Oilers at Kings, G28/07-08

This is Bernie Nicholls. His nickname was the “Pumper Nicholl kid” because he used to punch the air with his glove (it was a big deal at the time, you had to be there). He was drafted and came to the show with the Kings, and had a brief career with the Oilers too.

He was an amazing goal scorer. He wasn’t fast (he was in fact slow, very slow for the NHL) but he had this staccato style that allowed him to change directions or shoot from wonky spots. He rarely tipped what he was planning and lots of goals were scored on goalies who weren’t ready. He had this move where he’d fake a slapshot, move quickly (he had quick hands) to change the angle and then rip it shelf.

Nicholls scored 41 goals (in 55gp) in the AHL before getting called up to the majors and scored 14 goals in his first 22 games to end his first season (81-82). He ended up with 475 goals with a one season high of 70.

He is quite famous for older Oilers fans like me, for one very large moment in team history. Taken directly from hockeydraftcentral:

Nicholls found himself at the center of a controversy after he was traded by N.Y. Rangers to Edmonton as part of the Oct. 4, 1991, deal that brought Mark Messier to New York. Nicholls, the biggest veteran name on the Rangers’ end of the trade, immediately declared that he would never report to any team in Canada, and certainly not while his wife, Heather, was bedridden and expecting twins.

The Rangers refused to honor Nicholls’ wishes that he be left out of the deal, setting off a controversy that Nicholls’ fueled by making further statements that he would not play for a rebuilding team and would not play in Canada. He also felt the Rangers could easily substitute another player in the deal, and was concerned that he would become trade bait once again if he went to Edmonton.

Nicholls began a holdout against reporting to Edmonton and was suspended by the Oilers for failing to join the team. The suspension would cost him roughly $9,000 of his $700,000 salary for each missed game. Nicholls then indicated he would go to Edmonton if they gave him a big raise over his current contract, while also saying that he hoped Edmonton might trade him back to Los Angeles.

Nicholls said his pregnant wife was particularly interested in seeing him earn Messier’s former salary (more than $1.1 million in Canadian funds), and that if he was given this money, she would agree to move to Edmonton. Heather Nicholls was due to give birth to twins on Dec. 14, 1991, but had been having trouble with the pregnancy and Nicholls said there was no way he would leave her side until the babies were born. Nicholls and his wife had been trying to have children for five years and had even lost out in two efforts to adopt, when the babies’ mothers changed their minds at the last minute and withheld the children from planned adoptions. Nicholls therefore feared anything that might disrupt the pregnancy.

On Nov. 29, 1991, Heather Nicholls gave birth to a baby boy and girl, clearing the way for her husband to join the Oilers with no changes to his contract. Elated at the birth of his children, Nicholls announced his intention to play for Edmonton on Dec. 1, 1991, after having forfeited over $200,000 in salary during his holdout. He was removed from the Edmonton suspension list and reported to the Oilers in time for a Dec. 6, 1991, game at Winnipeg, but did not make his Edmonton debut until a Dec. 10, 1991, game at Vancouver. Nicholls was widely praised for putting his career in jeopardy so he could stick by his wife.

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54 Responses to "Oilers at Kings, G28/07-08"

  1. Aaron Paquette says:

    Takes guts to do something that could ruin your career but means the world to your family for life. An easy decision when you put it that way.

  2. Aaron Paquette says:

    Also, anyone else full of pre-game dread? Things have been going a little too well to believe for this Oiler fan. I keep waiting for the rug to get pulled out from under me. Pavlovian training at it’s best!

  3. Steve says:

    Huh – I remember Nicholls (I was excited to get him in the Messier trade, because I think I’d seen him in the previous year’s All-Star game or something) but don’t remember that story at all. Of course, I was nine at the time.

    And yeah, tonight has crushing defeat written all over it. But I’m an optimist at the slightest provocation, and if the Oilers have done nothing else over the last two games, they’ve provoked my optimism.

