Friday, September 25, 2009

Let's get random!

Pardon for this post, but I have a lot on my mind. That means, just like Lady Sovereign, it’s time get random…

…Big Dustin Penner is starting to do things Oiler fans have never seen before and that’s digging in the corners on the forecheck. Penner has had a strong showing so far this pre-season, especially with how he is going to the net. This could be — cross your fingers — a breakout year for Penner after having a terrible season…

…If Penner does have a breakout year, that will be crucial for the Oilers since the team still has nine forwards on the roster who are all under six-feet-tall, and everyone is getting tired of hearing about it. TSN analysts talk about it, bloggers yak about it like it’s the be all and end all in Edmonton — yawn. The size issue will be addressed before the season starts…

…And like I said back in Sept. 24, the Nashville Predators are pitching the Oilers for a deal, and word is that’s not the only team interested. Tambellini could work out a deal that could mean making large salary dump for the Oilers as it gets a solid, tough forward in return. It’s simple math. The Oilers are over the cap by $800,000 and it has plenty of young, small and talented forwards. A deal will be done before Oct. 3…

…Speaking of young talented forwards, and since this is a random post, signing Theo Fleury to a small contract would be one way of sticking it to Calgary after the Flames inked Curtis Glencross last season when he bolted from the Oil. Fleury, who is definitely aging, has created waves in the NHL pre-season with his performance after kicking his much talked-about drug and alcohol addiction. His performance this pre-season was inspiring until GM Darryl Sutter showed him the door. The Oilers do need a player that has plenty of heart, especially after looking uninspired throughout all of last season…

…Grant Fuhr’s last season in his career was with the Calgary Flames back in 2000, just to add more fodder to the Fleury idea. Fuhr’s last game ever was against his old Oilers and he was a backup until late in that third period when the game was out of hand for the Flames. I was there and it was a memorable game in the Saddledome…

…Flames suck…

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Preds interested in Nilsson, Pisani

Something is brewing in Edmonton, or should I say Winnipeg.

As the Oilers only dress a handful of veterans in tonight’s lineup against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Winterpeg, two players could be wearing different colours when the first puck is dropped in the regular season.

The Nashville Predators, which has plenty of cap room, are very interested in players like Robert Nilsson, Fernando Pisani, and, maybe Marc Pouliot for some draft picks.

Word is the Preds are interested in one or two of the mentioned players and the Oilers need to make this kind of deal only because it would give them some breathing room going into the cap, especially if Pisani and Nilsson are dealt.

If the Oilers traded the pair away for one or two draft picks, it could give Oilers GM Steve Tambellini $5 million in breathing room when it comes to swing a deal before the trade deadline.

The move would be an ideal one since both Nilsson and Pisani have each had a less-than-stellar pre-season so far.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Oil Patch is getting a facelift

For those noticing some changes on this site today, you had better get used to it. I am trying to give the Oil Patch a bit of a facelift to make it standout as a great site and blog for Oilers fans.

So far I've battled with its appearance, but Google's blogging engine can only do so much.

If you read the site and like what you see, or you think it's a waste of a web page, please e-mail me at

I need to hear some feedback into how I can improve this site and any suggestions would be very appreciated.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nilsson's days in Edmonton are numbered

If tonight’s 3-2 win against the Islanders is any indication about where Robert Nilsson will be after Oct. 1, odds are he won’t be in Edmonton.

Nilsson mustered an assist on a line with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky, but it was one single highlight in a game where he mostly floated during all of his 16 minutes and 20 seconds of ice time.

For a guy who has his job threatened in Edmonton, he sure didn’t play like it. Nilsson was like a rusty third wheel while playing alongside two very talented players.

If Nilsson wants to stay an Oiler he had better play like he’s desperate and the guy who could be forcing Nilsson out of town is young Jordan Eberle who looked very impressive tonight with Andrew Cogliano and Dustin Penner.

Eberle was robbed by the crossbar in the third period after undressing veteran defenseman Andy Sutton during a rush to the net on a night when it was all about John Tavares’s NHL debut for the Islanders.

The young player doesn’t want to go back to the Regina Pats and he proved his point tonight by looking explosive in nearly every shift. Eberle was the game’s first star.


