Oilers at Red Wings, G3/07-08

This is Eddie Joyal. He is in the uniform of the old Edmonton Flyers, a team with a rich hockey history. Actually, Joyal played for the Oil Kings, Flyers and the Oilers in his long and successful career.

I remember him best though as a Los Angeles King. Funny how the mind settles on something, isn’t it? Joyal was best known as a very good offensive player who rarely took a penalty. In that way he was from the Val Fonteyne family, except of course he was a better player than Val Fonteyne.

Joyal came from St. Albert. Career highlights would include scoring a massive goal in the 1964 SCF (the Wings would lose though, to Toronto) and ripping 33 goals for LA in 68-69.

He was part of one of the biggest trades in NHL history (Traded to Philadelphia by Los Angeles with Bill Flett, Jean Potvin and Ross Lonsberry for Bill Lesuk, Jim Johnson and Serge Bernier, January 28, 1972) in a deal that gave the Flyers two of their SC wingers in Lonsberry and Flett.

Joyal is the third former WHA Oiler I’ve used in a GDT, hopefully he’ll bring as much good fortune as Messier and Rusty Patenaude.

As for today, I think this is a pretty important game to watch. In the first two games, we got to see some things that might become home game trends.

  • Lots of icetime for the kids against the soft parade
  • Hard match by the Horcoff line against tough opponents
  • Souray-Greene matched up against tougher than expected opponents
  • Pitkanen-Staios getting easier than expected opponents
  • Staios not being used as often as thought on PK
  • MacT relying heavily on the Reasoner line
  • MacT going with the hot hand more than I recall in the past
  • MacT rolling three lines more heavily than I recall in the most recent past

Things can change on the road, and I suspect we’ll see lots of wrinkles. Among the things I’ll be watching for are monstrous amounts of icetime for the Horcoff line, the Reasoner line, the Staios tandem and for Tarnstrom-Gilbert to roll out more often against the second toughest opposition in order to shelter the Souray-Greene pairing. I also will be looking to see if that Stoll-Torres-Nilsson line can put up some points and if not how they’ll tear it down. One suspects that if Gagner struggles early he may see the ice for less than 10 minutes.

The “big gulp” is the blueline. They are less predictable than they were in the “let’s all rip the filthy black thing around the rw so Joff can muscle it out that shoud work” 06-07 season but that Souray-Greene tandem is going to be up against Zetterberg for more than a shift tonight and that’s a matchup that must scare everybody.

Looking forward to seeing how the kids do tonight. If Gagner is going to stay all year and if Cogliano is going to be a legit Calder candidate, they need to be successful on the road and in situations where the coach can’t protect them like he can in a home game.

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34 Responses to "Oilers at Red Wings, G3/07-08"

  1. HBomb says:

    “let’s all rip the filthy black thing around the rw so Joff can muscle it out that shoud work”

    Worst. Plan. EVER.

    Anyways, tonight’s game….get a win out of this one, and methinks it’s going to raise some eyebrows.

    I’m expecting the goalpost gods to take their vengeance tonight, and for Zetterberg to show Souray/Greene that they’ve got some work to do.

    6-2 Detroit. Unfortunately. Getting this thing to OT would be a victory for the Oil. Roloson will have to take a bump on the head and think it’s May 2006 for that to happen….

  2. godot10 says:

    //Joyal is the third former WHA Oiler I’ve used in a GDT, hopefully he’ll bring as much good fortune as Messier and Rusty Patenaude.//

    Nitpick: Mark Messier was NOT a WHA Oiler. He was a Cincinnati Stinger in the WHA.

  3. Lowetide says:

    I have got to stop drinking beer around the clock. :-)

  4. Black Dog says:

    //I have to stop drinking beer around the clock//

    You take that back!

    Next couple of games will show us a little. Not much hope for tonight, I think, but maybe a win on Wednesday?

    If Torres, Stoll and Nilsson could pop a couple it would be a nice start.

  5. dawgbone says:

    I don’t know… the Blackhawks were able to muster up a win against the Wings, and we’ve played them pretty well the last 2 seasons.

