Oilers at Panthers, G52/07-08

This is Pavel Bure. When he was healthy and “on his game” there were few players in history more exciting. As much as the two Stanley Cup final losses hurt Canuck fans, the day they backed up the Sateco and moved his stuff to the other coast hurt more.

He was a dynamo, a real honest-to-goodess, Yvan Cournoyer-type speed burner with a tremendous ability to lurk behind the defense, grab the puck, find another gear and score lovely goals seemingly at will.

Breathtaking.

The current Panthers have some nice things (Bouwmeester isn’t having the season he did last year but he’s quality, Nathan Horton is my nominee for this generation’s Cam Neely–I’m just waiting for the trade to the Bruins, and Jokinen is having a fine career that no one knows about) and they are more button down than they’ve been at any time since the Stanley run out of the box in the mid-90s.

For the Oilers tonight it’ll no doubt be Garon in goal unless he’s hurt or called the coach a name. The Kid Line is no doubt going to get their chances and the Horcoff line will have to win the game. Some rough edges on Gilbert Gilbert last game but he’s still the only D I can watch without having sphincter issues.

The Edmonton Oilers can win this game. They can also play a full 60 minutes. They just haven’t recently is all.

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55 Responses to "Oilers at Panthers, G52/07-08"

  1. Matt says:

    Can’t figure out the Panthers (and I’ve been trying since about 6 weeks ago when I predicted they’d blow by the rest of the SE, and have since gone nowhere).

    IIRC, they used to be pretty good at evens, and their biggest problem was a massive penalty differential that got them torched (net) on special teams. This season, their EV scoring has dropped by a ton, and it’s hard to see why given the (minor) personnel changes and the (~prime) ages of their key players.

  2. MetroGnome says:

    Florida should really be better than they are. I picked some panthers during my various fantasy drafts (Bouwmeester, Murphy, Norton and Jokinen) and Im kinda paying for it now.

    Keep your eye on David Booth tonight. He’s an under the radar kinda kid that would be getting rave reviews if he was playing in Alberta. Martin plays him against the big boys most games and he leads the team in EV+/- (10). That’s pretty bloody impressive.

  3. Mr DeBakey says:

    Plus Booth’s Goals/60 number is better than
    Horcoff’s, Prospal’s, Cole’s, St Louis’…

    On paper the kid is a Monster

  4. Lord Bob says:

    Florida should really be better than they are.

    God, that sounds familiar. The Panthers seem to have the same problems we do: inconsistent goaltending, a few too many players who aren’t there yet, and a defense that can’t make up the damage.

    I predict a good game, for certain definitions of ‘good’.

  5. Dennis says:

    Three of four years out of the playoffs. And no release in sight until most likely 2010.

    Lowe’s getting an absolute tonne of mileage out of 15 playoff wins in one season and it seems to me that it was the worst thing that could happen to us.

    To wit, it’s not like we won another Cup but because we almost did, Lowe’s allowed to fuck us for the near future – Pronger and Smyth for question marks and wishes and a bit of Souray thrown in for good measure.

    I certainly enjoyed that run but it would also be nice to have as team to root for every year rather than one every seven.

    I’m glad the break’s coming up because as much as it pisses me off, I can’t stop reading the dailies or listening to the scrums and it gets tiresome when guys won’t admit the truth.

    Today we had MacT talking about how he goes to bed happy with most of the team but still can’t figure out why we’re losing. Well, the last two losses have been mostly about netminding but there have been other factors as well. And now that all the vets and useful parts are back save Raffi, and yes the Oilers consider Greene to be among the aforementioned mix, we can see that the Oilers still aren’t good enough even with all hands on deck.

    And that’s likely to be the case next year too. And then if Horcoff isn’t feeling it for 2010, we might be looking at four years in a row.

    Of course Souray will still be here.

    All aboard the plane, folks. The Reverend Lowe will be with you shortly.

  6. Chris! says:

    Did I just hear Rod Philips say that *Matt Greene* has had a couple of scoring opportunities so far this game?

