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.

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