Penguins at Oilers, G29/07-08

This is Rick Kehoe. For anyone who watched HNIC in the early 1970s, he was one of the “rising stars” on the Leafs team that we viewed every Saturday night. In his first full season he scored 33 goals on a team that boasted young talent like Darryl Sittler, Erroll Thompson and Denis Dupere.

He was traded for another good RW, Blaine Stoughton and when he went to Pittsburgh Canadian fans barely saw him. Oh, you’d get an update during playoff games where they would run a grainy film of someone scoring against St. Louis but that was pretty much it.

The best description of the Pittsburgh Penguins is that Kehoe scored 312 regular season goals for them between 1974-84, and 4 in the post season (all in the 80s).

Kehoe was a clean player, had good speed and a shot that could beat the goalie from the blueline.

The current Penguins are in the “79-82 Oilers” phase in the Crosby-career. He’s a truly great player having a slow start. In Gare Joyce’s new book on scouting (which my wife got me for my birthday, along with a 2-4) he says scouts would flock to Crosby’s junior games and sit in awe.

Joyce says scouts called him “Baby Jesus.” I’m only one chapter into the book and would suggest it’s a must buy.

Go Oilers, let’s hope Crosby kills the NHL after tonight.

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63 Responses to "Penguins at Oilers, G29/07-08"

  1. Matt says:

    Wow, our wives have similar ideas about birthday gifts. And I’m not referring to the book.

  2. namflashback says:

    What’s Pitkanen’s record playing against Crosby head to head? He’s probably seen him 13-16 times over the past two seasons.

    Crosby’s supporting cast isn’t helping alot. The Oilers have had 4-line + D-men contributions.

    Even if Crosby gets a couple, the Oilers can win this with their back 6. Make it 4 boys! GOIL!

  3. digger says:

    For me, I’m more interested in the side storys:

    -Sykora back in town

    -Georges “I’ll only come back if MacT is fired” Laraque, and how he’ll react if Stortini whispers sweet nothings into the ears of certain Pens players.

    -Pisani’s first home game of ’07!

    Yeah, I also hear there’s this Crosby kid in their lineup…supposed to have some skill, I guess.

  4. dubya says:

    Crosby’s too small for the NHL. I hear he wears a visor, too.

    He’ll never amount to anything.

  5. goldenchild says:

    Oilers in HD should be nice.
    Any word on Hemmer? Something tells me a matchuyp against Crosby would put a little extra step into 83 if he were healthy.

  6. heed says:

    -Georges “I’ll only come back if MacT is fired” Laraque, and how he’ll react if Stortini whispers sweet nothings into the ears of certain Pens players.

    he will probably do the same thing he did while in edmonton. sit on the bench.

  7. thinking hurts says:

    Mr. Hemsky is in after taking the morning skate as reported on the Oilers gameday page. This will be a fun game to watch.

  8. Julian says:

    Yeah, Gare Joyce is a really nice guy, I’m gonna pick up a copy when I’m back in Canada next week. Really looking forward to reading it.

  9. Bruce says:

    Agreed with digger on the side stories. The paper mentioned Laraque and Sykora as well, but not Pisani who will be having a true homecoming. I hope people are focussed and give him the prolonged standing ovation he richly deserves. Goddamn it, I wish I was going, but you couldn’t pull a ticket for tonight’s game out of this city’s ass with a tractor.

    In all the (mostly justifiable) hype surrounding Mr. Crosby’s first triennial visit to Western Canada — and thanks again Gary for all those Wild and Predator games — I’ll whisper two words that seem to have been forgotten: Evgeny Malkin.

  10. Art Vandelay says:

    Last year, Pitkanen was -25 give or take and Crosby had several multi-point games v the hapless Flyers. Not suggesting anything. Just sayin’….

  11. grease trap says:

    Does that mean Ottawa has a lot of hap?

  12. rider guy says:

    did anybody else catch laraque on stauffer’s show yesterday? what a piece of work. stauffer asked him about fighting stortini or what would happen if stortini was giving some of the penguins skill guys a hard time. laraque said he’d go after the oilers skill guys. good idea, but after waiting for him to do that here for umpteen years i’m not exactly holding my breath. the only thing missing was george’s annual guarantee that he was going to score 20 goals.

