Remind the players that they ought to be subject to their coaches, obedient, ready to do whatever it takes to win, not slandering the performance of others but being good leaders in the room and humbly acknowledging their own faults in an effort to improve.
It seems that you are not living by these qualities. Once again you have become foolish and undisciplined, unwilling to stand up for your teammates on the one hand and governed by your passions when it comes to offensive zone penalties on the other. Nevertheless I am willing to acknowledge that when the kindness of our God and Saviour was poured out only four short years ago, our victories did not come because of our superior talent or dominant play but because of God's mercy. And how much more must you rely on that mercy today when you are even less talented! Yes, he saved us through the power of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus our Saviour so that having been honoured by his grace and mercy we might have legitimate hope for a Stanley Cup. I stress these things because it seems that God's favour smiles upon you only intermittently now, usually on the road. Make sure that the next time you get home everyone continues to acknowledge God and do only those good works that curry favour from our God. But avoid foolish controversies among yourselves: don't give someone who proclaims an aggressive penalty easier to kill the time of day; if a teammate suggests that the first game back after a long road trip will be harder to win, ignore him; if someone suggests that his poor off-ice behaviour will not hurt his play on the ice, remind him that you are dependent on God's grace. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him again. After warning him twice, if there is no change, trade him. It is certain that this man is warped and sinful and must be condemned.
Edmonton Oilers (15-17-4) @ Minnesota Wild (17-16-3)
XCel Energy Center, 5:00 P.M. MST
Television: Sportsnet West
Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Minnesota Wild have been on the comeback trail for the last several weeks. After a horrific start they've pulled themselves back to respectability and, if they get lucky, could still have a chance at a playoff spot come the Spring. In order for that to happen they'll likely need to be healthier than they have been so far. Much like the Oilers, the Wild have had several key players out of the lineup for long stretches this year. Martin Havlat may be ready to come back tonight but they still have fantastic talents like Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brent Burns on the shelf. The Burns injury is particularly disconcerting because it seems that it resulted from coming back too soon from a concussion. Fortunately, it seems that the Wild have learned their lesson to some degree and have been much more cautious with Bouchard (also, if you're interested in the topic, E wrote a fantastic piece on concussions quite recently). Back to the team that will be on the ice, I picked the Wild to win the Northwest at the start of the year. That's not a bet I'd be willing to make today. Their record in games decided by more than one goal suggests a team (4-9) suggests that they may not be very good and those aforementioned injuries don't look to be a short term thing. This game may well matter more for lottery position than playoff seeding.
Edmonton Oilers (15-17-4):
Penner - Potulny - Brule
Jacques - Horcoff - O'Sullivan
Moreau - Gagner - Cogliano
Nilsson - Stortini - Stone
Gilbert - Souray
Smid - Visnovsky
Grebeshkov - Staios
Minnesota Wild (17-16-3)
Brunette - Koivu - Miettinen
Kobasew - Belanger - Clutterbuck
Latendresse - Brodziak - Nolan
Boogaard - Sheppard - Havlat
Schultz - Hnidy
Stoner - Johnsson
Zanon - Zidlicky
Behind the Numbers:
- No Wild defender plays more EV time on ice per game than Greg Zanon (18:14 per game). The Oilers leader on a per-game basis is Ladislav Smid (16:49 per game). Those are not the two guys that I would have picked.
- Todd Richards has been taking his top line in a different direction as compared to Jacques Lemaire a year ago. Whereas last season Mikko Koivu was taking on the toughest competition on the opposing team and had a roughly equal distribution of offensive and defensive zone draws, this season Koivu is taking on much lighter competition and has been fed one of the easiest offensive to defensive zone faceoff ratios on the team (169 OZ v. 130 DZ). The result is Koivu having the best offensive season of his career.
- So who's picking up Koivu's slack? Why it's old friend Kyle Brodziak whose faceoff ratio is absolutely brutal (98 OZ v. 154 DZ), especially once you consider he's third on the team among forwards in quality of competition. In that context his Corsi (-3.9/60) doesn't look all that bad, though his goal differential 5v5 (+12 -18) isn't anything to get excited about. It seems almost unfair that a guy taking on such tough assignments would have a PDO of 96.8.
- Since the beginning of the season the Minnesota Wild have added three players through trade or waivers (Latendresse, Ebbett, Kobasew). The Oilers? None.