…Dustin Penner looks much faster than what he was during all of last season. The big forward scored on a breakaway in the third. Yes, Penner was actually on a breakaway. Looks like his summer diet has paid off so far…

…Northlands (the non-profit group that runs and owns Rexall Place) should look into buying some much stronger plexiglass after a pair of Sheldon Souray slapshots cracked two panes in the second period. Souray wasn’t happy about it, either. He looked frustrated after the second errant shot and he didn’t want to talk about it to reporters after the game…

…Swedish prospect Johan Motin looked dangerous on the blueline for the Oilers. He was strong on the body check…

…Who pays $8 for a plastic cup full of Molson Canadian or Coors Light at a hockey game, especially in these tough economic times?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not a smart move by the Oilers, but Hilary Duff could be playing more shows in E-town!

Kevin Lowe and, lately, Steve Tambellini were both always able to swing a deal or two on Trade Deadline Day simply because they both played it safe by giving themselves plenty of wiggle room in salary cap space.

With Mike Comrie now inked, and some other large contracts, the Oilers are now automatic sellers when it comes to this season’s trade deadline.

Picture this: The Oilers are fighting with Nashville, Vancouver, and maybe, say Calgary for a playoff spot and Team X is looking for it’s long term interests as it struggles all season.

Team X has a star forward who can score goals and that player wants out of town to play for a playoff bound team, but he’s a cap hit at $5 million.

While Comrie does come cheap at a cap hit of $1.125 million, the Oilers are now, officially, $800,000 over the $56.8 million salary cap.

Tambellini can’t pull off a deal with Team X even if he axed a player in his roster — something that he must do before Oct. 1.

Scuttlebutt says Robert Nilsson is the player Tambellini is looking to ship out of town, but Nilsson is only a $2 million cap hit. It’s still not enough to make an impact trade during the season.

And forget about Dustin Penner, Penner haters. You can’t ship out a big-sized player from a team that lacks size.

Yes, I’m happy for Comrie. He did a lot of growing up since he parted ways with the City of Champions. It’s nice to see he’s home and the fans will forgive him.

They won’t forgive Tambellini and Lowe, however, because Comrie just adds to a giant mess for the Oilers coaching staff.

Tambellini said it himself after firing Craig MacTavish. He told a packed room of reporters that this team lacks size and grit — a reason why this Comrie deal doesn’t make sense.

Now the Oilers have a bunch of small, 30 to 50-point players (Ales Hemsky, Comrie, Patrick O’Sullivan) and other players who are known for their speed (Gilbert Brule, Rob Schremp, etc.).

To make four solid lines out of what the roster is now would be like digging through a rain forest for Patt Quinn. You won’t have one or two solid checking lines with this team — the Oilers are too small.

With Comrie’s addition, here’s what Pat Quinn might do to:

LINE 1 : Comrie, Horcoff, Hemsky

LINE 2 : O’Sullivan, Gagner, Penner

LINE 3: Moreau, Cogliano, Pisani

LINE 4: Nilsson, Brule, Pouliot

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Schremp, Jacques, Stortini, Eberle, MacIntyre, and many, many more prospect forwards.

Comrie is a good news story for the Oilers after its struggles with the Dany Heatley saga, but fans and hockey pundits are wondering how Comrie will fit in the roster.

Makes you wonder why Tambo inked Comrie in the first place?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mike Comrie an Oiler again?

The Oilers are too close to the cap, but Oilers Nation blogger Robin Brownlee tonight says Mike Comrie and Steve Tambellini will work out a new contract before Friday at noon.

Stay tuned...

It's the final countdown for Rob Schremp

Rob Schremp will have a lot in common with Europe on Saturday — and when I mean Europe, I mean the one-hit hairband rockers from the 1980s. Google it.

Come Saturday, the first day of training camp for the Edmonton Oilers, it will be “the final countdown” for the former London Knight who has only played a total of seven NHL games for the Oilers since 2006.

And after signing a $715,000 two-way contract with the Oilers last week, Schremp has everything going for him now.

There is no Craig MacTavish barking at him to step up his defensive game during this camp. This is the same coach who called everyone up from the Springfield Falcons, including the beer vendor, before deciding to call up Schremp last season. But you can’t blame MacTavish for that decision.

Schremp only scored 42 points in 69 games last season in the minors for a train wreck of a hockey team. That’s a very big drop from the 64 points he scored the year before for the Falcons.

Since Schremp has now played three full seasons in the minors, the Oilers would have to put him through waivers before shipping him back to Siberia.

