Ulanov, a servant of Jesus Christ and both brother and secret blood brother of Horcov, to those who have been called as members of the Oilogosphere, who are loved by God our one true father and kept by Jesus Christ: may faith, love and peace be yours in abundance as you watch God's own hockey team.
Dearest friends, although I am always eager to write to you about the hope in God that we all share I felt that I needed to write you now and urge you to strongly contend for the faith that was entrusted to all of us. For there have been certain pessimists who have slipped in among you. They are godless men, intelligent to be sure, but constantly putting their faith in numbers and denying the power of Jesus Christ, our sovereign Lord, to grant victory after victory.
Though you already know all this I wanted to remind you that it was the Lord who delivered this people out of the WHA along with three others who were then destroyed for their unbelief. And remember the fall of Ryan Smyth who, because of pride and greed, did not keep his position of authority but abandoned his own home - God has not forgotten him but has instead kept him darkness, afflicted him with injuries, and is waiting for the great day of judgment when the Canadian Olympic team is announced to insult him once again. In a similar way Gretzky and Messier and their supporting cast turned away from the truth of the gospel and embraced a lust for money. They serve as an example of those who will be punished.
The Blues. They claim that they play for a Saint but really don't know the first thing about that which is holy! For even Cal Nichols when he was disputing with Peter Pocklington about the ownership of this great team wasn't so stupid as to bring slanderous accusations against him but instead said, "May the Lord be your judge." Yet these Blues speak abusively against the team that God has chosen and what little experience they have with glory was purely incidental to God's plan. And yet they claim to play for a Saint! Woe to them! They have taken the dishonest way of Pocklington; they have rushed off into Smyth's error, thinking only of profit; they were destroyed by Pronger's rebellion and have not yet recovered. These men are blemishes to the game of hockey, competing against you without realizing that they compete against God's chosen ones. They are like clouds without rain or trees without fruit. They skate, they shoot, they hit, but all of it without even a taste of glory.
Glen Sather, the last of the primeval coaches prophesied about the Blues: "See, the Lord is with Edmonton. You joined the National Hockey League first but the Lord will convict all of the ungodly for all of their ungodly acts done in the most ungodly of ways. The Oilers will win more Stanley Cups from this day until it is no longer awarded." And in fact, this prophecy came to pass and some teams, those most ungodly of sinners, have not won the Stanley Cup even once since the prophecy was declared.
Edmonton Oilers (14-13-4) @ St Louis Blues (13-11-5)
Scottrade Center, 6:00 P.M. MDT
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report: It would probably be rough to be a fan of the St. Louis Blues though, on some level, I feel like we Oiler fans can relate. A lot of fans of the Blues likely thought this team was ready to take a big step forward. After all, despite a huge rash of injuries the Blues had an enormous run through the final two months of the season with some young players to climb into the playoffs. Now, that ending is a little better than what took place with the Oilers but the rest has a certain familiarity. I haven't looked at the Blues process all that much over those last several months but it I think that their pace may have been a bit inflated. It's something that might be worth a look.
On the other hand, although the Blues haven't lived up to the expectations of most people so far in terms of their record - their spot in the sun stolen by other young teams in Phoenix and Los Angeles - they've been playing some pretty decent hockey. The Blues have actually been a pretty good team at even strength so far this season, getting a lot of shots travelling toward the net and a sufficient number on goal but have only 71 goals to show for it, good for last in the Western Conference. The percentages should turn for these guys as the season progresses but the real problem is on the power play where the team just needs to start generating more shots on goal to go along with goals themselves. If they wait too long to turn it around the club will get a reputation as a "second half" team but I'm sure most Blues fans would take that over "bad" team.
Edmonton Oilers (14-13-4):
Penner - Gagner - Brule
Jacques - O'Sullivan - Horcoff
Moreau - Potulny - Cogliano
Stone - Stortini - Nilsson
Smid - Visnovsky
Gilbert - Souray
Strudwick - Staios
St Louis Blues (13-11-5)
Perron - McDonald - Boyes
Oshie - Tkachuk - Backes
Kariya - McClement - Crombeen
Winchester - Berglund - Janssen
Jackman - Polak
Colaiacovo - Johnson
Pietrangelo - Weaver
Behind the Numbers:
- The St. Louis Blues have the 30th ranked power play in the NHL at 12.3%. The last time a team has been that bad over the course of a season was 2006-07 when two teams did it. One of them was the Blues. In 2008-09 the Blues PP was ranked 8th (20.8%), in 2007-08 it was ranked 30th (14.1%) and in 2006-07 it was ranked 29th (12.1%). Blues fans had best hope that last year wasn't a fluke.
- Last season David Backes was second among forwards with 49 minor penalties. Ethan Moreau tied for seventh with 43. So far this season both Backes and Moreau are tied for 28th with 12. Scott Hartnell, last season's leader, and Steve Downie are tied for first with 18.
- Neither of these two teams have lost a game in regulation when leading after two periods. The Blues are 8-0-1 while the Oilers are 9-0-3.
- The Oilers have won four games in a row now for the first time since October 12th to 18th 2008, or, the first four games of last season. The last time the Oilers won four road games in a row was November 14th against Colorado, November 23rd against Minnesota, November 25th against Calgary and December 8th against Philadelphia in 2005. The last time they won four road games in a row without any intervening home dates wasn't exactly March 9th to 14th 2001 but we all know they would've won the shoot-out against Florida if it had been played. Pfft, ties. But that team deserves a mention. That tie against Florida ended a nine game winning streak. Nine games! Also, Doug Weight scored 90 points that season. 90 points! What a fun team that was.