Avalanche at Oilers, G1/08-09

This is Doug Favell. 30 years ago his career was just ending. He’d come up in a system that boasted two HOFers (Bernie Parent, Gerry Cheevers) and good goalies like Eddie Johnston. Favell was drafted by the Flyers (along with Parent) and although he had a journeyman career he was rarely out of NHL work 1967-79.

This uniform is awful. It might be the worst in the NHL’s post-1967 history if not for the New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks.

Tonight, the Edmonton Oilers begin their 30th season in the National Hockey League. Long forgotten is the fact that they were not a quality organization for most of their WHA time and that pure, dumb luck had much to do with their headstart on the other new teams in 1979-80.

My fondest memories of the Edmonton Oilers are the first Stanley win, the 1990 win and the run in 2006. You might wonder why the other Stanley’s don’t rank as “favorites” but it was a blur after the first one, the last one was post-Gretzky and like manna from heaven, and that 2006 team was a beauty and I cannot express how much fun it was to follow them everyday. If anyone ever questioned the power of a sports franchise over a town, they did not walk the streets of Edmonton spring 2006. It was magic.

This edition of the Edmonton Oilers has racing shoes and lovely stripes down the uniform, but alas they have feet of clay. They will not win the Stanley Cup, they will endure disappointment and despite my feeling they’ll make the playoffs there are too many holes to dream of a run ala 2006.

Which is exactly how I felt fall 2005.

Just saying.

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262 Responses to "Avalanche at Oilers, G1/08-09"

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  1. Baroque says:

    Pretty good game for Penner. :)

  2. doritogrande says:

    Blogger’s so confused Penner scored twice that it’s shutting me out.

    Quite the twist to start this season.

  3. uni says:

    Wow…just…wow, Penner.

  4. Showerhead says:

    Cheers to lucky wins!!!

  5. mc79hockey says:

    Did that even hit Penner? Jesus, Colorado is just going to be screaming for a goalie. I guess they come back with Raycroft against Calgary. Ouch.

    I know MacT is a proponent of the “don’t critique wins” school but my goodness, they’re going to need some work.

  6. Coach pb9617 says:

    Incidentally, for LT, the Avs are like the 05/06 Oilers – veteran lineup with depth everywhere except dying for league average goaltending.

    They’re going to outplay a lot of teams this year and still be tied after two periods. Or lose.

    Someone is prescient.

  7. doritogrande says:

    Let the beer flow. For now, we’re better than Calgary.

  8. Coach pb9617 says:

    Extremely telling that the Oilers get two offensive zone faceoffs to end the game and it’s the kids and Pensani out there to end it.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Well, I don’t think you can plan on winning this way but what the hell we’ve been screwed purple a time or two.

  10. Loxy says:

    Maybe the Avalanche want a Roloson?

    Alana’s gonna kill me.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Can’t quibble with the three stars much, but I’d put Penner ahead of Garon.

    Garon had a bunch of luck.

    And by the way, I’ve been waiting to say this all game, but I haven’t (because I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little stitious) – has anyone seen Tyler Arnason?

  12. RiversQ says:

    Coach pb9617 said…
    Perhaps San Fernando should find a new faceoff tutor :)

    Hey fuck you coach, it’s one fucking game you fucking motherfucker.

    ;)

    See, it’s crazy.

  13. Coach pb9617 says:

    Pretty good game for Penner. :)

    Best player on the ice for the Oilers, that’s for sure. Cogs was probably second and I think maybe Strudwick was third.

  14. doritogrande says:

    Memo to Chad Moreau: juggling now mandatory at camp Mendalbaum.

  15. honkey says:

    What a sick ending, and now Penner is on pace for 164 goals while playing on the third line.

    Too bad we used up about 99% of the total luck this team have for this victory. I really hope it was worth it in the long run.

  16. Jonathan says:

    Dustin Penner: he wears funny masks, and he juggles.

    Clearly a clown.

  17. HBomb says:

    Dustin Penner on pace for a 164 goal season.

