Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Operation Re-Brand, Staff Playoff Pool

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Oiler Spill COYOTE HOWL! Your number one choice this playoff season for every bit of information about your favorite NHL playoff team.... The Phoenix Coyotes!

So while the Edmonton Oilers are a dead corpse floating in the North Saskatchewan River, the Phoenix Coyotes are alive and well, and clearly have the full support of this blog. In other words Oilers fans, I've turned heel. Awooooooooooooo! Let's go desert dogs! Coyote Howl staff playoff pool info, and predictions after the break.

Coyote Howl Staff Playoff Pool

The rules are simple. Each member of the staff had to choose who would win each series. Who ever does the best in each round of the playoffs gets six beers of his choice from each loser. So the winner gets a minimum of 12 beers. If no one wins, the beers are all banked for the next round.

In addition, any staffer who goes under .500 in the first round has to pay up 12 beers instead of six.
Let's get to the meat of it, here are the picks:

The Wild West
#8 Chicago vs #1 Vancouver

Farrel: Vancouver. For me this was an easy choice, The Canucks were by FAR the best team in the regular season and the Blackhawks barely made the playoffs. The Canucks are stronger at every position, this is their year, and more importantly this is the year they get over their Blackhawks playoff woes. Luongo doesn't have that silly captaincy hanging over his head, and Kesler has taken his game to the next level. Also without Ladd and Byfuglien, is the hate even still there for the Canucks? This will be an easy win.

Leo: Vancouver.

Dan: Chicago. Okay, let me start by saying this has more to do with my hatred for the Canucks than anything else. The Canucks are by far the stronger team skill-wise and physically. Mentally though I'm not convinced. They won't come out and say it but I think this is the last matchup the Canucks wanted. For the Hawks the core that won the Stanley Cup last year is still present. Sure there have been a couple changes but Crawford is just as good as Niemi and Brouwer can do Byfuglien's job in front of the net just fine. The chirping has already begun and I agree with former Canuck Ryan Johnson, the Canucks are not ready to beat the Blackhawks.

#7 Los Angeles vs #2 San Jose

Farrel: San Jose.

Leo: San Jose. No Kopitar, no way the Kings can win. Also, it's nice to see Dustin Penner is playing they way Oilers fans have come to expect him to play.

Dan: San Jose

#6 Phoenix vs #3 Detroit

Farrel: Detroit. I shouldn't need to explain this to anyone, even if you are part of Yotes Nation now. Detroit is better, Detroit will win. How many 20 goal scorers does Phoenix have again?

Leo: Phoenix.

Dan: Phoenix. Gotta disagree with both of you boys, and it's not just because I chose to re-brand the site. I don't believe the Wings are 100%. Jimmy Howard got hurt recently against Toronto, he will probably play but who knows how good he will be. Also Henrik Zetterberg is hurt. The Coyotes have a strong over all team that plays hard every night for their coach, who I do believe is stronger than Babcock, in Dave Tippet. Bryzgalov has a real chance to prove he is the best player in this series, and let's not forget this is a contract year for him.

#5 Nashville vs #4 Anaheim

Farrel: Anaheim.

Leo: Anaheim.

Dan: Anaheim. The Duck's top line is the best line in hockey right now. This is a classic D vs O matchup and I think the Ducks O is too much to handle. Even if the Preds can somehow stop the trio of Ryan, Perry, and Getzlaf, The Finish Flash is just itching to take center stage and score more big goals. If the Ducks get even half decent goaltending from Ellis/Emery/Hiller this will be an easy series. Mark my word, The Nashville Predators will not be one of #DanEllisProblems.

The Wild East
#8 New York vs #1 Washington

Farrel: Washington.

Leo: Washington. Another easy decision. This series has sweep potential written all over it. The Rangers are not a good team.

Dan: Washington. Okay settle down, I'm picking the Caps but I'll defend the Rangers for a second. Henrik Lundqvist is good enough to steal a game or two. I'm also not 100% sold on the Capital's goaltending, after all, the Rangers did finish the season with a stronger goal differential that the Capitals. But yeah, this is the Cap's series to lose.

#7 Buffalo vs #2 Philadelphia

Farrel: Philadelphia.

