Friday, November 14, 2014

Edmonton Oilers Postgame 17: Scrivens Chokes, Hoffman Gloats

Alternative titles were: Deja Vu, Scrivens Plays like Poo
Game 16 Away Game 8

Game 17 Home Game 9

Let's get this out the way right off the hop: Scrivens was not the sole reason the Oilers lost the game. He was a crucial piece of the uneven OT loss, but the second and third goals were clearly not his fault. That said, no matter which level of hockey you play, when an early goal goes in that has the lingering odour of Mexican marmalade, the team sags. They sagged all the way back into a faintly-remembered fever-dream where they were down 3-0 by the end of the first period (a ghostly voice whispers Nashville, Nashville).

There were positives of course, as there often are when a team fights back from two goals down in the third to force overtime. Once again the Oilers decided to activate McDavid Dodging Afterburners after they placed themselves in a dark, dank hole. Similar to the Nashville game, the Oilers got absolutely German-leather-mistress dominated in the first, but slowly added Fire, Gumption, Truculence, Effort, and other hockey intangibles capitalized to the ice-tilting scale. After being roundly out-possessed in the first (Corsi 13-19), they took over the game for the second and third periods (Corsi 41-26). Whatever strange voodoo magic the Oilers shamans are practicing is transforming the team during the first intermission into the resemblance of a strong, capable NHL squad. Someone needs to make sure the witch doctors are arriving before game time.

To prevent Oilers fans from drilling holes in their foreheads and symbolically pouring hot oil in said hole, I've decided to focus on another positive topic: the Oilers resiliency. Coach Eakins has talked at length about how he felt the team as a whole had a positive, and resilient mentality regardless of the game situation. Notwithstanding obvious Sun newspaper statements like "we don't want to make a habit of it", it still speaks to a team that has the confidence to assemble the humpty dumpty first period and fashion it into a point or two.

Report card after the hop...

The young man had an excellent outing, and was rewarded with overall smart, strong play with a post-clanger to tie the game deep in the third. He started 12.5% of his shifts in the O zone, and had 20+ strong minutes, including over 3 on the PK. There's no question in my mind that he's been the best Oilers defenceman over the last stretch of games, and any thoughts of moving him while Nikitin remains on the team conjure up thoughts of projectile vomiting on the Pope.


I don't know if it's a bad thing for a guy like Fayne to be mostly unnoticeable in a game; it's probably why he earns the Swiss cheese he does. That said, the coach felt that 15 minutes was the right amount of ice time, and I'm not sure if that's an indictment of his partner or Fayne. He was the only player on the Oilers who finished with a plus and started something like 8% of his shifts in the O zone, so it's a solid effort for a homemaking defenceman.


Like most games where the Oilers are buried early, Joensuu is stuffed into a sock drawer only to be brought out when the scoreline equals out. Hard to rate a guy with 5:33 of ice (that's enforcer like minutes).


Yak didn't play great or ghastly; you'd want him to end up with more than 2 shots in 17:57 (+3 mins on the PP). He's showing plenty of improvement in all aspects of his game, but he needs to find a way to start scoring goal-scorers goals. Those are typically goals where many NHL players in the same location and/or circumstance could not score a goal. He's not doing that yet.


He gets a minus for a brutal back-check that lead to the third Senators goal, but otherwise had 6 shots and a goal. His line as a whole had tremendous possession numbers (the line as a whole averaged about 14 shots for vs. 6 shots against), and probably were the best line in the game for either team.


Ho-hum mostly invisible night.


His play has dipped significantly in the last couple, and it's no wonder when his ice time is over 25 minutes. I don't know what Eakins is seeing that the majority of the fan base isn't: he doesn't thrive under a big minutes, all-situations role. He had a team worst -2, received copious O zone starts (85.7%), and in general didn't look sharp or capable. On the plus side, the Oilers outshot the opposition heavily while he was on (18-11), so I gave him a plus beside his failing grade.


Got tough zone starts with Petry, and was actually OK. In free wheeling games with a lack of Ogres on the opposition team, he can look like a decently mobile, decent puck moving small stature defenceman.


My expectations are low, and he's been marginally exceeding them. He had two knuckle-dusters with whatever trash the Ottawa Shitbirds put on the ice, and I liked his big hit on Neil to draw a penalty. Otherwise it seems like Aulie is playing totally within himself. As long as he doesn't start thinking he's the second coming of Coffey, that might be ok for the near future (I heard Schlemko just went on waivers, he's not a terrible defenceman for your last slot).


For the second time in a row - again likely due to the score after the first - the Hounds were not terribly effective. I'm not sure if there is something in the fact that Joensuu is being replaced with guys like Patty-cakes Purcell, or if they are simply sagging a bit after all the heavy lifting. Whatever it is, they are still being made to climb out of their own zone canyon every shift, and they just couldn't quite get their footing to properly push the puck in this one.


Two shots, over 19 minutes of ice, and had at least one lights-out chance to put an rabbit in the rabbit hole uncontested. He whiffed, and his game was solid enough but entirely unspectacular.


See Hendricks above. They are sort of joined at the hip on most nights. Either they are both going, or their not, like some kind of hard minutes Siamese-twin combination.


Sure he the great German generated a goal, but the coach also saw fit to play him a measly 9:29. That is less than most 4th liners. I'm happy it will give him a tiny boost of confidence, but he was 33% in the dot and mostly a Gespenst in this one.


I love Perron's game, really I do. He manages the puck well, has dangles, and is a gosh darned fuck shit up every shift type of player. He sawed off his counting numbers, had an apple along with 6 shots, and continues to be part of the emotional pulse of the Oilers. Anyone have a cloning machine handy?


See Joensuu, Jesse.


Along with the Nuge Ascending, had a strong, beefy, brawny game like we've seen from him recently. He was all over the ice and had an apple to go with almost 20 minutes of all purpose (PP, EV, PK) ice. Another check in the column for "can play consistently better-than-OK hockey".


A victory for NiKitten, as he managed to not be a toxic tailing pond on fire in this one. He made at least one golden defensive play in the game to block that tall Coward kid on the Sens, otherwise was totally and completely what we expect: mediocrity multiplied.


The obvious Oilers player of the game, and in general had an excellent outing. Two assists, 4 shots, and 59% in the dot illustrate his continued rise towards the godlike all destroying hockey superstar. Well maybe not quite that dramatic, but like I've stated in the past, it's not so much that he's making better passes or shooting the puck better, it's his wheels. His adorable little booties are rocket-boosted right now, and it's allowing his already-excellent-out-of-junior hockey sense and silky mittens to do a bit more damage.


D was for the dump that Hoffman took all over Scrivens chest. Er, maybe it's D for defeat. Anyways, he let in a softy first and last goal of the game, and again both of our goaltenders continue to shove future starts into their competitors lap (you have to imagine Fasth is starting next one). Scrivens is going to have get his grade up if the Oilers are going to have any shot of passing the final exam.


The Oilers have to fix the malfunction at the junctions that's allowed them to be bound, tied, and gagged in the first period of the last two games. They need to make a concerted mental effort to be assholes and axe-murderers in the first and see where it goes from there.


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