    Eat your heart out Alex Ovechkin.

  18. Lowetide says:

    I think everything will settle down when they insert Smid.

  19. Coach pb9617 says:

    Hey fuck you coach, it’s one fucking game you fucking motherfucker.

    ;)

    AHA! You admit I was right!

  20. Showerhead says:

    Toskala would be a nice pickup for any team but who does TOR have to take his spot? That Pogge kid good to go yet? lol.

  21. Coach pb9617 says:

    I think everything will settle down when they insert Smid.

    I say this with a straight face:

    If he was paired with Lubes, Smid would not have been as bad as Souray tonight.

  22. RiversQ says:

    I think it was Matt over at BofA that broke down the FO importance last year. It was a lot of handwaving and assumptions, but it made some sense – you don’t have to win a ton of faceoffs to be effective although it doesn’t hurt. I think 18-34-27 did a fine job in that regard tonight – they win so many puck battles and keep the puck at the other end that it matters.

    Oh yeah, still no takers on Horcoff’s health status? He’s a apretty good FO% guy for his recent career and he didn’t look it tonight.

  23. Quain says:

    I find it interesting that Smid gets booted to the pressbox when, frankly, ‘inept spaz’ describes half the defense.

    I hope they just round robin the pressbox duties through all seven guys.

  24. Coach pb9617 says:

    you don’t have to win a ton of faceoffs to be effective although it doesn’t hurt. I think 18-34-27 did a fine job in that regard tonight -

    And I think that’s a bad thing in the long run because that means that 18 stays there for at least awhile.

  25. Lowetide says:

    RQ: It’s something to track moving forward, but iirc he did pretty well in pre-season and we don’t really have much else to go on. We’ll have to see.

    As an aside, big win for Marc P in the FO dot to the right of Garon late in the game.

    Nice.

  26. James Mirtle says:

    It’s gonna take me a while to read all 230 comments…

  27. Baroque says:

    Pogge MIGHT be ready by the trade deadline, making Toskala available and increasing the chances of getting a higher draft pick to continue the rebuild, but I doubt Toronto would be willing to trade him much before then.

  28. Lowetide says:

    Mirtle: A summary.

    1. We’re GREAT!!!!
    2. We SUCK.
    3. ARGGHH
    4. Staios, you numbnuts!!!!
    5. Penner!!!!

    Beer me.

  29. kinger says:

    Lowetide said…

    I think everything will settle down when they insert Smid.

    Now THAT made the laugh out loud.

    Well played LT.

  30. mc79hockey says:

    I wouldn’t want to lock into Toskala at that kind of scratch if I could dig loose someone comparable who isn’t signed for an additional year. LaBarbera is available in the summer of 2009 people!

  31. Jonathan says:

    Oh yeah, still no takers on Horcoff’s health status? He’s a apretty good FO% guy for his recent career and he didn’t look it tonight.

    I thought he looked good outside of the circle tonight; and IIRC he had one real howitzer of a shot, so I’m thinking the shoulder is OK.

    Pogge MIGHT be ready by the trade deadline, making Toskala available and increasing the chances of getting a higher draft pick to continue the rebuild, but I doubt Toronto would be willing to trade him much before then.

    No worries – if Toronto really is going for Hedman, they could just take Raycroft back as part of the trade package ;)

  32. doritogrande says:

    LT:

    That last one made my day. If I had another cold one, it’d be on the way.

  33. Jonathan says:

    LaBarbera is available in the summer of 2009 people!

    Keep saying it, Tyler. Least respected goaltender in the NHL.

  34. James Mirtle says:

    LaBarbera was great last night and tonight so far against San Jose. He’s facing 40 shots a night behind a defence that’s led in minutes by Matt Greene.

    Seriously.

  35. Baroque says:

    Mirtle: A summary.

    1. We’re GREAT!!!!
    2. We SUCK.
    3. ARGGHH
    4. Staios, you numbnuts!!!!
    5. Penner!!!!

    Beer me.

