Chopper Down

Word this afternoon that Ethan Moreau’s “bruised” foot is in fact a fractured bone. I don’t know how long Ethan rifles will be out but it’ll be longer than first thought and can’t help a young team in need of experienced hands on a night like this in Minnesota.

So far in tonight’s game the ice in the Minnesota end has seen little action and Sheldon Souray looked like a dog on a tether on the first shift.

Winning in Minnesota used to be commonplace, but that was long ago.

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31 Responses to "Chopper Down"

  1. grease trap says:

    I broke my foot last week and I’m just about game ready. What’s Moreau’s excuse?

    Oh wait, that’s video game ready.

  2. Bruce says:

    Doesn’t get much less hopeful than 2-0 down after two against Minnesota. 2 goals in the last 20 minutes? Oilers have scored 2 against the Wild in the last 20 *periods*.

    Three times Joni Pitkanen has joined the rush and gone offside, all three times because the forward carrying the puck (Torres and Horcoff, to name the last two) were lackadaisical about pushing the puck over the damn line. These guys not only need to get the puck into the offensive zone, they need to get their heads there too.

    Don’t get discouraged, Joni, we need you to keep doing that.

  3. kinger says:

    Could have really used Chopper tonight. We looked incredibly soft in Minnesota.

  4. RiversQ says:

    Bruce: He did in the third and he them off a couple of times with an extra move at the blueline. Still a nice game from Pitkanen overall. I finally got to see him stretch his legs and skate a little.

    The big dollar acquisitions were terrible I thought. Supposedly Penner played well against Philly, but I’ve seen absolutely nothing from him in the 2.5 games I’ve watched. He’s way too slow to keep pace with Horc and Hemsky.

    Souray was unreal. I thought he played better without the puck tonight but he was a gong show with it. He had no clue what to do on the breakouts and must’ve had at least 4 giveaways not including a couple rifled into the bench. Just an awful performance from a guy soaking up a tonne of minutes.

    The good news was that Pouliot had a hell of a game. Probably the best Oiler forward outside of Horcoff and Hemsky. He created a couple of chances, didn’t make a mistake, and had a fair amount of puck possession.

  5. Dennis says:

    Not overly surprising news on Moreau and it won’t take long before I tire of his newfound lack of durability. I’m in the fool me once camp when it comes to 18; I’ll believe he’s gonna play and actually stick around once it actually happens.

    Yeah, good game by 78 as he held the puck a lot and likes to dish from the corners. I think were still looking for some consistent linemates for him and we’ll see how that works out.

    A pathetic game overall by the Oilers. They didn’t have any sustained pressure and there were legions of guys that looked awful.

    Roli – Great night again

    Gilbert: Looks like he missed Tarnstrom and was outmuscled a few times by Rolston but 77 still jumped into the play a couple of times.

    Greene: I really liked his game tonight

    Tarnstrom: Looked iffy but not really all that bad either. Needs to handle the puck more because…

    Souray: on this new 44/23 tandem, it still looks like Souray insists on being the guy to make the first pass and carry the puck and that’s just not gonna work to our advantage. Souray looks really wooden on the PP and will be a terrible waste of money if he doesn’t make that stuff happen.

    Pitkanen: We saw the offensive side in bloom tonight but looks disinterested/slash lazy in his own end

    Staios: Really seems to be searching for how to compliment 25′s game

    JFJ: Loses way too many battles and loses way too much puck possession for a guy that size. He just looks really stiff

    Nilsson: has no business playing at any times when the play isn’t uptempo and on a rush

    Stoll: I’m still waiting

    Cogliano: I don’t think he deserved the bench in the third. Yes, he made one terrible error but he was also a demon on a couple of forechecks which is more than what we can say for about all the other Oilers

    Torres: A deserved winner of Healy’s ingenious Loch Ness award. I hate Healey’s guts but that award is gold and this is my point but not Healy’s and that’s is if 14 is getting the soft min, he’d better fucking score.

    Pouliot: discussed above but MacT must’ve liked his game too because he saw a lot of time

    Horc: A couple of unforced offsides but not a bad night

    Hemsky: needed help but his game wa s up to the task

    Penner: slipped into the slot for a couple of SOG but looks lazy and disinterested and finds it hard to follow and keep up in the open ice

    Sanderson: as good as he was in the first two games, he’s been just as bad in the last two

    Reasoner: didn’t notice anything good about anything he did.

    Brodziak: played well in the first half and not so much in the second half.

