Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

FCP Press Conference

Link courtesy of MC.


As I mentioned in my October blog on the subject, TVU is a peer to peer internet TV network that shows a number of NHL games. As per the NHL-TVU schedule, it looks like the Ducks-Oil PPV game tomorrow night will be shown. Unfortunately, it also appears that there will be some overlap with the Pens-Islanders game, so we might miss the first period.

The NHL-TVU forum has moved to a new host. It's worth noting that the previous TVU forum was overran by some asshole Leafs fan who demanded more Toronto content. I hope that those reading this appreciate the hard work both Kago and Kagogrl do, and will hold their tongues when criticism comes to mind. Remember folks, they are spending both time and effort improving your hockey experience, and they ask for nothing in return. While I don't believe it's necessary to thank them for their service, I do think it is unacceptable to criticize them for the way in which they go about providing it.

"Joints are for children"

Pinto strikes again.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Oilers vs. Chicago

I have a great deal of sympathy for Blackhawks fans. Mostly due to the man pictured here. They put up with so much for a long time now. They don't even get to watch their team suck on TV. Wirtz is a dinosaur that would be unrivaled as a terrible owner if it weren't for the pure evil of Harold Ballard. Going into the lockout, refusal to spend money had turned the once-proud franchise into a cellar dweller.

Then it looked like things were changing. This year things were turning around. They traded for Havlat and acquired Handzus and Smolinski for some more veteran forward help. With another year of development for some of the young Dmen they had, they started strong. 7-1 preseason, 4-2 in their first 6. Then the wheels started coming off. Havlat went down and still hasn't returned, Handzus is done for the year, Rene Bourque suffered a positively Malarchukian injury and Khabibulin, finally playing like the guy they paid 7 million dollars for, hurt his finger. He's back, but the other three are still out. And the Blackhawks have slipped back down in the standings.

The Oilers, on the other hand, have won their last 4. Roli may have stole a couple of those, but, as Mudcrutch noted, that's why you spend salary cap space on a 4 million dollar goalie. Still, a more consistent effort would be nice. So would a number of the players figuring out how to make a breakout play under pressure. A victory tonight is important. Things are far too close to throw away points.

4-2 Oilers. The Blackhawks are going to be desperate to salvage something on their western Canadian road trip and come out flying. The Oilers will probably start flat tonight and get behind a goal. Roli will keep it close and the Oilers will come back, get up 3-1, get complacent and start slacking until they only have a one goal lead again, and squeek out a victory with an empty netter in a game that will be far closer than I'd like.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oilers vs. Blues

All questionable coaching and player acquisition moves aside, St. Louis fans should thank Mike Keenan for vetoing this monstrosity. Even a roller hockey team would be embarrased to wear this.

Rematch tonight. Hopefully the Oilers can build on a good performance in Colorado and come out on fire tonight. There's really no excuse for losing to the Blues twice in a row. They aren't absolutely terrible, but with the league as close as it is now, you can't afford to throw away points.

St. Louis is sort of an interesting team this year. I think that they made some astute moves in the offseason. I wasn't a fan of the Team USA 98 reunion tour up front, but it looks like it's working out fairly well. They overpaid for McKee, but they could afford to do so. He got hurt, but you can't judge it based on that. Manny Legace was brought in to stabalize the goaltending. A bit of a gamble, because this forced them to expose Bacashihua to waivers, but I think it was a good move. Then, in my favourite move of the offseason, they gave Radek Dvorak a home. There were probably 10 teams in the league that this guy could help, but no one seemed to want him. Now it looks like he may be rediscovering a bit of scoring touch, which makes me happy. I'm pulling for the guy.

All that adds up to... not a whole lot for the Blues. They're more competitive, but they're not making the playoffs this year. On the plus side, it looks like they know how to put a team together, and that bodes well for the future. On the downside, they could really use the elite forward prospect they might have got in the draft if the management team hadn't been so competent.

