We Have Seen the Enemy

Remember this save? I believe this to be the one off Cheechoo in spring 06. The finest weeks of goaltending we’ve seen from OilerG since the Joseph golden weeks of the late 90s and some of those nights would rank up there with Fuhr 1-0 and Moog’s stunning dominance of the Habs 25 years ago.

This Oilers club is going to need great goaltending all season and I think last night was the first time we could stare at the goalies in the post-game.

That was far from the only problem, however. The story of this season is beginning to show through on the stat sheet and here are some things that stand out:

  1. Jarret Stoll: 5gp, zero points and minus 6. He’s coming off a major injury and isn’t the same player as he was before the concussions. It may take a large chunk of the season to get him back to flush although some more powerplay time might help (Stoll is getting 3:11 on the PP this season compared to 4:45 on the first PP a year ago and 5 minutes in his career year).
  2. The rookie forwards. Several of these kids are contributing way more than expected. I understand the soft minutes, but we’ve seen kids get the soft parade before and not perform like these young men have so far this season. Among the kids up front, ES-scoring-per-60 minutes numbers include Gagner (3.97), Cogliano (3.41) and Brodziak (3.26). Hemsky is up some over last year’s number (2.65 to 2.09) but he’s obviously facing tougher competition. It’s early, but those three kids are performing pretty well even given the circumstances.
  3. The D. I don’t think they can continue to go down this road. Grebeshkov looks like 10 cents on the Bergeron dollar, Souray’s nickname should be “trying to do too much” and all 6 of them look many times to be playing one pairing above their heads. I’m not smart enough to know what exactly is wrong but this is not going to get better anytime soon without a trade.
  4. Dustin Penner. Frank Mahovlich was never this quiet. I wonder if he’s going to end up going 15-15-30 and spending the summer getting into game shape. This looks painfully similar to the Lupul experience.
  5. Reasoner and Sanderson. I find myself wishing they could be double shifted. Smart plays all over the ice and even though they lack the hands of other forwards these two in particular have played well overall since the opening whistle.
  6. Horcoff. I love the guy. Steps into the gale and starts working and it’s paid off a little so far this season.
  7. Hemsky. I notice the hf group railing against him but I don’t see it. If anything he’s more high event and just like in baseball there’s sometimes a delay between hitting ropes and having them fall in. I suspect he’s not far from a three point game.
  8. Harry Nilsson. He did exactly what a lot of tweeners do, made some interesting sounds but couldn’t keep his batting average up and slipped below the Mendoza line. It’s also his bad luck that the two veterans he was given didn’t deliver close to results and ended the relationship almost before it had begun (regular season-wise).
  9. Pitkanen. I like him plenty, but he has lots of chaos in his game and it doesn’t look like he should be the top pairing partner with Staios. I’d even suggest Tarnstrom-Staios, Pitkanen-Roy and Gilbert-Greene at this point but that leaves out Grebeshkov and the other guy.
  10. Garon. He ranks 50th out of 54 NHL goalies in SP and it’s too early to go too far on this, but he needs to be better than that if the Oilers are going to have a rested Roloson.

Anything else?

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14 Responses to "We Have Seen the Enemy"

  1. Selena says:

    Souray remainds me of that kid who made the rep team in hockey because he had the big shot. Outside of that he doesn’t do much. I heard most of the game on the radio, I think i heard Penners name once. The Ryan Smyth trade isn’t helping.

  2. Ribs says:

    Well said LT. I think you hit just about everything dead on, minus the coaching staff.

  3. therealdeal says:

    I said it last year and I’ll say it now – the potential defensemen for sale/trade aren’t going to help the Oilers, certainly not enough to warrant giving up good assets for them. I would personally rather ride out the losses and go for the big fish when they start biting.

    I don’t think it’s good policy to start trying to make trades under duress, and I think my point played out with Lowe’s offseason moves – desperate men make desperate moves.

    Pitkanen was not the answer, and quite frankly, this defence is not one trade away from respectability, unless that one trade has a number 25/44 on his back (or the like). This defence group is a long way from intimidating.

  4. RiversQ says:

    Who the heck complains about Hemsky right now?

