Sunday, February 15, 2009

Just Say No


A week ago good old Capsule faced off and won and jumped over the team we beat in the standings. Last night we faced the team we caught with that win with an opportunity to jump another place. Instead we laid an egg - our worst game of the year. We didn't skate, we were soft, we coughed up the puck. It was ugly. We were missing our two leading scorers, a couple of guys who produce offence every game, and we are an offensively challenged bunch, so that didn't help. (Our leading scorer is a newlywed so no escape for him on Valentine's Day.)

And we still could have won it. We have a terrific player who is usually money in close. He had two last week including a terrific solo dash but last night he had about a half dozen five bell chances and he couldn't cash.

We found out later that he had mistakenly taken my hands when he hit the ice so that explained a lot.

Down 2-1 we were applying some nice pressure and one of our D took a nice low shot that hit their goalie and bounced right down in front of him. I had gotten position on my man and so was all alone, not a lot of time mind you as buddy was about to level me, and I actually got the shot up where I wanted, over the goalie and ... high and wide.

(At the beginning of the year we played on a Saturday night and then again on the Sunday afternoon. I scored three goals in eighteen hours and joked that I was good until 2011. Well, we're getting there! For Fuck's Sakes!)

They chipped it out, got it deep in our zone, one of our guys missed his man and they were up two. Off the draw they got it deep again, potted another and that was it.

Game.

Its a weird league this year, really its anyone's to take. If we could pick someone up at the deadline, if there was a deadline, we'd trade futures for Tyler Dellow, a young hotshot out of BC. All we need is a bit more offence and we'd be golden. He'd put us over the top.

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Big win in a big game yesterday (big big game) and hopefully the Oilers can take the Yotes and then anything more would be gravy on this trip.

Speaking of big games I was listening to the radio last night and some radio guy for the Sabres was talking about Derek Roy. Apparently he scores big goals in big games.

A nice skill to have.

The Oilers are hanging in there. But with Lubo gone for the season and Grebs out for pretty well the remainder of the season things are not looking good.

The best case for this club with all hands on deck was the fifth or sixth seed and a series with Chicago or Calgary. Underdogs but with an inkling of a chance.

Now Dallas has roared by and the Canucks are playing like we thought they would. My guess is there are two spots left. The ones that lead to a date with the Wings or the Sharks. Even with Lubo in the lineup we're talking lucky to win a game against either of those clubs I think.

So what are the Oilers to do? Well, before Lubo got hurt this was my take and I still stand by it.

I'd really like to see this club make the playoffs, especially after Lowe's botch job in 2006 and 2007. They're rebuilding and some of these kids need some playoff experience, sooner better then later, and it would just be, well, nice to actually have them play hockey that matters for a change.

What scares me is talk of moving guys for rentals. Nilsson, Smid, Brodziak, Stortini, Pouliot - if twenty games of Kuba or Guerin costs us one of those guys, a cheap useful player, then I don't want any part of it.

Make a list of prospects who you like - same goes for those guys.

This is the list I had: Don't move Peckham or Wild or Chorney or Plante, Brule or Nash or Eberle or Omark or Jean Vande Velde or Reddox or Dubnyk

Make sense? Don't get me wrong. I'm not married to any of these guys and other then a few players I'd move pretty well anybody if it meant making the club better.

But moving a kid who can fill a role, even that of a fourth line agitator or PK man, on the cheap for twenty games of a guy when the end result is going to be getting waxed in the first round anyways?

That's just plain short sighted and the type of move that franchises like Atlanta and the Islanders make.

Bill Guerin isn't going to put this club over the top. Sending the Islanders Linus Omark for him would be criminally stupid.

12 comments:

Swabbubba said...

BD and his hands of cement no finish around the net. Hmm I think I have heard those words uttered in my direction. Was going roof daddy? wowsers

Hmm I was pissed that LA was given the point by the zebras. I am not too sure but it would appear that all hi light packages edited out the interference/hooking and the subsequent shootin that became an Intentional offside. Lets see questionable call on Cogs? Brown if he was getting hooked at chest level why do the legs pull up like landing gear? But it was great call. The hit Moreau threw on Brown was priceless I thought ooh hit to noggin was going to be called but it so pretty.

Going to Dogs tonite. Big game gut check time big 2 points blah blah blah.

Two words this works for this team "Just Win"

Scott said...