  4. Bohologo says:

    Anyone with a wife and kids can see where Nicholls was coming from. On the other hand, even his great work with Damphousse and Murphy (I really liked that line) during that one solid playoff season doesn’t offset the damage done to the Oilers (in terms of standings, optics, and Not Being Messier [a forgivable sin, but still]). So I never did cheer for the guy.

  5. Rube Foster says:

    Bernie Nicholls played a big part in the miracle at Manchester. I think he scored four goals in that infamous five game series. I can remember watching those games in a state of disbelief…Who IS that guy with the blue skate blades scoring those goals? I certainly hadn’t heard of that Nichols kids who was spazzing out after he scored all of those goals (the Pumper-Nichols nickname was well earned). I hated Bernie Nichols then and didn’t care for him much as poor substitute for Messier but you have to give any guy who scores seventy goals in a year his due.
    We’re a quick group to throw crap at MacT and the coaching staff but you have to give them credit for the game plan they’ve come up with for Darth Burke and his Anaheim Schmucks. We certainly have their number this year and we couldn’t pick a better team to tune up. Somehow beating the Schmucks is almost more satisfying that beating Flamers these days. Now if only MacT could figure out the ‘Lanche.
    Given the line-up we’ve been rolling out this year our record is better than I think we could’ve hoped for. The coaching staff has done some good work with a very young defense, Gilbert is looking like he’s for real and guys like Grebs and Smid are starting to play like NHL defensemen. Not to mention everyone’s new favorite Rourke. Kudo’s to Chuck Huddy, he’s doing nice work with a depleted crew.
    Not to get too carried away but if the Oil can maintain this level of hockey until 18 & 44 get back in the fold I’m starting to delude myself into thinking that we may actually have a chance for a run at the 8th spot.
    I know I’m getting ahead of myself but it looks like I’m one of the few who are actually looking forward to Souray’s return. If Chuck Huddy can convince him to keep it simple at even strength and remember that he’s NOT Bobby Orr, I think Souray could be fine as a three or a four and a demon on the PP. I wouldn’t mind seeing him paired with Staios at even strength when he does get back.
    Here’s hoping we can keep the mini-streak alive and that Fernando gets the game winner tonight!

  6. Lowetide says:

    I hated the Messier trade so much Nicholls never had a chance, but he did right by his family and that’s for sure.

    God I hated that trade. I knew it was all a lie, that Steve Rice wasn’t going to be anything much and that we gave away a franchise player for an Air Supply song.

    Thank GOD that hasn’t happened since.

  7. HBomb says:

    Thank GOD that hasn’t happened since.

    You broke my sarcasmometer Lowetide. Thanks.

    Rice, Nicholls, DeBrusk

    Hecht, Reasoner, Horacek

    Lupul, Smid, picks

    Nilsson, O’Marra, Plante

    Trend much? At least there was $5 million cash included with the return for Messier. It was as much a sale as the Gretzky “trade” was.

  8. uni says:

    Hecht, Reasoner, Horacek

    That didn’t strike me as a bad deal, if only Hecht had been happy in Edmonton though.

    Also the Oilers weren’t going to be able to pay out the 9 million contract the Blues threw at him.

  9. PunjabiOil says:

    That didn’t strike me as a bad deal, if only Hecht had been happy in Edmonton though.

    Yeah, there were rumblings that Hecht may return to Germany when he got traded, but didn’t he end up signing a 2 year deal?

    I was always a fan of the guy, although Lowe’s follow up trade (2 second rounders) weren’t bad. They yielded us JDD (who has been playing really well lately) and Stoll.

    ____________

    Oilers got 5M in the Messier deal? Learn something new everyday in the ‘sphere.

  10. Bruce says:

    Takes guts to do something that could ruin your career but means the world to your family for life. An easy decision when you put it that way.

    I’ll bet Chris Pronger would say the exact same thing.

    As for Nicholls, that’s a nice description, LT. He wasn’t a great skater, but he was smart and had a great release that always seemed to come early or late and catch goalies off balance. His 70-goal, 150-point, +30 season in 1988-89 almost defined the term “career year”. It was his best season by 50 points.

