Thursday, November 06, 2008

Oiler Fans Are Mental

Check it out, a game in early November and over three hundred comments in the game thread, including a couple of beauties about sending Sam Gagner down after his gaffe at the end of the game last night.

Last night was a weird one for sure. The Blue Jackets had so many five bell chances throughout the game that it hard to believe that the Oilers had a chance to win this game, which they did, but not so hard to see the final result. Some thoughts:

These aren't your grandfather's BJs. A team with plenty of smart hard working vets and good young players up front, with Ken Hitchcock as their coach, this club is going to give teams fits. Add in the fact that Rick Nash is a legitimate superstar (though exhausted by Pierre Maguire's game long reacharound) and if they ever got their D to figure out how to cover someone in front of the net they could be in the playoff mix.

Pierre Maguire still looks like and acts like a complete cock. The guy is a knowledgeable guy which is what makes the entire schtick so tiresome and worthless. My wife sat with me while I watched the game and asked if this guy was a regular commentator and why he was doing hockey - she thought he would be better suited to wrestling.

The game was like a car wreck that you walk away from, you know what I mean? The one where you're lucky but not really because you've been in a car accident. The Oilers were unlucky on nearly every BJ goal, pucks were bouncing crazily, guys were getting bowled over, it was a real mess and yet the BJs could have scored a dozen times on odd man rushes, plays in the slot, terrific individual efforts. Sometimes, like in the first game of the season this shit doesn't even out. Last night it did.

OK, we all know that they are still trying to walk a tightrope here between developing the kids and getting into the playoffs but this whole idea of moving Roloson espoused by TSN over and over again makes so little sense to me. Roloson, who alternated between terrific and terrible last night, should not be going anywhere. Who gives a damn about his cap hit? I like Mathieu Garon, I do, but the idea of trying to make the playoffs with him and JDD between the pipes does not inspire me to any flights of fancy. Keep the veteran goalie who can give you a chance to win on most nights he plays unless you want to gamble a playoff berth on Garon's health and ability and a raw kid who may or may not be capable of being a backup in the NHL.

That 5 on 3 kill was a thing of beauty. Horcoff was brilliant and Souray looked worth every penny for once. Actually Souray has looked quite good this year. As someone who did not like the move at all I should say that. He gets too cutesy at times and running the PP through him has left it the same old mess but his defending has been better then advertised and plays like the "icing" that sent Cole in alone show that the guy has a creative side that's fun to watch. Plus he's got a nasty side.

Gilbert has almost eliminated the mush from his game (and yes I say that even with his 3 GA at ES last night) - he still could do with the safe play now and then rather then trying to make the perfect pass - but he seems to be coming on by my eye.

The PK looks better to me, even with the GA. Still not sure why Cogliano isn't getting that gig fulltime though. Strudwick is a nice fit back there.

The PP looks awful, again. Two at the end of the third period and they got very little going. I wish someone would send them tapes of the Habs PP - constant movement by players and the puck instead of everyone standing around passing it around the perimeter. For Fuck's Sakes! Shit PP only cost the club a Cup in 2006 - you'd think someone might figure this out.

This Pisani experiment at centre has to end soon.

I think Horcoff has put to rest any questions about his shoulder with his work on the dot. Dominant performance.

As for Gagner yeah it was a dumb play but he's a smart guy and I would bet he cleans that part of his game up. He's not getting the results but his play has been quite good so far this year. (I don't think Chicago or Washington are thinking of sending Toews or Backstrom down, you?)

Oh yeah. And he's NINETEEN.

I'm not sure where this idea that all hockey players should spring forth as fully formed professional star players right out of junior came from or that there is no substitute for experience when it comes to player development. In the past year I have read how Penner, Hemsky, Cogliano, Nilsson, Gagner, Brodziak, Pouliot, Stortini, Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Smid and countless guys still in the minors and junior, for Christ sakes, have all peaked before the age of 25, many before they have had a full season under their belt, some without having played a game in the NHL. None of these guys will ever get better. None will be able to take on a role greater then what they have now.

Its really completely insane, nothing more.

Sam Gagner is going to be fine. The fact that by Monday night the Oilers will have completed just under a third of their road schedule for the year while only playing three home games and at worse, will be a game under .500, all of this with the problems some guys have had getting their games untracked, tells me that this is a playoff team and that Lowe, despite his mistakes over the last two years, should receive some acknowledgement for putting a team together that could be a contender for a few years to come.

How's that for a run on sentence?

Check out the work Dennis is doing on scoring chances here or Vic's post here for some background on what this team has done so far. Things are looking good for the Edmonton Oilers. Everyone have a drink and a smoke and relax.

Carry on.


Kyle said...

Yep, no need to panic yet, and I think you're right - the advantages of keeping Roli far outweigh the advantages of trading him.

On the other hand, that PP is uuuuuuuggggggggggllllllllyyyyyyyyyy.

Vic Ferrari said...

Yeah, that's some manic stuff in the comments on LT's game dayer, that's for sure. I just had a skim through, but damn, it's like a fan messageboard thread.

Or maybe everyone was just drinking last night.

quirky said...

kudos for trying to extend some calm. Just a Game should be tiresome today with all the trade Hemmer/Fire MacT/bench Gagner talk once again.

I whole-heartedly agree on the PP. It is my stand out beef with MacT. The hold the puck WAY WAY too long. It is so painful to watch. I wish they'd bruise Craig's ego and hire a specialist.

