Thursday, November 09, 2006

Well, That Could Have Gone Better

Reaction to last night's whitewash ranges from "We've seen this movie before so just cool it" to "What a big bag of suck - send down Pisani, bring back Nedved and fire Simpson" to well, "Fire Craig Simpson!"

Actually to be fair to Grabia he does come up with a pretty accurate list of woes. Not too much panic there either. Yet. And PM at Covered in Oil is not advocating sending Fernando down yet. Just musing on future salary cap relief.

Just leading with some semi truths and inflammatory statements - isn't that what they teach in journalism school these days? Well at least those schools that supply people who work for the National Post, Toronto Sun and Toronto Star anyhow.

I watched the game last night (Shut Up Pierre Maguire!), the first I have seen in a while, and it was, well, painful. As part of Vic's experiment I counted scoring chances in the first period. Pretty easy gig as the Oilers counted nary a shot.

Hey Maguire, shut your mouth. For just ten frigging seconds!

1/ Goaltending remains the least of this team's problems.

2/ Greene is doing alright. I have heard mucho complaints but I think the kid is alright. Still learning but he is a strong strong man. And he did alright on the PK.

3/ The two other rooks on D (!!) did ok as well. Hejda should be a regular I think. And Smid holds his own. He's certainly not afraid to get into it either.

4/ Smith, on the other hand, looks gassed already.

5/ Fourth line was terrific. And it may have been against their fourth but who cares? They had a shift in the 2nd period which momentarily turned the tide for the Oil. Winchester was especially impressive.

6/ Didn't notice Jacques except when he got picked on the first goal. Word is that MAP is first in line for a promotion. How long until JFJ is sent down, MAP comes up to centre the fourth line and Winchester or Thoresen gets promoted to try it with the big boys again?

7/ One thing though about the success of the fourth line and for that matter Smyth - has anyone noticed that these guys play basic hockey? When there's no flow, like last night, the best thing to do is to get to basics, dump it in and get after it. The scrubs did it last night, Smyth is more then happy to do it and for a while in the second all of the Oilers were doing it and getting sustained pressure - Lupul, Pisani, Horcoff and Stoll all come to mind as having successful shifts. Here's hoping that against Columbus they keep it simple, get some pucks in deep and play a little bit of the grinding road game they need to. Best way to get out of a slump.

8/ Torres looks lost out there. Lupul had a couple of shifts but otherwise the same.

9/ Horc showed his most jump playing with Hemsky - how long before he centres the Czechs?

10/ As for the PP - the scrubs got out for some PP time in the 3rd. And three times by my count they started in their own end, got the puck in deep and retrieved it by using the fact that they outnumbered the Wings. Got in, outmanned the Wings, got the puck. Simple stuff really. And they generated scoring chances. This was when the game was 2-0 and still in doubt.

So, the question is - are the regular PP guys told not to dump it in and chase after it? Do they refuse to do it even though they are told to? Or do they lack the personnel to do it on the first PP?

Because surely to Dog if Peterson, Auntie Brad and Thoresen can get out on the PP and gain the zone and nearly score a couple of times then the big boys should be able to do it. No?

And Maguire? For the love of Christ.

Shut the fuck up.

Where's the mute on this thing?


uni said...

Makes one wonder how Pierre has stayed on air for so long...and how he keeps getting payed for what he does.

I knew I picked the wrong career path going into IT instead of sports broadcasting.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

The thing is uni, I used to really like Maguire and still like him a lot in small doses. Having him where he is adds to the colour of the broadcast - its interesting to get an idea of what is going on at ice level and on the benches.

But ... he never shuts up and having seen him give good, thoughtful analysis makes all of the bombast seem that more of a put on.

Not necessary. Turn the volume down.

Anonymous said...

tough tough game to watch. the pp is so frustrating, and seems like it has been frustrating for years, with the exception of last year, which was arguably a mediocre year. i agree, so aggravating to watch the top unit try to carry it in or make a pass at the blueline only to see them stripped or have the pass intercepted. as has been said previously, just seems like they try the same thing over and over again- no creativity or variation, or at the very least dump it and retrieve like you said. change something. anything. maybe craig simpson should mess his hair up or something... so frustrating to rush home from work to catch the game only to see an abysmal performance like last night. i least i don't have season tickets anymore.