    Nicholls was a key player in the Oilers last Smythe Division banner in 1991-92, playing on a white-hot line with Vince Damphousse and Joe Murphy that scorched the Canucks and Kings before getting extinguished by Ed Belfour, Steve Smith, Chris Chelios and Mike Keenan’s Black Hawks in the conference final.

    I don’t see the Weight trade as being that bad. Hecht was traded for the picks that became Drouin-Deslauriers and Stoll; Reasoner has been a somewhat useful Oiler; and Weight himself had only six seasons of 70+ points, all with the Oilers. St. Louis wound up paying him for what he accomplished here, something Oilers have done with their over-30 stars forever.

    The fly in the ointment was that the guy they groomed to replace Weight, Mike Comrie, screwed the pooch.

  11. PunjabiOil says:

    I don’t see the Weight trade as being that bad.

    It wasn’t that bad, but it simply wasn’t enough.

  12. goldenchild says:

    Nobody ever confused Nicholls with Messier but that Nicholls – Damphouse – Murphy line had a real nice playoff run as I remember particularly a great series over the Canucks who I always hated. One of my fav memories is Pat Quinn throwing his gum onto the ice in disgust after losing.

    Oilers playing 2nd of a B2b on the road 3rd game in 4 nights, playing a rested team off a loss. I don’t about the NHL but in the NBA I always fade this situation. If the Oilers pick up 2 points tonight it is a terrific feat as this is a game that the schedule mankers really help the Kings in.

  13. Dennis says:

    Yeah, the old Pipeline, ie Nichols-Damphousse-Murphy.

    The latter was my favorite player after Mess left.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Thanks for showing up, Raffi. That was a beauty shift.

  15. Daniel says:

    He’s twins. He must be.

  16. mike w says:

    The goal looked like a slider!

  17. jon says:

    Smid with a couple real good hits. Stortini getting shots on net and created rebounds.

  18. jon says:

    And a goal whistled off without review, clearly in before the whistle.

  19. mike w says:

    Nice period. I like this edge that Smid has been playing with.

  20. Ribs says:

    How long can they keep this up? Torres is skating, Gagner is showing off some moves, Stoll doesn’t look lost anymore, Stortini found a role and is sticking to it, Penner doing the same, Brodziak makes the most of his minutes, Cogliano makes everyone around him play better, Pitkanen is playing physical, Staios looks like he wants to play, Smid is hitting people like they owe him money, Garon is playing great, Gilberts consistent play is well beyond anyone’s expectations, and Fernando Pisani! Yea!

    The tempo has gone up in these last few games and the Oilers are starting to play Oilers hockey. Lot’s of speed and impact from every line. Whatever MacT has started feeding these guys for breakfast sure is working swell.

    But enough rah-rahing.. back to the game. What do you mean we’re losing? hah…

  21. uni says:

    Oh dear lordie my me. Thor and Nilsson in on a goal…it’s official, the Christmas season is here.

  22. Lowetide says:

    Well, as someone who always liked Nilsson better than Pouliot, I’m certainly pleased that the Oilers have been right all along.

    :-)

  23. danny says:

    I know its easy to begrudge Smid for being a part of the return in a terrible trade… but that guy is someone that will round into a fan and lockeroom favourite. Always the first guy in to defend his teammates, first guy to skate up to Staios and ask him how he was after the high stick. Once he gets the chaos out of his melon for good, hes a good guy to have around.

    Assistant captain during his 3rd contract.

  24. PunjabiOil says:

    Really liking what I see from Smid in the past 10 games. He’s carrying the puck will full authority. He’s improved his shot and is more physical too.

  25. Dennis says:

    Haha, good one, LT

    12 has a three game point streak going right now and I will allow that he makes one great pass a game. Usually, that gets lost in a whole lot of shifts where he doesn’t work hard. But tonight he had a couple of hard work shifts Before he set up Cogs on the PP and later on assisted on 28′s marker.