  13. digger says:

    All kidding aside, I’m really curious to see what kind of game BG brings tonight. It’s no secret that he has a serious dislike of MacT, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he brings his ‘A’ game…or at least whatever his ‘A’ game amounts to nowadays.

    I really can’t see him going after our skill guys with any great vigor though, he loves being loved by the locals. I can’t imagine him tossing around Gagner/Cogliano or laying a crosscheck to Horcoff’s back would endear him to his flock.

  14. heed says:

    laraque said he’d go after the oilers skill guys.

    like who? maybe rourke or stortini? they are probably the only two guys he can catch. i loved the guy when he was here but he has become a bit of a loser since his departure. he takes every opportunity to slag the franchise that started his hockey career. did he really think the oil we’re going to pay him over $1M to hold down the fort on the bench? even minnesota is looking at boogard’s contract now as the stupidest move they made all summer.

  15. Dennis says:

    Just going by memory, I know Pit won all eight games last year vs Phil and I think two of them were in OT. So, Sid was killing someone.

    If people really want to see where Pitkanen might level out, why not take a hard look at his ’06 season vs his ’07 campaign. Things like how his numbers looked comparitive to the team’s and who he was playing against and who he was playing with.

    Sounds like something Vic could nail.

  16. Rod says:

    Oilers in HD should be nice.

    Except it’s not actually HD tonight. Neither TSN or the NHL have Pens@Oil listed as HD. It’ll probably be an SD wide-screen upconvert on TSN-HD. Beats regular 4:3 SD, but still not HD.

  17. Rod says:

    re: Le GG
    heed said:he will probably do the same thing he did while in edmonton. sit on the bench.

    According to Laraque that was largely coach’s orders to stay out of the penalty box as the coaches didn’t want to kill his penalties. Apparently MacT, Simpson and Lowe forgot the role Semenko and Brown played on the Cup teams.

    rider guy:good idea, but after waiting for him to do that here for umpteen years i’m not exactly holding my breath.

    Again, coaches instructions…

    Here’s an anecdote that supports Laraque’s contention. Rewind to Sunday’s game at Anaheim. Garon is run by Perry and gets a penalty. The Oilers didn’t nothing. Didn’t even get in his face or anything.

    heed: maybe rourke or stortini? they are probably the only two guys he can catch.

    Uh, Boogaard managed to “catch” Hemsky and other Oilers last season. Unless you’re saying Boogaard is a vastly superior skater, I’d have to conclude Laraque could “catch” a skilled player.

    That said, I don’t see Laraque going after Oilers skill guys. Georges was clearly saying that if Stortini wants to yap and be an agitator, he better be willing to drop the gloves. Otherwise, something else will happen. That’s putting the onus on L Column.

    heed: did he really think the oil we’re going to pay him over $1M to hold down the fort on the bench?

    Talk about revisionist history. By all accounts, Laraque’s current contract is not what he expected the Oilers to pay. It was widely reported Laraque was willing to take 500,000 less per season to stay here. His only requirement was that if he took a hometown discount, he wanted a guarantee they wouldn’t trade him. Makes sense to me that he’d want one in that circumstance.

    The Oilers would be better with Le GG. The rash of injuries since he left have piled up too high to be mere coincidence. It’s not like L Column will actually see significant minutes once Moreau et al return to the lineup.

  18. Santa Merda says:

    What’s the deal with all the GG hate here? He was a great Oiler, and he bleeded blue and bronze.

    He offered a substantial salary drop in return for a no trade clause, and he added serious grit to a team that is in need of it now. L Column is no Laraque, that much is obvious.

  19. speeds says:

    Goddamn it, I wish I was going, but you couldn’t pull a ticket for tonight’s game out of this city’s ass with a tractor.

    Oddly enough, this will be the first game I’m attending this year. Thank you very much, unnamed friend!!!

  20. godot10 says:

    Semenko, Dave Brown, and McSorley were pre-instigator rule. Laraque is post-instigator rule.

    Laraque didn’t play tough or physical, so he wasn’t protecting anybody. People would hit the Oilers star players when he was around, and he still never went after the other teams star players.

  21. more green says:

    Wow, they just compared Kris Letang to Paul Coffey on FSN.

  22. PDO says:

    lol.

    Did anyone else catch the “YOU SUCK MAGUIRE” right as they came back from their 1st commercial break?

