Predators at Oilers, G14/07-08

Time for a substantial win for the Oilers and so I give you Mr. Weir. Not the golfer, not the guy who wrote O Canada, no we’re talking about the kid from Ponoka (in photo) who was such good luck for the Oilers in the Stanley run spring 2006.

It’s early to say “life and death”, “do or die” or even “Jesus Murphy we need this game” but fact is that unless the idea of a 70-game audition for 5th defender in 08-09 appeals to you it might be a plan to get behind the Oildrop a scream like a Banshee.

The Oilers aren’t going to win the Stanley in the spring, but they do have reasons to win hockey games. First and foremost, it’ll keep a lottery pick out of the hands of the Prince of Darkness in Anaheim.

I’ll be hoping for big time efforts from the Horcoff line, some skill from Gagner and Cogliano and some jam from, well, who are the jam people now? Also, if Marc Pouliot could score a goal and end his shifts in a timely fashion that would help too.

A note on Fernando Pisani. He is now skating and there is hope he will regain his strength and play in the NHL this season. I’ll say this now: if he puts one damn skate on NHL ice this season and doesn’t win the Masterton Trophy then Gary Bettman is an assclown and the National Hockey League is a joke. Pisani is an inspiration if he never plays again, and to come back from what was a devastating illness to actually play in the highest league on the planet is one for the ages.

Get it right NHL. We are watching.

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52 Responses to "Predators at Oilers, G14/07-08"

  1. Big T says:

    If Fernando comes back this season my ‘Man-Love’ for him will definately be running at an all time high.

    Come on Fernando

    T

  2. Dennis says:

    For the sake of his family and his sanity, I’d like to see Pisani return to his playing career.

    In terms of him as an Oiler, though, I really don’t think we need him anymore. Nilsson’s back in town and he’s as gritty as fuck and when he’s not scoring, he’s still valuable as a guy who can play tough mintues. In that respect, he’s a fine replacement for 34.

  3. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: What in hell are you talking about?

  4. jon says:

    I think the sarcasm meter went off the scale there.

    Hopefully Pisani makes it back this season (it seems more likely every time we get an update) and rightfully is awarded the Masterton. A healthy Moreau and Pisani in the lineup would do wonders to stop the bleeding at ES methinks.

    By my eye the team has yet to get a fair chance to show its colours. When the aforementioned gentlemen, Pitkanen and Souray all get healthy again and god forbid MacT gives Roloson some rests, we should stay happily above lottery team and below playoff team.

  5. mike says:

    A fair shake to show their colours?

    If I was watching correctly, and I think I was, oil were 30 seconds from OT with Detroit, and beat San Jose and Anaheim.

    These kids can skate and are proving it regular everywhere, except the win loss column, which only affects the the draft cause they’re probably not going to the tournament this year at least.

    Judge on anything other than W’s and I think you’ll find a team which has been pretty competitive every night.

    I just want to see Marion Hossa. And Billy Joel. LT you going?

  6. Lowetide says:

    No. I’m more Peter Gabriel, Springsteen, Costello, Young than Joel, Bolton, Buble.

    Although I do like “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.”

  7. Matt says:

    Listening to XM204 this afternoon (the NHL channel), the one guy was talking about Pisani apparently losing 30lbs because of this thing. Then the other guy says, I saw him at Rexall that day he was doing interviews (last week?), and it looked like 30lbs might be understating it.

    A comeback this season would indeed be remarkable.