    You forgot “This team is going to kill me.”

  36. Muller says:

    It can only get better. a ugly win is a win.

  37. Lowetide says:

    Pouliot received 4 shifts after the 10:00 mark of the third. Not bad, not bad.

  38. Asiaoil says:

    So we end the night winning 14 of 50 faceoffs…..wow……never saw that coming. Why Lowe/Tambo refuse to deal with these obvious problems is totally beyond me – but it’s the same story every year. Oh well – take the win and move on – but if this does not improve fast it will be a long first 30 games.

  39. doritogrande says:

    Lubo and Souray were both over 24 minutes on the night. Lubo had a decent game, definitely the best I’ve seen from him. Souray was also a lot more low-event than I was expecting him to be. Staios was all kinds of bad on the night though.

    Interestingly enough, #2 forward in terms of ice-time was Gagner, not Hemsky.

  40. Loxy says:

    Faceoffs are an issue and yet we got rid of Reasoner?

    :)

  41. NBOilerFan says:

    Well its official…. game 1 is over and so is my visits to HF boards… I can (and will) only imagine the craziness that has begun over there after this game.

    Not an earned win, but so what… we have been on the other side our damn fair amount.

    No real worries yet from me… looks mostly like a team that has a few new guys in the fold, a handful of sofomore’s and a team that hasn’t played a game in a week.

    If we look this bad after 6-8 games, I’ll start worrying.

  42. trader says:

    LOxy said: Faceoffs are an issue and yet we got rid of Reasoner?

    MacT couldn’t figure out how to get Joe (Marty) enough PP time with our new additions…

  43. Quain says:

    “Interestingly enough, #2 forward in terms of ice-time was Gagner, not Hemsky.”

    Hemsky had one of his patented invisible games, sans the nice pass to setup Scorcoff on the powerplay, so it’s not terribly interesting.

  44. Coach pb9617 says:

    Interestingly enough, #2 forward in terms of ice-time was Gagner, not Hemsky.

    The kid line was effective, the Horcolesky line was not.

    Did anyone else notice that after about the third turnover forced by the kid’s forecheck, the Avs defense were tentative to outlet against the kids?

  45. Showerhead says:

    Oh hey, no one else concerned with Garon? Am I forgetting something and he always looked that out of position while stopping ~30 shots?

  46. Quain says:

    Goaltenders generally look out of position when their defense and forwards lay eggs all over the slot. On the list of the things to worry about with this team I’d put Garon somewhere near Schremp’s ice time and MacT’s hair colour.

  47. Dennis says:

    By the looks of it you had 34-10 going against Sakic-Stastny and then our kids got the gravy and the 4th line was in and out.

    I think 10 missed a skate late this past week with what was called “typical bumps and bruises” but it’s like I told Cam last night, if Horc comes out and starts getting ass-kicked in the circle, I’m going to start wondering about his shoulder.

    And, with Sakic-Stastny going a combined 29/41 from the dot, you can see where a lot of the problems began.

    I can’t remember the last time the 10-83 combo looked that ineffective and the D by-and-large was troublesome. The Avs are a damn good team from the defense out but you won’t get off with playing Souray that much at EV and unless the 37-77 combo show their better halves then we’re in trouble.

    As for 71, he looked no more steady or with the program than did Pitkanen last year. Of course Joni played tough min and had a good GAON/60 so that’s something to remember.

    I like most of our players but I think we need to tweak the lines and we need more defense from our defense.

  48. Ender says:

    @showerhead

    It’s not just you. I’m grateful for the win, but I really think Budaj played better than Garon.

  49. doritogrande says:

    Theo Peckham, offensive dynamo?

    http://stats.theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1004800

    Now on pace for 82 goals this AHL season.

  50. Dennis says:

    SH: Yes, Garon was sliding way too far out of his crease and it made some second saves harder than they should’ve been.

    But he made some first saves when he was IN position to the point where you can sorta forgive him.

    The biggest issue is playing tight enough D that you aren’t allowing so many of those doorstep visits.

