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Ron Low


C - Doug Weight Todd Marchant, Rem Murray, Boyd Devereux, Josef Beranek LW - Dean McAmmond, Mats Lindgren, Ryan Smyth, Fredrik Lindquist, Bill Huard. RW - Bill Guerin, Mike Grier, Andrei Kovalenko, Pat Falloon. D - Sean Brown, Roman Hamrlik, Craig Millar, Boris Mironov, Frank Musil, Janne Niinimaa, Tom Poti, Marty McSorley. G - Bob Essensa, Mikhail Shtalenkov.


Doug Weight, c (injured knee, six more weeks (like the All-Star break)).


Dec. 16 - Loaned Michel Riesen, rw, from Hamilton (AHL) to the Swiss National Junior Team for the World Junior Hockey Championships; re-assigned Kevin Brown, rw, to Hamilton.


12/08 at Nashville     T 3-3
12/09 at Chicago       L 3-1
12/11 at Detroit       L 3-2
12/13 at Philadelphia  T 2-2
12/15 at Carolina      L 3-0
12/18 at Tampa Bay     W 4-1
12/19 at Florida       L 3-1


Northwest Division  GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA 
  Colorado          31  14  14   3    31   75   78   
  Edmonton          32  14  15   3    31   88   84   
  Calgary           31  12  16   3    27   87   90  
  Vancouver         30  11  15   4    26   84   90


by Aubrey Chau, Edmonton Correspondent

News and Stuff

On Dec. 8, the Oilers embarked on their longest road trip of the season, a tour which was hosted by some of the league's most horrid teams. It was a stroll down Easy Street as the Oilers looked at the gimmes on this road trip. Let's count it up: Nashville, an expansion team, there should be two points. Chicago, a hurting team, with only Tony Amonte as a bright spot, another two points. Ok, then they hit Detroit and Philly, two of the top teams in the league, so forget them. Then it's through Carolina, Tampa and Florida. Carolina's a good team, but the Oilers can still beat them. But it's an easy four points from Tampa and Florida, no excuses. The Lightning is a team about as threatening as Emmanuel Lewis on crack.

So guess how many points the Oilers walk out of the road trip from hell with? Four points, out of what should be an easy nine or 10 points.

Sure there are several excuses we could look at like fatigue. The first five games of the road trip took place over an eight day period.

So what ailed the Oilers on this fruitless road trip? Complacency? How about lack of offense?

Or lack of finish. Take the first game for example against Nashville. The Oilers had a 3-1 lead over the Predators with 10 minutes left in the third period. But the Predators manage to storm right in and tie the game, leaving the Oil feeling like chumps.

Then they go into Chicago and just plain play poorly, losing again to the once-proud Chicago Blackhawks.

The loss to Detroit was a little easier to take, as the Wings are, after all, the presiding Stanley Cup Champions. Plus it was a decent, close game. A couple of brain cramps courtesy of Roman Hamrlik and Boris Mironov.

The Oilers then hit a small bright spot, with a last-minute tie with the Flyers. With seven seconds remaining in the game, Mironov ripped a shot past John Vanbiesbrouck to tie the game for the Oilers. It was their second point on the road trip and things were looking up. Until they hit Carolina, the team that draws roughly enough people for a game of bongles.

The hot Hurricane blew the Oil out of town and their empty venue. Then it was a walk through sunny Florida, the Lightning and the Panthers. Now the Oilers faced the Lightning first. If the Oilers lost to Tampa, the league's worst team, the Oilers wouldn't be coming home. They'd block off the airport and wouldn't be allowed to return. That's just unacceptable, two losses in two weeks to the Tampa Bay Lightning is like asking for a whole world of hurt that nobody wants.

Fortunately the Oilers won and exploded offensively with a whole four goals, the most during the road trip. Keep in mind that Tampa does suck.

They then went to Florida and lost. Not for lack of effort though. They just couldn't score. Goal posts and missed empty nets were the story in Florida and pretty much sums up the whole road trip.

It didn't help that Joe Beranek missed three games during the trip with a bum shoulder. That left the Oilers without their top two centremen. It also wasn't helping that the Oilers top three defencemen, Janne Niinimaa, Mironov and Hamrlik, were all struggling. All three are having trouble with their decision-making.

Smyth breaks out?

The only bright spot during the road trip was the Ryan Smyth goal. Smyth, who hasn't scored since October, scored his second goal of the season, lifting a tremendous monkey off his back. Smyth was showing signs of life again, on the fourth line. Coach Ron Low saw his effort and some of the results (goal posts etc.) so he moved Smyth up to the first line, on the left side of Beranek and Billy the Butcher Guerin.

How long is the Weight?

It looks like the Oilers' struggling offense will have to do without Doug Weight for another month or so. Until about the All-Star break. The power play is atrocious. At one point during the road trip, the Oilers went 0 for 27 on power-play chances. They're going to have to do better than that if they expect to conquer the Northwest Conference. They're now one game under .500 and the Colorado Avalanche are breathing down their necks.

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