I don't know about our odds being that bad against the Sharks and Wings. Surely they're big underdogs, but even if the other guys are 80% to win in every game, which seems ludicrously high, we'd still have a 59% chance of taking one of the first four games. Losing in six is par for me, and probably for the organization as well (three home dates instead of two = $$).

Black Dog said...

Do you think Scott? I'm generally an optimist. Even in 2006 I picked them to beat the Wings in the first round. Not in a "hey they're the Oilers so they will win" way but based on what I thought was a reasonable look at the teams involved.

But with Lubo out I just can't see them competing with either of those clubs. I guess it depends on who they get at the deadline but I can't see it.

If they took either team to six without Lubo I would call that a successful season and a good step towards next year.

Maybe I'm just underestimating them.

swabb - yeah better hope that point doesn't come back to haunt, eh?

hunter1909 said...

I thought the 2006 Oilers would "upset" the tired old wings also. From then on I wasn't so sure, lol.

Too bad this team is so disfunctional. I could have seen a healthy defence plus the requisite 2006 style additions to do quite well come spring. Alas, with Viz gone, it just ain't going to happen.

On the bright side, we only have to put up with a couple of dozen more games seeing MacT's visage behind the bench.

Black Dog said...

hunter - I figured they were good each round in 2006. I was 3 for 4 unfortunately.

I think with some help and a healthy Lubo they could beat the Flames and maybe the Hawks.

But its a nonstarter now.

I think they owe it to the fans to try and make the postseason but not at the cost of anything really useful.

I guess I want it both ways.

Scott said...

Well, there really isn't any reason a team shouldn't go to six. The Sharks have the best winning percentage in the league at 68.5%. That's pretty close to two wins for every loss and the Oilers should be better than many of the teams that they beat over the season, so yeah, six games seems like par to me. I mean, I'd be happy with that too. It would be a good experience.

Hunter, you picked them against the Wings but were worried about the Sharks, Ducks and Canes? That seems backwards to me but then again, I was wrong twice that year, so what can you do.

Black Dog said...

Scott - yeah that does make sense; when it comes to the playoffs I always seem to get caught in the trap of believing that there is some gigantic gap between the top seeds and their opponents. Not sure if that is a result of growing up watching clubs play teams with forty or fifty point gaps between them - the Habs of the 70s, the Oilers of the 80s and so on. Its rare that there are no upsets these days so a six game series should be a realistic expectation.

Swabbubba said...

Putting it out there. The Wing's unless they get a goalie they are going to be the team to put a target on.
Playoffs are different so comparing regular season to playoffs is useless. It is 60 minutes at a time. You steal one game and it changes everything. Sometimes one bounce or a bad shift will change the entire flow of a round. Detroit based on goalies is on my list. I know Ken Holland does not agree but the 2 they have are a gong show.

Black Dog said...

swabb - I could see that

See, you guys are convincing me! ;)

Still, don't trade Nilsson for Havelid just yet, please.

Good Muckin' Tonite said...

Nice to know my beer league team's not the only one struggling - 5 skaters and a goalie the other night - lost a 13-9 shootout to make playoffs.

Hate to jump in the debate this late, but the more I'm catching recent Oiler highlights, the more I'm reminded of last year's Bruins. B's went 8-3-1 in Jan and 7-4 in Feb last year before getting healthy. Oil are 8-4 in Jan and 5-3 so far in Feb with the team on the mend. Both riding hot goaltending. Definitely a shot at stealing a game or 2 in the first round vs Wings with the team as is. Have to agree that I'd hate to see anything other than minor tweaking at this point unless something incredible is available. Even a half-decent first round exit is something to keep building on. As for the Sharks...guess we'll get a sense tonight.

Scott said...

Still, don't trade Nilsson for Havelid just yet, please.

Incidentally, I agree that this would be ridiculous, and indeed that Omark to the Isles would be criminally stupid. It becomes a cycle where you're doing it every year until eventually your good core runs out and then you've got nothing.

Black Dog said...

G.M.T. - if the Oilers are on the same track as the Bruins I'll be pretty happy. They are certainly a better club then last year, hopefully they can take another step next season.

Scott - its funny though because I have seen a lot of folks talk about trading Nilsson for just that, a rental.

He's inconsistent and I'm not sure if he will be part of the future but trading him for twenty games of someone would be a massive mistake.

Marginal prospects and picks until you have a club that's ready to make a real run.