Monday, October 22, 2007

The Good.

1. Sean Horcoff: He's off to a solid start (2-4-6 ESP in 8 GMs), and doing everything the team asks of him. The man is pure hustle on the ice. I've seen him make a few mistakes in his coverage, especially on the PK, but beyond that his game has been very solid.

2. Tom Gilbert: Honestly who thought that going into this years TC that Gilbert would establish himself as an everyday player? Taking into consideration our plenitude of "puck moving" defenseman going into this years TC, it certainly surprised me that Tom managed to play his way onto the opening day roster. He makes smart plays with the puck in his zone, and is consistently good in his outlet passing. An extremely pleasant surprise.

3. Matt Greene: I watched him play terribly in both Vancouver pre-season games (one live and one on Snet Pacific). Both performances left me very discouraged; I really felt that Matt had turned a corner in the last 20 games of the 06-07 campaign. Sure the team was horrible, but Greene was logging 20+ minutes and looking damn good doing it. In the 7 games I have seen so far this year, I think Greene has played very well (<3 PDO). He has yet to take a penalty that I wouldn't want him to take (9 mins, a 5 minute fighting major versus the Dys and 2 roughing + 2 instigator last night vs the Flames for telling David Hale not to stick out his knee at Ales Hemsky). He plays the body well and is doing a pretty good job at puck separation in his own zone. He's not perfect by any means, but I think he's played well.

4. Ales Hemsky: Up until Lowetide posted something about the Law of Averages, our young Czech star was playing like a madman. Since then, he's cooled down from "unreal" to "best player on the ice". I am shocked by all the criticism I read of him on here. His shooting is WAY up this year; he's been taking the puck to the net and I'll have to agree with Lowetide, the results can't be far off.

5. Kyle Brodziak: He makes simple smart plays with the puck, and certainly will help this team win down the road. It's important for teams to have young cheap talent that can contribute in the W/L column, and I think this kid certainly fits the category. He's playing so well, the opposition has yet to score at ES while he is on the ice. That's gotta count for something.

6. Marty Reasoner: No longer known by my buddy Matt and I as "The Ghost of Marty Reasoner", he has re-energized his NHL career. Much like Brodziak, Marty has been making smart and simple plays with the puck, and often manages to put himself in the right place at the right time in both ends of the ice. I have been very impressed with his play so far this year.

6. Sam Gagner: Wow, this kid is something. Just three months after his 18th birthday, the guy has earned himself a spot on the Oilers roster. I have been absolutely blown away with this kids moxy; he really has displayed (at a young age) an ability to read and react to the play at a very high level. There is a lot of talk about players straight out of junior needing time to adjust to the speed of the NHL game. Sam seems to have completely skipped this stage of development.

7. Andrew Cogliano: I "saw him good" in Vancouver during the pre-season and commented here that: "Cogliano makes a difference out there, his speed really opens up on the ice. I think he should make the team" . After watching him in 8 NHL games, I gotta say that my analysis was spot on. Around game 2 or 3 of the season, MacT commented that Cogliano displays a rare talent that he hadn't seen since Mike Peca's time with the Oil. Specifically, he was referring to their ability to create instant offense at any particular time. This talent is very hard to find, and I gotta agree with MacT here: Cogs has it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Phoenix Game Day

The word over at Lowetide's is that the Hockey Jesus is getting the kind of linemates befitting our Lord and Saviour. Hopefully Robbie spends more time on his feet and less on his ass in this one.

Normally, I'd be concerned about a line featuring 3 players who have questionable defensive abilities on the road. Especially considering Hemsky needs to get his minutes at EV, no matter who his linemates are. However, it's against Phoenix. I'm pretty comfortable running our high-skill high-event guys against theirs, and they don't really have anything else. What match up against the Coyotes really scares you? Shane Doan is a nice player, but who else? Mike York was a hell of a player in Edmonton, but I'm pretty sure he spent the entire lockout eating delicious Belgian chocolate cakes. Wayne might end up running out guys like Hanzal and Mueller, and I'll take that match any day.