    I agree that getting the game to OT would be a pretty good accomplishment, but it’d be nice if Oiler nation would stop predicting doom every single game ;)

  6. Dennis says:

    Yeah, when you’re playing this many kids and your D’s this suspect and the pairings are so new, it’s like night and day playing at home and on the road. Remember how bloody good we were on the road in ’06, minus the tending of course;) there were just a bunch of dependable guys on that roster and it was hard to catch us when our pants down.

    I’m really torn on what kind of player Cogs is gonna be and how quickly he evolves into that guy. The play the other night vs SJ when he burst in alone and then couldn’t find the handle, I mean that was pure Todd Marchant circa 1997, ie the hands and head still aren’t where the feet are and how long before they catch up, if at all? I keep going back and forth of whether he’s gonna be a Horcoff or a Marchant with the former having more of an offensive bent. I think that the kid eventually rounds into a fellow that because of his tenacity and speed, the puck spends more time in the O zone then D zone so in that respect I think we’ve got a guy who’s gonna be a tough min outscorer. But I just don’t know how long that will take and how many points he tops out at. Anyone agree with that? One thing I haven’t been able to break down yet is how he reacts when things go bad in his end or when the other team takes the puck and begins the cycle, ie is he a guy that holds his position or does he start running around? Pouliot’s a kid who seems to know just to stay on his man and wait for someone to knock the puck away or win a one-on-one battle and right now I don’t have a handle on how Cogs will react in that situation.

    Gagner’s still a baby and he’s playing with Cogs and kids and he’s playing nobodies so while he doesn’t get the primo wingers, he also doesn’t face the primo players so I don’t know what his value will be in the ’08 season. Still not sure yet whether I’d keep him around for this season. I think it might be worth going past the nine game mark but I don’t know if I’d go past 41, ie officially burning a year of his servicetime. I guess that depends on how much depth we really have and if guys like JFJ and Thor light up the A and whether Cogs and MP really look good in the NHL. Eventually there’s not gonna be room for everyone and given how young he is, Gags might have to take a seat for ’08. Going forward, I love his poise with the puck in all zones and I loved how he was aware enough to backcheck on Knuble the other night. I saw a similar play from Cogs during the last ex game vs the Dys as well.

    One thing that unites both guys is that when they’re on the ice, they create actual scoring chances and generate as much as they allow. These aren’t your Dan Lacouture’s or Brian Swanson’s where you’d be downright shocked and elated when they actually manifested a chance to score. In fact, on a lesser scale, these fellows are more ahead of the curve offensively than Pouliot was at that age too. These young fellas are good right now when in the proper situation which means that there’s real hope that they’ll be very good as they mature. But the curve isn’t totally apparent right now.

    In other news, this is the time of year when you need three digi receivers and no wives or live-in girlfriends;) I really don’t want to miss G4 of Tribe/Yanks tonight;) and on the other hand with so much youth on this club and so many new kids that have no idea how last year finished, a win in det tonight could give this team enough swagger to start them on a nice little run.

  7. goldenchild says:

    Oilers have seemed to play the wings tough the last few years, I bet the NFL, hardly ever the NHL but +200ML is very tempting.
    I think the Minny game will be more telling of how diff this years team is I don’t recall to many stellar performances by the Oil in the land of 10,000 lakes.

    As for the D matchups i didn’t see the Philly game but against SJ I would assume Souray – Greene were matched up against the Thornton line because MacT felt they would be able to match up physically down low. I doubt Mac T would want them against a top line that can really skate like we will see tonight with Datsyuk’s line.

  8. mc79hockey says:

    In other news, this is the time of year when you need three digi receivers and no wives or live-in girlfriends;)

    I got an email from a woman I’m sort of involved with the other day complaining that she never hears from me anymore AND an email from my sister saying I must have a new girlfriend because she never hears from me anymore. In the past 72 hours, I’ve watched two Red Sox games, a Cubs game, a Rockies game, an Oilers game and two Yankees games. Life is good.