    Oilers are looking good… I can’t believe we had 4 rookies on the ice at the same time and sustained pressure. Gotta be the first time that’s happened all season.

    Gotta feel bad for Thor… scores a goal last game and still gets scratched for this one.

  23. Lowetide says:

    Fun period of hockey. Hemsky looks like he’s a hair behind, Pitkanen’s a beauty and I don’t know who is wearing #12 tonight but he’s a real straight shooter.

  24. Dennis says:

    JFJ had two goals tonight in another Falcons win. Pouliot had two assists as well and they combined for nine shots on net.

    I bring this up because with Thor making a difference in his second game and with Nilsson’s knack for scoring points despite not being all that visible, didn’t he look like the cowardly lion after he scored that goal?, time’s really tick for the third year pros like JFJ and MP.

    And once Moreau gets back, there will be even less time for auditions.

    Not really impressed by the Oilers in that first period. Excellent rebound control by Roli but overall way too many chances from five feet in for the Pens.

    Some other stuff:

    - 37 was a monkey
    - 52′s passing was off
    - 12 will be at some kind of a player if he wants to work without the puck; he made a backcheck to stop a potential scoring chance from the slot and that was impressive.
    - 13′s having one of those nights where his feet are moving faster than his head.
    - 25′s the best pure skating dman we’ve had since Poti, but he’s faster than was Tom. I don’t think anyone else remembers this but me but in the G4 win vs Dal in ’01, it was the one where Comrie scored the winner, Poti went end to end and took a Stars dman inside out before hittin the crossbar. I remember it fondly because we went on to win the game anyway but if he scored that goal, it would be shown over and over again.

  25. choppystride says:

    Speaking of Gare Joyce, not sure if you’re aware that he now has his own blog:

    http://scoutshonourbygarejoyce.blogspot.com/

    Obviously, part of the blog is used to promote his book. Nonetheless, there are some pretty interesting content – though some of them seem to be mere copies of newspaper articles.

    Particularly interesting are his posts on November 1, 2007, which talked about the fitness demands Hitchcock made on his Blue Jackets. The sidenote on Jakub Voracek also caught my attention. Apparently, he has the best wingate score (a test of anaerobic power/capacity) of all the top prospects in the draft. Recalling some of the discussions at HF around draft time, wasn’t a lack of physical fitness supposed to be one of his shortcomings? Hmmm….

    Anyway, this seems like a good blog to keep an eye on, especially for all draft & prospect junkies.

  26. gary b says:

    Crosby Crosby Crosby.

    I’m surprised TSN didn’t introduce a “Crosby Helmet Cam’ for tonight’s game…

  27. Lowetide says:

    Why is it that the Oilers are the road team no matter the broadcaster? I mean, outside SN. COULD Mcguire cheer more for the other team?

    I love that Nilsson scored tonight, hope he gets three.

  28. Andy Grabia says:

    It’s pretty clear Maguire still has a crush on his old team.

  29. PDO says:

    I take it I’m the only person who mostly hears Maguire as white noise at this point? I catch occasional blurbs… but I hear almost nothing.

    And LT, I’ve seen the Oilers called as the home team before.

    We were playing Calgary, and it was better for the Canucks if we won :]

  30. PDO says:

    If only the Oilers had a number one center who could finish Hemsky’s setups….

  31. uni says:

    I’m still hoping they trade Horcoff for picks and prospects and stop weighing the team down. The put Schremp with Hemsky so he can prove that he’s the ‘next one’ and that not Crosby guy.

  32. PunjabiOil says:

    Seems like the Torres-Stoll-Stortini line is handling the ”hard minutes” going up against Crosby’s line.

    Smart two way hockey by the guys. The young guys cut back on mistakes and turnovers – the team seems to have the making of a good 5 on 5 squad. Goaltending has also been the difference.

    I like Shawn Horcoff

  33. Ribs says:

    Looks like MacT has his driving gloves on for these last few games. The players are doing what he’s been telling them to do and the team is playing better because of it. I wonder where this bus stops?

    Beauty plays from Pitkanen and Hemsky. Fleury looked pretty green on the shots that went in but Nilsson and Horc need some credit for getting the puck to the net in a hurry (especially Horcs).

  34. Lowetide says:

    Interesting game to watch. Is it just me or are the Oilers playing a game every night lately?

