over for the Canucks.

"Obviously they’re depleted,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. “But their coaching staff has that team working really hard. They were the better team, they won the foot races and executed better.”

"We played hard defensively, we got our goals when we needed to and, for the most part, controlled the play,” said Andrew Cogliano who assisted on Eberle's goal. “This is a good character win.”

The Oilers will face the same Canucks this Tues at Rexall Place.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Oilers Update - Polar Opposites Canucks vs Oilers

Champs versus Chumps?

Don't say that to the frustrated Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers have now dropped 11 straight loses, as they head into Roger's Area to face, league champions Vancouver Canucks tonight, on Hockey Night in Canada. 

"We're in 30th and they're in first for a reason, but at the end of the day we're still a team that can play hard and match the other team's intensity," said Andrew Cogliano, "The main thing is we can't give them easy goals, or unearned goals. They get enough offence on their own, you can't afford to give them anything."

Nor allow for the Canucks to add win #53 to their incredible 52-17-9 record.

The last time the two squads met the Oilers were soundly thumped 6-1 and have yet to post win against their divisional rivals this year.  

Sadly, it is quite possible that every hockey pundit is expecting a ridiculous, unrelenting flogging to be administered upon the lowly Oilers.

"It could happen, we don't doubt that," said head coach Tom Renney. "But at the same time we can play with the best teams in the league, even with our lineup being what it is."

Clearly the Canucks are quite proud of their recent success, yet it appears the squad will have their foot on the gas until that final trophy is lifted  And who can blame them?  Despite having a few injuries the Canucks are a machine; and it wouldn't hurt for them to add a little Oil before heading into the play-offs.

"There were some high fives, but five minutes after the game guys were back in the gym working out, same as usual,” said defenceman Kevin Bieksa after winning the President's Trophy. “At the end of the season you can look back at this and we’ll be pretty happy with what we accomplished, and the organization will be pretty happy with it. But if we go out there and we don’t play well in the playoffs, if something happens in the first round, this season would be considered a major disappointment.” 

Historically only 7 out of 24 teams who have won the league has gone on to win it all. 

"We don't care how Edmonton's approaching it," said Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa. "We'll play the same way we've been playing the last two months."

Could be another flogging.

Canucks vs Oilers CBC Hockey Night in Canada