LMHF Game Report #21




Apologies to my dedicated readers (especially Mowzie) for the lateness of this but a friend of mine was providing conversation and a tab at the bar in the bowels of Rexall and I'm not going to reject free sugar cane based beverages on a non-working night.

I'm so very glad we won tonight. Fall for #1 pick notwithstanding, I couldn't have put up with these moronic Edmonton Leafs fans that some of you shameful season ticket holders let into the building if they'd managed to win. We had the worst of the worst I'd say; the "SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT" "GO Leafs" every 30 seconds, chew-chomping, Oilers-booing (you don't boo home teams in their own barn, it's pathetic), anthem interrupting (Leafs fans are the only ones who interrupt the anthem to yell) losers who got exactly what they deserved tonight as they were beaten by us after playing a pathetic game.

I didn't realize how bad Vesa Toskala has become via television. Having now seen him live, and realized that we could've probably scored 8 or 9 times if he'd had even a little more of an off night despite us not really putting forth a great offensive effort was really amazing. He waved at just about every puck then awkwardly scrambled to get something in front of it. This team with Hemsky, Comrie, a non-injured Horcoff and Khabibulin would've won 12-0 against this sad sack bunch.

I was downright angry that the defence let down Deslauriers and didn't get him his SO. He won this game for us tonight and played spectacular. He had control of the puck and the game until the Leafs were allowed to take 4 successive shots from in close and even then it took a bad bounce to beat him. I was even more pissed that it was Kessel who got the goal because I truly hate that arrogant puke. His style of play is hilarious to me. In the west he wouldn't last half a season before someone broke him in half. If any of our physical defencemen were half-motivated (looking at you Sheldon) it woulda happened tonight.

A great big thank you to Jacques who put that arrogant joker Komisarek in his place and made him bleed. Where this guy gets off thinking he's some tough SOB I really don't know. It's hard to believe that a career could go down the toilet as fast as this guy's has.

The moron behind me kept going on and on and on about Kaberle. I see that he's good, but Visnovsky puts him to shame. He's not in the same class as a guy like Lubomir.

I feel a little bad for Ian White being stuck on this team. I remember watching him in the WJC's years ago and thinking he might amount to something. He seems to have made it there and is doomed to play for this team during his time to shine. The fact that he directed one of our goals in past his useless goaltender just added to that sadness. I also enjoy the way Lee Stempniak plays the game. He's wasting away in TO. I'd like to pick him up next year and let him do some secondary scoring. He could be our Rene Bourque.

This game was probably one of the worst I've seen Shawn Horcoff play in a while. I don't like his style at the best of times but tonight his giveaways were just plain ugly. Like passing the puck to no one ugly. Not impressive to say the least. I'd guess he's disinterested.

But then again, so is Sheldon Souray. I've never seen him flip a puck lazily up the boards as many times as in this game. He wasn't committed to skating with it at all. There was no will to work for anything on his part. I can understand the frustration, but have some pride man...

Our top line was disappointing for me tonight. There can be no doubt that Penner is down at least two notches from where he was not that long ago. Whether he'll elevate his game for a while or just play out the string I don't know. He had at least 2 chances (one he generated beating a man himself and another one-timer off the rush) that he would've scored on recently, but he didn't really come too close.

Nilsson made a couple nice passes including one to Gilbert that Tom whiffed on, and also made an excellent play to the slot in the third where he took a really nice slapper (he needs to write that play down and do it once a game, he'll score 20+), but other than that was pretty invisible. I'm still on the "trade him while he has value" train.

Gagner had his moments including some solid skating and passing on the PP, but again I just don't think he's all there right now.

Did Ethan Moreau even show up other than to take a few useless shots and dump the puck in some? Not that I noticed.

Again, props to Jacques for his contribution. I didn't understand the star selection as from my recollection he did a whole lot of nothing with the puck and didn't really hit that much. Did I miss something?