  35. Ribs says:

    keep ‘em coming if they’re going to be like this!

  36. Dennis says:

    Yeah, it kills me when Albies talk about the old western bais, because no one gets slammed more then NFers, but sometimes they’re right; in this case yes it feels like it’s a broadcast from Fox Sports Pittsburgh. Miller’s a local and he’s even more of an Oiler guy than is Cuthberth but Pierre’s all about star power and always has been.

    Some thoughts on the second:

    - A few shifts before Horc scored, 10 hustled his ass off to keep the puck in twice on the same shift. And at different points. That was unbelievable work. Something to behold.

    - Like Lowe’s buddy said;), 83 looks a bit off but he warmed up a little as the second period wore on. I can’t believe the way he makes passes with such little space avaiable. The first time I saw an AHL game was in ’93 and I was amazed at how quickly and confidently the players could work in tight quarters. I think that’s what seperates the very good ones from just the ones.

    - Say what you want about the 5/24 duo, and I often do:) the one thing I like about that couple is their D-to-D passes. I really don’t get that when I watch 25-77. Maybe it will come with time, I don’t know. I just think 77 played his best hockey with 23

    - That was a good penalty that 16 took on Crosby.

    - On that ensuing Pit PP, I think 19 lost at least three faceoffs

    - Rourke straightened up very quickly and gave us a good frame

    - There was a play early in the second where 12 had a chance to clear the puck and gave it a one hand try. Seconds later, 34 gets the same chance and he dips the shoulder to protect the puck and then uses two hands to get it out. I know the guy’s making 2.5 and he’s not gonna score a tonne of goals but is he ever a dandy at EV. You watch a bunch of kids flop around and you forget what a difference a 34 or an 18 can make.

    - Therrien puts 71-87-17 together and if you’re a smart guy, you’re thinking that now there’s gonna be at least two Pens shifts in a row where you don’t have any worries. So 14-16-34 goes out and basically burns that whole shift cycling in the Pit zone. 34 steps in with those guys and it’s instant chem.

    A better second period for the Oilers and if they stay out of the penalty box in the third, they should be able to salt this one away. You can keep the 27-10-83 line together, put 14-16-34 together and just keep 19-51 together and hope that Cogs can keep up his end of the bargain. Pretty much roll with three lines and if you want to give your top nine guys a little spell, break out your fourth line for an O zone faceoff where danger’s that much farther away.

  37. Dennis says:

    Good job by MacT to roll out the 4th line plus 37/52 as soon as Crosby left the sheet.

  38. Dennis says:

    That goal’s on 77 there. He’s been doing stuff like that a little bit lately.

  39. Dennis says:

    Great job there by Smid to tie up Crosby. Really showed some strenght.

    Oilers just have to get this to OT. Not getting anything out of a home game where you lead by two goals in the third period would be a huge kick in the nuts to a young team.

  40. Dennis says:

    That’s the first time MacT’s really been burned by running out the 14-16-46 line against the toughest of opps.

    46′s made a couple of nice plays in this game but that was the second time when he was caught far too far from his check, ie the left dman. He’d had a better chance to block that shot if he wasn’t so deep.

    Oh well, this was fun while it lasted.

  41. PunjabiOil says:

    I don’t understand why MacT insisted to matchup the Stoll-Torres-Stortini line against Crosby, even after Crosby’s line made it 2-2.

  42. PDO says:

    Can we please trade Jarret Stoll already?

    -2… and once again invisible in the offensive zone.

    I just want to get rid of him and hope there’s a GM or two out there who still believe in him at this point.

    I knew the game was over the second Marty had the chincy call made on him that had been let go all game… ones like that always seem harder to kill, and sure enough it hit the twine.

  43. Lowetide says:

    I think the Penguins will probably have to change coaches before they win the Stanley, but they have some really nice things going now.

    When they need a goal or two, the coach can load up one line and chances are they’ll shake something from the tree before long.

    The Oilers don’t have an answer for that, just like WPG, VCR, CHI, LA and others didn’t have an answer most nights for the Boys on the Bus.

    The only way to beat Crosby now is to wait until he’s 35.

  44. uni says:

    Hard to pin those two goals on Stoll, looks like the defenseman lost his check on one there, but my feed wasn’t too clear on the 2nd.

