So tonight, the Oilers, who’ve won ONE game in their last 10, take on the Minnesota Wild. The Wild have embarrassingly dominated the Oilers, winning 19 of the last 20 matchups. That’s unbelievable. Anyone who thinks this shit bag team is going to play spoilers and bump the Wild out of a playoff spot is in for bitter disappointment. You might be best not turning this one on. I predict a final score of 3-0. I typically am not this doom and gloom about the Oilers, but really… all signs point to a pretty crappy game. You’ve been forewarned.
However, a bit of wackiness in the lines tonight. I am interested in the top line. Horcoff seemed to really mesh well with Hall and Eberle when they were breaking into the league. Seeing Hall and Yakupov as his book ends will be mighty interesting. Also, Fistric will play with Justin Schultz. That’s a strange one, in a way.. but maybe the Oilers want to see the full potential from Fistric? Or perhaps that will be the bottom pairing, since Justin Schultz has been showing flaws in his D game for a fair bit now (he’s young though, so I’m not alarmed).
Khabibulin gets the start tonight, which might be our only wild card hope in stealing a win.
Some good 30 thoughts today by Elliot Friedman:
22. Oilers GM Craig MacTavish, asked if he sees Taylor Hall as a winger or a centre: “We wanted to try him at centre this season, but aside from some faceoff work when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins struggled, it never materialized … Terry O’Reilly always used to tell me, ‘Position is just a place where you line up when they drop the puck.’ Taylor covers a lot of ice from the wing.”
23. MacTavish had another good quote: “My vision of the team will be very obvious very quickly.” He pointed to Montreal as a team he hoped to emulate. It’s tough to make trades right after the season because you can’t deal with anyone in the playoffs and those who are out of it prefer to decompress before making important decisions. It’s a good thing he was at the under-18s in Russia because this week’s been a nightmare.
24. MacTavish did not specifically address Oscar Klefbom, but the sense is the Oilers consider the left-shooting defensive prospect an untouchable. I also think they are realistic about his impact, especially after Justin Schultz’s late-season struggles. They believe he can be a top-pairing blue-liner, but maybe not for two years.
25. Finally, Edmonton is going to try and upgrade in goal. Devan Dubnyk’s held them in a lot more games than the Oilers deserve, but they don’t have much throughout the organization. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them chase guys who can help them in both the NHL and AHL.
OILERS LINES (CONFIRMED)
Hall – Horcoff – Yakupov
Paajarvi – Gagner – Eberle
Belanger – Lander – Jones
Smyth – Smithson – Brown
Smid – Petry
Fistric – J.Schultz
N. Schultz – Potter