5-1 Oil. Back at home, looking for revenge. Looks like Smyth survived Liles's Marchment impersonation with minimal damage and will play tonight. Hopefully the team can string a few together and get a little breathing room.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Ups and Downs of the Edmonton Oilers

Some games don't deserve analysis, and that was the case with the game against Detroit. I think it's best that we as fans just put that one behind us and move on. However, I don't think we should get too excited about the bounce back game against Columbus either. The Oil were going to come out fired up for that one if they had any sense of pride. This upcoming back to back is the real test. We find out in St. Louis if this team actually has learned something or if they were just too embarassed to suck on Friday.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

On the road in Detroit - Prediction and Bonus Video

I think we win this one; the boys are going to come out strong and catch Detroit off guard. We took too many penalties in Montreal, I don't think will make the same mistake tonight. Also, I suspect that something has been done to improve the powerplay, and if it gets on track tonight, we should cruise to an easy victory.

4-1 Oil.

Post Game Montreal

I'm going to go out on a limb here: I think the Oilers current slump can be blamed for the most part on their anemic PP. After watching us dominate the first 17 minutes of the game vs Montreal, I did my best to find the source of the 2nd and 3rd period drop off, and I found the horrible oiler PP consistently lent the Habs the momentum. I believe most fans would agree that a successful PK for their team often causes a favourable shift in momentum. Keeping this in mind, the consequences of a poor PP are two-fold: first our boys are disappointed in their inability to even generate a quality scoring opportunity, and the opposing team is stoked because they just completed a big kill. Once the PP is dangerous again, look for the Oil to bounce back with a string of victories.

Some other thoughts:

- Jan Hejda is the real thing. He's physical, can shoot and most importantly, his outlet passing has been VERY good. I know it's only two games, but with what I have seen so far, Hejda has been our best defenseman at moving the puck. If I had the choice between Tjarnqvist and Hejda, I would have to go with the latter. He has played with a lot of heart in his first two games, and shouldn't be taken out of the lineup while he continues to do so.

- Matt Greene is getting a lot more tough minutes on the PK. His game has come far this year, he seems to improve every game. I would like to see him be a bit more physical, beyond that I have no criticisms.

- We were hitting again in Montreal, I wonder what MacT said/did to resurrect our physical game.

- MAB was jumping up in the rush, I was really happy to see this. I think that our offense has been stagnant in part because of a lack of pinching by the defense (not the outlet passes, the horse that the masses are beating on). Sure, we will give up more 2 on 1's, but I think the risk-reward is worth it.

- Horc and Pisani had great games. Look for them to come up big tonight in Detroit.

- Raffi and Lupul were subpar, however, if somehow all our offensive weapons can get going at the same time, look out NHL

- I hate seeing fans bitch about MacT's shootout choices. If Sykora hadn't hit that post, they would all be praising him.

- I never say anything about Sykora, because I don't think he is a 'true oiler' or that he will be here next year. I also don't buy his hockey happy speech, I think he's in a contract year and signed with the oilers because he knew he would get a lot of powerplay minutes and be on the ice with Hemmer. With that said, he's been a great addition, and it will suck when he signs with Columbus for 3.8m in 2007.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

On the road in Montreal.

The Oilers visit the Habs tonight in Montreal. I think this is gonna be a big bounce back game for us. After the McGeough debacle, the team has good reason to play hard. I mentioned in my Dallas pre-game post that the Oil really need something drastic to happen to get the team out of their early season funk, it is my hope that Friday's events will provide that spark.

Prediction: 3-1 Oil.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Support The MacT Relief Fund

The boys over at The Battle of Alberta have started a MacT relief fund as a show of support to our beleaguered coach. While the "retarded" comment was clearly in poor taste, if you consider the circumstances I think our boy Craigger's handled himself rather well. I've chipped in my $20 bucks, and I encourage those who have the means to do the same.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Losing to Dallas and Mick McGeough (The Silver Lining)

I would have much rather been wrong in my prediction of tonights final score. I watched the first two periods of the game on TVU, and we looked pretty good out there. I don't think the shots in the first period were indicative of the play. Dallas took a lot of weak perimeter shots which helped to balloon their total. One thing we have to work on is late period goals. We seem to be giving up goals in the last minute of the period at an alarming frequency. These goals can be real back breakers, and I would like to see our boys work on this.