    That’s just absurd. He has been the best Oiler every night so far and arguably the best player on the ice in several of those games.

    As much as Mouthpiece Marc Ciampa wants us to chant “PATIENCE IS THE KEY FOR THE POWERPLAY” that’s not going to cut it.

  5. Rod says:

    Trade Pitkanen? That’s almost as loony as complaints about Hemsky.

  6. Dennis says:

    When I think about it, Gagner is the like the opposite Nilsson. As you could see on the 44 goal, when Horc won the puck and created room for 89, the kid picked his spot and found Souray for the blast. Sure, 44 was wide open and the pass went off his skate but 89 found the seam and didn’t panic before making the pass and he did it in close quarters. SOK, Son of Kenta, he just panics in those situations and I think it’s because he’s afraid of getting hit. Now, I have seen Gagner’s lack of size and strenght hinder him down low but more than Nilsson, he finds a way to make the pass.

    I could be wrong but the only time Stoll ever really rocked at EV was around last Dec when both 83 and 94 were out. He started taking the body and seperating the the defender from the puck and him-14-34 clicked. The more he plays like this though, and let’s remember that three of the five games thus far have been played at home so that makes his -6 ever more wincing, the easier it is to make the decision of Horc vs Stoll and which guy gets to be dealt for a defenseman.

    If Souray doesn’t calm down, there’s the potential for a disasterous year for this guy. Some of us said that there was a debate that his minus numbers would be even worse in Edm than Mtl because 1: he was going to a tougher division and conf and 2: he was going to be given more responsibility. All of that’s coming to pass and he’s making matters worse by trying to rush the puck and the opposition isn’t helping on the PP because it’s like a four on three out there becuase no one’s interested in letting him get a point shot through. BTW, I really liked the 2/77 pairing last night. I feel that playing with 2 will hinder 77′s offense because he won’t fully trust Greene enough to pinch at will but I think it will help his defensive game because he won’t fully trust Greene. I think we can all agree that Gilbert’s an NHLer though.

    I loved Sanderson in the first two games, didn’t like him in the next two and last night he was back to being great. he’s that vet that realizes he has to turn up the work ethic and I was all for turfing him but I’m glad he’s here. I was disappointed in Brodz though and I have been for two of the last three games. I’ll have less patience for blips on his radar screen seeing as how he’s a fourth year pro.

    It seems like me and Lowe can’t get along even when I agree with him;) I supported the Penner move but early results aren’t promising. Not in the least. I feel like we’re gonna fall into a “I can’t score if I don’t get the icetime” deal with 27 because he’s blowing too many chances with 83 to be kept there that much longer and they’d be a better line at EV if they replaced him. If you’re looking to jumpstart Stoll and tighten our PVP strategy, it might be time to cut the ties of 14-16 and ask Raffi to do what he did with Peca-Fernie back in that wonderful spring:) The Oilers have to cut Penner’s TOI for his own good. He’s sucking wind out there and the more he plays with Hemsky and the less goals he racks up, the more pressure he’ll face. It might be best to give Raffi that gig and put 27 with 16, march them in the soft parade and audition right wingers for the float.

    I was also with Lowe when it came to Garon and early returns are horrible. I spent all summer teasing Leaves fans about Toskala vs Garon and asking them to compare numbers and salaries and Garon has sucked ass in his first two appearences.

    I’m really not sure how this all turns out. I’m not a bandwagon guy; I was pleased with stating off 2-0 but I also told people that SJ/Philly hit a combined six posts in those two wins so it wasn’t time to go nuts just yet. We gave the Wings a game, sucked in Minny and last night the netminding killed us and I don’t expect that to continue though let’s remember that Roli had a prolonged stretch of poor play last season. Last night we also faced Luongo and that won’t happen all the time though we will play Kipper eight times, plus Backstrom for eight games. Ok, let’s stop thinking about that;)

    The defense is an area that most likely won’t be addressed and we’re gonna have to grin and bear it. Hopefully the Oilers realize what they have in Gilbert and they won’t deal him, they’re long hitched their wagon to Greene’s star so he’s say, Souray’s unmoveable and the Oilers absolutely need Pitkanen to develop into their #1 guy. I haven’t liked some of the laziness he’s shown in his own end but he’s a great skater with a nice playmaking touch as well. The best we can hope for regarding the D is that 25 improves exponentially as the season progresses and that Souray’s busted down to the third pairing.

