Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Postgame: Why we hate Phaneuf

Exhibit A, the sexy Elisha Cuthbert on the right here, who is shacking up with Dion Phaneuf (and gives me an easy way to slip eye candy into the postgame write-up). I think in some general sense we always find opposing villains easy to dislike due to their gorgeous women, their preposterous salaries, and their global fame. Sometimes though, the opposing villain makes it easy, like when Phaneuf decided to beak the Oilers bench after scoring the opening goal. His Cro-Magnon jaw wagged beneath his Cro-Magnon dome that was probably struggling with output that went something like: 'Me score good, you stupid!'.

Dion, I don't mean to tell you your business, but when you have two goals in your last 39 games, and your first in like 30 of those, I'm not sure that's the correct time for a 'so there suckas'. The Oilers absolutely creamed the Leafs in the first period after that, with Hall having a fistful of scoring chances all to his'self. I'd tell Phaneuf to make a mental note but I'm pretty sure that would break his brain.

Anyways, as far as the game goes it was a repeat of all of the same highs and lows that have plagued the Oilers this season. Based on the previous games checklist we managed to tick off three of the important boxes: crap power play, crap penalty kill, and allowed the first goal. At this point I think the Oilers should be putting out calls to Voodoo doctors of the deep jungle and get them to cast some spells because getting Foster to slam another point shot into a defenders shin-pad does not seem to be the ticket.

Ultimately the special teams problems were our downfall even after a powerhouse first period that could have seen the Oilers up by 4.

Thoughts on individuals and a conclusion after the jump.

Taylor "F-----g" Hall - Either the kid has methamphetamines in his Wheaties or he can play hockey. He's just an engine of offensive gusto, constantly slapping at defenders sticks and using his dynamic skating to get in, around, and under opposing defenders. He was -1 with 8 shots and had a half dozen scoring chances by my eyes. I don't know you can see a forward do much more in 17:31 of ice time and not record a point. He may not be the most efficient finisher at this point in his career, but these were no Todd "Hands of Stone" Marchant breakaways. Oh yea, and that blanked word IS his new nickname.

Nikolai Khabibulin - I'd say he stopped the pucks he was supposed to, and even the third one (which Strudwick managed to kick in) was off a deflection in front. He was 30 of 34 (.882) and was neither the goat nor the star.

Jordan "Harry Potter" Eberle - Ebs had a dynamic game, like usual. 3 shots, -1, and a goal in about 16 and change in ice time. He's craftier then Santa's elves and has a good 4 inches on them too. He has 3 goals in his last 6 and it seems like Eberle is right back on track for his Calder capable season. One particularly impressive play happened when two Leaf defenceman tried to Panini grill him in the D-zone, only to clobber each other and Eberle almost thanked them on a swooping wrap job (which Hall almost cleaned up).

Magnus Paajarvi - 1 shot in ~13.5 minutes. I'm having a hard time deciding who is a better skater between him and Hall, but as of right now his instincts are not as honed (and probably never will be). He's always going to be able to get separation from defenders, what will define is career is what he does with the extra space. Still, he's not a player that is a cause for concern as he's responsible defensively and works hard.

Sam Gagner - Made a nifty feed to Eberle for the goal, and was a decent offensive presence for most of the game. He was trying things with his above average stick handling and looked like an excellent second line center playing on a first line. I'm still on the fence whether or not we will see Gagner move up a weight class before his career is over. One thing for sure is that most players peak at age 25 and it is doubtful we've seen the most productive version of Gagner.

Linus Omark - I contemplated even mentioning him. There was not much from this forward tonight, and the PP was so awful I can't figure out who sucked the most on it. His linemates should have allowed him space (Penner) and passing destinations (Cogliano), but to my eyes the line was not tremendously effective. They had four shots as a line, and were usually facing second or third pairing leafs D (I think). I want to believe Linus! Make me believe!

The D Core - Actually didn't force Khabibulin into too many bad positions 5 on 5. They were not, however, effective in moving the puck out of the zone, especially in the second period (outshot 13-3). I will mention that I still love the way Peckham finishes dudes with his clobberin' time strength and rides the razor edge of unpenalized belligerence as well as any player I've seen in a while. If he keeps on popping these bubble wrap forwards I may need to pick up a #49 jersey.

The Goons - Dear goons, since you can't really play hockey, please don't take penalties. And Orr should have went with Smac (Stortini has replaced his ability to engage in fisticuffs with the ability to grow really bushy hobo-styled facial hair).

The Octane Cheer Team - We may have lost the hockey game, Toronto, but you don't have skimpily dressed teenagers and 20 somethings strutting around in skirts like we do. Hockey... Is all about the small victories (I smell a beer commercial catch phrase). If I have one complaint about their performance tonight, I would have to say we needed more booty shorts in the second period.

In Conclusion

The Oilers played a spirited first period, but all of the gas went out of their ass when it was time for the special teams to do the job. A timely kill or PP goal would have likely gave the game a completely different complexion, but alas it was not meant to be. Miss Cleo, save our special teams!


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