  8. Dennis says:

    I was just saying, LT, that I think Lowe’s made a tonne of good moves since summer of ’06 and that Nilsson’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    For instance, I think Lowe was right to let Smyth leave. I mean, the guy never made a difference on the PP or PK and how many games did I watch where MacT had to constantly move everyone else around on the bench so that Smyth got his favourable matchups. Fuck, he wouldn’t dare play him against Sakic. Smyth was on effective when he played soft mintues. So, kudos to Lowe for trying to use the money that Smyth wanted in wiser fashion. You can credit a team like the Flames for keeping their incumbants like Iginla and Kipper but that’s just shows laziness and a lack of imagination from where I stand. I think a bird in the hard pales in comparison to two in the bush so good on Lowe to have the balls and the vision to take Smyth’s money and offer it to first Nylander, then Vanek and finally Penner. Plus, Smyth never wanted to play here anyway so that’s always a big factor. Also, let’s not forget that the other major piece of that deal was Ryan O’Marra and he played for canada on the WJC team so you know he’s gonna be good. Him And Dale Craigwell. And, yes, I know that he’s in Stockton right now but lots of guys play in the E and then go on to be NHLers and I’d bet that the Oilers only have him down there so he can spread some leadership dust on them.

    And that’s just up front.

    On the backend, the Oilers and Lowe have a really steady plan. They revamped the way their D plays and boo fucking hoo if that stiff Hejda couldn’t be part of it. I mean who does this guy think he is? he comes from Europe and steps in and all he really did was keep his head above water playing tough min in his first year of the league. And then he goes and manages to get a million bucks out of the Jackets. Fuck, that guy’s a magician. But we don’t need him anyway because we picked up Souray. Sheldon’s a very mobile defender with a terrific first pass and he played the toughest of minutes last year and managed to finish +28. And he might’ve cost a lot of money but he’s way younger than a guy like Smyth and he doesn’t have the injury history that Ryan does either. And of course that’s not to mention the crown jewel of Lowe’s moves: Smid. The kid scored three goals in 78 games in the A so you know he’s got hands to burn and he’s an absolute bonecrusher in his own end. That was an absolute steal to get him PLUS picks from Ana for Pronger. Pronger’s contract will become a little too affordable as the cap continues it’s surefire rise and his value will drop becuase as the cap rises, no longer will his pact be one that can take the cheaper teams closer to their salary floor. And all those picks that Lowe picked up besides, he can use them in the quanity for quality deals that he always makes.

    Lowe’s done a lot of good things for this team and for this province too. Hopefully, starting tonight, some of those moves began to pay off in wins.

  9. jon says:

    Word is that Pisani has already regained 20 pounds of that and is undergoing full workouts to get back in shape. At this point, I don’t know if it’s a matter of IF he comes back, but how soon. The Journal today hinted that he could be in the lineup by Christmas, so let’s guess January.

  10. Lord Bob says:

    Here’s my game-day prediction: Dennis absolutely goes insane and is found two days from now at 3:30 AM in Whyte Avenue drooling, clutching a bottle of cheap fortified wine in a brown paper bag, and yelling that all we need is a first-line centre.

  11. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Lord Bob – I think that’s less of a prediction and more an observation ;)

    Well, zero point two seconds in, and we lose another Dman. Good start!

  12. Pat says:

    Dennis: hilarious.

  13. mc79hockey says:

    Dennis’ post is one of my favourite things I’ve ever read.

    It says a lot that the realistic Oiler fans are already focused on the possibility of winning the Masterton Trophy as a highlight of the season.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Nilsson 7:22, Hemsky 4:21 in that first period.

    Please explain.

  15. Dennis says:

    Here’s a quiz, and yes I know my spelling sucks:

    Who loves kids more:

    A: Pierre Macguire
    B: Peter Loubardis
    C: Micheal Jackson

    If you guess the correct awnser, and the Oilers score three goals, Safeway will give you a Beta copy of Bon Cop, Bad Cop.

  16. Josh says:

    Grebs looks horrible. 2 on 2 and he takes Gilberts guy that Gilbert already has leaving his man wide open, and his only saving grace was laying his stick on the ice so that the puck almost deflects top corner on Garon, luckily going over. Has been very noticeable tonight, and in a very bad way.

  17. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: lol. Garon should be playing more, no?

  18. Josh says:

    Dennis: Man i laugh everytime I see someone get that stupid ass prize. “the last guy got a $600 dollar vaccuum and I get this shitty movie? Bush league”

  19. Devin says:

    [Snake] Oh no, Beta!

  20. Lowetide says:

    Nice goal Hemsky, and then later the difference between Pouliot and Cogliano. Pouliot has a beauty chance but makes a low percentage play, later in the same shift Cogliano puts on the jets and drives to the net with authority.

