Friday, January 7, 2011

Edmonton Oilers Postgame 39: Doldrums

I think coach Renney has the toughest time getting his message across after a game like this. He's driving into their heads that they need results, but efforts like this versus the scum at the bottom of the NHL pond are not satisfactory for anyone really. The fans were treated to half of a period of inspired offence and some great PKing, but long stretches of garbage whirling across the ice surface. Coaches got the two points but in a fashion that doesn't inspire confidence against better competition. Players are basically satisfied but that's mostly a by-product of being winless in 7.

Not to say there were no positives in this victory. Dustin Penner looked fairly engaged for most of the game (1-1-2 +2 16:11), and once again shows the kind of game-breaker he can be when the mystical, unknowable stirrups are dug into his side. The PK continued its strong play (7 for 7, SHG), in fact gutting out the effort right when it would have been easy to give it away. Dubnyk continued his strong play (.968 30-31), and is starting to fulfill some of his first round promise for real.

Of course some of the areas that both the statistical wizards and casual fans would like to see improved continue to struggle mightily. Mainly sustained offence, effort, and intensity. The Islanders are a team that came into the building being outshot by ~50% over the last 10 games (they were 7-1-1 in their last 9), and in fact offer up one of the worst shot ratios in the league (-3.8). They are 27th overall in shots per game (28.0) and 22nd overall in shots against per game (31.8). While the Oilers are the worst (25.6/33.8 for -8.2), you'd expect at least a decent output for a team winless in 7, at home, versus one of the leagues worst defensive teams with a rookie goalie, and a 5th string backup. In the end, we got outshot 31 to 22. If you can't outshoot the Islanders with a deck stacked like that, there are issues with something in the offensive gearshaft.

As far as why we won, it was a combination of:
  • Strong play by Devan Dubnyk
  • A good opening period
  • A surprisingly competent PK (bonus points to Dubnyk)
  • The utter lack of offensive depth on the Islanders team (28th overall Goals/Game)
Some thoughts on individuals after the hop.

Jeff Petry - I can't be the only guy who is consistently seeing Petry making Doughty-esque moves at the blueline. He is making wingers look downright foolish when they attempt to check him on the point. I know some people might be screaming at me to slow my Hyperbole, but I'm telling you, that heads up slickness on the point is pure Doughty. He still has cracks playing a lockdown NHL defensive game but aside from the few JBo's and Doughty's, the defensive game takes a while to mature into something sustainable and mature. He played 20 minutes, with one shot, but I'm starting to believe that the whole 'best in the NCAA' talk might have been more than just smoke-up-ass-blown. In the nick of time, too, as it looks like Vandermeer might be right back on the granite slab.

Ales Hemsky - Looked pretty good with Hallsy and Gagger for stretches, and aside from a few boneheaded passes seems to be finding his legs. I'd say he's at 80% right now but as long as he keeps on progressing he'll be over 9000 in no time. I still want him to shoot more; he starts shooting more and maybe those (sometimes forced) seam passes will have the few extra inches of clearance they need.

Devan Dubnyk - Probably the best player for the Oilers tonight. He was rock solid in pretty much all situations. There was a singular hairy situation when it looked like he was making a bounce-pass to the back of the net that Tavares almost cashed on, but otherwise he was just solid as can be. Quiet in the net, doesn't over commit. Every once and a while they get the ice-level camera on him, and wow does he ever look huge.

Dustin Penner - Was a bit quieter in the second and third, but D-train was on time today, and his goal was vintage D-Train. A big body wheeling down the left side who uses his excellent hands to flick a shot by the NYI rookie goalie. I think we will be riding the D-train for at least a few more stops here, so sit back and relax.

Andrew Cogliano - Had a good game by his standards. Two apples in ~17 minutes is fine and dandy and he at least made a couple of OK O-zone plays. I'm still ready to move him; D-train seems to make anyone look good. I have accepted he will be moved (even with no real evidence), and a couple solid games from him does not change that impression. I still wish him all the best though, as I think he's genuinely a good guy.

Theo Peckham - The ol' wrecking ball had the type of solid consistent game that is quickly making everyone forget of Matt Greene (or his chinese-whispers replacement Whitney). He played a staggering 27+ minutes, 8+ on the PK. He was plus one and while he'll never be a Whitney long-bomber on the backend, he still makes a decent first pass out of the zone. His stature is beginning to grow, and Debrusk was even mentioning that he's gaining a reputation around the league for being a real Rooster Cogburn (see: Tough Customer) to play against. If you were not a fan before, I'm guessing you are starting to smell what the Peck is cooking.

Ladislav Smid - With Foster benched Smid was forced into almost 22 minutes of ice time. It was not a resounding success. He had three penalties (at least one was a shit, ticky-tac call), and was minus 1. He's just so maddeningly inconsistent. Half the time he looks like a more mobile Peckham, and half the time he looks like Gilbert without the offence. He's smooth and rough, talented and clueless, sometimes on the same shift. He's still fairly young but he just can't seem to lock down the top 4 spot that is a wet throbbing vaginae for him right now. No one will stop Smid at this point except Smid himself. With Whitney out, I think we will finally see if he can be a 3/4 guy. Early returns are not promising.


Omark, Reddox, and Maggie get no write up as they were essentially non-factors both ways. I'd love to see more from that line, as it represents half of the HOPE we have for the team. PRV I'm not so worried about, as he's barely out of diapers and still doesn't quite see the game in the right light yet (nor would I expect him to). Omark, however, is right in the wheelhouse of when offensive players start delivering big seasons. I want to see better touches in the O-zone from him, but I'm still willing to wait to see what happens if he gets paired with a center who has some higher end offensive ability.

Dubnyk continues to impress, and it's really too bad Khabi's on a 35+ contract. Remind me why he signed him for 4 years on a 35+ contract again? Who does that?


Post a Comment