Saturday, February 5, 2011

Edmonton Oilers Postgame 52: F**k

Yo, I've got a book on my head -- and the Oilers suck
As an Oilers fan, most of us have steeled ourselves from such a humiliating collapse by virtue of any loss brings us closer to a moment when our favorite big-boned scout walks up to a microphone and makes another can't-miss-selection in the 2012 draft (with our first overall pick, we select Adam Larsson). Even then, bullshit like the end of tonight's game will still sting any fan. We managed to blow a lead with something like 6 minutes left in the third, and then promptly cough up the winner to Huselius, a guy for which I basically have zero respect as a complete hockey player. To add insult to injury, our Heavy Lifter Squad, Horcoff, Hemsky, and DTrain, were the primary culprits on the CBJ go-ahead goal. You just can't give up a clean two on one with 4 minutes left in a tie game. I think even the local wino road hockey league would have more sense then that.

I'm an Oilers fan who has been tempered in the glorious white-hot fires of ineptitude that only 5 losing seasons could produce. But even my stamina for suck is starting to wane. How many more losses can a fan absorb? What depths of utter insanity are we willing to plumb with our eyes until we are quoting Macbeth lines while painting the walls in arterial blood-spray? I will have to admit I eyed my cheese grater when the Oilers shagged the dog on the 2 minute 5v3. Maybe you could try shooting the puck a little, eh? Pretty sure that's how the little black cake gets your scoring point in the hockey goal.

People that think last place overall is a forgone conclusion, well normally I'd say 'you crazy, Jimmy McCrackins', but the Oilers seem to have embraced the suck. At this point if it takes someone getting bottom raped by Strudwick in between periods to generate a win, the Oilers should look into it. I mean, the Oilers are going to lose a bunch more games this year, right? But we need SOMETHING to go right. Some brightness so we don't roll into next season and have a bunch of kids that look like they've been through the ass-end of Hockey-Vietnam. NYI and NJD have given us a little breathing room to actually win some games, and as a fan it would be nice to just see one blow-the-oppositions-frilly-panties-off game. When was the last time we saw the Oilers generate one of those? November?

The game itself was alright. The action was decent, and Khabibulin was sharp in the opening to allow the Oilers normally dormant offence to get in gear and pump a few past Steve "Jim Carey" Mason. After that it was the predictable Oilers shit-show we've all come to know and love: get bent over on special teams, and make 'lets-drill-holes-in-our-forehead' dumb mental errors that lead to scoring chances that every team from Albuquerque to Zimbabwe could cash on. I like the fact that Renney has finally started using 4 forwards on the PP (see my prediction this was going down here, 4th paragraph). I would love to see some statistical analysis that showed that power plays with four forwards scored more, but even if there is no proof just the fact that we are getting a different look might pay dividends when the Oilers score their next power-play goal in 2013. I'm not sure I loved Omark on the point since he brings no threat of shooting. I think it might be interesting to run Hallsie up high similar to TBay's monster PP has Stamkos on the left side of an umbrella formation.

PRV continued his solid play of late, cashing two gimmes from seeing eye passes by the Linus "Bulldog" Omark, and in some strange trickery of the eye he seemingly has grown two inches on the ice. I'm certain he was listed at 6'1 in the draft but now every place I check has him listed at 6'3. He's still young enough to experience a little growth, but I really feel like he's had a spurt here. Is it possible that subconsciously my mind could interpret the subtle differences of a couple pixels on a TV and determine a growth spurt has taken place? Maybe he's just playing bigger these days.

I can say one thing without a doubt. This will be Tambellini's last losing season. Yea, I think you get my drift.