    It’s easy to point out that most guys were blah instead of terrible because playing the Wild is the same as it ever was: you’ll look bad vs Gabietra and then no one else scares you. I just didn’t see a whole lot of interest in battling from the Oilers tonight and I thought they played much worse than on Mon in Det. Are we looking at two different squads for this year or is just that we played in two very tough buildings?

  6. RiversQ says:

    Good points Dennis.

    I forgot about Greene’s solid game. He skated well with the puck tonight too, which is a new dimension for him. He also made some good decisions with the puck.

    Torres was bad. Dawgbone mentioned his horrible passing yesterday and it was on full display tonight. Just some incredible choices in the O-zone tonight.

    One other point on Souray… I don’t know how MTL used him on the PP but I imagine he never touched the puck unless he was shooting it. He plays the PP exactly like MAB did the whole time he was here (and from what I saw in NYI at the end of the year too). He doesn’t have the tools to move the puck and he definitely hesitates far too often to be effective as a true QB. Souray’s a shooting option, nothing more.

  7. Bank Shot says:

    Well….That was hard to watch.

    So many mental errors and unforced giveaways. Edmonton was completely incapable of getting any sustained pressure for most of the night.

    Tarnstrom/Souray wasn’t a great success. Maybe they should try Souray on the third pairing with alot of special teams time.

    Oilers seem to need someone like Brewer to play with Staios and close the door for 15-20 minutes a night.

  8. Lowetide says:

    I’m unable to see Greene in a positive light so won’t say anything except that he seemed to go down one pairing which was a good thing.

    This game wasn’t great but we can’t lose sight of the fact that games like this one can be won even when the team is poor IF the PP can score a goal or two.

    Right now no one save Hemsky is moving his feet much that I saw. Stoll needs to be brought back in on the PP, at least until he gets his offensive game untracked. One of the few times robogoalie had to move was one a nice onetimer from Stoll at the end of a PP.

    Nice to see Pouliot play well, and unlike Dennis I thought Jacques did some good things like being where he was supposed to be and winning a battle or two along the boards. He’s coming along.

    On Nilsson, I’m not saying he’s Michel Riesen but he’s having a start just like Swiss Miss did fall 2000. Beauty spring training followed by 0 for 50 and back to Hamilton.

    Not saying it’s going to happen, but it could. By my count 6 Oiler wingers had more TOI than Nilsson which would put him ahead of Pouliot.

    And he has one point in 4gp. Clock is ticking.

  9. Lowetide says:

    That should read “ahead of Jacques” instead of “ahead of Pouliot.”

  10. RiversQ says:

    Nice to see Pouliot play well, and unlike Dennis I thought Jacques did some good things like being where he was supposed to be and winning a battle or two along the boards. He’s coming along.

    I’m trying really hard here Not quite as hard as MacT but still. I’m with Dennis in that I saw Jacques lose way too many puck battles. Let’s put it this way – from nearly a dead stop (just to even it out) Cogliano won just as many battles tonight. What does that say about JFJ?

    Funny thing though… Would you say Jacques was outplayed by Penner tonight? I’d have a tough time making that conclusion. At least JFJ had a couple of hits.

  11. Bank Shot says:

    Jacques nearly had a point tonight. He was involved in a couple scoring chances that might have went in with a little luck.

    I agree with the sentiment that he gets pushed around too much for his size. He’s got the Winchester-ian center of gravity it seems.

    AT least Calgary lost and Vancouver is getting slaughtered. Some home cooking against a Nucks squad having trouble keeping it out of the net will hopefully get the Oilers back on track.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Well that’s two to one so uncle. However, this is a few games now that I’ve seen encouraging signs going back to the CGY pre-season game at Rexall. Here’s hoping he stays in the lineup and they pull Sanderson.

    The worst play of the night imo was Souray’s foray through three Wild players in the neutral zone. The Wild:

    1. took the puck away
    2. The two forwards checking turned quicker and
    3. All three (including the Dman who obviously was already going forward to break up Souray’s 1 on 5) left Souray in the dust the other way.

    What on earth Souray was doing was beyond me. Frustrating player to watch tonight.

  13. Dennis says:

    I will allow that JFJ didn’t look as useless as usual. He was in some correct places and he did hit a couple of guys but with that size and reach, you’d think he’d be a bull on the boards and that just isn’t the case.

    I said over on HF that I’d pick Nilsson to go to the AHL first and I was being serious. The guy’s a heckuva a playmaker but he’ll get little down on non-rush plays so where do we go from here with him? He could probably do some damage with 10-83 on the rush but that would kill us in the matchup department.

  14. Lowetide says:

    I hear you but at least Jacques is getting to places where things happen and not just some big guy skating around all day.

