GDB 47.0: Spoiler?

Jonathan Willis
April 26 2013 05:21PM

The Oilers are in something of an interesting position tonight. If they win, they can put a serious crimp in the Minnesota Wild’s playoff ambitions, playing the role of late-season spoiler. However, they can only do so by damaging their draft position.

The Stakes

The three-team playoff race in the West is most likely to end with the Blue Jackets falling just short. With a win tonight, the Wild could guarantee themselves a playoff berth. However, should the Oilers win in regulation, the Wild’s playoff chances drop from 90.4 percent down to 71.3 percent, while the Blue Jackets’ chances jump from 30.8 percent to 44.3 percent.

Yesterday, we considered the Oilers’ draft position needs; four of the teams the Oilers are in competition with for the second overall spot were in action. Unfortunately for the Oilers, all four lost; only Carolina (overtime loss to the New York Rangers) picked up a point. The relevant standings are as follow:

A win would slide the Oilers from fifth down to seventh in the pre-lottery draft rankings, which would undo part of the one and only benefit from all of their recent losing.

Memory Lane

It isn’t exactly the same situation, but the dilemma reminds me a little of the one the Oilers faced in 2006-07. The team had spectacularly collapsed following the trade deadline move of Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders; in the 20 games leading up to the final contest of the year they failed to managed even one regulation win – they had two shootout victories and 18 regulation losses over that span.

But they managed to overcome a 2-0 deficit at the midway point of the game, scoring the next three goals and winning the contest on Patrick Thoresen’s third period tip-in. The win gave the Oilers 71 points, tying them with Chicago. The Oilers had the tie-breaker, though, so entering the draft lottery they held the sixth overall pick while Chicago had the fifth selection and the final one with a chance at first overall.

Chicago won the draft lottery, and ended up picking Patrick Kane first overall. The Oilers still ended up with a pretty good player – Sam Gagner – in the sixth overall spot, but it was a pivotal moment in the history of both franchises.

The Lineup

Via the Oilers’ official Twitter feed, here are the lines for tonight’s game:

  • Taylor Hall – Shawn Horcoff – Nail Yakupov
  • Magnus Paajarvi – Sam Gagner – Jordan Eberle
  • Ryan Jones – Eric Belanger – Anton Lander
  • Ryan Smyth – Jerred Smithson – Mike Brown
  • Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
  • Nick Schultz – Corey Potter
  • Mark Fistric – Justin Schultz
  • Nikolai Khabibulin

Quick Hits

  • Jason Gregor was supposed to write this piece. Apparently, he’s “too busy” with “raising money to fight Alzheimers” to fulfill his blog-writing responsibilities. I'll let the readers decide where that rates on the jerk scale.

  • Jason was nice enough to pass along this encouraging statistic: “Backstrom is a perfect 17-0 at home vs. Oilers with a 1.34 GAA, a .948 save pct., and four shutouts. Wow.” He didn’t finish that comment with ‘have fun explaining why anybody should expect anything other than another humiliating Oilers loss’ but I think that was implied.
  • Taylor Hall would seem to have some chance at an extra $2 million in bonus money if he has a strong finish to the season.
  • The Justin Schultz/Nick Schultz pairing has gone minus-6 against the Wild this season; no other player on the team is worse than minus-3. Maybe it’s a good thing Krueger is splitting them up.
  • This might be the last game Nikolai Khabibulin ever plays for the Oilers, with Devan Dubnyk set to start tomorrow and Khabibulin’s contract expiring this summer.

Predictions

Game day prediction: The Oilers will lose a dull and one-sided game, falling by a 3-1 score.

Obvious game day prediction: The Oilers goal will be scored by Nail Yakupov, and after the game he’ll disappointedly say, “I don’t care about the goal, I just want to win.”

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: The Oilers’ second pairing will have a surprisingly good night, as Corey Potter plays well and Nick Schultz is much-improved when separated from Justin Schultz. Potter will pick up an assist on the Yakupov goal.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#151 Eddie Shore
April 27 2013, 01:10PM
Trash it!
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@Spydyr

Yes, that's exactly what I said.

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#152 Dangilitis
April 27 2013, 03:55PM
Trash it!
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

You should get your parents to read your post and the posts you are responding to. They might disagree with your understanding of "humility is a virtue" bit.

Are you vying for the stupidest comment on this post? If you are accusing me of not being humble, then I think you are extremely confused as to what humble is. Am I aggressively chastising DSF for being a hypocrite? Yes. Is it warranted? Absolutely. Am I stating what many others on this site believe? The props seem to indicate so. Again, if you can explain to me how my comment demonstrates a lack of humility, then perhaps you can defend yourself. But, in actuality, you have no basis for your argument that I have no understanding of "humility is a virtue," you don't know anything about me, and all I know about you is that you post moronic comments.

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#153 keilan
April 27 2013, 03:56PM
Trash it!
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Eddie Shore wrote:

You guys make it sound like we are stuck drafting Marc Pouliot. We won, it was enjoyable and much needed for the TEAM. Get over it. We are still going to get a good prospect.

Glad you enjoyed yourself, half of this team will be gone shortly so lets hope together they make good use of this much needed win - - clueless

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Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
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cheers
Dangilitis wrote:

Are you vying for the stupidest comment on this post? If you are accusing me of not being humble, then I think you are extremely confused as to what humble is. Am I aggressively chastising DSF for being a hypocrite? Yes. Is it warranted? Absolutely. Am I stating what many others on this site believe? The props seem to indicate so. Again, if you can explain to me how my comment demonstrates a lack of humility, then perhaps you can defend yourself. But, in actuality, you have no basis for your argument that I have no understanding of "humility is a virtue," you don't know anything about me, and all I know about you is that you post moronic comments.

Well I'm glad I caught this post before this article left the first page.

Ok, let me see if I can break this down for you using your own words....

"Haha... I will take this further. DSF, you remind me of the prototypical pompous ass who repeatedly puts others down to stroke their own ego and make himself feel better about their own blatant inadequacies as a human being."

So you really show a lot of humility here by laughing at him and calling him names and commenting about his inadequacies as a human being with no possible way of ever proving it. It's great that you can have a laugh at the expense of others but that shows arrogance and immaturity not humility.

"Am I aggressively chastising DSF for being a hypocrite? Yes. Is it warranted? Absolutely"

You admit that your are "aggressively chastising" DSF and yet you think you're humble? Look I disagree with about 99% of what DSF says but that's not the issue here. DSF is an easy target and yes he makes himself one. As human beings we seem to like to chastise other humans when we get a chance. And we like it even more when we chastise people as a group (piling on). There is nothing humble about this behaviour and this is exactly what you are doing. Whether it's warranted or not is irrelevant.

"Why you have not been asked to leave this site is beyond me, but it would make literally everyone else who reads this site ecstatic if you receded into oblivion"

Again, show me what part of this sentence shows your humility. That's a pretty bold statement to be making on behalf of everyone who reads this site for such a humble person. Wow, you must know everyone here personally and have asked their opinion on DSF. Funny I never got a phone call and I obviously read this site.

You go on here and go on about how your parents taught you that "humility is a virtue" yet you jump on an easy target after a bunch of people have already done so. You're the guy in a fight that comes in and gets his kicks in after two of your friends have already beaten down the other guy. There is nothing humble about your posts, in fact they display ignorance, arrogance and absolute cowardliness.

I can go on here but if you don't get it by now then it's obvious you brought a butter knife to a gun fight and there is no point going on with this convo.

And please don't try and twist this around by accusing me of not being humble. I've never claimed to be. You did. All I'm doing is calling out your sh!t.

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