If that happens, New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers are rumoured to be very interested in making a move to scoop him up.

With no MacTavish and the possibility of playing with another team, this year’s training camp is a clean slate for Schremp who has been working out with Sam Gagner in London, Ont. all summer long.

Some players have already said he is stronger, much quicker than last season, as well as having an attitude adjustment since March. He’s hungry for a permanent spot in the NHL.

It's a $7 million make or break season for Horcoff

If TSN’s Pierre Maguire would describe Shawn Horcoff’s six-year $33 million contract, you can pretty much guess what he would have to say.

“It’s a monster.”

In today’s tough economic climate and at a time when the NHL’s salary cap isn’t getting any higher, Horcoff’s monster contract has turned into Godzilla for GM Steve Tambellini. Thank you Kevin Lowe.

The contract has handtied the Oilers from making any deals, so forget about signing free agent Mike Comrie or making any earth shattering trades during the season. The Oil would have to give up a lot for a star player.

With no changes in store for the copper and blue, Horcoff now has the world on his shoulders and fans will more than likely remind him about his contract if he struggles this season — just as they did with Dustin Penner.

The centreman inked his name to the deal back in July 2008 before earning $3.6 million during the 2008-09 season.

Now Horcoff is set to make an eye-popping $7 million this season for a player that notched 17 goals and 36 assists for 53 points in 80 games last year.

Ottawa Senators star forward Jason Spezza was an $8 million player last season when he scored 32 goals and 41 assists for 73 points in 82 games.

Calgary Flames forward Jarome Iginla inked his name to a contact last year that would see the player earn $7 million a season until it expires in 2013.

And not to rub it in Oiler fans, but Iggy scored 35 goals and 54 assists for 89 points during a $7 million season in 2008-09.

Horcoff hasn’t had a 70-point season since 2005-06 when he was on a line with Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth. The top-line centre scored 22 goals and 51 assists in the same season when the Oilers made that infamous run to the Stanley Cup finals.

Here’s a quick breakdown of Horcoff’s stats and salary, according to

2006-07: 16 goals +35 assists = $3.6 million

2007-08: 21 goals + 29 assists = $3.6 million

2008-09: 17 goals + 36 assists = $3.6 million

2009-10: ? goals + ? assists = $7 million

2010-11: ? goals + ? assists = $6.5 million

2011-12: ? goals + ? assists = $6.5 million

2012-13: ? goals + ? assists = $6 million

2013-14: ? goals + ? assists = $4 million

2014-15: ? goals + ? assists = $3 million

Horcoff needs to score around 70 points or more this season to be worth $7 million. There will be lynch mobs hanging outside Rexall Place come April 2010 if he doesn't.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Oilers are the NHL's biggest question mark

Ah, September.

Training camp is ready to begin, rookies are trying their best to crack the roster and there are stacks of NHL preview magazines to read through.

And I just picked up the Sporting News preview and where do they rank the Copper and Blue? Twenty-third in the league? What the fuck?

OK. Settle down. Oiler fans go through this every year. While we’re optimistic about a new season, we need to be reminded about what we have on paper before we’re disappointed in April.

There are good reasons why the Oilers won’t make the playoffs this year on paper because of a dismal off-season.

Nikolai Khabibulin is in, Dwayne Roloson is out and so is Ales Kotalik, as well as the team’s second best faceoff guy in Kyle Brodziak.

Then there’s that two-month Dany Heatley ass-sucking saga and now there are rumours about Mike Comrie coming back to Edmonton.

And since the Oilers are so close to the cap thanks to some very large contracts this season, Comrie will not become an Oiler again, at least not this season.

Lubomir Visnovsky is set to make $7 million this season, and so is Shawn Horcoff. Sheldon Souray is set to make $5.5 million and Dustin Penner will continue to make $4.25 million.

On paper, this is the same team as last year with one or two subtractions, but there’s a much larger payroll. That doesn’t make sense.

The only thing that could turn into a positive for the Oilers is the revamped coaching staff, which really makes this team very unpredictable going into this season.

Pat Quinn and company could bring new life to a team that played with little emotion on the ice last season, or you could see the same players (Penner, Robert Nilsson) create problems for Quinn’s staff.

When it comes to predicting the season outcome for the Oilers, NHL preview publications are bang on to rank them near the bottom of the barrel.

But with a new coaching staff, the Oilers are currently the NHL’s biggest question mark other than what team Heatley will play for.