    There’s a reason Cogliano is eating Pouliot’s lunch. He needs to be better.

  21. PunjabiOil says:

    Yup, Pouliot should have driven to the net on that.

    It appears he has all the tools, but a lack of confidence or hockey sense.

    Disappointing really.

  22. Lowetide says:

    I think he has the smarts for it, but he’s not terribly confident right now. Something needs to go in off the butt or the brain and he should be fine.

    He’s got a nice combination of skills, too much really to be a fringer NHL player at his age.

  23. uni says:

    Okay, is the Grebeshkov top pairing experiment done now?

  24. Lowetide says:

    I’m looking forward to MacT’s postgame interview. A tremendous play by Tarnstrom to pretty much save a goal (and I believe it was on an awful Pouliot turnover), Smid in nowhere land on the Arnott goal and Grebeshkov exposed by the ghost of Radek Bonk.

    As always with young clubs though some nice things looking forward. I felt that Hemsky had all kinds of jump tonight and Tarnstrom played well too.

    The rebuild heads to the road now at 5-9. If they come home 0-5 the rumbmlings about the coach will probably be heard, but honestly when you’re in rebuild mode I don’t know that firing the coach is any good.

    PHX won big tonight, that means EDM is in 15th, right?

    Lottery.

  25. goldenchild says:

    Grebeshkov loses his stick then his man on the first goal. loses his brain on the back breaking 3rd goal. I realize they dont have any other options so he has to play but this cruel joke of playing him against the other teams best has to stop.

  26. pboy says:

    I’d love to know what Grebs was thinking as he attempted to backhand that puck up the sideboards? What sort of positive play could be the end result of him blindly tapping the puck behind himself? I realize he is still young but he is making 2 or 3 brutal mental mistakes a game so far and I don’t really see an end in sight. Is playing this kid really going to be better than keeping Bergeron and the 3rd rounder or do we have another situation where Lowe fucked up?

  27. Lowetide says:

    pboy: Bergeron actually got pretty good EV results all down the line (soft opp, when healthy) so it was certainly a trade that (so far) hurt the team.

    In order for the trade to work out, Grebeshkov will need to be way better than he has been and of course play softer competition

  28. Lowetide says:

    Wanted to add to previous post: and there’s zero signs of that happening at this time.

  29. Vic Ferrari says:

    Dennis, you are on fire. Pure gold.

    On the game … I really thought they would win this one. Nashville’s D is still young and they are so thin on the wings it’s tragic. Plus Sullivan is out, the goaltending is a mess, and they’re playing the second of a back to back … man they needed this one. Ellis had horseshoes tonight.

  30. RiversQ says:

    Yeah the Oilers looked to have this one. It’s amazing how the team on the 2nd half of a b-to-b really hits the wall just after the midway point in the game. It was painfully apparent for the Oilers in Anaheim and the wheels fell off Nashville for a while there too. They had their standing in the game based on outworking the Oilers and that went by the wayside.

    PHX won big tonight, that means EDM is in 15th, right?

    I watched some of this one. Probably the worst 5-0 win you’ll ever see. Dallas hammered away at them all night. (that’s what she said)

    I said to Dennis after the Phoenix game (which was a horrible game BTW) that the game looked an awful lot like the Toilet Bowl and I don’t think that’s going to change much especially if the injuries keep on coming.

    Speaking of injuries, last year seemed like a lot of bad luck, but this is a team that decided to deal for Pitkanen and sign Souray. Surely there were decent odds this could happen.

  31. rickibear says:

    MacT said in Post game comments. “We have guys giving up goals who are not scoring. Not a good way to make a living.”

    14 games we have these guys projecting to be less than 8 goals for the year:
    G. Sanderson 2G 1En -4
    J. Stoll 1G -8
    M. Reasoner 0G -4
    M. Pouliot 0G -7
    JFJ 0G -3

    How much to bring over a heartless center and a TraKtor From Russia. they are lighting it up over there.