  9. IceDragoon says:

    Lain…

    Huddy rolled 24 & 25 out against Briere & co. 2 & 44 took on Hartnell/Carter/Lupul.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Ah, gotcha. I knew that too but forgot.

  11. Doogie says:

    I’m calling 2-1 in overtime. Goals by Adam Oates, Adam Graves, and future LT cover boy Norm Ullman.

  12. Dennis says:

    Lots of the old Wings vets/mouthpieces have either moved on or retired but how many years have we seen the Oilers go into JLA and take two penalties while the ice is still wet?

    There were lots of guys besides Sam Gagner who looked 18 years old in that first period and most of them were on the D which is a very, very bad collection with Grebs replacing Tarnstrom. Let’s also make note that it took less than seven periods before someone mentioned Souray’s mobility in a less than positive sense.

    Things I did like that period were Penner picking up the slack for Hemsky after the Cleary hit, a nice board win by Brodziak against two Wings and the way that Hemsky continues to carry the puck and control the play like a centre.

    Basically, this looks like the kind of game where we should play 10′s line every shift and take our chances;)

  13. Dennis says:

    Wonderful pass by Pitkanen to set up Cogs for the 3-2 goal and a really nice drop pass by Nilsson for the second assist.

    That being said, Pitkanen has been having just a terrible game. The 3-1 Det goal came off a PP jumpstarted by a Staios penalty but that was really on Pitkanen’s head as he made just a terrible pass up the middle and 24 had to make sure that the intercepting forward didn’t walk in totally unmolested. JP’s also blown numberous breakout passes and it’s also a game where I’d like to sit besides Dan Barnes and ask him if he can afford the Centre Ice package and/or who told him that Souray was a puck-moving dman.

    Shots were much closer in this frame, I’ll guess maybe 10-8 and a kid like Brodziak’s having a fine game. Stoll and Torres haven’t been impressive at all and I ‘liked’ it when Nilsson lost a board battle to that hulk Brett Lebda. Robert is defintely a guy that’s about 1000 times more useful in the open ice than he is when all hands coverage behind the O zone blueline.

    Oilers early PP woes can’t be blamed on Vidal Sasson this year nd I’ll guess that if we get a point out of this one, which I highly doubt, it’ll be because we brought it to OT via a PP tally.

    I wasn’t expecting this game as a W so it’s not as frustrating to see a young team play this stupid as say it would be with a much older team. Still, Souray’s two major warts are on display and JP’s played enough game that he shouldn’t have made 154 bad passes in two periods.

  14. Devin says:

    Wow, FSNs this year seem to be redefining homerism. Crying away about the goalie int. call while curiously missing the 3rd blatant uncalled high stick of the night on Souray there. Can’t blame the refs for this one (oil have no biz being in this game) but it’s been ugly.

    Speaking of the Cogs goal – isn’t it amazing how much ice opens up and how much confusion is caused by simply firing a cross-ice pass through the trap? Wings have had a beautiful neutral zone system going all night.

    Grebeshkov looks a little behind tonight, but that tinted visor implies untapped offensive potential. I’m intrigued.

  15. Devin says:

    and what in the hell was that? Lidstrom about 2 feet offside in the air and no whistle. Someone tell me I saw that wrong, cause it looked well offside.

    ps- Raffi, you suck. Your quadruple head-fake-shoulder-twitch-weak-wrister doesn’t work when there’s a D-man between you and the goalie.

  16. Lowetide says:

    Is Sanderson hurt?

  17. PDO says:

    Grebeshkov looks a little behind tonight, but that tinted visor implies untapped offensive potential. I’m intrigued.

    Shit like that keeps me coming back here…. ;)

    Anyway, a few notes…

    The big line looks great, and I love the way that Penner stood up for Hemsky, but for the love of God when will this team start smacking around Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Lidstrom when Hemsky gets run? One, if not all three of these guys should’ve been plastered through the boards after the hit on Hemsky, and then send someone over to yap it up to the Detroit bench and make it clear.

    Gagner really did look like a kid tonight. I loved him getting a decent shot on goal after getting bumped, but outside of that he was very quiet.