    As for Thor’s goal, he showed some confidence by trying an inside out move just before he score. So, he earned that one.

    Not really sure what’s going on here now. 27 gets a lucky bounce goal and later on we get a marker from our 4th line. I think that 28 should’ve been here for awhile now but like the man said, when you get 12-28 combining on a goal, everything’s going right.

    Some guys are earning it, though. 14′s all over the bloody place and it seems like 51 gets smarter by the shift. There was one play where he was barrelling in on the forecheck to the left of Aubin but realized he wouldn’t get there in time. So, instead, he veered to the left of the Kigns Dman, anticipating that guy would want to get rid of the puck as soon as possible. 51 guessed right and was in the right spot but the puck bounced over his stick. Still, like I said, he just gets smarter.

    In other news, I know you don’t follow MLB anymore but just for shits and giggles, google Lastings Milledge and Elija Dukes.

    And then try and wrap your mind around the fact the Nationals have traded for both guys in the last four days.

  26. rickibear says:

    Lt: Remeber they had chemistry when nilsson went down to the A in mid october.

  27. Mustafa Hirji says:

    It was Nilsson-Schremp who had chemistry IIRC.

  28. K says:

    Sweet, sweet radio. Wish I had a video feed of tonights game, what a game to miss.

  29. Dennis says:

    You see that play where Thor hurtled into the Kings dman and created the chance that almost lead to 34′s first goal?

    That’s the kind of play I saw from him down the stretch last season when you needed an iron stomach to be able to even watch the Oilers play.

    Let alone have to play for them.

  30. Lowetide says:

    I think we have to give Garon some credit here tonight, boys and girls. More than we usually need to in EDM, I mean. Good grief he’s been great.

    Dennis: Milledge and Dukes? Who did they trade, Cordero and Zimmerman?

    I don’t like to think about it because baseball is dead as you know, but one of my favorite days of the year used to be the Rule V draft.

    Wetteland was rule 5, Kelly Gruber. Roberto freaking Clemente was rule V, Dodgers won’t let him out in the sunshine for fear of losing him but the Pirates knew about him anyway.

    I believe Mathewson was rule V. That’s why baseball was so beautiful before it died. You could get Christy freaking Mathewson in the Rule V.

    What a wonderful game. Hey do the Senators have any catchers left? I thought I read Schneider got traded.

  31. Mustafa Hirji says:

    Outshot 2-13 this period. Are the old Oilers all of a sudden back now?

    Well at least the old Oilers were reliable in the shoot out . . .

  32. Lowetide says:

    Nice shot block by Gagner there. He made a beauty pass to Gilbert Nilsson who shot it a hair wide earlier in the game too.

    LA’s always been weird for the Oilers. Warren Zevon weird.

  33. Dennis says:

    Funny you mention that, LT.

    I’m sure they’re gonna pick up a vet to help him out but the Nats #1 catcher todya would be Jesus Flores.

    Whom they picked up in Rule 5:)

  34. danny says:

    Anybody else hear that?

    That was the sound of Dennis getting sucked back into the season ;)

    Garons lateral movement is incredible. He reminds me a lot of Kiprusoff when he is on his game.

    So the past stretch of games, the Oilers have been getting .900+ sv% perfomances, their powerplay has been respectable, and they have a record of 5-1.

  35. rickibear says:

    Mustafa: Shremp was sat out Oct. 13 & 14 and then played with Macdonald, Spurgeon, & Reddox on the 20th, 21st & 26th

  36. Andreas says:

    Nice to hold on to get too the SO and let Samwise do the trick. Is it 4 goals now with the same move?
    2 great periods and then just trying to hold the fort in the 3rd.
    A lucky volley shot from a regulation win but a SO win is also a win.

    Smid was the unsung hero tonight and of course Garon who made some superb saves.
    Now they have two days to figure out how to stop that “Sid” kid.

  37. Ribs says:

    I think that’s the best ice I’ve witnessed in a Cali rink. Everyone was zooming out there. Brown and Penner even looked like they were a couple of Mazdas on ice.