To me, this is really Schremp's shot right here. He doesn't have to score tonight, but if he doesn't at least show some flashes I'm going to transfer all hope and attention to a newer, shinier prospect. Somehow I don't think I'd be the only one.

Also: Sheldon Souray is hurt. I have no idea how to feel about this.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

MacT Is Pissed.

Poor Ryan Rishaug.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

“Nothing too big, he hit me there’s nothing I can do about it,” Hemsky said. “I don’t think I can fight with him”

With a division tilt against Minnesota rapidly approaching this evening, all the talk in Oil town centers around the Wilds 'star' enforcer Derek Boogaard. Frankly, I think this years Oilers are better suited to punish Lemaire for putting the Boogie man out there. Speed was a factor in the preseason and in the first two home games, as long as we can keep the puck moving up ice, a guy like Boogaard turns from an asset to a liability.

I'll be liveblogging this game at 6:00 PM MT.

- Oilers spend 2 minutes running around in their own zone and get bailed out by a Wild penalty.

- Pitkanen with a nice rush early on the PP. I like that quick shot by Hemsky.

- Looks like they were able to get Souray a little more involved on the PP. That powerplay looked a lot better than the one we saw in Detroit.

- Hemsky with back to back ugly neutral zone turnovers. Second one leads to a Gaborik SC.

- Stoll with a nice play in the defensive zone, strips the puck and moves it up ice.

- With the exception of that play by Stoll, the Wild are winning all the battles down low in our zone. It's just a matter of time before they get one out of all this pressure.

- Greene makes a nice play breaking up a Gaborik pass then skating it to center and getting it in deep.

- Hemsky with a great individual effort capped by a Pitkanen scoring opportunity.

- Pouliot in the right spot in the defensive zone breaks up a pass to Gaborik. Cycle is really killing us though.

- Big surprise, the Wild score after 45 seconds of offensive zone pressure. 1-0 Wild.

- Nilsson takes a high stick, no call.

- Pouliot with some really nice work down low. 22-16-78 looking pretty good out there.

- Tarnstrom - Souray pairing shows up on an offensive zone face off with Gaborik on the ice. It will be interesting to see if MacT keeps these two together.


- Pouliot had a solid period, created some offense and was one of the few Oilers that looked decent in his own end.
- I thought Greene looked good again this period.
- Cycle is absolutely chewing us up. We are constantly one pass behind the play.


- Souray starts the period out there with Tarnstrom, looks like MacT may be tiring of the Goliath pairing.

- Some nice offensive zone pressure leads to an Oiler powerplay, nice shift for 8-19-51.

- 2-0 Wild. Oilers get caught watching as the Wild top line strikes again.

- The play has died a lot on Sanderson stick in the offensive zone so far this game.


- Not much
- The Wild look like a far better team.


- Way too many offsides, by my casual eye it looks like 8+ so far this game for the Oil.

- I'm tired of hearing Cuthbert and Healy chirping off about how great Backstrom has played. I can count the quality Oiler scoring chances on one hand. Mike Morrison would be sporting a shut out at this point.

- The kids are really looking like kids in this game. Watching Walz toss Cogliano off the puck behind the net makes me sad ;(

- Where are the hits? JFJ and Torres have done absolutely nothing so far this game.

- What's with the obsession with "blind passes" (Torres, Nilsson and Sanderson). The Wild seems to feed off that sort of junk.

- Some excitement at the conclusion of the game but the Oil show no finish. Another veteran team makes our young club look silly. It's not really worth getting into the goats of this game, pretty much everyone played like junk. Solid games from Hemsky, Horcoff, Roloson, Brodziak, Pouliot, and Reasoner.

Monday, October 08, 2007

LiveBlogging: Oilers @ Wings.

Thanks to Shaw Digital Cable finally offering a Center Ice package, I will be liveblogging a number of games from MattM's place this season. Tonights game should be a real test for the kids; no longer will MacT be able to shelter them from the Thornton's and Briere's of the league. As a side comment, I have been really impressed with Matt Greene so far this season. He looked utterly terrible in the preseason, but from what I saw in the season opener and heard about from the Philly game, he seems to have turned a corner. We'll see how he and the kids do tonight.