  45. RiversQ says:

    PunjabiOil said…
    I don’t understand why MacT insisted to matchup the Stoll-Torres-Stortini line against Crosby, even after Crosby’s line made it 2-2.

    WTF? You just said this:

    PunjabiOil said…
    Seems like the Torres-Stoll-Stortini line is handling the ”hard minutes” going up against Crosby’s line.

    I think it was pretty obvious they were hanging on for dear life in this one. It was as obvious in the 1st as it was in the 3rd based on scoring chances. Heck they only directed 3 shots on goal the whole game bewteen the three of them.

    Crosby’s a killer, so why bother sending that line out there against them. This game screamed for a 34-10-83 hard match and the Oilers paid dearly for not doing it.

    Penner continues to come around, but no Oiler turns the puck over high in the O-zone more than Penner. Get it deep, you fat fuck.

  46. Andreas says:

    Agree on Stoll, he made some stupid decision just before 2-2 when he went in on deep a forecheck with no chance of winning the puck. Then getting caught down behind his own net with both defenseman before the 3rd goal. Not the way a center should play.

    Other then that it seemed like the whole team wasn’t prepared for the Penguins push in the third. Lots of sloppy play in the own end and lazy backchecking from the forwards.

    A 4th straight win had to be too good to be true anyway, lets go win the next game instead.

  47. PDO says:

    Hard to pin those two goals on Stoll, looks like the defenseman lost his check on one there, but my feed wasn’t too clear on the 2nd.

    Crosby was his man on second goal, he lost him behind the net and couldn’t get in the shooting lane.

    Even if he wasn’t at direct fault for either of the goals against, there were a lot of chances where he was. Add in that he created absolutely nothing offensively, and he was full value for the -2.

  48. PDO says:

    Sorry, that should read on the second minus, not the second goal.

  49. PunjabiOil says:

    WTF? You just said this:

    Yeah, I did. I were merely commenting on the fact that the Stoll-Torres-Stortini were matched up against Crosby throughout the game earlly on.

    In the 3rd, it fell apart. After the tying goal, I was wondering why MacT didn’t go back to Shawn Horcoff in the matchups.

    He didn’t, and it was 3-2.

    On the positive ledger, I thought Pisani had a very effective game. Nilsson too. Penner did some good things tonight too.

  50. Bank Shot says:

    It was inevitable that the gravy train would come screeching to a halt soon with the way the Oilers’ have been getting outchanced, but it still hurts to see them squander a 2 goal lead with 20 minutes remaining.

    Nilsson was good again, as were Horcoff, and Pitkanen.

    The Gagner,Nilsson, Pisani line did quite nicely for themselves on the night and I think we can thank Pisani for that. He was always in the right place.

    WTF was Cogliano doing on the ice for the second PK? He played like junk all night so throw him out in a critical situation? He should have been the guy watching for that D-man dropping down.

    Roloson was great for almost all the game. I thought the Letang goal was kind of weak sauce though, and one right after another like that was probably what caused the Oilers to implode. Hard to blame the goalie when they get outchanced so heavily, but the Oilers need flawless netminding to win.

    Stortini stinks. What’s the point in having a checking line player that can’t clear the zone, and can’t play sound D? I think Stoll and Torres would be alright with a player that can add something to the line. Too bad about Jacques having no brains and Pouliot having no heart. MacT should give Thoresen a shot on that line.

    Penner was a 250 pound boat anchor.

  51. Ribs says:

    Well that was an um… interesting third period.

    Penner dozed off after the second…started to shoot out coke cans from his jock strap by the end of the game. I applauded MacT and his efforts earlier tonight but he really needed to switch Penner up with someone once the play picked up beyond his means.

    So when do we send Stoll off to New Jersey? He looked like he was playing Brent Sutters game out there. he was -2 but I can’t blame him for anything other than not getting some offense going (hard to do when he has Raffi and Storts as linemates).

    It was nice to see Hemsky out there but I think he was trying too hard on Sid’s night. I appreciate the effort though, and it’s just another reason why he’s my favourite Oiler.

    Cogs had an off night but he was pushing through it like Stoll was. As long as that effort is there I can’t fault him too badly.

    I was hoping for more from Gagner this night but he got lost in the shuffle of line changes and matchups. I’m glad he’s learning this stuff now and not later.