  32. RiversQ says:

    As for Pouliot, I’m going to stick by the kid. (That’s two years in a row, where I’ve outlasted LT on Pouliot)

    Other than the one play, I thought Pouliot played a pretty good game tonight. I don’t think he coughed it up on the Tarnstrom save either. In fact I don’t even think he was on the ice.

  33. Lowetide says:

    RQ: I wasn’t certain it was Pouliot, happy if it wasn’t. He doesn’t look like the same guy as we saw last spring, maybe if he can hang around long enough to get things going he’ll turn out fine.

    He should be farther along, though.

  34. Lowetide says:

    Interesting quote, rickibear. Thanks for that one.

    Looking at ATOI, I see Nilsson played about 4 more minutes than Hemsky, plus had more time on the PP. Thoughts?

  35. RiversQ says:

    Looking at ATOI, I see Nilsson played about 4 more minutes than Hemsky, plus had more time on the PP. Thoughts?

    None.

    Just like the coaching staff.

    I thought Nilsson had a nice game, but let’s get real here – that first line is so far ahead of the next best option that it’s getting ridiculous. Each of those three players is clearly tops of the pops on their respective depth chart and the TOI should reflect that.

  36. Lowetide says:

    RQ: Agreed. I mean, you marry the quote from rickibear credited to MacT above (” “We have guys giving up goals who are not scoring. Not a good way to make a living”) and to the two players who got the most minutes tonight up front (Stoll, 20:44 and Nilsson 19:41) and that’s one of the game stories right there.

    But then we look at the guys who were minus tonight without getting any points, and the forwards were Cogliano, Torres, Reasoner, Brodziak and Gagner.

    Who is he talking about? Who is the culprit?

  37. ClaytonMagnet says:

    In the previous post, NFB suggested that MacT may be “actively conducting ‘The Oilers NHL Hockey School’ — learn on the job. Hey, everyone else in Alberta is doing it, why not pro hockey players.”

    This type of senario can be the only explanation for Nilsson carrying more mail than Hemsky. I think that with 5 goals in the last 4 games, mostly by the top line, the coaching staff must be super desperate for offense, and are trying to spur on some development.

  38. Dennis says:

    Yeah, Pouliot should defintely be further along. This was one of those games where I was talking to the TV again and when 78 eluded the check on at the right point and walked in alone, I said, “take it to the fucking net” and when he didn’t, I wasn’t a happy man. Later on, Cogs did take the puck to the net and I was very happy with that play. Basically, this proves that LT’s like an older version of me, right down to the Expos love;) but I don’t live in Alberta, so I can see Oilers related matters more clearly:D

    BTW, Pouliot only keeps getting chances because both 18 and 34 are on the shelf and there’s no way on God’s green earth that both Nilsson and Schremp will be in the same MacT lineup. So, 78 gets to keep treading water until 34 comes back. Or least that’s the way I see it. Speaking of Nilsson, this looked like the good Nilsson, the one who can create on the fly and he made two or three great passes tonight and also had two scoring chances. So, good on the kid and he also showed the will to battle tonight. I’ve got bad news for him, though. He did this against one of the Conf’s worst teams and the way he battled tonight is the way he’s going to have to play all the time if he’s gonna stick. But, if he’s willing to do that, he should be fine.

    Gagner didn’t do much tonight, he was robbed by Ellis so I guess if he scored, I’d be more pleased:) Overall, the Oilers owned the day when it came to scoring chances for/against so that defintely counts for something. But MacT’s in this boat where Penner isn’t doing a whole lot and Pouliot’s giving him nothing and then you’ve got two kids in 13-89 who are good but we’re not talking Kane-Toews good, either. So, what do you do really? Hemsky was out of his world and Torres was very good and Horc kept up but if you break them up, you’re gonna dilute the effectiveness of the only line you have. And the bigger the hole gets, the more you try and scramble to get the offense going. I’m not really sure what the options are here. It would help if Stool get his head of out his ass but when can we count on that? I think you’ve got to leave 14-10 together as the basis for your tough min line and then you look for another guy to flesh that out line and you build your soft min line around Hemsky but the important thing is you tell Hemsky to be the shooter on that line.