  7. Bruce says:

    Boy games don’t start much uglier than that. Brutal giveaway by Gilbert, bad seive job by Garon, nice hit by Horcoff (on Hemsky). And when we generate a couple scoring chances, both of them go to Matt Greene. Sigh.

  8. Bruce says:

    Oilers are starting to get into the game physically, Smid was last man standing in one protracted battle, then Stortini really crunched Allen in the corner and finished the check by following through and taking Allen right off his pins. Greene’s off to a solid start as well. Oilers really need that physical element from all three of those young guys.

  9. Dennis says:

    Matt Greene pinched to help Horc score the OT winner in G3 in ’06 vs SJ.

    Since then I don’t think he’s ever authored a pinch that turned out to be advantageous.

    Though I did enjoy him crashing into the net trying to find his way back.

    Here’s when you know things are bad: Both Gilbert ANG Garon conspire to fuck us.

  10. kinger says:

    Dennis said…

    “Lowe’s allowed to fuck us for the near future – Pronger and Smyth for question marks”

    I am a big fan of your commenting Dennis, you have a great eye for the game and a pretty sharp wit. However, I can’t really get on board with this Pronger AND Smyth for magic beans thing. Clearly the Pronger trade was stupid, Lowe didn’t get the kind of return one needs to get when dealing a superstar.

    As for Smyth, the return for his trade to the Islanders at the deadline last year was absolutely market value (1 solid prospect, 1 project and a first). It’s certainly fair to critique Lowe for how he handled the negotiations leading up the trade, but what’s not fair is calling him out for what he got in return. A rental is a rental, and the Islanders paid a lot for 2 and a half months of Smyth.

  11. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Some rough edges on Gilbert Gilbert last game but he’s still the only D I can watch without having sphincter issues.

    Jinxed!

  12. Andy Grabia says:

    I can’t get over how empty that stadium is. ESPN says they are averaging 14,715, but there’s no way there are that many people in that rink.

  13. PDO says:

    Not only do we get to watch a bush league team, but now we get the reffing to compliment it!

  14. Bruce says:

    Every once in a while Sam Gagner shows these flashes of sustained excellence, like last shift: a slap pass to Nilsson, good defensive positioning and awareness on the Panther breakout, a nifty steal inside the Oiler blueline, an even niftier move to control the puck in his skates, another nice move to beat a guy one on one to walk out of the zone, then a nice headman pass to Cogliano to start the counter attack. That was a hockey play about six times over.

  15. Quain says:

    I really hate East road trips.

    Every announcer for an East team thinks Stoll is a long lost Staal brother.

  16. honkey says:

    Damn those refs are destroying the game.

  17. kinger says:

    So far this game has been a McGoo’ing.

  18. Bruce says:

    I see Ben Dover is wearing the stripes again tonight. Maybe if Moreau had sticked some guy in the mouth for 14 stitches — like happened to him last game — it would’ve been no penalty.

    As for Penner’s goaltender intereference penalty, I’ve seen Markus Naslund do that exact thing TWICE in the last two seasons against the Oilers … for goals.

  19. Andy Grabia says:

    What is with these penalties? That interference call on Penner was questionable, and the unsportsmanlike penalty on Moreau was bizarre. Never seen that.

  20. Bruce says:

    Ha! Justice

  21. honkey says:

    JUSTICE!

  22. Quain says:

    What happened to Souray?

  23. Lowetide says:

    Rogers said it was an equipment problem but that was an hour ago. They’ll update soon, probably Tuesday.

  24. Bruce says:

    It’d be nice to see a eensy teensy modicum of respect from the officials towards our Captain. What a disgraceful fucking call. At least Ethan stuck it right up the best possible ass — Florida’s net. Right out of the box … gotta love it.

    He was still seething during that interview. I wouldn’t want to get in his way in the third.

  25. heed says:

    that ref is a real “dip-shick”! the world could have gone on without that pun but i needed to get it out.

    classic line from my wife during the period…at least when the puck goes into the stands you don’t have to worry about anyone getting hurt.

