PreGame PostUP: Anaheim @ Edmonton

Posted: 12/06/2010 by bc in Uncategorized

How big is this game? The Oilers are five points back of our Ducks with three games in hand. Edmonton is on a four game winning streak thanks to an Eastern Conference swing through Ontario and Quebec. If Edmonton does nothing else this season those three games will be pointed to with pride as all else is forgiven.One pregame note you won’t find anywhere is else is how the Oilers win streak got started. The usually positive reinforcement, well-known for getting the most out of his players Tom Renney walked into the room, and called each player out.

Some described it as a parent with a bunch of kids who goes through all the names before selecting the one who’s going to get it. Except this time was one of those rare times they all got it.

If you grew up in a large family, you know exactly what I’m talking about it. In our house it was, Linda, Heather, Rick, Brad, Dan, oldest to youngest. I’ve since learned it’s always oldest to youngest regardless of race, religion, nationality or ethnicity.

Always seems to happen on those days when Mom shoves a broom up her butt so she can sweep the floor while she’s running around picking up after everybody. And even then it isn’t a big thing, it’s the next thing. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The fingerprint in the icing or the toy that suddenly appears before the cashier during checkout. “Linda, Heather, Rick, Brad, Dan.” She’d yell as though it was one name referring to one person.

Hockey coaches and Moms have a lot in common. The players or the kids all of a sudden stop doing their chores. You try to be nice about it, at first. You’re bothered that they’re just not being responsible or accountable.

In Anaheim, the coach rips guys and it lasts for five minutes like at the start of the second period last night against the Coyotes. Maybe these Ducks are just too used to hearing it. In Edmonton where a Renney rant is rare, notice is served.

The injuries seem balanced. Ales Hemsky is out for the Oilers. Teemu Selanne for our Ducks. Each has a groin pull. Do your stretches, especially you beer league weekend warriors. I’d rather break a bone than suffer through a soft tissue injury. Especially the connecting type tissue that provide flexibility to the joints.

With most injuries pain is a warning not to push it beyond a certain point. With soft issue, pain isn’t a warning it’s a re-injury. That’s why groins are so difficult to rehab. You never know until it pops.

Edmonton is a fast team. Our Ducks will be challenged to try to hit what they can’t catch. Oilers also play the same game regardless of the score. You won’t see the young Oilers try to protect a one or two goal lead for forty minutes. Don’t those backwater hicks know how unsophisticated that is? No wonder they trail us by five points in the standings 😉

By the numbers exposes a couple of intriguing aspects to the Oilers. Sporting one of the NHL’s worst PK units and also among the most penalized teams in hockey is not a recipe for a success. During this four game win streak they are taking nearly two less minor penalties per game.

With the added four more minutes per game of ES or PP time the Oilers GFA has gone from 2.5 to 3.8. Cut down on the bad things and all of a sudden good things start happening. Amazing how life, I mean hockey works.

Sticking with By the Numbers our Ducks a 3-6-1 in their last ten games. Oilers are 6-3-1. Edmonton is also improving their poor home record going 2-2-1 at Rexal Place in their past five home dates.

Prediction? The betting line, used here as indicative of  public sentiment shows the Oilers are the clear favorite at -125 while our Ducks aren’t much of a dog at +105. IMO, the odds makers and the betting public have it about right.

Jeez, our Ducks have a lot of offensive talent. Our guys have gone scoreless in two straight games. Sure the Oilers will miss Hemsky but he’s just one guy. Call me Homer but look for our Ducks to win a wide open, high scoring coaches nightmare of a game.


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