Sunday, February 17, 2008
A terrific tilt last night against Vancouver, probably the most entertaining game I've seen all year. Disappointing that the Oilers lost, of course, but a game that really illustrated a lot of nice things going on with this team.
First and foremost is that this team has been playing what the franchise likes to call "Oilers' Hockey" - fast paced and aggressive. Last night's game was a war and the Oilers did not back down. Led by Brodziak, Stortini and Glencross, who dominated pretty well every time they were on the ice, the Oilers took it to the Canucks every chance they could get. Not sure how this happened. Just a few weeks ago this was a different team. The arrival of Glencross, Moreau's assault on Phaneuf, the creation of a fourth line with a definitive role that they could carry out ... a few possibilities as to why the sudden change but its good to see and when you have guys like Gagner and Smid getting out there and throwing them its pretty clear that its becoming a team trademark. I like that.
Secondly its all about the kids. Gagner has eight points in the six games since Horcoff went down and looks to be on pace to hit forty points. There's Cogliano and there's Brodziak who now has ten goals, tied for fourth on the club. Gilbert has hit the wall and he had a dreadful giveaway last night but the kid is being asked to do it all and even with his rough stretch of late I can't say enough good about him. And yes its time to add Stortini to the list of rookies who have established themselves on this team. Say what you want about the guy. I've always cheered for him as he captained my hometown junior team and if nothing you have to admire his try but like most fans I had my doubts as to the guy's usefulness.
Its all about results and you can't argue with what he has done over the last little while. Last night in a huge game when his line was on the ice the rink was tilted the right way. He was hitting guys all night, knocking Pyatt right out of the game. He's an agitator more then an enforcer but that's okay. He certainly was under the Canucks' skin. His line was a plus again. When the puck was in their end his line got it out. When they faced the Sedins they did their part and actually picked up a plus against them.
So Gagner, Cogliano, Brodziak, Gilbert and Stortini. Throw in Greene and Smid and yes Laddy had an awful game last night but he's been good of late. Remember a short time ago when those types of games were regular outings for him and Grebeshkov and Greene. Not so much now.
Glencross has been a nice addition, a big fellow who can skate and will hit.
Nilsson remains the guy who the jury is out on. Politics says he gets another shot next year and really he has done quite alright, alright enough to get that shot.
But there's too many forwards. Something has to give.
In my last post I mentioned Ken Holland and how he felt that young cheap players are needed and are gaining value in this league. The Oilers have plenty of these going forward and most of them look to be players. Its good to see.
Posted by Black Dog at 6:05 PM