Sunday, October 08, 2006
Well, this was my first look at this year's version of the Oilers and while they lost, they could have come out of Calgary with the two points pretty easily. Results are all that matter in the end but playing in a rink where they are on an 0-7-1 slide and against a team which has pushed them around for two years running and turning the game into a cointoss - I can live with that. A break here or there and they come away 2-0 in this young season.
Early on in the game a Flame got a step on Matt Greene going into the corner. Last season the play would have ended with Greene in the box. This time he used his size to regain position and moved the puck away smartly. Through the game I saw this time and again from Greene who is playing with confidence and apparently has done a lot of work in the offseason. With only a couple of exceptions he moved the puck smartly. The odd time that he erred he recovered quickly. He stayed out of the box. He used his size and strength to his advantage, knocked Kobasew flying, blocked shots ... IMO, only Smith played a better game on the blueline. Two games in, Greene, who was used extensively on the PK as well, looks to be a different man.
Staios takes a slapshot in the face and doesn't miss a shift. Jesus.
First look at Tjarnqvist and he looks alright. I thought on the first goal he reacted slowly to the shootin and then to the puck being fired back in but he was not the only one at fault on that goal. Horcoff let Yelle get position on him. And Lupul seemed lost when the puck was at the boards - he kind of got caught in nomans land. Only seconds previously Thoresen was in the same position - he did not hesitate, picked up the puck and cleared it quickly. I have a feeling we may see more of him in Lupul's position at the end of periods.
First penalty Staios stepped up and Lupul stopped skating. He recovered well and the penalty he took was a "good one" but if he keeps moving his feet there's no need.
Way too many penalties and few with any merit. Moreau's was bad luck more then anything and Smyth was caught standing still and took another "good" one to prevent a scoring chance. But Stoll was careless and Hemsky and Tjarnqvist both took really poor ones, I thought. Oilers carried the play in both the first and the third I thought but spent too much of the second in the box. The PK remains terrific but way too many penalties. Way too many.
All three top lines generated chances - Kiprusoff was on his game and got a couple of breaks as well. One of those games. Horcoff, Smyth and Lupul got stronger as the game went on and Lupul especially seemed to get better. The kid has skill.
The PP was alright. Even the 5 on 3 was OK. At least they are doing something, showing different looks, moving the puck around and doing more then looking for the one time point shot.
Like what Thoresen brings and nice to see Reasoner back. Would love to see Jacques in there to wreak some havoc. Winchester had a decent shift in the third but it looks like he just can't keep up with his linemates
Hemsky playing with a ton of confidence. Sykora and he have really clicked and Torres (who seems to have remembered the lessons learned last spring in his own zone) is a nice compliment. Bad giveaway by Hemsky in the third but he recovered well to prevent a chance on the rebound.
Smid caught on the second goal - head on a swivel, young fella. But he showed a lot of what people were impressed with in G1. Lots of poise with the puck. Tough to learn on the job.
Oilers competed well all night too - Moreau, Smith, Greene all had some nice hits - Calgary is not a fun team to play against. The Oilers weren't intimidated. Another good sign.
A bounce or two and this is a win. No loss is a good one but I'd rather lose one I could win with a break or two then get run out of the rink.
Posted by Black Dog at 1:47 PM