    I think Matt Greene should be a football player. Seriously. He wouldn’t need to use his stick! The coverage on Holmstrom was utterly pathetic. His stick was 10 feet in the air while he punched Holmstrom in the back. What the fuck is that supposed to accomplish?

    Officiating sucked… the missed high sticks, the first call on Staios (I’d argue the second as well…), countless picks and the Lidstrom play. Just ugly officiating.

    Raffi Torres and Jarret Stoll are both playing terribly thus far this season. Stoll has to get that puck out before the first Detroit goal, lost several key faceoffs and has been invisible offensively.

    At least Roli is here to play this season, and this has been fun hockey to watch, if anything.

  18. PDO says:

    Also…

    Tonight was the first night we really missed Ryan Smyth, and it showed on the PP. We simply could not gain puck possession inside the offensive zone. Hopefully between Pitkanen and Hemsky we’ll be able to rush it in more often.

  19. Lowetide says:

    There was a play tonight that should have Greene on a slow boat to Springfield. Greene followed a DET fwd (I swear) out to the blueline and beyond (he probably didn’t go all the way to the other end but he had such a head of steam it must have been at least center ice) while the puck comes back down low and Souray is a deer in the headlights.

    Greene has done that kind of thing before, but young defensemen do dumb stuff like run around. However, if this guy is going to play top 4 minutes with Souray then he has to stop doing that (and a few more things) immediately.

    If we make a list of mistakes he was making in the SCF and compare them to the mistakes he’s making now, which bad habit can we take off the list?

  20. Dennis says:

    Very early on, it appears that both Gagner and Nilsson are ill-suited for any offensive plays that involve cycling and/or boardwork. I don’t know how you solve that other than putting both on the same line, maybe with say Cogs, and totally sheltering them, at least on home ice. That would leave Cogs as the only battle presence on that line so I don’t know if that would work.

    Saw one really nice play from Pouliot tonight and that was after Gagner ran into Kronwall. 78 collected the puck and muscled down the right wing and went on to set up Gagner in the slot. Pat talked about him doing the same thing in that HNIC game last year. I really didn’t like 16′s game tonight; it doesn’t seem like he can find his niche. 14 at least found himself in some scoring chances tonight. He didn’t cash but at least he’s getting close to the areas from which he usually cashes.

    Is it the Corsi Numbers that indicate shots directed at, if not on, net? I liked 10′s line tonight but I dare say they were pretty high event in terms of scoring chances and the Corsi Numbers. Of course maybe that had to do with 10′s poor faceoff performance.

    I thought Brodziak had a consistently good game and Reasoner had some nice flashes but Sanderson wasn’t strong at all. He made one nice play in the third but other than that I really didn’t like his game.

    Souray is going to be a massive waste of money if he isn’t making the PP hum. As I said earlier, one of the early themes of the ’08 season is that with the 2/44 pairing, Souray will end up handling the puck way too much and that’s just not his game. Gilbert jumped up a couple of times but did anyone notice that Grebs was taking the puckhandling duties on that pair? Pitkanen had one of those games where he was excellent one shift and awful the next, mostly the latter though. There was one shift where it looked like he just didn’t care and on the very same shift he made a beautiful rush up the ice. So, this was the first time I witnessed the much rumored duality of our newest Finn. Overall a brutal night for our defensemen with way too many flubbed first passes.

    Roli was super lazy on the first goal but was pretty damn good overall. Det’s PP can make lots of teams look foolish but I said it about the last two games and I just don’t like our PK. There’s a lot of pieces missing and some guys that will have to take their place so we’ll see how that fares. The PP was also terrible. Souray is very hestitant handling the puck and we’ve got a draw a play where we can feed him on the right point. Just look at the Habs tapes from last year and I”m sure there’s your clue. Of course, maybe we’re looking at another leaguewide McCabre adjustment because the Leaves dman gets way more attention then he used to.

    I have to agree with Ray Ferraro, Edm did have a much better second half and I dare say the scoring chance battle was somewhat decent for the last 30 min. We knew there’d be growing pains but what I saw tonight was that some guys who aren’t as young as Gagner are gonna have some big time blips as well and like I said earlier, Souray’s warts were on display for all to see.