Leo: Philadelphia. This Flyers team had one goal going into this season, and it was to win the Stanley Cup. They might be the deepest team in the playoffs this season. Versteeg was a great addition. Their one weakness might be in net, but tell that to Michael Leighton, and by the way, Bobrovsky is better. Also who is going to score for the Sabres?

Dan: Philadelphia. The tiny twins of Gerbe and Ennis are going to get beat up by the Broad Street Bullies.

#6 Montreal vs #3 Boston

Farrel: Boston. Another easy choice, not only are the Bruins a better team, they got emensly better around the Trade Deadline when they picked up Tomas Kaberle. Between Horton, Lucic and Chara, the Bruins are going to punish the Canadiens both physically, and on the scoresheet. Have you been waiting for PK Subban and Carey Price to show signs of struggle this season? Well you won't have to wait much longer.

Leo: Boston.

Dan: Montreal. I still believe The Bell Centre is one of the toughest buildings in the league to play in, especially for a Boston Bruin. Carey Price has made the Hab's faithful forget about Jaro Halak. Cammalleri will be just as good as he was last year. For me the Canadien's success depends on Scott Gomez, he has got to up his game, and clearly based on my selection, I think he will.

#5 Tampa Bay vs #4 Pittsburgh

Farrel: Tampa Bay.

Leo: Tampa Bay. Dwayne Roloson and Marc-Andre Bergeron? I've seen that script before and it goes all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals! Stamkos and St. Louis are unstoppable and the addition of Eric Brewer has made their defence a very tough group to play against. Jordan Staal can't carry the load by himself.

Dan: Pittsburgh. Without Crosby and Malkin in the lineup the Lightning will be taking this Penguins team for granted and that is a huge mistake. After watching 24/7 everyone knows Dan Bylsma is one of the best coaches in the league and while Jordan Staal is no Crosby, he is a great two-way center. Dwayne Roloson is old and has been inconsistant all year, on the flip side after a shaky start, Marc-Andre Fleury has been fantastic, he will win this series for the Penguins. Also, he is by far the best Marc-Andre in the series.

Who is going to win?

Way to go out on a limb there Farrel and Leo. My prediction is you guys are squids, and I'm not going to have to pay for a beer all summer! Thoughts? Predictions? Leave a comment, send me an e-mail: or follow me on Twitter: @TheRealDanMoser.

A more comprehensive Coyotes vs Red Wings preview is coming up, in the mean time stay strong Yotes Nation. Awooooooooooo!

Podcast, Draft Lottery, Playoffs? Playoffs!

In case you haven't noticed by now, Oiler Spill has had a major overhaul. More on that later. For now, click play and enjoy an episode of an epic 3-way podcast featuring current Torontonian and J-school sports junkie Lawrence Dushenski, Edmontonian and all around hockey expert Chris Button, and myself, the idiot blogger.

In this episode we talk draft lottery, what does it all mean? Who will the Oilers go after?

Playoff matchups, who will win, and better yet, why will they win?

Enjoy, it's a gooder! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

An Old Yet New Eulogy For Your Edmonton Oilers

Editors note: I forgot I had a blog there for a while, to be fair the Oilers forgot how to play hockey for while, so we'll call it even (pause for laughter). This "eulogy" was written back in October, before the season started because I knew eventually the season would end, and I thought it would be fun. Commentary has been added in parentheses and the links are all current and updated like this one. Enjoy!

An Oilers Eulogy. Or, There Are No Surprises in Alberta
By Dan Moser

Well the season is over, and boy was it fun. I know it's not actually over, we are at game 70 but the Oilers have clinched 30th place so the season is over for them (close but not perfect). Let's be serious though, other than that brief bright spot in the middle of the season (well, the first game of the season), and the play of the rookies, this season has once again made me forget what NHL hockey in Edmonton looks like. Oh well, here comes another first overall draft pick. I hope Adam Larrson looks good in orange and blue (wouldn't be shocked to see Ryan Nugent-Hopkins picked, either way). Let's get onto it!


