Thursday, December 07, 2006
A fun game last night.
The Canes had a little going on in the first but not too much. Their PP sure looks nothing like I remember it but with Kaberle and Stillman out, there's a lot of skill missing. Makes a big difference.
Anyhow, MacT went with similar lines as the Canucks game - Horcoff between Sykora and Lupul, Stoll between Torres and Pisani. And Reasoner is back between Thoresen and Winchester while Peterson babysits two more kids.
Horcoff against Brindamour. Stoll against Staal. Reasoner and Peterson doing some extra duty
And both the top two lines carrying the play. Surprising a little bit based on Horc's wingers and Stoll and Torres' own play for most of the season. But the Oilers are playing playoff hockey essentially. Basic simple stuff. Chip it out of the zone. Get it over the red line, dump it in and get after the D hard. Puck support. Clogging the lanes. Back hard.
Its nice to see and its about time. It was a full sixty minute effort and even when the Canes tied it I never felt the game was in doubt - it was like one of those Ducks' games last spring. Close game but you knew that barring a completely goofy bunch of bounces the Oilers were coming out on top.
Smith, Shaggy and Staios all looked solid and for that matter MAB as well. Greene did his job. Smid was Smid. He looks fine and then he's all alone deep in his zone, no pressure and he dumps it into his own corner, nice and soft like. Near disaster results. He's 20. What can you do?
Nice game for Jussi, rebounding from his last two starts. Roli has to get his rest after all, right Terry Jones?
Up front, well there was good and bad. Torres is playing like he can and Lupul looks pretty good as well although as Mudcrutch noted, the guy never goes hard on the forecheck. Must have been all of those years of "You get the puck and pass it to me so I can get the glory". Still the kid showed a little bit of heart and its not like they hid him. That line carried the play when they were on the ice . Of course it comes back to Horcoff.
As for Justin Williams, I know there's mixed feelings on what he did. Look, the kid is a damn good player but he just seems to be involved in too many of these "borderline" plays. He's not out and out dirty for sure but just too many of these sticks and knees out where they should be not. Happens too often for my liking and I know the Oilers have employed some thugs over the years, including the guy they're going to honour in February. I'd rather a guy who snarls as he breaks some Russian's face with a blatant elbow then some guy who clips someone and then says "who me?" with feigned innocence, like Darcy Tucker. Williams is nowhere near Tucker in that department either, don't get me wrong. Maybe he's just careless but I don't like it and good on Horcoff for going after him.
Oh and Pisani tipped that Smith shot for sure. Anyhow I shouldn't say it (jinx) but man, I'd love to see Fernando get on a roll. Maybe he needs to grow that big red beard again. Hopefully he gets on a streak where everything he touches goes in. Good for the Oil and good for him.
As for the kids and scrubs, it looks like Winchester might be ready to get going again. Streaky. Thoresen is just a damn good player although like Dennis at IOF I wish we'd see more of him on the PK. JFJ is still finding his way but he ran over at least one Cane. My, he is a big boy. And Peterson is just a fine and useful player. The more I see of him the more I wonder why he didn't see more icetime in the spring.
Pouliot is struggling a little bit but he also shows flashes. On the PP at least he showed some sense and handled the puck well. 5 on 5 he looked like a rookie.
They should mic Reasoner every game. He's a funny dude and I'm sure glad he's back.
As for Stoll, well he sure showed some guts blocking those shots. And now apparently #16 will be raised to the rafters along with #11, at least if Pierre Maguire has his way.
Now I didn't find Maguire as annoying as I did when I saw him on the Wings game a few weeks back but that might have been because I was blissed out over the Oilers' play and the three Gritstones I fired back watching the game. The thing that pisses me off about Maguire is he's such a bandwagon jumper. In that Wings game he hadn't a good thing to say about the Oilers (of course they had a poor game too), not one. It was Wings Wings Wings. I figured after the game he was going into the shower to soap Chelios up.
Well last night it was shoe on the other foot. The Canes didn't look great but they played alright. But other then campaigning for Brindamour's entry into the Hall of Fame (I mean it is the HHOF but come on!) he hadn't anything to say about Carolina at all. It was all Oilers all the time. And when Stoll collapsed at his feet, well that was it. Next thing you know Maguire is giving him a reacharound.
I like Stoll. I think he's done very little this year but I like him and wish him well. I wish he played the SCF like he did last night. A goal or two might have been nice. Anyhow he is a nice young player who hopefully will turn into a good allround player. Or maybe they can trade him for a good young Dman like Brent Seabrook.
After all he is the second coming of Gordie Howe, according to Pierre Maguire.
Of course next time Pierre does an Oilers game and things don't look good we won't hear a thing about Stoll or the rest of them.
And at the end of the game the camera guy shot Pierre from a low angle - the most unfortunate angle ever for Maguire, I would say. He looked like a penis with a red tie and glasses. My God. If only I could draw.
Its a lovely night. Oilers in first and playing well. Leafs coughing up another third period lead.
Joy to the World indeed!
Posted by Black Dog at 8:37 PM