GDB Sharks (32-16-7) @ Oilers (24-25-5): Oh boy
Literally direct headshot. That’s a ton of points in Call of Duty. I’m pretty sure Kass wasn’t even penalized on the play. Playoff hockey, baby. I miss playoff hockey. Feels like an entire epoch ago that the Oilers and Zack Kassian figuratively and literally bulldozed their way through the Sharks. Peter DeBoer – who always looks like he just discovered an unexpected surcharge on his phone bill – had to stand in front of the microphone and answer media questions while 18,000 drunk Oilers fans stormed his press conference like Normandy. We almost had to call Myth Busters to determine how the Ford Hall was still erect after we danced up a storm on that oversized pedway. Life was good. Since those glorious days, Ryan Kesler blatant interference with Talbot’s pad went uncalled, Peter continued to dismantle whatever was left of our roster, I still haven’t received any goddamn jerseys from the Florida Panthers, and the Oilers are in lottery contention for the 11th time in 12 years.
Oh boy, they’re good. The Sharks are the fourth best team in the NHL. We are not. We are this:
It was an optional skate today so there are no line combos to report but according to the Cock:
Mythical creature Colby Cave comes out of the lineup and is replaced by Brodziak’s seven points. Kevin Gravel, who is better than at least three of the defensemen currently on our roster, draws back into the lineup for Benning. That idiot Brandon Manning actually wasn’t awful against Minnesota so he stays in. And the goalie we didn’t sign to a three-year extension will make his second straight start. I’m guessing we’re rolling something like this:
Rattie – McDavid – Draisaitl
Lucic – Nuge – Chiasson
Khaira – Malone – Kassian
Rieder – Brodziak – Puljujarvi
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Manning – Gravel
The mystery of Jesse Puljujarvi continues as we are willingly playing a 20-year-old scoring winger with a guy who is allergic to scoring goals and 106-year-old Kyle Brodziak for 4.5 minutes per night. We have absolutely blown his early development. The fucked up thing is, it’s not too late to save him. We could easily just send him down and let him develop, then give him a cheap two-year extension next year and hope to God that we didn’t completely
Did I mention that Cam Talbot is starting again? Cam’s trying his Iceman hardest to keep the Oilers in relevance down the stretch and he’ll probably play for someone else next week because we signed Anders Nilsson 2.0 to a massively impregnable extension.
For some reason we’re the only team that tweets out line combinations and today I just don’t feel like taking an uploading screenshots into the blog. Their roster is good. It’s very good. It looks something like this:
Meier – Couture – Pavelski
Kane – Hertl – Donskoi
Sorensen – Thornton – Labanc
Goodrow – Gambrell – Karlsson
Simek – Burns
Vlasic – Heed
Dillon – Braun
Still no starting goalie confirmation but let’s assume it’s Jones, who has been surprisingly mediocre against the Oilers in his career (8-5-1, 0.891 SV%, 2.65 GAA). Watch Dell get the call now.
Even without the best defenseman in hockey, that roster is stacked. What’s that like? We missed our best defenseman and another top three defenseman for what felt like an eternity and our blue line loosely resembled a modern day Pompeii. Erik Karlsson is also the third highest paid defenseman on their roster (until he gets all the money on July 1, but still, WOW). He only makes $1 million more than the shattered remains of Andrej Sekera. It took four years but the GM who gave Rej that contract is currently bussing tables at a TGI Fridays.
Elsewhere in their lineup, Tim Heed is kind of good at hockey. Brenden Dillon, who ran into that freight train named Zack Kassian in the GIF at the top, is also a good defenseman. He and/or Justin Braun could have and probably should have been on the Oilers (both combine to make about $0.750 more than Russell and Manning) but again, we employed an idiot. Also Martin Jones only makes about $1 million more than Mikko Koskinen will next year. Thankfully, it’s a Saturday. If you’re going to the game tonight, might I suggest the beers.
To the surprise of everyone who every researched the anatomy of the human body, Sekera actually played a hockey game last night. The Cock’s scouting report looked like this:
Oh that’s good. Our $5.5 million defenseman looked good against American Leaguers. I don’t care that he has the bone structure of a middle-aged Alex Hemsky, if you’re the highest paid defenseman on the roster I would hope to hell you played “way above the pace” of players who’ll never sniff an NHL game. Yay.
Amazingly, we’re only two points back of a wildcard position. We’re only trailing: St. Louis, who started historically terrible; Colorado, who just blew a 2-0 lead against the Islanders and who just look so goddamn terrible; and Vancouver, who are fucking Vancouver. We’re tied with the Chicago Blackhawks, and are two points ahead of the most injured team in hockey and the Anaheim Ducks – a team that has now won just twice in the last 54 days. If Anaheim played .500 hockey during that stretch they’d be 3,000 points ahead of us. Good one, Randy.
If I sound unusually skeptical after a big win it’s because I am. That’s due to the fact that the Oilers have made it this way. It’s their fault that I’m pessimistically not optimistic. I thought we looked okay against the Wild and we were still outshot 36 to 23. But we’re back home now, where we’ve been characteristically horrible and where we play a very good hockey team chasing Calgary for tops the Western Conference. This game has blowout written all over it.
Blowout time. 7-2 Oilers. Connor with five. Let’s go, baby. Game’s at 5:00 because who knows.