Linus Omark - He made two Sedin-like passes to his countryman P-Vag - and he did it with more bulldog then either of the frog twins could ever pull off. This guy is really starting to produce 5 star offensive chances consistently. He's like a rubber ball out there, absorbing shots from Golem defenders while maintaining puck control. He weaves the puck around like its a shinny Sunday and then makes these passes that I'm pretty sure no one else in the entire building envisioned. That's the good part of Linus. It seems to be consistent that we get the bad part every game too. Linus, of course, was the forward who got walked by a stinky dangle by Umberger that he sniped on to tie it up. The CBC broadcast picked up Renney giving the little lockjaw a pep talk, but in reality if Omark doesn't go puck-hunting on that play, I was feeling the vibe from the cosmos: we were due for a win. I think he was net positive today, but it always seems like a gamble whether or not his offensive brilliance will lead to outscoring on any given night. I guess we should all be willing to give him the chance to fail defensively for a while to see if he can tighten that up and give bing-bang to pants of Oilers fans around the nation. It might also be nice if some of his offensive vision was finding open players on the PP as well. He had 5 minutes on the PP, and it went doughnuts again.

Magnus Paajarvi - I don't know what it is about this kid, but I just love watching him play. He has such a beastly stride and once his frame fills out, he's going to be a mother-fucking monster. I'm not kidding, he just looks like a cross between Hossa and Zetterberg give or take a bit of shooting and stickhandling skill. Talk all you want about the ease of cashing his two goals, it still takes the right kind of player to be in those spots. I think we are witnessing some true chemistry forming between the two young Swedes as I can find no other logical explanation for those two passes other then black magic. They just didn't look like passes that could be made, yet there PRV was, puck flat on his blade and Mason stumbling around like a 1880's whore in the last throes of syphilis death.

Horcoff, Hemsky, Penner - No. Just no.

Andrew Cogliano - He's the linchpin for the 2b line to have some success. Ever since that move to the middle I have been worried that we might see Hall's production stall a little bit, as he definitely does not strike me as a guy who can drive consistent 5v5 offence. In all fairness, I don't think the coaching staff is really looking at him for that any more either, which is what makes his move to center a bit puzzling. Perhaps rotate Hall into the spot again, or better yet, get a number one center in the draft so Cogliano can ripple out of a scoring role and into a hard minutes, chip in once and a while role. For those counting, he had zero shots in about 17.5 and was -1. Not exactly a banner night, and it rubbed off on Ebs and Hallsie.

Nikolai Khabibulin - The tying and winning goals are those short-side blocker jobs that always seem like they should stoppable but goalies seem to give them up all the time. It was a carbon copy of last years WJC OT winner by the states by Carlson. Weekes, a guy who I have no respect for his color (commentary you racists), declared the shots unstoppable, and it would be one of the few things I believe he would be qualified to gauge, along with how to operate a refrigerator. You know what they say, 12 inches, blocker side is basically unstoppable - but I digress: would another goalie have made a difference in tonight's outcome? Maybe. Khabibulin was OK, but you can get OK goaltending from 15 goaltenders that the Oilers could have signed. Stopped 30-34, for .882.

Jason Strudwick - Without looking at a lick of advanced statistics I truly think he is probably the worst defender in the league off the rush. I wouldn't say the same for fixed position defending in our zone, since he does have a big body and reach, but off the rush every time the camera catches up the puck we see Strudwick stumbling after a guy with barely league average speed who by contrast looks like Pavel fucking Bure off the rush when the Strudwickian one is defending. Yea, he's great for the room, so like anything past its due date, kill it, Taxiderm it and mount it in the Oilers dressing room. Problem solved.

Jeff Petry - Had reduced minutes tonight at around 15, but looked OK. I think he's losing a bit of his luster simply because the Oilers cannot for the life of them generate any positive momentum. Oh, that and he's being paired with the absolute dregs of the Oilers defence core. I saw him out wirh Strudwick a bunch, and I gotta tell you, I don't like this plan from Renney. Give him big minutes, and run him out with Gilbert. He's shown that at least in a small sample size he can play to that level, so lets find out what we got here. Meanwhile we are boosting his learning curve (and if you are one of those 'you will ruin his flower panties confidence' - these are men with competitive fires that would melt your skin, they can take a little adversity without crying to mommy).


A game we lost on special teams. A game we lost on special teams. A game we lost on special teams. OK that oughtta cover me for say... The next three games.

P.S. Dear Mr. Weekes. Columbus is the 13th team by average age in the league. If CBJ qualifies as a young team, then so does the Vancouver Canucks.

P.P.S I really, really hate your color commentary.


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