  21. Lowetide says:

    I think we saw what we thought we’d see on the road. MacTavish is a smart cookie but there are limits. Tarnstrom would have been nice, and the powerplay is dead again.

  22. PDO says:

    If we make a list of mistakes he was making in the SCF and compare them to the mistakes he’s making now, which bad habit can we take off the list?

    He only takes a minor penalty every two games now ;)

    Chopper needs to get back on this team ASAP… mostly because I hate sending out Horcoff and Stoll together on the PP. It makes us far too thin for the shift after.

  23. Dennis says:

    Was it ever alive?

  24. Lowetide says:

    I think Souray scored a PP goal in pre-season.

  25. Dennis says:

    I know it’s gonna be a big difference between home and road and I also know that we’re starting out with a pretty tough sked to boot. First six games are all against teams that should finish in the playoffs. One problem early on though is that while we’re not sacrificing results for development with the kids, we’re doing it on D by beating Greene over the head with top four D min and we’re also putting square pegs in round holes by not giving Souray a puckmover as his partner. The Oilers may think Greene’s the future and a Greene/Gilbert tandem may not seem that palatable but I’d be more comfortable ridning the 24/25 line hard and then trying to evenly split the rest between a 23/44 duo along with 2/77. I also don’t mind saying that I’d be more comfortable with Smid in the top six than Greene but Laddy’s getting the tough love this year and Greene’s the ’07 Laddy push.

  26. Bank Shot says:

    Was only able to catch bits and pieces of this game plus highlights, but it seems to me that the trend so far is that there has been no real capable shutdown pair on the team.

    Staios and Pitkanen seem to get burned as much as the rest of them.

    The Oilers haven’t been able to keep the other team’s stars off the scoreboard yet.

    I’m not sure what Tarnstrom is supposed to fix by being on the second pairing. He was having trouble holding his own in the first two games with Gilbert.

    Almost gave up a break away against San Jose, let Mitchell walk into the slot which led to that puck sliding through the crease, didn’t harass Thornton at all before Jumbo scored the buzzer beater. Had even more trouble in game two versus the Fylers.

    Took 6 minutes in penalties in two games.

    He’s a veteran sure, just doesn’t seem to be playing like one at the moment.

    He looks better then Grebs though. That guy had big probelsm with own zone coverage. Why was he in the deep slot when Chelios was getting free rebound chances with no one within ten feet of him?

  27. Black Dog says:

    Expected result on the road I think, especially against the Wings. Its going to be tough sledding for those road wins – Oilers will beat up on the odd weak sister/injury riddled squad, catch someone unawares here and there and win a couple with lights out goaltending but its tough to hide your flaws on the road.

    Stoll hasn’t fired a puck in anger since January so here’s hoping he gets going soon.

    The anemic PP – yeesh. Not helping.

    Still, in the game and within striking distance – that’s not too bad. Methinks the Wings are the team to beat so better then getting thumped.

  28. RiversQ says:

    Almost gave up a break away against San Jose, let Mitchell walk into the slot which led to that puck sliding through the crease, didn’t harass Thornton at all before Jumbo scored the buzzer beater. Had even more trouble in game two versus the Fylers.

    Took 6 minutes in penalties in two games.

    He’s a veteran sure, just doesn’t seem to be playing like one at the moment.

    This definitely contradicts my take on Tarnstrom’s play. I thought he looked very effective against SJ.

    Ragging on a dman for not going out hard on Thornton when it’s a 4V6 situation and it’s Joe Freaking Thornton who generally hurts you by moving the puck, not by shooting it, seems totally irrational to me.

    As far as penalties go, history shows he takes quite a few. He’s not in the same league as Greene, but he’s up there.

    Speaking of Greene, I can’t fathom playing him over Tarnstrom right now.

  29. Dennis says:

    One of the penalties on 23 was during Sat night’s game and it was such a phantom call that it wasn’t worth arguing because you’d have no opposition. I always thought it was funny that you mentioned him not pressing Joe T on the tying goal becuase he’d done some great battling to the left of Roli just before Thornton had posession and let’s be honest, you’re gonna let Thornton shoot that puck every time because everyone in the building knows he wants to instead pass it for a tap-in.