  7. Devin says:

    If they’re going to put two RDs on the third pairing, why not just pull Greene in favour of Smid? I still can’t accept that Smid would be any worse than Greene in the 5-6 spot with Gilbert. I know, dead horse, etc…

    Btw- I don’t get the love for Sanderson, really. Sure he’s working hard and looks ok out there, but it all comes down to results, and apart from the tap-in from Reasoner in the PHI game he appears to have zero hands and zero shot. Breakaways are great but I’d love him to actually bury one before I put any stock in his ability to help win games.

  8. PunjabiOil says:

    Yup, agreed with Sanderson.

    Cogliano and Gagne impressed me last night.

    Horcoff had a terrible night. Puck died every time he touched it. Penner needs to step it up.

    Other thoughts – I’ve been impressed by Souray’s ability to handle 25-26 minutes per game, and play well for the most part. I think he’s going to get better as the games progress.

    Not worried about Stoll. I don’t believe it has anything to do with concussions – just a slow start, among many NHLers.

    Garon is highly overrated, and I said this at the beginning of the season. He’s pushing 30, has not demonstrated that he has any ability to be able to handle a number one position. He’s capable of having high end games more often than Jussi, but I see no reason for a 50-32 split. 60-20 is fine, just gave him the 2nd night of the b2b.

    Matt Greene, for all the heck I’ve given him, hasn’t been that bad.

  9. Art Vandelay says:

    Sanderson. Phhhht. In the few seconds a game he has possession of the puck, he looks like a world-beater because of his wheels. But his shot couldn’t break a styrofoam target, the only checks he’s familiar with are the inflated ones he cashes at the bank, and round about Halloween when you look up his stats he’ll be -11. He should have been bought out 15 minutes after the Pitkanen trade was approved at the league office.

  10. danny says:

    Seriously? Souray wouldn’t make any of your top 3 pairings? Theres a point where rationality leaves port and sails into the abyss (in search of the edge of the earth).

    Thats just crazy talk.

  11. Vic Ferrari says:

    A lot of gnashing of teeth considering that the Oilers outplayed the Canucks in this one, granted only marginally.

    If Staios (who is clearly playing injured) manages to knock the puck into the open cage, and if Hemsky hits Horcoff’s stick with that close range slot pass just before the shorthanded goal against … so the shorty doesn’t happen. Then the Oilers win. And this thread is busting with positives. It’s nuts, it just is.

    Unless you honestly thought the Oilers were a 98 point team in the NW, then how the hell can you really be disappointed with last night’s game? Aside from the goalies and the bounces, not much to bitch about.

    Jesus, by all accounts the Sharks dominated the Oilers in terms of scoring chances in Game 1. The Sharks hit three posts and it’s roses and poems for every fucker in the Oilers roster.

    It’s madness, no? Jesus, maybe I’m the one that’s mad. The only thing I’m sure of is that if Oiler fans were judge and jury in a totalitarian state; there would be a lot of people getting the electric chair for manslaughter, and a lot of people getting just 20 hours of community service as penalty for their third conviction of attempted murder.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Vic: I think there’s lots to like. The Hemsky, the kids, I like Pitkanen even though he appears to have a crazy gene.

    I’m also surprised at some of the guys who are wonky currently, but if Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres are below the Mendoza line in April then it bodes well for May.

  13. Simon says:

    I don’t know much about this stuff, but I read somewhere that NJ was shopping Matvichuk around. Would this be worth pursuing?

  14. Dennis says:

    I don’t doubt that Matty could help here but he’s making a mill and what’s the trickle down if we picked him up?

    As for last night and this season in general, SJ probably outchances us in G1, we blitz Philly in G2, we play half a game in Det and lose by basically a goal, ENG don’t really count, and then we have shitty netminding last night.

    I compiled the chances for the first 40 min and Vic threw it up for me at IOF, if anyone wants to take a look. I have a hard time getting down on this team for it’s work last night. They did their job in terms of outchancing but the netminding just didn’t keep up.

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