Friday, June 16, 2006

I wish it mattered

Momentum, I mean.

Because the Oilers have it.

But it doesn't.

Game six is going to be like every game in this series, save the second one.

Probably decided by a goal. A mistake made. A bad clearing attempt, a broken stick, a penalty, a bad pinch. Or a terrific individual effort by someone.

I feel really good about the Oilers' chances but I wish it were 2-2 because the problem for them remains that they have no margin for error.


They have to win. The Canes do not. The Canes can fail again, knowing that they will have a third opportunity. They don't want to need that seventh game but they have it and at home, to boot.

Some observations. In my mind most of these tilt in the Oilers' favour. Having said that while the Oilers may get a slight edge from these (which might be enough in itself to win the game) I will concede, as I have above, that its likely a coin flip. I won't even say that whoever plays better will win because that may not be the case.

Ok, ass, get off the fence. Here goes.

Injuries. Beyond the normal bumps and bruises that everyone has. Pisani was hurt in game one but had a strong game on Wednesday and apparently is getting healthier. Some have surmised that Horcoff is hurt - I don't know about that. I think he's tired. I think the Canes are doing a good job on him. Based on his skating and his performance in game 3 I think he's ok.

The Canes, on the other hand, are hurting, I think. Weight left the rink with his arm in a sling. I think he's done. Apparently Vasicek will replace him. Its drop off and I think on the PP it will hurt the Canes but Vasicek is a pretty good player. Its not as if they were throwing one of the Adams out there or the Oilers having to replace Horcoff with, say, Rem Murray. Its better for the Oil that Weight isn't out there but his absence isn't going to kill the Canes.

If Aaron Ward is out then things get a little more dicey. He's the Canes' best D, imo, and has been terrific, especially on the PK. I think he's like Jason Smith though, he'll play unless he absolutely cannot. If its a concussion then he's got a problem. Based on the fact that he came back to the game my guess is if its not his head then they'll freeze him up and he'll go.

The question is - who else is in bad shape? Harry Neale said that he felt Hedican was labouring, that his shifts were getting shorter and shorter and that something might be up. Glen Wesley?Justin Williams? Brindamour?

You only have to look at les Sabres to see that a team can play through injuries, many injuries. If Ward doesn't play then the remaining guys' minutes are going to go up. If Hedican or Wesley are in rough shape already that may be a tipping point.

Power plays. The Oilers looked somewhat better and they scored once while Stoll rang another off the post. If Ward is out it won't hurt. They can't afford anymore 0 fers - they have to produce Saturday. Still love to see more of Tarnstrom. The Canes PP is a strange bird - 3 more goals last game - at home its deadly but on the road its positively Oiler like. If anyone could explain this to me I sure as hell would like to know why. Considering they only have 2 ES goals in the last three games I think they're probably hoping they can turn that around.

Matt Greene will be sitting I would say. Like LeGG at this stage of the game you can't have a guy who you can't put on the ice. I feel bad for the kid and I think he's going to be a player, maybe as soon as next year. They might be able to hide him at home but if it gets to G7 - I don't want him out there. Put in MAB - he'll help the 2nd PP unit and I think he plays better after he's had a few games off - not sure if he gets run down or if he gets his head out of his ass when he sits out a few games.

I don't want Matt Greene turning into Donnie Moore.

I know a lot of people feel the Oilers have finally solved Cam Ward but remember they hung four on him in game one too.

I'm hoping and thinking that Bob Cole will call his last game before long but it will be Monday, not Saturday. I think we're heading for a game seven!



swabbubba said...

I hope they don't sit Greene. He has really not done anything wrong other than to be victim of some really stupid calls. Sideshow Mike can mug Oilers without impunity but we touch a Carowhiner bitch and we get 2. Bergy needs to remain where he is. All is good for both the Oilers & fans where he sits...

Desdemona said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Desdemona said...

Momentum, no. Confidence - much better than any other game this series. Hopefully the best is yet to come.

The hockey gods can't be pleased with this. Or Oiler fans.

"EDMONTON — An U.S. hockey magazine editor could be eating his words if the Oilers win the Stanley Cup after he printed thousands of copies of a playoff issue declaring Carolina the victors.

"Roughly 60,000 issues of the monthly Beckett Hockey magazine with a cover featuring Cam Ward, Eric Staal and the headline "Canes Capture the Cup!" are hitting U.S. and Canadian newsstands next week."

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Des - right on about the confidence thing - I agree with you there for sure.

Would be nice to make that magazine a collectors' item. Remember Truman/Dewey?

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

swa - some of the calls are marginal, sure, but rookies don't get breaks from referees and Greene keeps putting himself in position where they will call them

good article in the Toronto Star this morning regarding his struggles in game 5 and what Huddy and MacT thought about him - also what Huddy was saying to him when he leaned over him

I'd say he'll be in tonight - there's certainly no reference at all to them taking him out

Chris! said...

Hey Pat et al, hope you can make it out to Paupers tonight for the game!

d-lee said...

It's pretty clear that Wesley is hurting. He is, though, 78 years old. He'll still manage to play an amazing series. We'll probably find out later that he has three broken ribs and a torn meniscus. I suspect that Brindy isn't feeling 100%. He hasn't really looked it. I disagree with the Hedican assessment, though. He looks as healthy as one could possibly look at this stage.

I'm still not sure what happened with AWard, but he'll be in for the Canes. I'm guessing that they'll dress seven defensemen and 11 forwards. Vasicek will get increased playing time, and the Adams Family line will play with a defenseman.

With a couple of our blueliners playing banged up, well see lots of Mike Commodore. That should be a good thing.

I wouldn't be surprised to see MacT give Matt Greene a smaller role. He has been committing penalties, or as you rightly state, putting the referee in a position where he has to make the call.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

d-lee - I would not have thought that about Hedican either necessarily but Harry Neale (after all of my hacking on him, now I give him credit) seems to be convinced based on declining shift lengths

chris! - we'll be there!