    It seems like we’re gonna live and die with the top two pairings but considering that Souray’s a designated puckmover when he’s paired with Greene, I’d like to bust up 24 and 25 and have them be the puck moving guys on their respective tandems.

    I think Pat’s got a pretty good handle on how we’ll look on a game-by-game basis and when you think about it, Oct is a brutal month with only visits to Phx and LA as games when you’re not super nervous about the result. The Oilers have 32 tough divisional tests right off the bat so there’s not many breaks for us and with the competition being so sturdy, it’s hard to get a gague on just how well everyone’s developing. There are no points, of course, for playing in the toughest bracket in hockey. In fact, there are fewer, actually;)

  30. Rube Foster says:

    LT,
    Thanks for playing my request. Eddie looks great in the Edmonton Flyers jersey. I was hoping that some of the ex-wing mojo might rub off on the game. Guess we should’ve tried Ullman.
    You gotta love old Eddie – the pride of St. Albert long before Messier arrived. He was the BJ MacDonald of the Kings organization. I believe that Eddie held all of the Kings scoring records till some guy named Marcel showed up.
    I also appreciated the Buck Rodgers and Otis Nixon comps, though Otis never hit 30 HR’s when he was a kid – maybe he could’ve if Andrew Cassels was pitching? Nixon was perhaps the ugliest man in baseball for much of the 80’s, perhaps that’s the inspiration for Sanderson’s helmut, that’s a bad lid.

  31. Bank Shot says:

    It’s not like Tarnstrom was guarding against the tap-in.

    He was just standing in no-man’s land.

    I wasn’t suggesting Tarnstrom needed to charge Thornton, but he needed to move in his direction and get his stick in some lanes to force the issue at least a little.

    There is a reason that NHL team’s no longer employ the passive box on the PK. It’s porous.

  32. Dennis says:

    JFJ was re-called again today so I’m not sure what’s going on. Right now we’re carrying just 21 people and with Cogs and Gagner drawing more than the minimum salaries, it looked like the Oilers were gonna go bare bones in order to save money. So, what does this mean? Is MacT gonna give one of the kids a slap on the wrist tomorrow night in Min in terms of a HS? I can’t see us bringing back Jacques to sit down.

  33. RiversQ says:

    bank shot: Well, we’re just going to disagree here because I don’t think he screwed that play up and I think he was trying to fill the passing lanes. If he shades out to Thornton on that play (after getting bumped by a Shark also) he leaves the Sharks with a 3-on-1 down low for fucksakes.

    If this play manages to make your top two complaints about Tarnstrom, then he’s doing awfully well I think.

    Dennis: I think most teams with AHL farm teams should operate at least one man down on the roster. Unless you’re carrying two or more players like Gagner where you’re limited, it makes a lot of sense to me. You’ve got a farm team that costs you some money already, so why not use it to save some big league cost?

  34. Ribs says:

    Well, that was about as good a game as was expected.

    Road matchups were pretty devastating and MacT has already started his juggling act (although I thought MAP and Gagner were pretty good).

    The Reasoner line didn’t have the punch they’ve been having. You can’t really be too hard on these guys as they are doing what is expected of them.

    The kids were schooled by the wings veterans. They showed some character by putting in some good effort, but were outplayed badly nonetheless.

    Penner gets slower every game it seems. The horrible ice conditions sure didn’t help him either (same goes for choppy skaters Staios and Stoll). Hemsky and Horcoff needed help that wasn’t there.

    The wildebeests were horrible. Top PK unit? Why in the …..???

    Grebeshkov seems pretty useless out there. Very little body and only passed to the guy closest to him (he probably couldn’t see the next guy with that ridiculous visor on).

    There’s been a few comments saying Pitkanen had a bad game but I have to disagree to some extent. He showed off his great vision with a few passes and committed to some great rushes. His assist play was golden. He made a few blunders for sure, but I felt the good overweighed the bad this game.

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