  51. HBomb says:

    I’ll say it right now….I do not like the defense pairings as is. Grebeshkov with Gilbert doesn’t work for me, nor does this Souray/Visnovsky business.

    Gilbert/Visnovsky
    Souray/Staios
    Strudwick/Grebeshkov/Smid

    That’s what I’d go with.

  52. Jonathan says:

    It’s not just you. I’m grateful for the win, but I really think Budaj played better than Garon.

    I thought Garon looked akward all night, but that’s just ridiculous.

    That five hole goal from behind the net, for example?

  53. Schitzo says:

    I don’t think tonight is indicative of how Garon will really look – the Avs and Kings have always, always killed us setting up shop behind the net and throwing it into the slot.

    I’m waiting until we see a team that takes normal shots from normal places on the ice to start stressing.

  54. Ender says:

    I thought Garon looked akward all night, but that’s just ridiculous.

    That five hole goal from behind the net, for example?

    Maybe it was just the camera angle but it looked like it took an odd hop either in front of the net or hit a D-man. I could be wrong though. Aside from that though, he seemed more square to the shooter and seemed to not let rebounds out.

    Aside from that one goal, which, like I said, could just be the angle I saw it from, I think he played better and was more composed than Garon.

  55. raventalon40 says:

    Eventually, I’d like to see a line of Penner-Horcoff-Cole, which brings some size, some speed, some goal-scoring ability and the ability to dominate a cycle.

    The first line would consist of Nilsson-Gagner-Hemsky.

    That Nilsson-Gagner-Hemsky line wouldn’t make much sense. Not that Cogliano is a sniper, but he’s cosidered more of a shooter than Hemsky: since on this line Hemsky would be the main sniper, you have to wonder about their ability to convert chances into goals. Hemsky is built to be a playmaker. Unless Gagner evolves into a goal scoring machine, this aint gonna happen.

  56. dstaples says:

    Tyler — you’re right that last year some guys who deserved them didn’t get them, for various reasons.

    So this year, anyone who screws up gets an error.

    Which is why the goal in question, the Sakic goal, saw Visnovsky, Souray, Brodziak and Stortini all get errors.

    Pouliot was out there, too, but he did nothing wrong, so far as I could see, so no error for him, though he did get a minus in the regular plus/minus state and one GAON.

  57. Bank Shot says:

    Just got back from the game:

    The crowd was really rocking to start off with, but the excitement soon died, and things were starting to get ugly by the third. Lots of groans.

    Hemsky outside of his assist was downright terrible. Between trying to take the puck 1 on 5 and forcing passes he must have had nearly ten giveaways.

    Visnovsky couldn’t make a breakout pass to save his life. Most couldn’t infact, and for a team that is supposedly stacked with skill they sure had alot of problems making plays with the puck.

    Perhaps this team practices at half speed? Because they were very slow to make decisions with the puck, which led to all kinds of turnovers. They looked unprepared, unfocused, and afraid.

    From the stands Garon looked like Atlas carrying the Oilers on his back. Made every single first stop, and battled like a titan on the second and third chances.

    The kid line had one good shift and not much outside of that.

    Brodziak has had better games. Pouliot was decent. Strudwick was good for his role, and flattened a coule of guys.

    Penner was the standout amongst skaters.

    Not a whole lot to be excited about, as the Oilers were a trainwreck. At least there is alot of room for improvement.

  58. Doogie2K says:

    Pisani-Moreau-Penner
    =====
    Dees line.

    Dees line ees goin to have berry berry bad speriences.

    Heh, whoops.

    But it’s fantastically expensive ($25 a month) and the screen is cluttered with a bunch of bologna that you can’t get rid of.

    You get two free months if you buy NHL 2K9. Just saying.

    I have no idea how this guy gets lumped in with Comrie and Pronger in terms of booing.

    I assume some people blame him for his own trade, which is only partially correct; it takes two to cock up a negotiation.