    Is Garon our goalie yet? It sure is nice having a guy that you are pretty comfortable with when the shootout comes around.

    Speaking of the shoot-out… How the heck did Aubin not see that one coming from Gagner? You’d think someone would have showed him some game footage or something. It’s the same damn move! Hah… loser.

    Nilsson had a great game. He spent almost half of his ice time on the PP but he didn’t put those minutes to waste like he tends to do most nights.

    I still think it would be wise to go with 2 defenders on the Powerplay. Stoll has been playing better lately but him and Grebs still look pretty ugly trying to hold the line.

    Gagner kind of looked like the last guy that wore his number for this team. Good and bad at the same time.

    Gagner and Nilsson on the ice at the same time in overtime? I know they had good games but c’mon Mac!

    D-Men looked decent enough. Gilbert was having some difficulties wrangling Brown but I suppose that’s understandable.
    Pitkanen and Staios took another beating tonight but looked no worse for wear. I think Staios enjoys the faster paced games like this one.

    Kopitar sure is fun to watch. Superstar in the making for certain.

    Crawford needs a haircut. He looks like a vampire or something.

    Sid the kid on Wednesday!

  38. PunjabiOil says:

    Fucking Rights.

    Sam Gagner, excellent game before even considering the shootout. That was one great block in the 3rd period. Good game by the kid.

    Nilsson is another guy that helped create chances, and I saw him playing with more intensity. Hey, he’s not hurting the team bleeding goals against.

    Garon stole another game. Wonder what’s going to happen in the coming weeks.

    I’m trying to remain optimistic – is this another example of the 2005-2006 Mighty Ducks, which started poorly, and then went on a tear after their young players spent time in the AHL, and came back ready to contribute?

    The Gagner’s, the Cogliano’s, the Bobby Smid’s and the Nilsson’s are gaining valuable experience every game.

  39. Mustafa Hirji says:

    rikibear: Ok. I was thinking of last season then.

  40. Dennis says:

    Danny, Uni, and all those fellows who remembered my “not getting invested until they win three in a row” cry, the truth is that I’m always somewhat invested:)

    It’s just that I need to see some semblence of consistency before I allow myself to really believe a little bit.

    On to the postgame;)

    It’s nice to see that 89 knows enough to get to the place to block that shot in the third and cares enough to get down and block it. I thought that line really fought it tonight and that 10 had an off game . 89 was showing more grit than usual, though, and wasn’t giving the puck away. When it came to the SO, it’s sick how much confidence I had in him vs Aubin.

    Even though he didn’t score, I loved the confidence 12 showed in the SO. If the guy works hard, he’ll be a player. I’m not sure how good, but he’ll be a player.

    28 didn’t play much but he had a couple of shots on net, he scored and he threw a couple of nice checks as well.

    On the D side, the boys were aggressive but we gave up way too many opps from the slot on in. Oilers asked way too much of Garon tonight and we were lucky to come away with the two points. I guess it was the whole BTB back but the club fell apart in the third period.

  41. PunjabiOil says:

    Crawford needs a haircut. He looks like a vampire or something.

    LOL

  42. Oilman says:

    Dennis…as a Mets fan I’m a little worried about letting Miledge go….last time the Mets figured a guy was a million dollar talent with a 10 cent head they traded him to Tampa for the wrong Zambrano…..but yeah, miledge and dukes won’t help reduce the washington crime rate anytime soon

  43. Dennis says:

    You Should be worried about letting him go, unless you think about the fact that most people, once they get to a certain age, just don’t change.

    I know the guy’s only a kid and we were all assholes in our early 20′s but the guy gets to Wsh and the first thing he says is basically that he’s glad to be back with Acta because Manny knew what it was like for him to play in NY and have every one against them.

    Meanwhile, Dukes OPS in the minors are wicked and he’s got it all going for him. Unless we’re talking about between the ears and unless Dimitri YOung has some magical powers, thsi could get ugly.