    So, who fleshes out this top six? Well, I’ll put Stoll with Hemsky in a last ditch attempt to try to wring some offense and I’ll put Penner with them to do the board work. And that’s your soft line

    And I’ll put Cogs with 14-10 and that’s your tough min line.

    .

    This game really sucked until the second period and does anyone want to take bets on which of the Edm MSM is the first one to take on the bad ice at Rexall this year? Seriously, in the last two games, the puck’s been bouncing around like Charlie Sheen at the Playboy mansion. The EIG is making a tonne of paper right now so how about investing some of that in a new ice plant? It’s getting pretty rediculous for them to keep bragging about the good ice when there are whispers around the league that it’s not even in the top ten anymore. It’s basically akin to your buddy talking about his hot GF but when he brings her around, her gunt is in plain view.

    Garon was great tonight and made a couple of amazing stops before the D hung him out to dry. So, yes, older Dennis;), Garon should play more. I thought Tarnstrom had a great game as well, Gilbert had a good one and Smid was having a really great night until he totally forget about Arnott. But, hey, that’s life. A helluva lot of good plays can be negated by such an oversight. You were acquired for Pronger, buddy. Who should I tell to fuck themselves first, Lowe or Laddy?

    Up front, this is Cam’s point, but there’s just a huge divide between our top line and the other lines. Come next year, 13 and 89 should be a little more ready and maybe Nilsson too.

    Finally, one of the cool things about watching the ’06 team was, outside of the netminding, that was a very dependable team, a squad who game in and game out consistently outchanced the other team. You had vets up front like 94-18-34-Peca-Dvorak and kids who were becoming accountable like Hemsky, Horcoff, and once the playoffs came, Torres. Then you hid Stoll on the soft min line and you didn’t have a worry with the forwards. On the backend you had Pronger-Smith-Staios and Spacek rounded that out. These were guys who wouldn’t kill themselves, you had to have a lot of elbow grease and luck in order to beat that team. And from the time I got back into the Oilers, ie ’96 season, I never really had a vet team to cheer for, or at least not a team that had good vets on it. It’s just like how the Expos never really had more than a season or two with a good offensive club so I was always jealous of the guys who could rake and I still gravitate towards those teams now.

    My point is that things are, in ’08 at least, pretty much hopeless on the backend. As much as Stoll is a total drain on the current Oilers, he does have a track record of doing a little something with soft min and PP time so if he came around, then all of a sudden we have HST plus Stoll and we might just be able to craft two scoring lines from that group. But on D, hey, maybe kids like Gilbert and Smid will round out but it won’t be to the point of making a difference this year. A guy like Smid is young enough and limited enough that he’s gonna leave an Arnott alone every now and then. And Pitkanen and Souray back will change things but if people believe Souray’s gonna help at ES, well then they’re just as stupid as Lowe was and is

  39. Lowetide says:

    clayton: However, they needed a win tonight and yet at EVs the playing time for forwards looks like this:

    1. Robert Nilsson (16:46)
    2. Dustin Penner (15:48)
    3. Raffi Torres (15:36)
    4. Jarret Stoll (14:28)
    5. Shawn Horcoff (13:35)
    6. Ales Hemsky (12:53)
    7. Andrew Cogliano (11:56)
    8. Sam Gagner (11:47)
    9. Geoff Sanderson (9:31)
    10. Kyle Brodziak (9:10)
    11. Marty Reasoner (9:08)
    12. Marc Pouliot (7:35)

    Some of that is due to who comes over the boards after special teams and I understand it isn’t a hard and fast rule (like a batting order, for instance), but RQ’s point about the best three players being obvious is, well, obvious.

    And there they are, #’s 3, 5, and 6 on this list.

  40. rickibear says:

    Lt: I allways look at Atoi and stats from the game before I listen to Mctavish’s post game. The Oilblogsphere usually addresses the key points of the games and a person can just read.
    Thank sportsnet for this one.

