Rick Ley, to my good friend Pat whom I love. My good old friend, I pray that you might retain your good health and that your gum will relieve all of the stress imposed upon you by your young and foolish team (who I have come to greatly admire). It gives me great joy to know that you are still faithful to the truth and to the ancient tradition of rolling lines. There is no greater joy than seeing the bottom pairing defenders taking shifts in the third period!
Dear friend, I see that your concern for the Oilers is genuine, even though they are still strangers to you. They are all praising you in interviews and are thus demonstrating to the world how wonderful it is to walk in the way of truth. You would do well to go with them on the road to make sure that everyone is ready to get traffic to the front of the net, taking it one shift at a time for the full sixty minutes and giving 110 per cent.
It is for the sake of our traditions that you must have success. You won't be receiving any help form these young bucks like Julien, that Bostonian pagan from whom you will receive no favours. So you must make sure that the Oilers - your partners in this good fight against the tyranny of new ways - are always getting the appropriate hospitality. I know that means you'll need to get a hotel outside of Boston but it will be worth it to show them just how much you love them.
I tried to write to you before but I think Renney, who would love to steal your job I might add, must have gotten my letter. If you would only hire me to run the defence I wouldn't grumble about rolling the defenders like he does and I will stay faithful to our traditions that he wants nothing to do with. I will call attention to all of his undermining tactics and make sure that you are aware of his malicious gossip. Remember when you asked him for a favour and he couldn't even convince Tambellini to sign a responsible center? He found a problem with every suggestion, refusing to welcome a new man into the way of truth.
Dear friend, do not listen to the ways of Renney, but stay faithful to what we've done year after year. And remember, anyone with good counting numbers is from God. Anyone with a low shooting percentage is not from God for God has cursed him. Dustin Penner is well-spoken of by everyone so you should trust him. Everyone on my side of the glass - and remember, I'm totally willing to change what side of the glass I'm on... call me - speaks well of him too, especially his big body presence. You know me well and so you know that I am telling you the truth.
There's so much more that I could write to you, but why would I use a pen and paper when we could just see each other face to face! Let me know what hotel you're staying at in Providence or Worcester or Lowell and I'll meet you there. I've got some practice drills ready to go! Until I see you, may the peace of God rest on you. I'll greet everyone here for you. Make sure to give everyone there my name and my best wishes.
Edmonton Oilers (7-5-1) @ Boston Bruins (5-5-1)
TD Banknorth Garden, 11:00 A.M. MDT
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report: There were a lot of people calling on the Bruins to regress somewhat this year. The three main reasons were an expectation that Tim Thomas wouldn't be able to replicate his performance from last season, an expectation that Boston wouldn't be able to finish on such a high percentage of their shots again this season and a loss of talent over the summer, particularly Phil Kessel but also Aaron Ward and P.J. Axelsson. The first two things have indeed come to fruition and the third has been compounded by long-term injuries to Marc Savard and Milan Lucic. At this point the Bruins just don't have nearly as many scoring options as they had last year and are relying on some inexperienced options up front to carry a load that may be too heavy for them.
Behind the Numbers:
- Steve Staios has played four more games as an Oiler than Paul Coffey and has three fewer penalty minutes... and 540 fewer points.
- Shawn Horcoff has lost 31 faceoffs on the penalty kill. The rest of the team has taken 28.
- Steve MacIntyre has played in 3 games so far this year and has been given 4:54 in total ice time.
- Zack Stortini has played a total of 16:00 on the power play so far this season. Andrew Cogliano? 6:30
- Patrice Bergeron leads the Bruins in scoring with 8 points. There are 7 Oilers who have at least that many.