"Hitch up my team!" MacLean ordered. Once it was properly Hitched MacLean, president and general manager of the Blue Jackets, grew confident and rode out to meet ownership so that he might defend his future. He requested a meeting at Chili's since he'd recently heard from his mentor in management that Chili's is where business is done. Ownership decided to meet him in front of the restaurant and MacLean met them there. He held out his hand and joked, "Do you come in peace?"
"Peace? What peace? How can there be peace as long as our team is a laughing stock around the league, without a single playoff game in our franchise history thanks to your hockey decisions which mirror those of a twelve year-old boy!"
MacLean turned and ran toward his car screaming, "Treachery Hitch! Treachery! We must escape so that they won't be able to fire me!" But Hitch had locked the doors. The owners walked up more convinced than ever and they fired him. The news pierced MacLean's heart and he slumped down, his face pressed against the roof of the car. Hitch got out of the car and the owners spoke to him: "Pick him up and throw him on the scrap heap of old management types who end up on television so that his foolishness will be widely recognized. Remember when we hired you and we heard the voice of Yahweh for ourselves, and it made this prophecy: 'I have seen the work of his hands and it is disgraceful. I will make him pay for his foolishness and deliver unto you a redeemer for I have taken pity on you.' So then, pick him up and put him on Sportsnet so that we may find our redeemer and the word of Yahweh may be fulfilled!"
Columbus Blue Jackets (5-2-0) @ Edmonton Oilers (5-2-1)
Rexall Place, 7:30 PM MDT
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report: With both Mike Commodore and Jan Hejda on injured reserve the Blue Jackets are having fun playing guys at the NHL level every night that they'd rather not. For the Jackets Taylor Chorney and Jason Strudwick are spelled Anton Stralman and Mathieu Roy (my congratulations on making it back to the NHL). The Blue Jackets have used a similar strategy to the Oilers, giving all six guys significant (15+) minutes instead of relying on two of Kris Russell, Marc Methot, Stralman or Roy to play huge minutes in their top four. This strategy makes sense for the Jackets. I wish the Oilers didn't use it and relied more on their top four healthy guys. The Oilers don't have a lot of depth in terms of numbers on defence but they do in terms of quality going five or six deep. I wish they'd use it.
The goaltending from Steve Mason has also been a bit suspect posting an .899 save percentage through six games. Funnily enough that's the exact save percentage Mason posted last year in his last 38 regular season games. After the season Tyler Dellow wondered about what odds he might get on Mason playing 10 games in the AHL this season. I wonder if he found any takers. After a 6-3 loss to the Flames coach Ken Hitchcock said, "You give up twenty shots on goal, on the road, and allow six goals, it's not good enough." Given that situation and the fact that former Oiler Mathieu Garon has stopped a lot of pucks in his two appearances, I think there's a decent chance Garon starts against the Oilers.
So with all of that dirty laundry, how are these guys 5-2? Well, as vulnerable as they are on defense and in goal they've still got a ton of depth up front. Rick Nash already has 11 points on the season and his supporting cast is chipping in nicely. Considering all of the injuries on defence for both sides, this should be a fun game to watch (even if it is Hitchcock behind the bench).
Edmonton Oilers (5-2-1):
Comrie - Horcoff - O'Sullivan
Penner - Gagner - HemskyJacques - Cogliano - Nilsson
MacIntyre - Moreau - Stortini
Visnovsky - Strudwick
Grebeshkov - Gilbert
Smid - Chorney
Behind The Numbers:
- Ladislav Smid has now gone 8 games without registering a shot on goal.
- Despite the 5-2-1 record, Edmonton has been outshot by the fourth-widest margin in the league thus far, as only Florida, Anaheim and Colorado are being outshot by a larger margin.
- Edmonton is second in the league in the NHL in shooting percentage at 15.1%, trailing Calgary's 16.5%.
- Edmonton is fifth in the league in save percentage at 92.2%
- Jan Hejda is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a sprained knee. Nevermind Curtis Glencross, Hejda is one of the biggest mistakes Lowe made in his time as GM after the lockout.
- Fernando Pisani is practicing again - the earliest he can come back is game eleven, Sunday at Vancouver.