    The third period was a lightning strike to the defenders of the Oil. Pits, G-Bert, Smid, Grebs and Rourke, all looked bedazzled at times. I hope Huddy and Staios really go through the tape from this game and the newbies learn a thing or two.

    Roli! Bad luck on this night. You didn’t really want that #1 job, did you?

  52. Dennis says:

    Far be it for me to be the voice of reason here;) but these are the things that happen when you’re playing so many young guys.

    77′s one of the good ones but he’s been making those little mistakes with the puck for awhile now. He turning nothing into something with that lazy pass and the merry go round started until the lamp was lit. And then the mistakes on the second and third goals by various guys.

    I didn’t mind going with three lines and not having 34 load up 10/84 to go PVP with Crosby but Riv has a point there. That’s probably the most sensible thing to do. Seems like MacT’s idea though is because 14-16 are so low event, he’ll try and maintain that situation while they play against tough opp. Not sure if tonight’s the end of that or if he’ll say or think that Crosby can get anyone but outside of Stoll being useless offensively, I’m disappointed that 46 didn’t know Crosby was going back to the left dman on that third goal. Crosby always does that and the coaching staff must’ve pointed that out on video. That was the goal that really killed me as Stortini should’ve been able to get out and have a decent chance at blocking that shot.

    In any case, the Pens played two periods and the Oilers played one and outside of the save on Gagner in the dying seconds, what other big chances did Fleury have to stop?

    Exactly.

    With neither of the markers coming from the slumping Staal or Roberts, I find it hard to take that the Pens put up three EV goals on us.

  53. Bruce says:

    Looked to me like the Oil simply ran out of gas. Four games in six nights, including a couple of real physical affairs with the Ducks and a tooth-and-nail battle with the Kings.

    Tonight the first two periods were kind of lifeless and they came out sleepwalking in the third. Gilbert made one horrible blunder while Crosby was stewing on the bench, and the air left the balloon at that point.

    STS did an effective job on Crosby for much of the game by pinning the Pens in their own end, even if they didn’t generate too many shots off the cycle I didn’t notice Crosby generating many shots either (0 to be precise). But in the third they got caught in their own end, and all three of them were running around to some extent, particularly Stoll on the 3-2 goal, and Stortini got caught low a couple of times and the point shot wound up doing the damage. I thought 46 looked nervous tonight right from the get-go, and he wasn’t alone on this young Oiler team. Cogliano and Gagner both appeared out of their depth for much of the night. And Smid, who has been excellent these past few games, had a very tough third period, as did Roloson for that matter after a very solid 40 minutes. We needed the rested veteran to steal this one and he wasn’t quite up to the task. That tying goal through the 5-hole simply had to be stopped.

    So it goes. It’s a young team, and there’ll be setbacks. No reason to panic, though the inability to bring it on home ice remains a frustrating problem. Which brings me to my biggest concern about tonight’s game: where were the fans? There was supposedly a buzz in the building, but on the tube it sounded like a library in there. Was there any acknowledgement of Pisani? If so, it wasn’t apparent on the tube.

  54. Rod says:

    3rd game in 4 nights might have been a factor in the third, but Crosby had some jump. Seemed like Crosby was out there every other shift for a while there in the 3rd period, so it’s no wonder MacT couldn’t go back with 10 for some power vs. power. May have been my imagination though…along with TSN talking about nobody else on the ice.

    Anyway, one can only hope that’s the end of Stortini with 14-16. I’d even bounce L Column to the press box, and put Thor back with 89-13. Guess we’ll see Friday.

  55. Bruce says:

    Stortini stinks. What’s the point in having a checking line player that can’t clear the zone, and can’t play sound D? I think Stoll and Torres would be alright with a player that can add something to the line.

    … and …

    Anyway, one can only hope that’s the end of Stortini with 14-16.

    Since the STS line was put together, Oilers have gone 6-3-0. 14-16-46 have played a high quality of opponent and been pretty effective in the shutdown role, at least ’til the third tonight, when they got burned by the highest quality opponent in the league. All three of them are playing much better than they were three weeks ago. But one disappointing loss later, I guess we better find a scapegoat.

    I’ll be interested to see what MacT says and does, but I’ll bet he’s not hanging this loss on one player, nor hanging this season on one game.