Cogliano can't seem to do anything right. I remember one quick burst into the T.O. zone and that's round about it.

If we were a good team, say with Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky running out there racking up pluses and a line like T. Hunter-Arnott-Brule riding shotgun, I could really get behind this whole O'Sullivan-Stone-Potulny thing. They are indeed the epitomy of what I would use as a third line in that they are capable of really solid 2-way efforts, have 2 excellent skaters, have someone who can hit, and all of them can score if given the chance. I don't think we'll ever get to see anything like that but a guy can hope.

O'Sullivan got a couple really great breaks but I think you have to give him credit for taking advantage. He could have created additional offence if linemates cashed in on the passes he made so I wouldn't say his offence was limited. We might've scored on his bank shot anyway. He lept into the play nicely on his breakaway after being in a good position to pounce. What I was impressed by was that he FINALLY used something from his substantial repertoire of moves to make a goalie look stupid. Granted it was Toskala but still...why doesn't he play with that confidence, that which he had in the preseason, more often? I don't know.

Much as I like Stone's game, this was one of his weaker ones because he kept passing the puck either to no one or to the opposition. Not a great thing for a guy whose benefit is that he brings a simple game more than anything else. He needs to be better.

Potulny wasn't as noticable as I would've liked. I remember perhaps one good shot directed at the net and he needs to be more effective than that. I don't remember any particular lapses from him though.

I noticed Stortini more than usual tonight. I'm not sure that he actually accomplished alot though I do remember a very solid offensive chance that he didn't wind up coverting. Oh well I suppose. I like his game when I notice him 3-5 times offensively and he pisses someone off. I think he did okay on that tonight. Moreau now that I recollect got in the face of Colton Orr who is wearing a tinted visor for some reason...what's with that?

Isn't it funny how much Jeff Finger sucks? And how much he's getting paid? I swear that one never gets old.

I think we could use Grabovski even though I'm pretty sure he's crazy. He plays like a crazy person. Maybe we could turn him into Andrei Kovalenko...a type this team is sorely missing.

Smid made a couple great defensive plays tonight including one that hurt him in the third...I believe it was on Kessel. He isn't skating with the puck as much I noticed though and that makes me wonder if his motivation is starting to wane.

I did notice though that in the third when the team was trying to get Deslauriers the shutout by strangely collapsing and giving T.O. a bunch of chances they hadn't earned, it seems as though Steve Staios of all people was the one bearing down and preventing some key chances. I was surprised then when he was beaten on the Kessel goal, but I put a decent amount of that on Souray. I watched it again and still have trouble believing that he was bearing down for his goalie who deserved a BLANK tonight.

I didn't see anything particularly dynamic from any of our defence tonight.

Wouldn't it be great to play in the least? Toronto was horrible. How they compete against pretty much anyone I have no idea. We played like unmotivated cattle and still beat them with relative ease and a good goalie effort. How do they ever win with Toskala in the net? Seriously?!?! It's just weird to watch. We'd get shelled 8-0 every game playing like they do. They've just go nothing.

I couldn't take a loss to that team tonight. We were very much due its true, and even if you want #1 overall horribly bad, you're not going to lose every game. You'd be punished by somehow losing the lottery if you did I'm sure of it.

Well, I hope I was a little more into the whole analysis thing tonight. I make no secret of the fact that I'm better at looking at players in wins than losses, but I was actually noticing specific things again tonight which is a positive for me. I was having trouble tracking anything lately due to the utter lack of passion our boys are displaying.

With that said, I'm not exactly thinking this is the start of anything particularly special. It's just beating Toronto, and thank gawd for that!


LMHF Game Report #20




I somewhat purposely left some time between the end of the game and my writing tonight. As I'm sure I've indicated lately, I'm left struggling for my usual inspiration to expound on the excellent performances and disappointments on the ice when there's no meaning behind them.

