Nothing’s Dirtier Than A Giant Ball of Oil

Two years ago, the Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers appeared to be the next generation of Western Conference powerhouses.  Fast forward to the present and only the Hawks have kept up their part of the bargain.  The Oilers, unfortunately, have been undone by horrendous contracts to lousy veteran players and their young nucleus not progressing as expected.

Call Dany Heatley whatever you like, but you can’t say he’s a bad judge of hockey talent.  Heatley refused to waive his no-trade clause to the Oilers this summer and it’s hard to imagine the Oilers would be any better off with Heatley on their roster. 

The key piece of the nixed Heatley trade, Andrew Cogliano, is having a horrific third season.  After scoring 18 goals in each of his first two seasons, Cogliano has just 5 goals in 50 games.  Perhaps some of it can be attributed to bad luck as his shooting percentage now sits at 6.1%, well below his career average of 13.9%.    

You know things are going bad for Edmonton when their perpetual whipping boy, Dustin Penner, is their only true threat.  With already 21 goals and 22 assists, Penner is going to set a new personal best in points.  He’s also one of the few plus players on his team. 

Patrick Kane’s linemate with the London Knights, Sam Gagner, is rebounding nicely from his disappointing sophomore campaign.  While he’s not necessarily setting the world on fire, Gagner should break the 20 goal barrier this season.     

Other than that, there’s not a whole lot to be excited about.

The big news for the Oilers on Monday was defenseman Sheldon Souray gave GM Steve Tambellini a list of teams he and his $5.4 cap hit would accept a trade to.  After scoring 23 goals last year, Souray has played in just 34 games this year with 4 goals and 9 assists.  He’s also signed through 2012.  As Dennis Miller used to say when he was funny, ouch babe.  

With five players set to enter restricted free agency this summer, it would behoove the Oilers to find any kind of cap relief they can.  Former first round picks Cogliano(’05), Sam Gagner(’07), Gilbert Brule (’05, acquired for Rafi Torres), Denis Grebeshkov(’02, and was once traded for Brent Sopel!), and Marc Pouliot(’03) are all due new paper. 

For the Hawks, a win would be lovely as it guarantees them of at least a .500 road trip.  With a cross-country set against the Sharks and Carolina Hurricanes on the horizon, this is the most winnable game left on the trip.  Two points against the Western Conference’s worst team will go a long way in talking some people off the ledge.

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3 Responses to Nothing’s Dirtier Than A Giant Ball of Oil

  1. Dave Morris says:

    Gentlemen, perhaps it is endemic for Hawks fans to be forever perched on the ledge.

    Where would the fun be, if there were no drama?

    But seriously, folks, the concerns that have been raised here following recent defeats has revolved around the recurring bad habits of the Hawkey Horde. As the Sens and Nucks demonstrated, Chicago is vulnerable when pressured early.

    There has also been a noticeable shortfall in defensive focus, and physical play, in their losses.

    I attribute some of these flaws to the absence of Mssrs Bolland and Burish, whose importance may have been underestimated.

    Bolland is the perfect compliment to John Madden (one might even say he is a younger Madden or even a Troy Murray-type). When Bolland is there, the Hawks’ ability to limit quality scoring chances–as opposed to mere shots–is greatly improved. AND Bolly can score.

    Burish’s buzzsaw style was the driving force behind the cumulative effectiveness of the well-muscled Burish-Eager-Brouwer-Byfuglien-Ladd group. When Agitatin’ Adam was on his game, all of them seemed to raise their levels of robustness as well. Not to mention AB’s abilities as a PK guy lightened the load on those teammates whose time is needed on offense (ie Mr Toews).

    When these two come back, the Hawks are a better team.

    Now, to the Oily business at hand.

    This game is critical if the Hawks want to stay above the .500 mark on this trip. At least a point is do-able, but I never underestimate a struggling opponent, and I expect neither does Q.

  2. Frankie J says:

    The real question is: Is it wrong for me to want Burish back just to make fun of Fernando Pisani?

  3. Dave Morris says:

    Frankie> absolutely not.

    And wasn’t it nice of the Hawks to win tonight?

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