- TSN puts sportsnet west to shame in terms of production value, this broadcast is low budget all the way.

- Stoll messes up a clearing attempt and Pitkanen takes a hooking penalty, not a good start.

- Grebeshkov gets stripped behind his own net on the PK, not a pretty play at all. I'm surprised he drew in for Tarnstrom, possible injury?

- Pretty weak call on Staios, didn't look like tripping to me.

- Stoll makes a really soft play and fails to clear the zone, Roloson misplays a wrap around and it's 1-0 Wings. Taking two early penalties on the road in Detroit is a surefire method to get down a goal.

- Lazy stick by Maltby leads to the first Oiler powerplay. What the hell? Didn't Cleary touch that puck before Penner hit him. How is that interference? Either way, the oiler powerplay is negated. Also, it's good to see DP getting physically involved in the game, Hemsky needs someone on his line to put a scare into guys that take runs at him.

- 2-0 Wings. Grebeshkov looks like absolute suck as Chelios walks by him and gets 2 shots before potting the 3rd. So far this kid has NOT impressed.

- 2-1 Wings. The top line with some nice passing and Horc with the finish. Holmstrom takes a quick penalty and the Oilers go back on the powerplay.

- Powerplay ends with no real pressure, Kids have been invisible so far this game.

- Only down by 1 goal after being thoroughly outplayed.
- Brodziak made a couple really heady plays.
- Hemsky is flying
- The 'skilled' kids were invisibile
- Grebeshkov looked pretty bad.
- Ice looks really bad out there. The puck is bouncing all over the place.


- Ridiculous give away leads to a Staios penalty. 3-1 Detroit, this is getting ugly.

- Cogliano with a nice rush and shot playing between 14 amd 12. Looks like Stoll is either a victim of the blender or MacT has decided to give him a seat on the bench. Certainly has not been Stoll's best game thus far.

- Raffi gets his stick up and the Oil are down a man yet again. Greene wins a nice puck battle on the boards early on the PK. Horc makes a real nice play taking Holmstrom out in front of the net and negating a solid scoring chance created by Lidstrom.

- Hemsky loses the puck off of an Oiler offensive zone face off win, but has the sense to make a real nice play on the back check and pickup a man. This kid has come a long way.

- Puck is bouncing everywhere, Oilers get another post off of a tipped Chelios knuckle ball.

- Datsyuk makes the Greene - Souray pairing look absolutely silly. That's a matchup I'm sure that MacT wants to stay away from.

- 3-2 Oil WOW WHAT A PASS! Pitkanen threads the puck through 3 wings right onto Cogliano's stick and he makes no mistake and pots it into the open net. A nice reward to 5 minutes of Oiler pressure late in the period.


- Matt Greene is having a solid game.
- The Oiler defense has looked reliable at 5v5.
- The skilled kids came alive late in the period, capped by Cogliano's goal.
- Our PK has to do a better job clearing the puck and killing time. Detroit has had too many opportunities to setup and make plays in our zone.


- Holmstrom mauls Roli and takes a penalty. Ridiculous Wing pressure just before the call. Second unit powerplay needs some tweaking, perhaps Torres needs to plant his ass on the bench.

- 8-19-51 have looked sloppy on the cycle tonight. I'm seeing a lot of blind passes that aren't connecting.

- Even Nick Lidstrom can't get away with that kind of bear hug. We need to get Souray involved on the powerplay.

- Ugly, Ugly, Ugly. You can tell Souray wants to unleash the bomb, but the team isn't getting him the puck. What a terrible powerplay, second unit looks REALLY bad.

- Pouliot makes an awfully pretty play stepping through a few wings to setup Gagner for a nice scoring chance.

- The refs are really letting the 'boys play' here, couple hilarious non-calls for both the Oilers and the Wings.

- Cogliano really opens up the ice, with speed like that, it's hard for the Wings to keep him from gaining the zone.

- 4-2 Wings. Draper puts it into the net from just across the red line. A fairly predictable outcome.

Final note: The Oilers played pretty well all things considered; we're going to score a lot of goals this year, if we can find a way to limit the opposition from putting the puck into our net, we might be able to squeak into the post season.