In case holidaying kept you from the sports page, here's what the Oilers were up to recently. On the night before the night before Christmas (December 23) the Oilers faced the Kings in Los Angeles but lost 3-2 after a shootout. Boxing Day in Vancouver saw the Oilers convert a 2-0 second period lead into a 3-2 loss. Then Buffalo came to town and beat the Oilers 4-2. In other, non-Oiler news, Darryl Sutter jumped/was pushed from the GM seat down in Cowtown.
We're at the tail end of a decade of Oiler hockey. Since the beginning of the 2000-01 NHL season, the following players have had game-winning goals or decisive shootout winners, victimizing our poor Oilers. Here are the repeat offenders. Jerks, the lot of them:
7 Game Winners: Daniel Sedin
5 Heartbreakers: Owen Nolan, Brian Rolston, Joe Sakic
4 Oiler-Killers: Marian Gaborik, Kristian Huselius, Jarome Iginla, JM Liles, Brenden Morrow, Keith Tkachuk
3 Edmonton Losses: Jason Arnott , Todd Bertuzzi, Rene Bourque, Martin Erat, Valtteri Filppula, Ryan Getzlaf, Tomas Holmstrom, Daymond Langkow, Marian Hossa, Paul Kariya, Matthew Lombardi, Mike Modano, Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, Joe Pavelski, Corey Perry, Dion Phaneuf, Sergei Zubov
2 Lucky Games: Steve Bernier, Phillippe Boucher, Dan Boyle, Dustin Brown, Brent Burns, Mike Cammalleri, Dan Cleary, Matt Cooke, Dallas Drake, Chris Drury, Pascal Dupuis, Radek Dvorak, Patrick Elias, Peter Forsberg, Kurtis Foster, Mikhail Grabovski, Bill Guerin, Martin Hanzal, Derian Hatcher, Patric Hornqvist, Jaromir Jagr, Joey Juneau, Chuck Kobasew, Viktor Kozlov, Guillaume Latendresse, Vinny Lecavalier, Patrick Marleau, Dean McAmmond, Ladislav Nagy, Alexander Radulov, Sami Salo, Henrik Sedin, Patrick Sharp, Lee Stempniak, Brad Stuart, Mats Sundin, Marek Svatos, Alex Tanguay, Raffi Torres, Doug Weight, Dennis Wideman, Wojtek Wolski. DY
Worst Christmas Ever
After I pronounced last week would be the best Christmas ever for the Oil, the guys lost the last three in heartbreaking fashion, the kind of "good game but still a loss" that everyone went into the season expecting out of this exciting but nonetheless inexperienced bunch. While the playoff dream is still alive, most fans would have to admit that it's on life support at this point. Still, we can take solace in the fact that we're not New Jersey. What the hell is going on over there? BB
Stan Lee Cup
I know it's just a marketing gimmick, but I'm getting a kick out of the "Guardian Project." Comics legend Stan Lee has created 30 iconic superheroes to represent each NHL team. And after spending a good portion of the first half of my life reading comics, I appreciate this mash-up. Fans can vote online (guardianproject30.com) to determine the order in which the heroes will be unveiled. To make things more interesting, the Oiler hero is pitted against the Flames icon. As of Tuesday night, the unveiling is set for January 7 and our squad is barely leading with 52 percent of the vote. DY
New Year's Resolutions
With the new year fast approaching—or perhaps already passed by the time you're reading this—it might be good to think about resolutions a few Oilers might like to make:
Ales Hemsky: same as every year, shoot more.
Andrew Cogliano: purchase comprehensive dental insurance.
Oilers defence: Let's have a game where our goalie faces less than 30 shots once in awhile.
Dustin Penner: more references to Eastbound & Down in post-game comments.
Tom Renney: it's time to pick a tough guy and go with him, the Oil's rotating cast of bruisers is stunting the development of all of them.
Linus Omark: don't let the bastards drag you down. I saw that plain Jane shootout move against the Kings—it didn't work, did it? Bring back the magic!
Oilers management: you gotta rethink the Octane. I'm begging you.
The Oilers have kept one resolution from last year and that has been to keep down the injuries. At only 58 man games lost to injury at the time of writing—almost half the season now—that's just over 10 percent of last year's 530 total. BB
Oiler Player of the Week
Ales Hemsky: for returning from injury and getting an assist against Buffalo. DY
Jeff Petry: first NHL point in his first NHL game and the call-up deftly handled nearly 23 minutes on the ice after Whitney went down. BB