When good things happen for your hockey team it is always a good day, doubly so when it is unexpected. Last night’s 4-0 win over Calgary was truly splendid, an absolute gift for Oilers fans and management. There’ll be a strut in everyone’s step this morning and some genuine carousing tonight. Such is the power of the copper and blue in our town.
Last nights performance was not without negatives, but there were far more positives. Dennis has his usual outstanding work here. I’d suggest you bookmark MC’s site for those updates alone, but expect everyone who comes here also drives by Tyler’s place.
A few observations:
- Hemsky: Missed him a ton. What a wonderful hockey player. Had a goal and an assist (although the Penner goal didn’t count).
- Penner: Some comments in the GDT thread below suggested he had an off night. To my eye (and backed up by Dennis) the big man had a fine game. He didn’t play his usual minutes, but I doubt this is a trend.
- Eberle: Sublime player. He really does have a “Steve Shutt” ability to be around the action in the offensive zone. We shouldn’t expect 82 goals a season, but lordy that was an exceptional debut.
- Brule: Won some faceoffs and scored the winning goal. I was impressed with him, especially considering his role on the team could easily be reduced if he can’t repeat last season’s performance. Jason Gregor has him injured late in the game, that could be a story today.
- Pääjärvi: He made some mistakes, but overall I think he had a fine debut. His positioning was curious (all over the ice) but he seemed to be “in the range” in terms of positioning (if the position was center) so maybe its coaching or maybe he was the first player back (not a stretch by any means, the guy is a rocket).
- Hall: I liked him a lot. Very fast and aggressive, I thought he looked more like the kid who played against the contenders in the pre-season than the tentative guy we saw against Calgary a week ago. A solid debut.
- Whitney: A fine game, even setting aside the points. Solid positioning and played with some grit, plus he moves the puck well.
- Peckham: The best I’ve seen him. Blocked shots, played tough, fought once and didn’t make any glaring mistakes I can recall. If he can play this well most nights, Peckham will have a career.
- Khabibulin: Stopped a lot of rubber, but as Dennis shows the Oilers outchanced the Flames by a solid margin. Having said that, he made some big saves and looked calm back there. I don’t know what Glencross was doing, but we’ll find out if NK’s back can stand the strain if he has many nights like last one.
This certainly feels better than openiing night last season. We need to remember that its a long season and that talents (even really good ones) don’t develop in a straight line. That aside, holy crap that was fun.