  56. Rod says:

    Of course L Column isn’t the sole reason they lost. L Column is neither a scapegoat for this game, nor the reason the Oil won recently.

    Point is, Pisani is back now. Fernando wasn’t around 10 games ago. Put him back with 14-16, L Column to the PB, and Thor with 13-89.

  57. Bruce says:

    Agreed on Fernando. He should go wherever the team needs him most, and be relied upon utterly to do whatever job is asked of him. The team is way better with him back in the line-up. But they were already starting to turn it around before he got back, and I’m feeling a lot happier about the squad in general even with tonight’s speed bump.

    Several of the depth players have helped a lot more than might have been expected, and even if they wind up in the PB or on Mass. Transit they will be better for the experience and all the more ready for the next emergency. The competition for roster spots is very strong, so the guys on the bubble have to perform when they get the chance.

  58. heed says:

    Laraque didn’t play tough or physical, so he wasn’t protecting anybody. People would hit the Oilers star players when he was around, and he still never went after the other teams star players.

    if laraque was as good at hockey as he is at shameless, self promotion…he’d be the actual hockey jesus.

  59. Bank Shot says:

    Since the STS line was put together, Oilers have gone 6-3-0. 14-16-46 have played a high quality of opponent and been pretty effective in the shutdown role, at least ’til the third tonight, when they got burned by the highest quality opponent in the league. All three of them are playing much better than they were three weeks ago. But one disappointing loss later, I guess we better find a scapegoat.

    Most of those wins had as much to do with goaltending then anything else. Stortini wasn’t to blame for the loss, but he just isn’t an NHL calibre player even when he is playing well.

    Watch how many times the puck is iced because he lacks the hand-eye co-ordination to make contact with a puck rimmed around the boards, or how often he flubs the breakout pass and fails to clear it. Usually two-three times a game, and that is something that will get the Oilers burnt.

    I could live with it if I saw some kind of upside, but I don’t. I don’t see him getting much better then he is now.

  60. Rod says:

    heed: Let’s just say that I have a hard time believing your claim that you loved Georges when he was here. Your incessant snide comments about Georges indicate otherwise. The only time you bothered posting in this thread was to take a run at him. Whatever. Explain the quotes from Therrien and Sykora in this article. Yeah, it’s all self promotion all right. Give it a rest heed. The Oilers would be better with Laraque as fewer runs would be taken at their stars. Whether Laraque went after star players on other teams or not.

  61. Bruce says:

    I don’t see him getting much better then he is now.

    Hey bank shot, I think this is the first time I have found myself disagreeing with you. Given the thoughtful and informed nature of your posts in general, it gives me pause, but let me say just this much more on Stortini and then I’ll shut up for awhile. (About him, at least, not the Oilers.)

    Zack Stortini is 22 years old, in fact a young 22: born 1985 Sept. 11 — hold the 911 jokes — he was barely eligible for the 2003 Entry Draft when the Oil took him 94th overall. A guy his size (6’4, 220) available that far down the list tells you he was a diamond in the rough, or if you prefer, a work-in-progress. A long progress, and it’s still in the middling stages.

    But if there’s work to be done, I have seen nothing suggesting Zack Stortini isn’t prepared to do it. He’s conscientious, he’s smart, and he’s coachable. He is not a good skater, but better than last year, and like all big men, faster than he appears. (Well, except Todd Bertuzzi, who on those occasions where his head is actually in the game, takes bunches of tiny steps and looks like he’s going a mile a minute.)

    To be sure, he’s still adapting to the speed of the best league in the world, but in my eyes he’s made big strides :) in recent weeks that he’s been given more responsibility and ice time. The man responsible for running the bench and for developing our prospects has seen fit to give Stortini 101 shifts for 65:01 in the past six games. In those games he had a couple of assists and was clearly robbed of a goal by Devorski, so not much offence but not zero either. Which on the team scoring ledger if not the mind of Craig MacTavish, puts him ahead of MP and JFJ, two other (older) 22-year-olds who were drafted ahead of ZS in 2003. Surely we can agree he’s done more with his opportunity this season than they have.

    Watch how many times the puck is iced because he lacks the hand-eye co-ordination to make contact with a puck rimmed around the boards, or how often he flubs the breakout pass and fails to clear it.

