Thursday, November 06, 2008
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.
Posted by Black Dog at 9:07 AM