Friday, March 11, 2011

Edmonton Oilers Postgame 69: Referees Smoking Doobz

One of the advantages of being outside the orbit of mainstream media is the clear ability to cuss and speak ones mind without fear of being censored or reprimanded. Coaches and newspaper writers do not have this luxury, so allow me to be their voice on this night: the reffing was fucking bullshit.

If someone can explain the Brule call or the Jones roughing call, I'd love to hear some plausible explanations that don't involve brain parasites from the planet Xorcon7 having some fun with sports select. The travesty on the broken stick slash where the Oilers clearly had possession was also bush league, as was the Ericsson push near the end of the game that was clearly interference. The hockey gods clearly wish to punish us and make us turn from the team.

The shenanigans by Devorski and Pochmara overshadowed a nearly perfect night for Dubnyk ruined by another night(mare) for Cogliano when O' Glowing One Above decided to smack another 50 foot-pounds of ugly into his already ridiculous lips. He keeps up this pace of mouth-damage and he will have enough space to store acorns in there during our long, ugly winters. But back to the Big Easy: he was once again carved from granite and I just can't help but think he can be a top flight goalie when he doesn't have Ladislav Smid as his number 2 defenceman (respect to my Czechoslovakian boy who don't take no shit around his goalies crease). Teams seem to have this idea if they get a little tricky around his feet that he's going to start leaking down below like a derelict pirate ship. It was also comical to see Holmstrom attempt to screen Dubnyk. The Ol' Giraffe neck could completely ignore Homstrom and simply focus on the puck, considering he had about a half foot over the screen. Normally I hate the behind-the-net TSN cam on powerplays, but it gave the comedic view of Holmstrom's ineffective screen, and thus some small sliver of joy to an Oilers fan in hockey purgatory.

Jones was a force on the night, and even though his goal was a basket of weak sauce, he was full marks for just careening around the ice and getting involved. I'm having a hard time figuring out why his relative Corsi is so junk, as it doesn't seem like he's such a huge culprit for shots against. I suspect it's the fact that with the team depth getting even worse after Gagner's suicide attempt, he simply does not have any outshooters to play with (not that he ever did though). I'm hoping his underlying numbers start improving so I can reconcile what my eyes are telling me with what my brain is analyzing in his micro-stats. His shooting percentage also remains freakishly high. Don't forget, though, guys with a Glencross-like skill set seem to shoot the puck with high percentage for whatever reason (both guys are career ~13% shooters).

Paajarvi and Brule also had good games, especially Brule, who is all of a sudden looking more like the player that signed the two-year extension. Even when he's not flashing his heavy shot, he's got a good amount of gumption to bring to the table, and while I'm certainly not sold on any long term results from the pint-size puncher, he's playing well right now and will probably have a prominent role as the Oilers take that slow, painful journey into the long goodnight. Paajarvi reminds me so much of Hossa and Modano when he moves. Modano was on the ice and seeing those two skating together I truly think that Paajarvi is on his level in terms of raw skating ability. If you want a pie-in-the-sky comparable, Modano would be a good place to start. PRV had 5 shots in 18:44 of ice time and his last two games he's had the most NHL ice time of his young career. I'm hoping we keep on seeing the baby steps forward every night now, and perhaps soon his instincts will start carrying him into the center of the ice a bit more often.

According to a Tencer tweet Renney had the following to say after the game:
"Damn proud of our hockey club tonight."
Pretty spot on, as usual, Renney. He might not line match enough for my liking, but he certainly says the right things at the right times.

Ryan Jones - If we get him for utility-player-money, I figure it will be cash well spent. It's a little known fact that Red Wing fourth lines have been Corsi black holes for years now, so even if he continues to be a guy getting slaughtered on the shot clock, perhaps the fact that he's a high percentage finisher when playing minority minutes can help the team outscore and thus make him a useful Oiler. To my eyes, like I've said many times, he seems to be looking better and playing better. Both like a true NHLer and a useful one at that. He could be a mainstay 4th line guy with spot duty on the third in a pinch (sort of like Glencross is a solid third liner who can do spot duty in the top 6). 1 goal on 4 shots and still rocking a shampoo commercial under the dome.

Devan Dubnyk - Deserved a better fate tonight. The SO seemed to be inevitable and if it weren't for Cogliano's fecal-fuck-storm luck, he'd have none at all - ha ha. But seriously, Doobie was money and if he keeps playing like this he can be the Listerine that washes the taste of booze out of our mouths. Teams are learning that he's not only a beast down-low, but he's unscreenable, and more or less unflappable. He's got a smorgasbord of goaltender attributes that any team should love along with that-which-cannot-be-taught: the ability to eat leaves high up in trees. Finished 42-44 for .955.

Gilbert Brule - I have to say, when the kid is on his game, he's a true-blue third liner with offensive potential. His list of skills reads something like: heavy shot, surprising hitter, good tenacity, and when you add him all up, he can be more than the sum of his (small sized) parts. Consistency has been elusive for the kid, but if he can ever figure that out he might actually score more goals than Raffi Torres the Mexinator. I'm rooting for him anyways, as from a pure fantasy perspective he's a Hobbit with some magic-ring power; alas that ring's power is to sometimes make him invisible.

Tom Gilbert - Played a big-mac portion 28+ minutes and was solid. I love the irrational hate some of the fanbase has towards him. He's no number one guy, but when he can fill in top pairing duty, and not look like a bag of hooker-rags, I figure he's a solid second pairing guy. Sure he makes mistakes, but like we've all seen he can truly be a number 1 guy for stretches when paired with the right guy. He always seems to enter valleys when his play drops, but the same shit was happening for Whitney pre-Oilers and the entire fanbase seems ready to anoint him top-pairing duty without so much as a question mark.

Magnus Paajarvi - I think I have developed a healthy man-crush on PRV, but it's more of a simmering romance; it's not like I've got that special bottle of wine and restocked the condom drawer yet. I tell you what though, there will be late night trips to the Macs store if he can start popping in a few more pucks if you follow my obscure sexually-charged analogy. Paajarvi right now is a brand new set of tools in a shiny toolbox, except it's missing a hammer. If he can start carrying the puck to the goal-scoring horseshoe and improve the power and accuracy of his shot, he might be able to duplicate some Hossa numbers in his prime. Sure that's aiming high, but why not? No one wants to fantasize about the next Radek Dvorak. Had 5 shots and played a solid, free-wheeling game.

Alex Giroux - This guy seems to be making a habit of botching XXX, 5-star, AAA chances every game. For a guy will Jason Allison footspeed he better be scoring, and it's not like he's not getting some great chances every game. He saw 3 minutes of PP this game, and I suspect that even if he stays up the rest of this season, we simply wont see enough to warrant keeping him in any fashion. Realistically I'd guess he'd need about 5 more goals to have a glimmer of hope at securing future work. Eight goals and he'd probably be a lock. More pipe dreams anyone?


I really did agree with Renney on this one: the Oilers played a strong game considering their lineup and the opponent, and they really did deserve better refereeing and a better fate. Sometimes it is hard to watch the Oilers go through the motions, but even if the action was somewhat lacking the Oilers still played with a lot of guts and gusto. At this point I have steeled myself to all of the remaining losing to be done (there should be quite a bit), but as long as they don't put on frilly undergarments on their way to the draft podium I might be able to stomach a bit more '10-'11 season.


Post a Comment