    Then again, Jim Bowden is a devotee of noted arsehole Jose Guillen so it’s not like I’m surprised.

  44. PunjabiOil says:

    Gene Principe: Are you guys excited to play against Sidney Crosby on Wednesday?

    Dustin Penner: Well I’m not going to ask him for his autograph, if thats what you mean. Its just another game.

  45. Dennis says:

    If the Oilers keep saucing Gene, one of those days he’s just gonna make sure the garage door is locked and then he’ll turn on Knob Stauffer and drift off to sleep…

  46. tyler.hildebrand says:

    Penner’s starting to grow on me. You can see glimpses of hope in his game, and good god is he huge.

    Plus, his post-game with gino made me laugh out loud a couple times….

  47. dawgbone says:

    Can’t complain too much about the effort when you are playing with some key injuries and are in game 2 of a b2b (and 3 in 4 nights).

    I just don’t get how the NHL can go through all this trouble to get instant replay, then proceed to let referees fuck up like the Stortini goal last night. Not only that, but they allow the 3rd Kings goal to stand despite the fact that Blake crashed into Garon without being forced in there.

    And ribs… I think you are underestimating how good Gagne’s fake shot is. He gets a good little bend in his stick, and he stops it just before the puck. With all these blocking goaltenders, they all go down on that play, and then Gagne makes a move to his left then goes right.

    In doing that, the goalie can’t push off with his skate fast enough to get to Gagner’s scoring side because he had to worry about the move the other way first. And Gagner’s already gone to his left for a couple of shots this year, meaning the goalie has to respect it.

  48. Oilman says:

    The thing with Gagner’s move is that he’s not just throwing shit together…he’s waiting for the goalie to commit….last nights move was basically the same as the one against Chicago with about three or four less fakes as it took a little longer for Khabibulin to bite than it did for Aubin….by the time he tucks the puck in the net, the goalie has ussually frozen, recovered, and gone the wrong way….it’s pretty sick.

  49. Bruce says:

    I just don’t get how the NHL can go through all this trouble to get instant replay, then proceed to let referees fuck up like the Stortini goal last night.

    I don’t get it either. I thought they were supposed to check out everything close. On the replay you could hear Stortini say “It’s in!” even before the whistle went, and it was already in for a second before Zack yelled. Wasn’t even close. But the ref just waved it off like he knew everything that had happened and the boys upstairs somehow failed to make the call down to ice level before the next faceoff (must be a California thing). Do you think if that had been, say, Brendan Shanahan telling the ref it was in that the zebra would have gone straight over to the box to check? Pisses me off.

    Stortini watch: With all the back-and-forth about 46 on the Oilogosphere lately I have been watching Stortini closely, to try and convince myself whether he really is an NHL player. He had another good game last night with some real bad luck mixed in. He got a -1 on the Kings first goal when he did his job and crunched the defenceman who made the breakout pass, and then Kopitar scored on a flukey deflection on a rountine 2-on-2. Then he got hosed out of what should have been his first goal of the season, on a good alert play of picking up the loose puck, bulling to the net and stuffing it home. Then in the second he made a key play in the neutral zone just before Pitkanen’s tying goal, but went off on a change 2 seconds before Joni scored, so didn’t get a + to show for it. (Memo to MP: that’s how it’s done.) So he ended the night a very unfortunate -1 in 11:30 ice time (20 shifts), with 3 hits and 0 giveaways on a night where 12 different Oilers coughed the puck at least once.

    One thing that stands out to me about this guy is that he’s very safe with the puck, Looking up the team’s RTSS I see Stortini has been charged with just 1 GV on the season, in 18 GP. Of the guys who have played 10 or more GP, only two of others have fewer than 10 GV (Rourke 10 GP, 3 GV; Greene 13 GP, 7 GV). Admittedly none of these guys handles the puck a whole lot, but at least they are hanging onto possession when they do so.

  50. alan says:

    Anyone remember at the World Juniors last year in the marathon
    shootout vs. the USA in the semi-final?
    Seems weird now that Gagner didn’t even get a shot.

