Sunday, December 12, 2010

Postgame: The Sisters and Stifling D

The above represents the German representation of 'F*&^ing had 12 shotsallgame'. Twelve shots! The break down was 4 - 7 - 1 in order of the periods, and if it wasn't for Eberle's (nice) curl and snipe with 4.5 seconds left, we would have tied for the teams record low (11). As an Oilers fan I recognize that Vancouver has a team with responsible centers that win faceoffs, a fat, snowman of a goalie, and a solid, intelligent game plan, but that is no excuse for one shot in the third period when your team is desperate for two goals.

There wasn't a lot of good to report in this game, and for whatever reason the team seems to be encountering exactly the same game flow regardless of who they are playing. This involves the some or all of the following:

  • Getting outshot badly in the first period (12/29 we have been outshot by at least 2:1)
  • Allowing the first goal (19/29, see above)
  • Going 0-for on the PP (14/29)
  • Allowing at least one goal on the PK (19/29)
  • Becoming emotionally involved by the mid way point (maybe try the start of the game?)
  • Outscoring the opponent in the third period (13/29, yay us)
The third period goal scoring is nice but the rest of those are symptoms of a team that has serious puck possession, game plan, and special teams problems.

Some thoughts on individual performances after the hop.

Taylor Hall - It seems to be hard to write a game recap without mentioning Hall these days. He was the Oilers best forward, in my opinion, and finished with 25% of the teams shots. He fought the puck a bit tonight, but he was tenacious. He was really pushing on people, trying to use force of will to make space and let everyone know he is there. His ability to be a physically dominant force is only going to improve as he starts putting on the He-Man beef.

Linus Omark - Five on five was basically a non-factor (played 11:26), but this isn't as much his fault as it is a fault with the other team stifling us with their forecheck. Who knows what Omark could do with the puck in the offensive zone or even off the rush, as our defenders were too busy turning the pucks over (~10 in the first period). His poise on the PP is remarkable (played 2:51), as you saw two sequences when he had the puck on his stick with superglue and ballsweat, and if he had some mobile dmen (see: not Kurtis Foster) he was primed for a backdoor or cross-seam pass.

Andrew Cogliano - Oh Andrew, who took your offensive spunk? He was -2, with 16:55 of useless play hinted at by his zero shots on goal. There was one play I remember with some clarity as he absolutely stormed into the Canucks zone and the left side dman (Rome maybe?) was doing his best impression of a William Hung dance move. Cogliano had at least a full step on the Dman that he could have used to power inside, but it was clear there would be at least some backside contact. What Cogliano did was skate directly into the deep corner and drop the puck back for an ineffective (Penner?) shot. Will someone tell me what happened to the Cogliano that used to try cutting to the center of the ice at least ONCE a game? I'm not sure he's done it more than once this season. He just doesn't challenge anyone anymore. He doesn't give defenders the opportunity to mess up, or trip, or screen their goalie, or deflect his medium velocity wrist shot. I mean here's a guy who basically has Taylor Hall wheels, why not try emulating him a little bit?

Jim Vandermeer - Ankle injury early in the first period, there was no update as of about 10PM Sunday night. He's been playing well recently, at least on the defensive side, so pushing the icetime up for guys like Kurtis 'I make 2 unforced errors per game' Foster was not going to improve our chances. There is talk of Shawn Belle coming up if its anything.

Kurtis Foster - Only -1 with 19:52 in ice time, but the more I've watched him play the more I'm actually understanding Macguire's comments about Foster being overpaid: he's a huge defensive liability and oftentimes play dies on his stick. His behind the net numbers last year showed that he was a PP force (ridiculous 5.45 P/60 on the PP in '09-'10) - but at the very least he was doing OK against low tier opponents. I apologize for doubting you before, Macguire, but you are still damn creepy. Thankfully an overpay when you are talking under 2M doesn't really mean much in the grand scheme of things. I just now wish it wasn't two years.

J.F. Jacques - I don't know if anyone saw it while it was up but used to point to a basic web page that had black text on a white background. It simply said: "dear dr boll -- please stop making movies". anybody? (Like Uwe Boll's movie career, everything in Jacques play in Sunday's game registered zeros except for hits and amount of uselessness - the first was nothing to write home about, and the second was off the charts). You know what I like about Jacques? His last name rhymes with slang for the male reproductive organ.

The Rest - Mostly played like bums :)

Devan Dubnyk - I definitely saved the best for last. 30 saves on 32 shots (.938) and he made a number of in tight stops after the look-at-their-weird-bobble-head-skull sisters put on their usual clinic (full disclosure: I don't actually have anything against the Sedin's, they are awesome hockey players - but comon they ARE ugly). I noticed the Canucks were trying a lot of bang bang plays with low shots, but Dubnyk was rock-solid in getting his tree-trunks down quick and gobbling up rebounds.

In Conclusion

In my books Dubnyk was the only player aside from Hall who had a real positive game, and if it weren't for his consistent, top-notch goaltending the score would he been more indicative of how badly the oilers got outworked (32-12 on the shotclock).

Onward to weaker teams!


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