I don’t see a way they can send Cogliano down. He’s a splendid player, does all kinds of things well: passes the puck, takes a pass, beats defensemen one on one, wins races to the puck, battles heavier than his size in the corners, forechecks like a demon, scores pretty goals and ugly goals. Scored a goal tonight in an area Joffrey Lupul doesn’t know exists. He’s an exciting player. He’s made the team from (I think) a far ways back, is small and a quality two way player. He’s Butch Goring in my books until futher notice.
I don’t know how they can send Sam Gagner down either. This kid played with pedestrian wingers for most of the night and kept doing things to get noticed. There was a play in the first period where the Flames had two forwards battling along the halfboards with Gagner and Sestito uncertain whether to join in or stay up and cover his point man. As sure as I’m sitting here, the instant he committed down low the puck squeaked out, but damned if Gagner didn’t cover off the play well enough to make it a neutral result. They’ll send him out no doubt, but maybe not until he’s played 9 games. He’s a terrific talent.
Hemsky was ridiculous. If he can play 70 games he should get 90 points playing like he is now. Penner was more involved tonight, had some nice chances and was physical. Horcoff joined that line and they had effective forechecking shifts but didn’t create as much offense as they will after getting familiar with each other.
Stortini and Brodziak had effective nights. Stortini was hard on the forecheck and physical, Brodziak played a smart game and had some offensive chances but didn’t do much with them. After the TC he’s had, there’s no more proof required.
Thoresen had his usual game, all over the ice doing smart things and in the right places. I don’t know what role he’ll play this season but this guy can do things.
Quick on the D and G:
- Roloson: Looks ready. Stopped a lot of nice chances, controlled rebounds effectively. Dennis has a line about Roloson when he’s playing well, something like “things stick to him” and it was just that way tonight.
- Souray-Greene: Souray had a very good night. He had some chaos but I don’t think they’re going to iron that out of his game. He played physically all night and had some excellent shifts with Tarnstrom (I believe it was Tarnstrom) on the PK. Greene I’m tired of picking on, he looks like a guy who is unfamiliar with the finer points of the game. Like the puck, for instance.
- Pitkanen-Staios: Pitkanen played 60 minutes. Not quite, but he played a ton. Made some things happen, played well positionally and wasn’t out of position more than a couple of times. Made an errant pass or two. When Staios is on the ice I experience calm.
- Grebeshkov-Tarnstrom: Not bad. Grebeshkov looked WAY better than TC and JMC + first exhibition game. Took a goofy penalty, but played a solid game. Tarnstrom I like, he seems to be able to restore order and has some sense of when to jailbreak.
That’s all I’ve got. Love the Oilers, am nervous about this team, but am beginning to warm to certain segments of the roster.