  26. Bruce says:

    Yeah, I have to admit it’s hard to figure how Moreau missed the whistle in that echo chamber …

  27. Dennis says:

    OK, Kinger, maybe I can change it to “Lowe makes a terrible decision on Smyth, trades him at a time when you get 50 cents on the dollar and then starts throwing Smyth money around to anyone with a stick.”

    :)

    Pretty good second frame for the Oil. Not a whole lot for Garon to do and the Oilers got ripped off on the no-goal.

    Any word on why Souray didn’t return?

    Bruce: One thing I’ve noticed 89 doing on a consistent basis is taking the puck on the wing and shielding it before making that little breakout pass. Anyway, he’s still got a long ways to go but he’s young and he has that on his side. I’m still gonna be super tough on him come ’09 if he doesn’t show big improvement though. Edm really didn’t need to let him spend this year in the bigs and let’s hope he pays this back by taking somewhat of a leap come next year.

    As for the third period, Oilers got a goal from the checkers so I’ll be optimistic for once and say we pull this out. Oilers will either get a goal from their first line at EV OR on the PP.

  28. Dennis says:

    One other thing. Kevin Quinn is certainly aging well. I can’t believe that guy’s 50.

  29. Lowetide says:

    Souray’s left shoulder again. I don’t think he’ll get 20 this year.

    2-1 FLA now as the Oilers get down early in the third. This team is not likely to win tonight but they’ve had some try.

    Too many 6′s and 7′s and too many guys who are just trying to establish themselves as NHLers.

    A good result would be a Stoll EV skill goal.

  30. heed says:

    ughh…that is all i can say. thank god for the all star break. my suffering is put on hold.

  31. honkey says:

    Not so good trip to southeast, only one win against some very bad teams. That’s a disgrace on the Oiler logo.

  32. Lowetide says:

    I don’t know guys. They seem to have more NHL players in every town on the trip.

    To my eye anyway.

  33. doritogrande says:

    @ Bruce,

    It’d be nice if our captain had any sort of respect for officials. He takes a penalty and bitches for the rest of the period.

  34. Bruce says:

    He had a pretty good case, esp. with those unpenalized stitches in his mouth. I don’t blame him for being pissed … I’m still pissed.

    These guys are fucking brutal. That penalty on Hemsky for hipchecking the guy who had just blocked his shot and then chipped it by him was unconstitutional. If you can’t hipcheck the guy who just touched the puck, what exactly can you do?

  35. doritogrande says:

    The call was interference, and it was the right call. Oilers are playing like morons tonight and don’t deserve the two points.

  36. doritogrande says:

    That’s how you make something out of nothing.

    Unlikely hero tonight.

  37. honkey says:

    Wow that some comeback and orchestrated by that invisable Stoll.

  38. doritogrande says:

    Maybe the concussion came back and he thought he was Messier.

  39. Bruce says:

    Due respect, watch the end zone replay, DG. Allen blocked the puck, tipped it by Hemsky and Ales stood him up. The puck had literally just come off his stick when Hemsky hit him.

    Whatever, after an entire gameful of shitty breaks Oilers finally caught a good one.

  40. heed says:

    …and they real you back in…

  41. gary b says:

    it’s likely false hope, but at least there’s… hope. :P

    finally, a “Stollian’ effort by #16. that’s the guy who was ripping it up at the beginning of last season.

  42. Scarlett says:

    Stanley Cup contenders!! Okay, I’m on a victory high. I’ll come down to reality in an hour.

  43. Bruce says:

    So I think we start the parade on Mark Messier Trail and end it on Wayne Gretzky Drive. We just gotta come up with a name for the connecting road, formerly Yellowhead: Mathieu Garon Way?

    Seriously, how often does a team pull its goalie down 2 and make it all the way back? (Even for the tie, let alone the win) Once a year, league wide? It’s damn rare, I can tell you that, I don’t remember the Oilers EVER doing it. Dennis?