    Agree on Nilsson, what you said up the thread about him having no business being on the ice unless it’s uptemp and on the rush. Plus maybe the shootout.

  15. Dennis says:

    Speaking of dmen, 23:10 TOI and plus three for Hejda tonight.

    if there were actual hockey journalists in Edm, someone would get to the bottom of that

  16. Lowetide says:

    I think he got a couple of assists too (Hejda). I mean, he’s no Souray….

  17. Ribs says:

    What a yawner that one was.

    The Oilers had no business winning this game and it was very evident. You put that defensive system against on the cusp and rookie NHLers and your odds of winning are pretty damned good.

    MacT switches up the D pairings before 5 games, my prediction proves true. Gilbert and Greene seemed to work pretty well. It’s like Bergeron and Greene, only less scary.

    Souray got his chance to be the #1 D-man tonight. He didn’t look as horrible as some would suggest. Pitkanen NEEDS to be the man for this job though. Hopefully he learns to be a bit smarter and lives up to his projected potential, soon.

    This was a “Welcome to the NHL” type of game for the kids. Pouliot seemed to be the only one who looked half ready for the tight battles and slow play. Brodziak and Cogliano found themsleves way out of position a few too many times, as did Jacques, who should really know better by now.

    I’m glad they didn’t burn a game off of Gagners trial period for this.

    The next two games against Vancouver will be tough ones to win as well, hopefully the youngsters learn quick.

  18. Lowetide says:

    Good point about the VCR games. If the Oil come out of the first 10 games with 5 wins I’ll be completely impressed. Even if they got 10 points I’d be impressed.

  19. Dennis says:

    I sorta think these guys are gonna be homers and Gagner draws back in on Fri night and everyone’s flying and trading chances and they’re floating on the crowd. Then we go to Van and fall on our faces in front of Ron Maclean.

    But if people want to feel better, I was just watching the Ducks game and Nieds and Selanne were in the booth and both admitted they haven’t even skated yet.

  20. Lowetide says:

    If the Oilers pick ends up being within 10 of the ANA pick this summer I’ll forgive Lowe the Penner signing. Serously? Not even skating yet? Hahahaha.

  21. Devin says:

    Watching a little CBJ tonight – Hejda looks absolutely stellar this year.

    I have to go cry myself to sleep now

  22. Bruce says:

    I’m glad to hear that JFJ hit somebody … if you believe the official stats, the Oilers had 4 hits total (Torres 2, Tarnstrom 1, Staios 1).

    The Wild made it look ridiculously easy tonight. They may have (alright, do have) the better club, but as an Oiler fan I find “easy” hard to accept. At some point the Oilers need to develop a real hate-on for these freaking guys. We play them 7 more times this year; after mustering all of 2 goals total in the last 7 games, it’s clear the passion meter has to be ramped way up.

  23. Bling says:

    Dennis: I disagree with your comments with respect to Nilsson.

    Nilsson is a guy whose game thrives on puck possession, and right now the play is dying with Torres and Stoll more than anyone else on the team.

    Those two were a gongshow out there. When Torres wasn’t putting himself offside, Stoll was wetting himself every time he crossed center ice with the puck in half-stride.

    If Lowe can package those two plus a prospect for a guy to play with Hemmer, he should do it.

  24. Keegan says:

    What do you think was the reason for soooo many damn offsides? Was it a by-product of the Wilds defence, or was it a lack of chemistry &/or composure by our forwards? I have a hard time with the blender sometimes. Do you really think changing around the lines with that frequency is going to help the situation? I myself would think that perhaps players may be able to communicate with one another on their line & improve their chances against the Wilds system as they spent more time together. I like MacT I really do, but its shit like this & the one strategy power play that makes me reach for a torch & a pitchfork….
    Thoughts?

  25. kinger says:

    What on earth Souray was doing was beyond me.

    Lowetide: I think his problem is that he is trying too hard to make something happen. He strikes me as the kind of guy that would play away from his strengths and try to “get something done” (EG: walk through the whole Wild team and pull a Marek Malik on Backstrom). He just hasn’t been involved offensively so far this season, and I think it’s starting to get to him.

  26. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Keegan – I was thinking the exact same thing last night about the line juggling. I understand that with all the new faces, you need to find chemistry. But MacT is looking for ‘instant’ chemistry every game, which is pretty damned rare. I’d be happier to see him set his lines (we all know who goes with who pretty much), and let them sort it out, get their timing down, start coming up with those little plays that you see from guys who know where each other are going to be (instead of all the no-look passes going to absofuckinglutley no one).