    Well he’s no Dave Lumley, who was 100% efficient in such situations, but Stortini is always in the right position on the breakout. In the past few games I have noticed more sharp passes coming off his stick on the way out of the zone, and those times he doesn’t handle the puck cleanly he doesn’t just cough it either. After 19 GP he still has been charged with just one giveaway.

    One other little thing: Stortini is the closest thing this club has to a tough guy. He’s not the nuclear deterrent that Semenko, Brown or Laraque were, but he’s there for his teammates, and he can handle himself. The Nolan fight was discouraging, sure, but Nolan can handle himself too, and was smart enough to engage Stortini when 46 was at the end of a long shift and Nolan was fresh.
    There’s a score that remains to be settled there. Stortini also causes his own distraction to opponents (witness George Parros in both weekend blowouts of the flighty Ducks), and does so without taking stupid penalties. His only minor in the last 13 games was a coincidental roughing penalty where Anaheim was tagged with the extra minor. That’s discipline, and that’s MacT’s coaching, and maybe that’s what some people have an issue with. Maybe they’d prefer that 46 was running around like Boogaard and if he’s not gooning it up they see him as useless. That’s not what I’m seeing, but whatever.

    What I do see is a young kid who bleeds Oiler blue and is working his ass off to play in the best league in the world. He’s not quite good enough, yet, but he’s not as good yet as he’s going to be. He’s already gone further than his draft position would suggest. This Oiler fan has all day for guys like that.

  62. Dennis says:

    I can’t believe I’ve stayed so calm regaring Jarett Stoll;) Honest to god, the guy looks like he’s done. MacT’s not overly impressed with him either if you decide to take a cue from the postgame podcast. He talked about the fact a guy Sid’s size could win that battle down low on the 3-2 goal was an indictment of the Oiler player involved.

    I know that STS isn’t getting scored on a heck of a lot but can we expect that to hold given all the time being spent in their end when they’re on the ice? This isn’t like when Moreau-Marchant-Grier used to make the big lines spend time playing in their own end, this is just hanging-on-hockey.

    Fernie’s back and playing over 15 min and he looked better last night then the two games before so I think he’s ready to play on a more important line. And I’m sure that’
    ll happen in short order but there’s still way too many rookies up front and there will be even when Moreau gets back. Although, he’ll help out some kids just like 34 has been doing for 12 and last night 89.

    Still, last night, here’s what we had:

    1: 10-83 carrying along 27, in his second full season

    2: 14-16 playing with a kid in Storts

    3: 19 playing with 51 and 13, both in their first year.

    4: 34 playing the 19 role with 12 and 89.

    I mean, c’mon, even when 18 gets back, we’ll still have only 10-83-14-16-19-18-34 to build four lines around. Guys like 13 and 51 have showed flashes but 12 looks better when he’s not playing against anyone. And that’s not a slam against him, it’s just fact. Same thing goes for 89. You can’t give him talented linemates because those guys have to play PVP and he can’t hang in that situation.

    There’s the temptation, when 18 shows up again, to go 18-10-83 and 14-16-34 and keep throwing 19 to wolves in terms of the experience of his linemates and just give up trying to wring offense out of 27. You go 19-27-51 for soft min and let the three kids take on 4th lines and you stop worrying about their development. They’ll get pretty much a free pass but they won’t get to see all the best movies, either.

    Of course, that’s not even talking about the defense and how young they are.

    Finally, to bring it back to last night and 16 in particular, things would be easier if he could score a goal.

    As far as matchups go in the interm, mact fucked around with a 77/37 duo vs hard min until he was convinced otherwise and hopefully last night was the end of 14=-16-46 taking on tough opp. The first two guys need more help than 46 can provide.

  63. Dennis says:

    Reddox recalled this afternoon. No talk of Thor going back so that means for the first time this season, or at least I think so, the Oilers will have two healthy scratches at forward tomorrow night.

    Roy’s on sked to come back at the end of the weekend too, right? That will put us at 14/7/2, ie forwards-D-goalie in terms of roster.

    All this with Souray and Tarnstrom not too far away.

    Something’s got to give, even if it is just a couple of demotions, ie Rourke and Thor. Or, perhaps, given that Thor wasn’t sent out today, and seriously why would they wait to do this, maybe this means that Gagner will wind up being loaned to Team Canada.

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