Edmonton Oilers (30-36-9, 69 pts) at Columbus Blue Jackets (24-43-7, 55 pts)
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 3:00 PM EDT
With the Jackets facing the Oilers, there's an interesting talk about team construction you could have. While Columbus has tried to build a "young" core mostly through free agency and trades, the Oilers have done it the hard way via the draft, but a failure to put solid veterans around them (not to mention a consistent goaltending option) has put them in the same spot, or worse, as Columbus again and again.
Is it better to suck until you get a core of talent and then augment them, or build a solid core of proven players and add talent by the draft? Florida's performance this season and Boston's run last summer suggests the latter to me, but the success of Chicago and Pittsburgh in the past offer counterpoints.
The key to both methods, however, is that you MUST have goaltending worth a damn...
Derek MacKenzie is questionable for the game, while the Oilers called up Chris Vandle Velde to replace the injured Shawn Horcoff.
If the Oilers are dressing Darcy Hordichuk, expect him to go with Jared Boll. It seems to just be what they do.
Some advice for #40, courtesy of the revered Dr. Thompson:
Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a career enforcer. A normal player will panic and immediately drop the gloves at his first challenge. This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the goon heart. Make the bastard chase you. He will follow. But he won't know what to make of your decision to lure him into taking a bad offensive zone penalty. He will think you're looking for a proper place to tango. It will take him a moment to realize that he's about to take an additional minor, perhaps even a game misconduct, but you will be ready for it. Brace for the jabs, and some fast haymakers.
I'm not going to say don't fight. Just fight smarter, and let him put his club into a bad position.