I know Samwise will be fine but he could use some press box time or 4th line duty. The goal tender situation really sucks in this regard because we don't have Rob or Brule or Potulny to throw in.

They will be in tough against the Pens tonight. For sure.

Swabbubba said...

The game was manic... some highs some lows. Would have liked to get a least a point out of it.
The issue I would like raise... wtf Torres straight arm to Smid's head with no call.. wtf... they call the stick being parallel to the ice with no contact. But when a guy gets a concussion from a straight arm no call this is not acceptable. I wonder if Raffi is going to go into a season long funk over this.
Damn the Pens game is on SN we miss Pierre and Crosby this Crosby that Crosby out

PS Crosby

Black Dog said...

swabbubba - first of all let me say crosby

the Raffi shot didn't bother me, I think it was accidental

yeah a point would have been nice, if not deserved

quirky - well if he begins to press too much or plays poorly it would help but all signs point to him playing well

he has to learn that slumps will come and he has to play through them and help the team in other ways

bad play last night for sure but he's going to make mistakes; he certainly knows what he did and I think he will learn from it

MJT said...

Something has to be done about that horrific powerplay. I've written about this a few times, but how much longer can they go with a powerplay that isn't working given the skill they ice every night?

Billy said...

You ain't seen nothing til you've listened to talk-radio in Vancouver regarding the Nucks. It alternates between being a solid contender to trading Luongo, Sedins and our D-men for draft picks.
My point is, Gagner being sent down is foolish talk. Knee-jerk reactions annoy me and Edmonton probably has its "spaz's" just as much as Van.
Incidentally, while this opinion is not popular, I don't expect Gagner to ever become a 1st liner. He is gifted, but I don't see the brilliance which sets the elite apart from the mere good players. I would bet that Nilsson has a more star-studded career.


Black Dog said...

mjt - PP cost the Cup in 2006 - that one had plenty of skill on it too

Its a big problem. Kyle's description fits.

billy - yeah every city has them

Hard to say about Gagner's ceiling. He's a player but except for a select few there are always growing pains. Thornton, the Sedins, Pronger, Lafleur, Neely - all struggled early on.

So we will see about Gagner.

Bruce said...

I'm with Swabbubba on the Torres 'hit', he clocked Smid right on the head, sent his helmet flying and Ladi crashing to the ice with a concussion. 100 miles away from the puck, mind. They say players have to be responsible for their sticks, but they have to be responsible period. You try to get inside position on a guy, fine, but you can't take his fucking head off.

Especially suspicious is that this is Raffi Torres, a known headhunter who during his Oiler career caused at least two concussions that come to mind (Milan Michalek and Jason Williams) and he just 'happens' to 'accidentally' cause a concussion in the first period of his first game against the club that got rid of him. Sorry, I'm not buying. Accident or no, it pisses me off no end how the league is not protecting its players. And when the players "police themselves", they're all too quick to hammer the guy standing up for his teammate and reward the cheap shot asshole who actually instigated things with a bonus powerplay.

Just to review the headshots to Oiler defenceman in the last four games, and the results:

1) Tumour Ruutu clocks Grebeshkov with a shoulder to the jaw at full speed, putting him out of the game and onto IR with a concussion. Penalties: Ruutu 5 minutes, Moreau 17 minutes.

2) Torres 'accidentally' decapitates Smid, putting him out of the game and the next game and who knows after that? No penalty.

3) Battling for position in front of the net, Crosby crosschecks Peckham right in the face. I called it right at the time, and if you think I'm exaggerating, Cult of Hockey has the visual evidence. No penalty on Crosby, Pittsburgh scores later on the same sequence.

4) Matt Cooke runs Gilbert, hitting him high with a cheap and dangerous blindside hit, the only kind Cooke likes to throw. Seconds later he goes for Gagner's head in the neutral zone (bonus forward). Net result: Cooke 2 minutes, Peckham 17 minutes.

Now I know I'm a biased homer and all that, but just look at that list and how do you not ask, What The Fuck??

Word verification: 'stoll'. No lie. Are Jarret and Raffi joined at the hip?

Black Dog said...

After a quick start the last I heard of Stoll he was pulling down fourth line duty with the Kings, talk about a guy derailed by headshots.

Of course this is the NHL where they talk and talk about the horrors of dangerous play and do nothing about it. As you said Bruce you have Cooke and Ott (see that Bruins' game?) running around with no consequences.

I would dump the instigator rule first off.

Second of all when a guy like Ryan Hollweg drives someone into the boards from behind again I would suspend him for forty games.

Head shots are difficult to police but somehow the oHL does so.

The league has to crack down but its a bush run league so what's to be expected.

Bruce said...

I would dump the instigator rule first off.

The irony is that the true instigators almost never get called for instigating, in fact they are frequently deemed the "instigatee" as somebody responds to their over-the-top-ness. e.g. Cooke, Ott, Avery, Hollweg, the biggest scum bags in the league. Why the league protects these pricks escapes me totally.

If they were to propose making the instigator a stand-alone penalty, now I'm listening. As in, "Cooke, two for instigating". Call it on its own merit, whether or not a scuffle and other penalties ensue. Or call it unsportsmanlike conduct, but call it on the guys who deserve it.

Word verification: spitizi, as in Matt Cooke makes me spitizi.