Another year, another statistically disappointing year from the forwards. Once again Dustin Penner, who hit 30 goals again, and Ales Hemsky, before his injury, have proven they are the only Oiler veterans that can score consistently (If you claim you saw Ryan Jones coming you are lying). The Oilers continue to have a huge problem down the middle, Shawn Horcoff has been consistently Shawn Horcoff, and I'm pretty sure I could win a faceoff against Andrew Cogliano.

Let's try and be positive for a second though, The five games the team got out of Gilbert Brule were alright. Sam Gagner has emerged a very poor team's number one centre (I had hoped). Jean Francios Jaques has come out of his shell, played a mostly injury free season and looks to be an effective energy player (sigh, sorry).  

For me personally the biggest positive has come in former Stanley Cup Champion Colin Fraser who has stepped up and become a decent third line option for the Oilers. He plays with confidence and give 100% every night. His knack for defensive play and ability to win a faceoff have made him a mainstay on this team (Let's just all forget I wrote this paragraph).

The Rookies

Taylor Hall. Taylor Hall. Taylor Hall. The kid has skill and proved it, don't be shocked to see him step and and receive that Calder Trophy this year in Vegas (I'll blame the injury). Before the season began I often said he was the most NHL ready player on the team and boy was I right. Leading an NHL team in scoring as an 18 year old (Do you think Taylor Hall knows what POGS are?) is no easy feat, and I cannot wait to see him continue to improve and grow next season. Also despite being an Oiler, the kid just does not know how to stay down or get hurt (close). I might even buy a jersey.

Jordan Eberle has also had a great season. He hit the 20 goal mark, which is fantastic, and just think of what might have happened had he not gotten hurt late in the year (almost right). Eberle is a sniper, he scores amazing goals and has a great shot, his defensive game could use some work though.

Although he was billed to possibly be the best of the rookie, Magnus Paajarvi has had some struggles. This season was about learning the North American game for him and he is well on his way. Personally I wouldn't mid seeing him at center or possibly playing the point on the powerplay (check). His skating ability and size make him an option at both these spots.


Ryan Whitney was the bright spot this season, of course that was before his season ending knee injury (did I get that one? Was it the knee?). He is a great number two in this league and will continue to be the focal point of this back end unless a trade is made in the offseason.

Kurtis Foster was, well pretty much what we all expected. His point totals took a hit from last season, seen Stamkos? Also I can't believe he ever played on Minnesota the way he is in his own zone what oh well, you get what you pay for, At least he has that shot that has made us forget about Souray (err umm, yeah...)! Seriously though, if I have to here about his old icing injury again that's it I'll never say another nice thing about him.

Theo Peckham has been physical, which has been a nice change of pace, and Jeff Petry looks like he might be ready to play full time. Smid is the same player as he was when he was traded to Edmonton.

Tom Gilbert was out of place on this team as a number two, but the way he has played since being traded has been great for him. A change of scenery may have been exactly what he needed. Hopefully the prospect and pick the Oilers got for him turn out to be players (I wonder how I thought Gilbert could be moved. Just change his name to Penner, same thing). 

This season the Oilers goaltenders didn't win them games, but they didn't cost them games either. When a team can't score, the only way they'll win is by shutout. The Oilers need some fresh goaltending stat. 

Sure the Oilers didn't have the most man games lost this year, but the players they lost were almost all of a significant nature. Despite the great season he was having, Ales Hemsky once again had to shut down his season early because of his wonky shoulder (I thought it would be the same shoulder he hurt last season, not the other one!). Injuries to both Gagner and Horcoff made the Oilers even weaker down the middle, and with the amount of games Brule played this season, it was easy to forget he was an Oiler.

Penner and Cogliano may have played the whole season, but really with the amount of games they didn't show up for, you could just call them injured too.

Whitney, Vandermeer and Smid (close enough) all went down as well forcing the Oilers to once again call on rookies on defence who were not ready to play the NHL paced game.

Next Year

It's probably too early to call it, you know with free agency and what not, but right now the Oilers will not make the playoffs next year. There better be some improvement though, anyone remember what meaningful hockey in March feels like?

Well, at least Calgary didn't make the playoffs either (bingo).

Check out the link below for a pretty cool radio show featuring Brett Hart. If you claim you don't like the Hitman you are lying plain and simple.