Now for the officiating.

By now we've all seen the botched goaltender interference call and the phantom gloved pass. Sure I'm pissed, but I can see a silver lining

A lot of our boys haven't been playing with much intensity this season. This evenings events are the perfect motivator to bring back the us against the world mentality we have been missing this year. It's this mentality that kept us fighting down the stretch to make the big show last year; it's this mentality that we rode all the way to game 7 of the SCF; it's this mentality we drew upon to beat Dallas in 1997.

We've been missing our spark all season. Now we're 7-6, with our backs to the wall, going into a big road trip. I think it's time the real Edmonton Oilers show up to play.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Big D Comes To Town.

Whether we win or lose this one all depends on which Oiler team shows up for the game; the one that we saw early in the season, or the one we have seen in the last 4 games. Unfortunately, I think we're going to see a lot more of the Jekyll Oilers until something big happens (falling under .500). However, despite this dreary prediction, if we can get an early lead, i think we come out of this with a convincing victory. I know it's cryptic, but it's all I got right now.

My prediction:

4-2 Dallas.

Tonights game will be broadcast on TVU; just tune into the NHL2 channel at 7:30 MST and enjoy the game.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Preds @ Oilers: Post Game Comment.

The general consensus among HF posters is that we lost this game because Nashville outworked us. I just finished watching the game, and I really can't agree with this thesis. To me, the game is best summed up as "Oilers playing catch up, and failing". We let in a couple early goals, and spent the rest of the game getting to within a goal, only to have Nashville pull away again.

Some quick comments:

- The Lupul - Sykora - Hemsky was our best line. I think Lupul's new role fits his game a lot better than the one he was asked to fill with Smytty and Horc. He could have easily had 3 goals, if some bounces had gone his way.

- Overall I like the new lines, I think the players have responded well.

- For those of you calling for Hejda, who should be taken out in favour of him? The only possible candidates are MAB, Greene and Smid; all three of these guys are playing solid hockey. Ironically, MAB has been a lot better since I published my video of his poor early season play.

- Horc made a great pass to Torres on their 2 on 1, it's too bad he couldn't bury it. Would have been nice to have the game tied up 2-2, we had a lot of momentum at that point.

- Gator and Shaggy played alright, they can both be better though.

- Greene and Smid are both studs; mark my words. Greene has made some great passes in the last few games, it's remarkable how far his game has come. Smid is by far our best defensemen with the puck. He's so cool under pressure; reminds me of Mattias Ohlund.

- Smytty is a goddamn garbage man; he always seems to score the ugliest goals. After reviewing the replay of Smyth's goal, Ferraro commented that he couldn't "do it again if he tried to"; however, I tend to think that Smytty is a lot craftier than most people think. Although he didn't break any rules (no kicking motion), I am of the belief that he knew his best opportunity to score was by skating into the puck.

- WHERE IS THE PHYSICAL PLAY. Most frustrating thing about the game was the lack of Oiler hits. Goddamn it Chopper, why did you have to break your shoulder on Markov's head.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nashville Comes to Town.

After watching parts of the Canucks-Preds game last night I have high expectations for tonights game. I don't normally watch Canuck games; however, this was an excellent opportunity to scout the elusive Nashville Predators.

Some thoughts:

- Nashville came out real strong, cycling the puck down low in the Vancouver zone. This down low pressure was a big factor in the Nashville's first two goals. The 1-0 goal, Ohlund had been stuck on the ice for a long shift, and made a lazy play to deflect the puck; fortunately, he deflected it into his own net. The second goal came on a powerplay that was drawn in part by strong Nashville forechecking.

- Vancouver got back into the game with solid goaltending and a couple weak goals.

- Nashville stopped moving their feet in the third, and without Sullivan's heroics, could have easily came out of Vancouver with the loss.

- The Preds should be tired tonight, they were fading down the stretch last night. Also, they don't have a whole lot of pressure on them to win, their road trip has already been a great success.

- If the Oilers come out hard and fast, and get an early lead, this game should be in the bag. However, if the Oil struggle putting pucks in the net past the Nashville backup, look out for a long frustrating evening.