Lowetide said...

Maguire is an ass clown.

Vic Ferrari said...

Your assessment of maguire is bang on with my own, Pat. In the NBC broadcasts he was down around ice level, but they just cut to him now and again, like a sideline reporter in a football broadcast. And he made the most of it, he often had video clips lined up and he really added value. He didn't have the over-the-top madass vibe going either, he was completely sane.

But having him ramble on frenetically all game from a tiny little private booth between the player's benches ... wacky. Good Christmas, what's next? Will TSN strap him to the bottom of the centre ice scoreboard? Will he hover above the ice in a jet-pack? The mind boggles.

On the hockey ... I'm less enamoured than you with Smid and Greene. Though doubtlessly they'll both be very good NHL defencemen one day. Hemsky has to set his balls square and play the game like a man. Stoll, Torres and Lupul need to become better hockey players, and I'm sure they will eventually. And in the short term Horcoff and Pisani need to start making more of a difference for this team. I know they'v been doing a lot of heavy lifting, and usually with one or more of the kids above on the ice with them at the time. Still, these guys can be difference makers when they're on their games. The Oilers need that now, they can't afford to have these two treading water.

SweatyO said...

Vic, you're right about Pisani and Horcoff....those two need to set the tone and lead the charge by playing the simple, effective hockey they're best at.

I want to see them with Smyth, and soon. That line is a killer combo when it comes to getting it done at BOTH ends of the rink. Put "The Winch" with Hemsky and Sykora, and put Stoll between Torres and Lupul and see if that works.

Yeah, a 94-10-34 line would end up with a disproportionate amount of downright nasty matchups. But with Moreau out, it's not like there's another alternative at this point.

Back to 94 for a second: I said it on Lowetide's blog and I'll say it here. The guy is playing the best damn hockey of his career right now. It's a treat to watch what he's doing on the ice, and I'm hoping Lowe is preparing a nice long-term contract offer to him (and subsequently standing pat on a 3 year deal for Staios at no more than 2.5 per annum).

If ANY guy deserves a "reward" deal, it's Smyth. 5 years, 20 million sound good to everyone?

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Vic - I like Greene and Smid for what they are, don't get me wrong - ideally they would both be in the minors but everyone has to break in the kids now somewhere on their roster. Having said that I think Greene is progressing and Smid doesn't look terrible - he just looks 20.

Jet pack - hah!

Horcoff is the key really - he's the guy who makes the difference - he and Smyth imo.

Sweatyo - if they could get Smyth for 4 per there would be dancing in the streets. I have no idea what he will get - I was low on my guesses for pretty well everyone who the Oilers signed as well as what they are offering Staios.

Working for the Oilers is the fact that there are a lot of free agent forwards next summer, many of them more attractive then Smytty.

Plus he will likely take a bit of a discount.

I'm hoping 4 years @ 4.25 to 4.5 - I want him to be a career Oiler - he's my favourite - but who knows.

Working in favour of getting a deal done is that with Torres sucking ass who the hell is on the LW if Smyth walks?

Scarlett said...

I would pay good money to shut Pierre up!

I don't know why so many people like Greene. He gets beat to the outside on every shift. Every shift. Smid is doing okay. But Greene, can he please be a healthy scratch??

Smyth must be a lifer. Sign that boy now. I'd be happy with 4.5/yr. He stuck it out in Edm through those lean years. Definitely deserves a reward!

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Apparently if Tjarnqvist can go MAB will sit.

Well, Scarlett, I do like Greene. He's coming along.

Slowly, sure. But he's coming along.

uni said...

Heartwarming to see the Flames fans booing Pronger. I got to say though, as much as Pierre can be annoying, he doesn't hold a candle to a certain Buffalo play by play commentator.

Black Dog said...

Ah, uni, the Sabres guy makes me laugh.

Opponent scores - you don't even know that it has happened.

Sabres score - mayhem.