  44. uni says:

    Wow…just…wow.

    2 goals by Stoll in less than 30 ticks, and the last to tie the game up in the last minute to boot.

    Then a Scorcoff goal to seal the OT win.

    I sure know how to pick the games to miss.

  45. Lord Bob says:

    Was our Run to the Playoffs in 2006 not started off by that game where Chris Pronger tied it against Phoenix with something like one one-jillionth of a second left and the Oilers went on to win?

    Just saying, games like this do funny things to a team.

    (note: I’m not actually holding out any hope. I’m just… making an observation. Yeah.)

    (note the second: I predicted 1-5, the Oilers went 2-4. DAMN YOU, OILERS!)

  46. Bruce says:

    The Oilers went 2-2-1 in the southeast. Their opponents went 3-1-1 but who cares, those extra points don’t hurt us. What does hurt is that Calgary took 10 out of 10 points on the same trip.

    Still, with losses to L.A., Washington, Carolina and Tampa — all below the playoff cutline — in the last ten days, it had to stop somehow, and I’m prepared to accept an act of the hockey gods in our favour. Just like that Phoenix game that LB mentioned, with the missed offside on the shoot-in and the insta-goal off the face-off. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, but with two disallowed goals tonight maybe they deserved a break. Playing with a little desperation doesn’t go amiss either; the Oil were really bringing it in the last five minutes.

  47. heed says:

    i was on the phone with 2:30 minutes to go bitching to my buddy (i figured we were done)…

    “stoll is an ass…trade him at the deadline…i’m sick of his crap”

    stoll scores on the power play

    “thanks for the meaningless goal stoll but i still want you gone”

    stoll scores again

    as soon as i give up faith they real me back in…if i had hair this team would have caused it to go grey

  48. Ribs says:

    Ha! The Oilers I know and love still exist!
    Shame on those who didn’t at least hope for them to tie it up. That’s Oilers hockey!

    …Now if only they could do that more often like they used to…

    I was worried about this game from the drop of the puck. First, Rob Shick is reffing. That pretty much guarantees at least 4 nonsense penalty calls per period. Then, it looked as if 50 people had shown up to the game and 20 of them were wearing Oilers jerseys. It could have been a very, very, long night.

    It still ended up being one of those throwaway games that you can never really be satisfied with but at least they ended it with some gusto.

    What were they saying about Mikhnov in the intermission there?

  49. Dennis says:

    Bruce: the last time I remember the Oilers coming back from two goals down with this little left in a frame was G3 in ’01 vs Dal. Now I’m not sure if they scored both goals with the goalie out but I believe Rem Murray tipped the 2-2 goal and the goal was empty for sure on that one. The first one’s a bit fuzzy; I can remember Belfour coming out to play the puck and BG rumbling in on the right wing and I’m not sure if he banked it or it was an assist.

    Of course that’s also the game wher e Igor went down on a rush and missed the net and the puck rimmed around the other side with Weight left as the de-factor left dman.

    And we know how that worked out.

    As for tonight:

    - Anyone think they’d still be shooting if Garon was in net last Thurs at Wsh?:) They’ve might’ve had to blow the dust of Dennis Maruk in order to best him. It’s sick the amount of confidence I have in him in the SO. I was shaken a little early given how easy Staal beat him last Friday with the PS and given how Campbell bested him on the SH breakaway but by the time Jokinen bore down on him, I didn’t even worry.

    - Awhile ago someone posted how Gilbert was making mistakes but they weren’t winding up in his net. Well, those reported bills are coming due so let’s see how long he blips. On the other hand, Smid had a damn fine game tonight and I even watched to see if he was forgetting his side and I’m happy to say he wasn’t. I’m sure that the Oilers PP will be even more potent once he realizes his enoromous offensive potential, but perhaps he’ll never even get a shot because Lowe will make that move for a vet, but I’m glad to see the guy now actively looking to hit people beyond the times when the whistle blows.