    Canada had 7 shots:
    Steve Downie (Save)
    Bryan Little (Goal)
    Jonathan Toews (Goal)
    Bryan Little (Save)
    Jonathan Toews (Goal)
    Andrew Cogliano (Goal)
    Jonathan Toews (Goal)

    Pretty hard to argue, given that they went 5/7, and won the game, but seems weird now that we’ve seen Gagner’s shootout prowess.

  51. Dennis says:

    I can learn to like Stortini but that line still looks like it’s getting outshot and outchanced. MacT’s been bullish on asking them to be the shutdown troika and it hasn’t bit him yet but, last night for instance, I was in gits everytime the Kopitar line was on the ice.

    At the very least, it’s a good way to keep Stoll’s counting stats down before he signs his next contract;)

  52. digger says:

    To be honest Dennis, other than that Vancouver game where Stoll/Torres/Stortini did a solid job vs. the Sedins, to me it’s been panic stations every other time they’ve been given the tough minutes assignment.

    Once they get matched against a line that has any kind of speed, it seems they spend their entire shift in “JUST GET IT THE **** OUT!!” mode.

    Once Pisani finds his game legs, I’ll feel a bit better about things. ;)

  53. Bruce says:

    re: Stoll-Torres-Stortini, which I affectionately dubbed the Zeroes Line, but given some postive numbers of late maybe we should rename them the STS line (like the space shuttle).

    Since they were put together for the Vancouver game, the Oilers have gone 6-2-0. Stoll and Torres, who were bleeding minuses, have both posted +1 with some pretty tough minutes, and Stortini has had a respectable, even unlucky (as noted above) -1 over those eight games. Lately they’ve started to score: in the last four games Stoll has 5 points, Torres 4, Stortini 2.

    In last night’s game, as Dennis pointed out on mc79′s site, the threesome had an outstanding first period and were very unlucky to be tagged with the minus on Kopitar’s flukey deflection. Later on Torres made a fine play to set up Pitkanen’s tying goal, and the Oil never trailed again.

    I don’t know where to find shots and chances against, I’m way to lazy to reconstruct from the play-by-play logs, but there’s no doubt that Kopitar-Cammalleri-Brown line will be a handful for every opponent. Crawford got them away from STS a few times, and the other Oil lines struggled with them too. Brown had an astonishing 10 hits, which if nothing else suggests they were chasing the puck at least part of the time.

    On the positive side of the ledger, the game sheets show that the STS trio had 9 shots on goal and 7 hits among the three of them. None of them was charged with a giveaway.

    Let’s compare, shall we?

    10-27-89 – 2 S, 4 HT, 3 GV
    19-13-51 – 2 S, 0 HT, 4 GV
    28-34-12 – 5 S, 3 HT, 2 GV
    16-14-46 – 9 S, 7 HT, 0 GV

    So STS had half of the forwards’ 18 shots on goal, half of the forwards’ 14 hits, and none of the forwards’ 9 GVs. Panic mode or no, I think they’re carrying their weight and then some.

    BTW, the other personal stats line of note last night was this beauty for Ladi Smid: 23:00 TOI, 6 attempted shots, 4 HT, 0 GV, 1 TK, 4 BS. The only slight negative is that only 1 of the 6 shots got through to the goalie, but at least he’s thinking in that general direction. The defensive numbers are excellent … I’m particularly impressed with the 0 GVs, thinking of the pressure Brown was putting on the LD all night, and remembering at least three heavy hits that Ladi has absorbed in the last week or so. He’s hanging in there and competing. There’s no stats showing the times he cleared out the crease or covered a teammate’s back, but he’s really showing an edge, something this team badly needs. This guy’s game is really coming on.

  54. Ribs says:

    With all these blocking goaltenders, they all go down on that play, and then Gagne makes a move to his left then goes right.

    Yea, but Aubin dove for the first deke! I know it’s a good move and I credit Gagner for doing it, but wow, Did Aubin get “posterized” on that one.

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