    Let’s bring up the “dynasty player” to “current player” part of the opening video again. Who liked it and who didn’t?

    Put me in the like category. I wonder if they actually did splice that together or just have Rod read over the clip? Anyway, the idea is to connect the generations of the Oilers, and in that, they succeeded. Any other implications and insinuations are in the eye of the beholder.

    As an aside, different season, same bogus player management by the benchboys. What’s the over/under on too many men penalties this year? I’ll take the over of any number.

    How much of that is the bench, and how much of that is players being slow to get the hell off the ice? That penalty seemed like the latter (and to be honest, kind of weak, the guy had one foot off the ice at the bench when the puck was touched).

    Anyone notice a lot of ripped jerseys this year? This reebok company makes a quality product

    Yup. Jarmoe’s got shredded last night in a fairly routine scrap with Willie Mitchell, got tangled up and kept him from doing much until he popped the guy at the end. Then tonight, Staios with the tear, and I’m wondering how the hell you don’t quality control for that sort of thing.

    The one thing that worries me is that Garon looks awful. He’s not square to shooters, he’s moving too far across the crease as the puck gets moved around, and he’s overcommitting to each shot. It’s chaotic and he’s doing everything but letting the puck come to him. This is the kind of thing that has me worried because a tender can cost you a whole lot more when he’s getting his shit together than a player in another position can.

    I agree. Garon had more saves and the win, but I don’t think he was that great in net. He was scrambling a lot, especially on the first goal, when he and three other Oilers somehow all missed the puck and three onrushing Avs. (As an aside, fuck, did you all forget how to play hockey over the summer? I could’ve stopped that shit, and I can barely stand on two skates.) I’m also surprised at how poor Garon’s been on penalty shot-class chances this year, continued from the preseason: I wonder if he’s read his own press and started thinking too hard about it? (Also, Quain, sorry, but I’m not buying what you’re selling. There’s a difference between overcompensating and overcommitting.) As for Budaj, Horc beat him backdoor, but the other two were deflections, one off a defender’s skate, the other off Penner’s stick. It’s exceedingly difficult to anticipate and react to those sorts of things, especially that close to the net.

    Which makes me livid that we traded away years of Pitkanen for a year of Cole.

    Years of Pitkanen refusing to play for us for a year of Cole? That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

    Is it wrong that I don’t feel bad for guys who hurt themselves taking runs at Hemsky?

    Not in the slightest.

  59. Coach pb9617 says:

    Pisani-Moreau-Penner
    =====
    Dees line.

    Dees line ees goin to have berry berry bad speriences.

    Heh, whoops.

    Yeah, no shit. Terrible call. Though I still think that Pensani deserves a center to make them go.

    Never hurts to have an outscore line there.

    Penner needs his giant ass parked in front on the power play too.

  60. Quain says:

    Joni played tough min and had a good GAON/60 so that’s something to remember.

    Joni had the second worst GAON/60 of regular Oiler defensemen and played fourth hardest minutes of the regular defense (third if you don’t include Souray, which is reasonable). He had a high GFON/60 that made the GAON/60 acceptable (net 0.00). Basically, he was the definition of high event and he got away with it pretty well.

    Don’t get me wrong, after last night I think I’d rather have Pitkanen than Cole (or Lubo), but he wasn’t exactly Chris Pronger just yet.

  61. doritogrande says:

    “How much of that is the bench, and how much of that is players being slow to get the hell off the ice? That penalty seemed like the latter (and to be honest, kind of weak, the guy had one foot off the ice at the bench when the puck was touched).”

    I could have been drunk, but I saw six players on the ice at the time of the penalty, with Gagner still in the box. That seems like more of a brain-cramp by the coaches than it is on the players.

  62. Doogie2K says:

    I could have been drunk, but I saw six players on the ice at the time of the penalty, with Gagner still in the box. That seems like more of a brain-cramp by the coaches than it is on the players.

    They were on the PK, too, weren’t they? I was visiting family last night, so that must’ve escaped me at the time.

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