    - Time to stop talking shit about the PP. That unit’s for real. They’re not afraid to fuck around and rag it for a bit looking for the pretty goal but DB says it’s been going hot for the last 20 odd games or so and considering that fellow calls everything down the middle besides Lowe’s moves:), I’ll take his word for it.

    - Two games in a row where the Oilers were ripped off and I didn’t get super pissed like I normally do because it’s not gonna make any playoff difference anyway. 18 took a wicked swat to the mouth the other night and no call and tonight the Oilers lost a goal by 25 and then the review crowd didn’t spend nearly enough time looking at the Pisani marker. Sportnet’s crew had an angle to the left of Vokun that clearly showed white between the puck and the line. I thought it would be a goal for sure.

    - Nice to see 18-34 doing some nice stuff and we finally saw the 18-16-34 line put together. It didn’t result in a goal but it’s a line we can trust to play some tough min going forward. 16′s also had some chem with 34 in the past so it might give him a better feeling.

    - Thanks for the third goal, Vokun.

  50. Dennis says:

    Bruce: this is the best I can do so far.

    http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=2001%20NHL%20Stanley%20Cup%20Playoffs

    It tells you that in the game I was talking about, Smyth and Murray scored in the final 63 seconds to force overtime. So, I was right on Murray and I guess when I was talking about BG going in the corner, he must’ve fed it to Smyth.

    PS: I’ve still got it;)

  51. Bruce says:

    On the other hand, Smid had a damn fine game tonight

    Good call, Dennis. Smid: 21:30, 3 hits, 3 blocks, 0 GV, 0 penalties, 0 GA

    Now get a load of this:

    Greene: 16:01, 3 shots, 2 hits, 2 blocks, +1, 0 GV, 0 penalties, 0 GA. He did get burned on that one play where he took the net off on the backcheck, but it was a solid effort from both Matt and Ladi tonight; the closest thing to a negative on either game log was a lone missed shot by Smid. 77 and 25, OTOH, looked a long way from an $8 MM defence pair, although in Pitkanen’s defence he played 33:55. The break may be coming at a good time.

  52. Bruce says:

    PS: I’ve still got it;)

    I knew I could count on you Dennis. I must’ve put that game out of my mind because we lost in OT, at a time of year where they don’t give out “thanks for coming” points (like the one Florida got for blowing tonight’s game). God damn that Benoit Hogue anyway.

    Still, I’ve watched a ton of hockey in my life and I bet I could count on my fingers, maybe even those of one hand, all the times I’ve seen a 2-goal comeback with the goalie pulled. It’s a rare feat.

  53. Dennis says:

    Yeah, I don’t even remember a lot of times when the Oilers scored ONE goal with the tender pulled.

    I haven’t missed a whole lot of games since the ’97 season and I’ve had CI since the last 20 games of the ’00 so I remember a lot of the last 10 seasons. The number of times the Oilers have scored ONCE with the empty net isn’t a heckva lot. That being said, I wouldn’t say many teams do that well in that situation though I was watching a game the other night and I believe NJ has done it a few times this year.

    I know when Smid’s having a good game because I don’t notice him. He has no shot to speak of and isn’t a great passer so if Smid’s not getting his name called, it means he’s settled in and is doing the job in a quiet manner. He’s big and he’s a good skater so he has the potential to be something as long as he can learn.

    As for Greene, I taped this game for some odd reason so I’ll try and rewatch it over the weekend and see if I can pinpoint the basis of his effectiveness. I do remember one play where he flattned a guy behind the net in the second period. That’s always gonna be his calling card.

  54. rider guy says:

    dennis,

    funny thing about that comeback against dallas. i was sitting in the corner where belfour gave the puck away and when the puck was dumped in the corner, laraque went flying after it. just as belfour was about to play it he screamed loud enough that everyone could hear him. scared the crap out of belfour who i think thought he was going to get crunched by bg. gave the puck away to make it 2-1.

  55. Dennis says:

    That’s a cool story, RD.

    I was pretty amped just watching it from the couch; I can only imagine what it must’ve been like to have been there.

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