    To see Mctavish body positioning and tone in his voice was just disheartening. Is it as a result of some his defensive favorites falling off the trust list. Stolls minutes do seem strang. Was tonight a got to get going push.

    The game before he made comments that the vets need to stepup. I think that he does not see the youth as the problem.

    Goals win games and we can see who is delivering. Penner gets a pass. He was a long term sign that is still on his way to season that will be 20g-40p.

    Nilsson sure displayed the abillity to create with speed on his own. The soft passes are still in his repetoir. He has the speed to play with Cogliano.
    You can drop anyone in with Hemsky and Horcoff.
    Cogliano and Gagner are not going anywhere.
    Brodziak has had a lull in the last 5 games.
    Reasoners, Sanderson’s, Brodziak’s, and Pouliot’s minutes tonight are a fair statement of Mact’s feelings.

    We need goals! My Mikhnov and Yashin Russian reference is our desperation for these goals.
    2.8g/gm gets you a chance at the playoffs no matter the defence.
    As someone said 20 from torres on a third line would be fine.
    xxx-horc-hem line will get you close to 1g/gm.
    Penner-Cogliano-Nilsson should get you .75g/gm based on current displays.

    It is the bottom two lines and the power play that that needs to get us the other 1.2g/gm.

  41. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I’ll take that (older Dennis) as long as I get extra credit for being able to hold my beer at an advanced age. :-)

    I think we’re (the blogosphere) going to have to take Vic’s advice and look at this season as a “hey that was a nice play” kind of year. To relate it to the Expos, maybe 1976 when they lost 107 games but I watched them (I swear) and they had kid Carter and Ellis Valentine who nobody remembers but holy moly was he an exciting ballplayer. One of the truly violent swings I’ve ever seen.

    So, for the Oilers there’s kid Gagner and Cogliano and then Hemsky who is a glorious player.

    And MacTavish is one of the best mysteries I’ve ever seen this season. WHAT IS HE DOING?

  42. rickibear says:

    Dennis: You can not break up Horcoff and Hemsky. The end of last year proved that.

  43. Dennis says:

    Lain, I haven’t drank with you so can’t give you drinking credit, just on credit;) I will say that I can drink beer until the cows come home but I have never ever learned how to drink liquor. So you’ve probably got me on that one:)

    I know there are things to look forward to but we are learning the hard way that it takes a long time for D to come around and there’s enough money tied up in a guy like Souray that for all three components to ever come together, ie tending-defense-forwards, we’ll need Staios to stay super healthy, Pitkanen to really come around and Smid and Gilbert to prove to be the real deal.

    Souray is gonna be the gift that really keeps on giving.

  44. Lowetide says:

    rickibear: Well I can understand MacT’s frustration tonight, they should be able to bury more than one. But really how many terrific chances did they have before the Arnott goal?

    Stoll’s brain isn’t on right yet, Penner clearly had as many brew as I did this summer (no blame, he won the Stanley and the lottery) and the career GP of the current defense likely rivals that green bunch we had after the trade deadline last season.

    So the bigger worry imo for MacT isn’t tonight, it is that if you don’t win tonight, when?

    He’s got another streaky team, in a bad way.

  45. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I can’t drink liqour either. Gives me a headache. Beer? Tons and tons and tons without headache, although with age I’ve had to add in water (I’m at 1/1 ratio now, in another 5 years I’ll be a Bill James star with a 3/1 w/b). :-)

    In terms of D, well Pitkanen needs to be what we all hope he’ll be (and then get signed). Plus Gilbert looks like a top 4 for sure, plus that kid Chorney will be along shortly.

    So, we’re looking at spring ’09 for the blueline with Staios likely sent away (along with Roloson) summer ’08.

    OT, I was thinking about this tonight. IF the Oilers finish at a point where they’re in the lottery and ANA gets the 3rd overall pick, what do you think the odds are that Lowe would finally trade up to get Stamkos or Doughty?

    AND if he has to trade up to get one of them, who does he give up?

    I think that’s a REAL fun game.

