Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gotcha! Journalism.

I don't usually involve myself in American politics, but I think everyone should see this video.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Preaseason Thoughts

Just a couple more points to add to what Kinger said below.

-I thought Trukhno started strong and faded down the stretch. He looked like he was trying to do too much through the third. Also I'm not sure he's really cut out to be a PP point man, although the issues there might have as much to do with having Roy on the opposite point as anything. There's definitely some skill there, but I was a little hot and cold on him all night.

-Colin McDonald might have an NHL career, but I doubt he's a scorer. Either way, I'm now officially cheering for him. He just personifies effort out there.

-I liked Sestito. A little like McDonald in that he was clearly trying pretty damn hard. I'm not sure he's got much to work with talent-wise, but at the least he'll be a good AHL role model.

-From what I've seen I think Brule is the best player available for that end-of-the-roster spot. However, I don't think he should get it. I'd rather see him get 30-40 games in the A to find his offense again. He's still only 21 and his development is more important than whatever marginal improvement he brings to the roster. Better to do it now, before he's waiver eligible, than regret it later.

-I heart Crazy Roli. He's worth his cap hit for that blocker punch to Bernier's head alone. You could see the first time he touched the puck how much he wanted to bat it down the ice. Kinger and I cheered like crazy when he got the chance later. We noticed that it was more a line-drive than his typical pop fly approach. A mishit? Something new being tried out in the preseason? Curious.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Preseason: Oilers @ Canucks.

MattM and I attended this evening's game at GM Place. While it was a decent game overall, the 1-2-2 that the Canucks employed after they took the lead made for a pretty dull finish. A few comments:


- We dressed an awfully young lineup and it showed. With the exception of Strudwick, even the legitimate NHLer's were only second and third year Pro's (37, 77, 12, 13, 67, 51, 46). Once the Canucks took the lead the team really deflated.

- The Powerplay had some nice puck movement and I'll be interested to see how the 37-77 pairing fairs on the second unit.


- PDO mentioned it over at PJO's , and I have to agree, Colin McDonald is a MacT type player. Every time he picked up the puck he moved it up ice with both speed and power. He also wasn't afraid to put pucks on the net. So much so that by the end of the night Matt and I were referring to weak shots from the outside as "McDonald's".

- Trukhno by my eye had a rather up and down game. He showed considerable passing skill and an ability to operate in tight. However, he was noticeably slow and often turned the puck over needlessly (while not under a lot of pressure). I liked what I saw from him but I'm not as impressed as others in the Oilogosphere. I think his game is a long way from 'NHL ready'.

- Bryan Young was not as good as MattM or I expected. After one full year in the 'A' we thought that his game would have a bit more polish. He had pretty much the inverse of 'calm feet'.

- Matt Roy hasn't changed one bit. I noticed on two separate occasions that he turned his back on his forecheckers. The guy showed some grit but he's just not an NHL defenseman.

- Strudwick was solid and hardly noticeable. I think he's a good fit for the 6/7 spot. I do however also think that Smid's job is safe.

- Gilbert Brule put together a very solid game. He played with a lot of energy and his checking style is nearly identical to the recently departed number 14 (he takes those quick short strides just before laying his shoulder into his target). He doesn't however have the obvious flaws in Torres' game: puck handling, agility (Torres has good top speed but doesn't move well side to side), and shot. I was very impressed with this kid, at just 21 years old I think he's set the bar for the 12th F spot.

- Kyle Brodziak looked like a man amongst boys. His skating has improved and he doesn't seem to have regressed from the Brodziak we saw late last season. I think he was the best Oiler forward.

- Jordan Eberle was a boy amongst men. You can see the talent but he's just not there yet.

The Rest:

- Not really much to say, Gibby and Grebs were feeling each other out and had pretty poor games. Sesito, Spurgeon, Young, Taylor, Benson looked out of place and will be cut soon. Stortini played the pest role perfectly and Potulny had his moments but was overshadowed by Brule.

