Leafs vs Oilers – To Be Played in Quebec Next Year

Last week it was the 54 best teams in the East who suited up against the Leafs. This week it’ll be the 2 worst teams in the West before a HNIC showdown with Vancouver on Saturday. In what is being called the West Coast Waffle week (WCW for you wrasslin’ fans), the Leafs take a tour of lovely Western Canada with stops in Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver.

Previous meetings with the Oilers and Canucks ended in blowout losses to both with scores of 5-0 and 5-3 respectfully. The Leafs-Flames game on Thursday will be their first meeting this season and captain Dion Phaneuf’s first game in the Saddledome since getting traded last season. But the Leafs can’t afford to look ahead to that as tonight they face the young Oilers who already have a taste for Leafs blood and are eagerly looking to get out of the draft lottery.

After an incredibly slow start, the Oilers are 6-3-1 over their last 10 games and definitely playing better hockey than their record would suggest. The injury sustained by Captain Shawn Horcoff led to Youtube star Linus Omark getting called up and he dazzle in his first game with a shootout goal that Dan Ellis didn’t find humorous at all.

Also with his callup, Omarks becomes the 4th player on the Oilers’ lineup to have been drafted by the team over the last 4 years. A great example of why drafting is so important to team development. If it wasn’t for their atrocious goaltending and defense, this would be a team to watch out for in the next 2 to 3 years as being a Cup contender.

Thankfully Tambellini is a moron and has no idea how to run a team. Maybe when the Oilers change their locale and move to Quebec City they’ll change their GM as well and finally stop being a perennial bottom feeder.

The Leafs are like the bizarro version of the Oilers. A young team build around a solid defense core but lacking a respectable offense. With Phaneuf’s return, the team has gone 1 and 1 with an embarrassing loss to a better Philly team and a hard fought win against the Habs.

Mike Komisarek and Brown remain out with injuries though it’s Brown that the Leafs miss most right now as his work ethic and self sacrifice provide great examples for the young players to learn from. Phil Kessel ended his goal scoring drought on Saturday but would need to score a hattrick tonight to get back onto a 40 goal pace for the season; which is what he needs to do to justify his much maligned trade in 2009.

In net tonight it’s a battle of the old bones as J.S. Giguere takes on Nikolai Khabibulin. Both are shells of their former selves though and likely in their last year(s) of playing in the NHL.  Giguere’s decline has been fully exposed this season in Toronto and has been ongoing since his Stanley Cup win with the Ducks in 2007.

As shown below, since then he’s career save percentage has falling by .010 % from .922 to .912. Which is a whole lot over 3 years when it factors in 500+ career games.

Yeah, not good. Hopefully Giguere can stop his decline and just play "average" for the rest of the season. If he continues playing as a .900 goalie and gets a fair amount of starts, then the Leafs will finish in the draft lottery. He needs to be better; hopefully he can be.

Tonight I’m expecting pucks to go into the net with ease and ending up 5-4. Who will the winner be? No idea, but a Leafs win would be nice.

  • It’s funny that Oilers fans think that a President and GM combination that made the Oilers bottom feeders while trying to win and maxing out the cap are suddenly going to become good cap managers and evaluators of talent just because of Eberle and Hall.

    I pity the intelligent Oilers fans because they at least have a clue.

  • “Thankfully Tambellini is a moron and has no idea how to run a team. Maybe when the Oilers change their locale and move to Quebec City they’ll change their GM as well and finally stop being a perennial bottom feeder.”

    Hehe. Hehehe.

    I’m sorry, but in comparison, the Oilers management is a Utopian civilization compared to the hell the Toronto higher ups have caused for their own organization. I am not a fan of either club, but it’s always been fun learning what that wacky Burke has been doing to your hockey team’s future. Over-valuing should be Burke’s motto.

    • Unfortunately, they don’t give Stanley Cups for arguably being better in comparison to the Maple Leafs. Your system has 0 defence and 0 goaltending prospects.

      It’s been fun for us watching Lowe and Tambellini flail about trying to sign UFAs like Sheldon Souray and Nikolai Khabibulin. It gives me great comfort knowing those two are the ones making the decisions for the Oilers because it guarantees they won’t make anything out of consecutive bottom-five finishes.

      Can’t wait to see what muted return they get for Ales Hemsky or to watch Dustin Penner walk in two years.

      • Wax Man Riley

        Zero Goal and Defense prospects? Really? Look at the WJC Team Canada Roster. Didn’t Blacker and Ross just get cut?

        And I think there is a goalie by the name of Roy that is looking to be the #1. What team has his rights again?

        Good luck Laffs! See you at the game!

      • ehcg

        I dislike Tambellini as much as anyone does and I agree that he is a horrible GM and the praise he gets for having the amazing vision to waive a couple of obvious problem players is pretty laughable.

        However, 0 defence and 0 goaltending prospects is probably stretching things considering Petry is currently 4th in AHL scoring with a +/- that is constantly increasing after a bad start due to adjusting from college hockey. Plante is also becoming very solid and reliable defensively. Olivier Roy, another Oiler prospect, is likely to be Canada’s starting goaltender in the World Juniors this year.

        The problem isn’t really our lack of defensive prospects, it’s our lack of willingness or ability to spend money on solid veteran role-playing defencemen while those prospects develop.

        All that being said, good luck tonight. I don’t particularly care if we win games this year, I’m just looking for entertainment.

  • Mike from Canmore's illegitimate love child

    Being an Oiler fan I have to suffer through watching the young Taylor Hall creativity and pure speed. Oh if only the Oilers had hired Burke to trade away our first round draft picks (picks=this years as well) for some kessel-like player, as kessel will lead the leafs to the playoffs, he did last year, right??? Enjoy another decade of terrible hockey teams and pure stupidity leafs nation

    • If you were literate I’d point you to the Copper and Blue where you can read all about Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini’s shortcomings and failures.

      I’m happy to know Edmonton has players like Taylor Hall so that their fans can build themselves up just in time for Tambellownie to mess it all up.