    Don’t you? :-)

  46. ClaytonMagnet says:

    LT – I was only speculating at what MacT might’ve been thinking as far as dishing out the ice time. I in no way agree with it…

    I think every game should be looked at as a must win; this is professional sports afterall, and winning is everything. In addition, if you have a young team that you’re trying to develop, I think that you impress early and often that winning is everything. With this team, we all know that means 10-83 get top minutes. The fact that MacT didn’t do that tonight bothers us all, because he’s a good coach, and it just makes no sense. I personally subscribe to the idea that he’s being told to showcase/talk up someone or someones for trade (Grebs and Pouliot, imo).

    Which leads me to KFL. If the rest of us performed at work like he has at his since the SCF, the boss would pull us aside and let us know that one more strike, and you’re out. Lowe? Four year re-up. W T F. What really pisses me off is that MacT is going to pay for it. Like you said LT, if they go winless on this trip, fans will want a goat.

  47. rickibear says:

    I think the goat will be Stoll.

  48. Bruce says:

    Had a chance to attend the game tonight, my first of the season. Interesting to watch some of the new Oilers in person for the first time. Frustrating game, frustrating team in that they can dominate but can’t finish, and when they make a mistake it’s always a gold-plated scoring opportunity. I counted at least three 2-on-1s against plus the Bonk breakaway; all three Nashville goal scorers were completely unmolested on the edge of the crease. By one measure the result — Oilers’ league-worst ninth regulation loss — wasn’t fair, but it’s pretty hard to argue with 4-1.

    The good:

    Mathieu Garon seemed solid, there wasn’t a lot he could do about the goals except maybe Bonk’s, and he made some fine stops. He really covers the bottom part of the net; a couple of those splits he did looked painful.

    Andrew Cogliano really looks like a complete player. Looks like a young Todd Marchant except with good hands and a nose for the net. I’m impressed with his wheels and how well he thinks the game.

    Dustin Penner is a mountain of a man, he was mighty tough to knock off the puck tonight and when he didn’t have it he was laying on the body, leading the Oilers with 3 hits. He also co-led the team with 4 shots, and was one of the more effective Oilers throughout.

    Robert Nilsson really showed some game, speed, puckhandling, imagination, playing on an effective line with Stoll and Penner that led the Oilers threesomes in shots with 11 (10-14-83 had 7, 8-19-51 had 4, and 13-78-89 just 2. Unfortunately he missed the net from about three feet out on his best chance.

    The bad:

    Denis Grebeshkov actually looked like a hockey player for most of the night, made lots of good positive plays, blocked 4 shots, but a couple of horrific blunders found their way onto the scoreboard and a well-deserved -2 for the night.

    Sam Gagner had a rough night, looking lost in his end at times and recording a -2 to prove it. I did notice that when he has the puck in the offensive zone, it seems to find its way to the goal-mouth.

    Kyle Brodziak was a nondescript player on a nondescript line, a supposed checking line that lost their shape and their composure on Arnott’s game-winner

    The ugly:

    Mathieu Roy was touted today as Matt Greene’s replacement, a tough, defensive-minded young RH defenceman who would deliver in grit what he lacks in polish. He didn’t last a shift.

    I though Marc Pouliot should be on the bus to Stockton if not the stockade after his last-minute faux pas against the Wings. Instead he was dressed and in the starting line-up, on a line with fellow first-rounders Gagner and Cogliano. Some pop psychology from MacT? I wondered, and am still wondering what’s with this guy. Years older than his linemates, Pouliot has clearly fallen far behind both. Tonight he accomplished nothing positive, he was the only Oiler besides Roy to have zero shots on goal, the play died with him, he went offside, he made a poor decision on the one chance that did develop, and he made the worst turnover of the game, a slow lateral pass along his own blueline that got picked off and led to a glorious chance that was saved by Tarnstrom. From that point, 1-1 midway in the third, Pouliot never saw the ice again until garbage time, but that ugly turnover seemed like a turning point: from that moment through to the end of the game the Oilers played like a bunch of incompetent nincompoops, outshot 9-0 and outscored 3-0.