  27. namflashback says:

    bling, clayton,

    the lines that work stay the same, and the ones that don’t MacT changes. the changes within games are due to situations (after PK, after PP). I keep hearing the criticism of the blender, but that is the least of the problems. I’ve never understood this criticism of MacT. He may have several worthy-of-critique strategies (PP for sure), but changing up lines, and shortening the bench are not the ones. I don’t see that he does it any more than other coaches. Red herring.

    on these two games vs DET and vs MIN, I counted NO FEWER than 4 of the Goals Against as ones that were scored shortly after either an Oilers PP or PK. Unfavourable matchups came on the heals. If you look at the game event summaries you will see it too. Very strange combinations of players for the Oilers out against Zetterbergs and Demitras.

    Exposed on the road is right. And as soon as that first goal was scored, the Oilers played right into the trap. Close support from forwards to D was simply not there.

  28. goldenchild says:

    LT I am thrilled to have found this spot to talk Oilers hockey. I was on HF and saw quotes like “Pouliot is useless, why would he play instead of Gangne” I wondered if I had watched a diff game.
    I thought Pouliot played a really determined game and was rewarded by MacT with extra icetime in the 3rd even getting on the last PP. With 18 out MP has a real opportunity to solidify his spot.

    I love how Hemsky is playing, I hope he gets something to show for it soon because it would be a shame for him to get frustrated about not scoring he has been terrific. However I do think they are going to have to find someone that can skate with him to ride shotgun on the left side, I don’t think Penner is the guy 5on5.

    I thought last night was a great indication of what this team is missing, when the game is played in tight quarters and there is less space who can make the right plays? The kids look great when the game is a transition game and there is room in the neutral zone to get speed but against the Minny’s and Cgy’s of the world that is a rare commodity. Man would 34 and 18 of helped last night. Same with 14 and 16 we could really use those guys as well. Oh wait….

  29. Dennis says:

    Over on IOF there’s a post by Vic where he highlights a MacT quote and I think it’s worth checking out considering MacT’s printed thoughts regarding last night’s result and more importantly, effort.

    The skipper doesn’t think the effort was all that bad and meanwhile, I think it was the most consistently shitty effort of the young season. The Oilers at least played half of a game in Det but last night I never felt like we had a chance to win. Even when the refs overturned the 3-0 goal, I still believed that did way more to improve Roli’s PCT than it did the team’s overall chance to win. Then again, that whole MacT piece is interesting and gives you a window into why he acts, at least publicily, why he does. I’m sure that pin him down and drop some sodium penathol on him and he’ll tell you where the bodies are buried but some of them belong to guys that quite simply can’t handle the rod. I think it’s gonna be a different kind of a year for me as far as fandom goes. I still have my faves like 10 and 83 and I’m gonna keep watching kids like Cogs and Gilbert to see how they come along but I really don’t have a lot of expectations and that will allow me to enjoy the wins more and take the losses a little bit easier.

    I’m sure there are guys that think that I want the Oilers to suck so that I can crow about Lowe fucking this team with the Smyth and Pronger moves/decisions but the point is that I’m an Oilers fan and at this juncture Kevin Lowe is like that alcoholic uncle that leers at your girlfriend: you know he’s a mess and he’s the black sheep but he’s family so you’re still gonna take to him when you see him at Xmas. It doesn’t matter that Lowe’s an untouchable blowhard. Him and I and all the Oilers fans are in it together and I’d be just as happy with the team doing good and proving me wrong as I would if and when the opposite occurs.

    And I’ll stick with my current stance on Nilsson until I see him make a play in close quarters or at least battle to the point where the potential exists of making a play.

    And, LT, that’s right; both admitted they weren’t even skating yet. You know, I think Burke’s a huge ass and I was on the side of Al in the Strachan vs Burke debate long before Kevin Lowe fucked his own team while putting the Ducks over the top so I’m not flip flopping here and I like seeing Burke taking it but I still think it’s a jerk act the way Neids and Selanne are acting.

  30. Black Dog says:

    Yeah at some point they have to get off the pot and you know what – may be too late and lets hope so.

    Don’t know Dennis – they had the Wild on their heels last night in the first and then Demitra scored and that was it but that’s the Wild.

    Maybe I’m giving them way too much credit but its the goddamn Wild – these guys make you look bad even when you are losing.

    Maybe I’m in the same boat – I figure they’ll be shit so I’ll take what I can get.

  31. digger says:

    Trying to beat Minnesota is like trying to fight Winky Wright…it’s a boring, plodding experience, and even when you win you look like crap.

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