- Roloson was playing with a lot of fire and I was very impressed with his gamesmanship.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Preseason: Canucks @ Oil.

A few comments on this evenings game:


- Don Taylor is a poor play by play announcer.

- The Oilers carried the play but the Canucks got a couple garbage goals. The fact that the shots were even at the end of the contest had a lot to do with the five minute penalty kill and the Oil taking their collective feet off the gas.

- The Powerplay was pretty poor. I don't think Cole is the right fit for that unit. By my eye the play seemed to die with him and he wasn't getting in front of the goalie on a consistent basis. I'm interested in seeing Gagner or Penner out there in the LW spot. I think those two big shots could make use of a big guy in front of the net (27) or a better puck distributor (89).

The Players:

Sheldon Souray:
Had by my eye his best game in Oilers silks. He was all kinds of physical and wasn't afraid to put the puck on the net. An excellent game by any measure. A part of me hopes that last years Souray was 'playing hurt' Souray. I was very impressed with his performance in both ends of the ice.

Steve Staios:
A pretty mediocre performance. Made a couple decent forays into the offensive zone but also coughed up a few pucks in his own end. We will need him to be better if we hope to make the playoffs.

Lubomir Visnovsky:
Put together a solid performance on both ends of the ice. Schneider robbed him with the glove on perhaps his best save of the game. Positioned himself well and defended the rush with both his stick and body. My one complaint is that he missed the net a number of times on the PP.

Ladislav Smid:
The dog is off the leash. This guy looks a lot bigger and stronger than the previous two seasons. I remember tjree distinct moments when he asserted himself physically. First he put Cowan into the post to negate a scoring chance. Second, shortly after Kesler tried to jam it in late in the third he gave Daniel Sedin a nice shot to the melon in the scrum. Third, Ladi ended up on top of Raymond after he turtled vs Benson.

Theo Peckham: Shaky start, strong finish. Pecks looked real out of place in the first period. However, he really got it together in the second. He made a few nice passes out of his zone and played the body well. If it was just nerves at first (I think it was) Peckham seems like a real player. He's a year away from the big show, but from the looks of it he will make it.

Taylor Chorney: I was surprised by his passing ability, it was on par with his excellent skating. Right now he's too small to win battles in the corners, but that should work itself out over time.

Ales Hemsky: Had a pretty bad game. He seemed disinterested and particularly careless with the puck.

Shawn Horcoff: You can tell he needs to get his timing back. Scorecoff was not in the lineup this evening. He seemed reluctant to shoot and when he did it was pretty poor.

Erik Cole: An excellent player. I'm not sure if he's the right fit for the first unit PP, but his skills at evens speak for themselves. A north south power forward if I have ever seen one.

Fernando Pisani: He really looks 100% out there. To me the real difference is that he has his strength back, and can overpower players offensively and defensively.

Ethan Moreau: Captain Crunch (or Captain Hook) had a solid game. One particular play stood out to me when Moreau laid out Simek near the Canucks bench.

Dustin Penner: He was surprisingly effective on the PK. I also thought that he was a good fit on a checking line with 34 and 18.

Sam Gagner: That shootout move was absolutely sick. The guy has an incredible set of hands. It looked to me like he had very little chemistry with 78 and 88. Every time they gained the zone it looked like a game of hot potato as they made frantic passes to each other and created little in the way of scoring chances.

Marc Pouliot: Had a solid game. He made very few mistakes and was pretty good on the boards.

Rob Schremp: He just seemed out of place out there. His lines play died with him the vast majority of time. I really hope for Rob's sake that it was nerves, because if it wasn't I don't see a regular NHL job in his future.

Liam Reddox: Has decent wheels and plays with some grit. Should get his chance with the big club in the next couple seasons.

Ryan O'Marra: He barely played.

Hans Benson: Knew his role out there. He didn't try to do anything fancy and was quick to jump Raymond after his hit on Gagner.

Mathieu Garon: Had a shaky start but settled down later. He seems to be shaking off the rust.