  49. Lowetide says:

    Clayton: Yeah, I hear you. MacT’s had to have a poor night’s sleep last night.

    bruce: Agree re: Pouliot. RQ says it wasn’t Marc on the second goal but my mind is pretty good with checking off poor play (especially the guys I’m pulling for) and there was something in last night’s game that cost us.

    I’m thinking now it was maybe the first goal where he went to the bench before the puck got deep and the Oilers never had complete possession before the first goal. iirc he was parallel with the defenders in the neutral zone when they were headed up ice with a strong pass and some clearance heading into our zone. There was a quick chance, a beauty Garon save and in the same sequence they got their goal.

    I think maybe the Oilers never got it out of their end, but if they did only for a second.

    I’m not saying Pouliot can’t play. he remains the prospect I pull for the most (mostly because Cogliano and Gagner don’t need the help lol).

    At this point if Lowe dealt Pouliot for a 3rd rder I don’t think we could get all up in arms. I think he’ll be a player, but he’s now in the remdial class.

  50. Bruce says:

    I have trouble pulling for Pouliot because I don’t see enough evidence that he gives a shit … in fact I wonder what the hell is going on in his brain a lot of the time.

    He wasn’t responsible for the second goal against, but he did make the dreadful turnover just before that that led to the great goal-line save by (ironically enough) Tarnstrom, the same guy he hung out to dry in the Wings game. So Oilers survived for the moment but fell apart immediately after, which isn’t fair to hang on any one player, but that’s the way it unfolded. (And yes RQ, it was Pouliot who coughed it on the Tarnstrom stop: check out the play-by-play at nhl.com.)

    And you’re right about a weird change before the first Nashville goal, LT. Both Pouliot and Cogliano changed with the puck coming up ice and insufficient support in the Oilers zone, Grebeshkov turned it over and the caught-on-the-fly combination of Hemsky and Torres with a tired Gagner lost coverage. Of all the guys to not get on, it was Horcoff. Garon made one great stop but Oilers never recovered. Again hard to put that one on Pouliot but it was a very weird change that had me scratching my head in the stands, as Pouliot once again made the change on transition from offence to defence, which is not generally how it’s done. Didn’t seem like he learned a hell of a lot from Tuesday’s screw-up.

    Here’s hoping the kid gets some quality minutes down in Springfield, some of it (as I mentioned about a week ago) with the goddamn puck on his stick, cuz in theory that’s his game.

  51. Big T says:

    goldenchild said…

    ‘Grebeshkov loses his stick then his man on the first goal. loses his brain on the back breaking 3rd goal. I realize they dont have any other options so he has to play but this cruel joke of playing him against the other teams best has to stop.’

    OK, this is getting borderline ridiculous. This is a young player and you’re expecting him to play mistake free.

    Agreed, he was running around on the 1st goal and deserves some serious blame there. But on the 3rd he is left in a bad position b/c of a bad pinch by Gilbert (who remains blameless here) and makes a play that is successful 4/5 times. He tried to bounce it off the boards and got burnt.

    The higher percentage play is to carry the puck a little further from the boards and then bounce it off the boards but he’ll learn that.

    There are completely different scales for judging players being used here whihch is getting borderline HF in reverse.

    end rant.

    T

  52. Bruce says:

    I agree with big t. Grebeshkov is a “high event” player and is going to make his mistakes, as we’ve all seen. Will he learn from them? is the question.

    I remember Paul Coffey as a young player — even as a veteran, come to think of it — making just horrendous booboos on a nightly basis and being bailed out by his goalie, or by the team’s offence. In Grebeshkov’s case, he has to rely on the goalie.

    Agreed also that Gilbert got burned a couple times last night, including a wide-open 2-on-1 in the first period where Grebeshkov slid to try to break up the pass but couldn’t, and Garon bailed them both out with an excellent stop. But it was Gilbert who was the more serously at fault. And don’t get me wrong, I really like Gilbert, and will simply apply the same standards of expecting him to learn from his mistakes. (And if that’s true, Grebeshkov should be learning faster!) Short term pain and all that, but if these guys are players both should benefit immensely by this trial-by-fire.

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