Watching my team and not hoping with all of my being for them to win, and to win big is hard. Watching this same spectacle against a rival is excruciating. I know where this season is heading and that in 1 year or 3 years it might result in a great victory, but that process rather than a smooth transition or a slow climbing upgrade seems this time to be one that will require a violent correction that will see the passing of some of our heroes, some lesser lights that will go on to become very good players, and some who should have been given up on long ago.

The end of this process is not the certainty that many people deem it to be. Just because we go through this pain does not mean that the injuries will heal and the glory that should have come true save for a series of unfortunate occurrences in early-mid 2006 will suddenly present itself. I am not one for changing a team this way. I believe in this new era it is completely unnecessary. But, it appears we shall go down this road together.

One thought I had, somewhat related to tonight's game and it's finish, is that we could spend this year making life hell for other teams. Stack us up with a couple more goons and spend this sad losing season beating on teams to the point where, even though they win more often than not, the just HATE to play the Edmonton Oilers. I could draw some serious satisfaction out of that.

Rene Bourque owns us it seems. #2 and I really thought we needed to take a run at him when he was with Chicago. Excellent hockey player with a great nose for the net.

Calgary wasn't particularly good tonight. Iginla played scared of Souray, but the fact that Souray didn't do anything with that makes me really think he's checked out. He can be a special player when he wants, and for long period of time, but he's not right now. Smid at least left some welts on Jerome's forehead. It's about time someone did. Glad that he took the battle to him even if it was late in the game.

I feel bad for Jeff Deslauriers. After being abused and neglected by a dysfunctional goalie development system for years, he finally gets his shot for a team that's got a shot at the #1 overall pick. He didn't play that great tonight but I highly doubt he could have made a difference. Giordano's goal was pretty putrid, and I suppose at least one of Bourque's should have been stopped. He made a couple very good choices with the puck which was good to see.

We took a lot of goofy shots. Many players were guilty. You can see in their efforts that they know the year is already over and that it pains them too. There's a level of commitment and drive and persistence that is present in guys who are in to win. None of these guys have it right now.

Dustin Penner has lost a step or two over the last few games. He's carried an awful lot of mail this season so I'm not one to criticize really, but I felt there was a lot more lumbering than thundering in his game tonight. That special little extra that he has shown was not present even for one shift. His shooting was imprecise, positioning off and skating slower than usual. I just expect better now I guess.

Gagner showed more than I've seen from him lately in that there were a few shifts where he was the direct offensive creator rather than simply a support piece. When I think of Gagner on the line with Penner and Hemsky earlier this year, I wonder where that player went. The one brimming with confidence and ready to take on the world. I wonder if he'll ever really be what he can. I think every now and a again that we should trade him. He's going to command big dough but may very well never be a dominant offensive creator. We need him to be.

Robert Nilsson has improved. I think he looked as confident as I've seen him tonight. He's never going to jump out or play that role for a good team though. He just doesn't have it in his game. That top gear that would allow him to be a top-six guy on a good team doesn't exist. We know what we have in him and it's not enough.

A guy like Horcoff, who I think almost needs a higher level of activity and intensity to get himself into it, drifts into the background on a night like tonight. I don't think I noticed him once. He really wasn't a factor. Does he know how to be a singular factor in a game?

Ryan Potulny just keeps chugging along. I do want to see how he plays on a team that's constantly in games. It's hard to tell without that, because he gets his goals like tonight and does a lot of little things right, but you wonder if he's just filling a role that some better player is supposed to be in. I can't tell anymore.

Ryan Stone just sort of did his thing. At least he's a consistently positive impact.

Stortini in a game like tonight should make it his business to cause a ruckus. He used to get people kicked out of games, now he's grown comfortable. He just didn't do anything. He needs a benching. He's too secure right now. If it's good enough for Strudwick, who played half-decently and worked quite smartly, to replace Grebeshkov for a game, then it's good enough for a forward that doesn't contribute offensively.

O'Sullivan is truly uninspired. He made some great passes and skated well, but didn't in any way dig in and compete. I believe this guy thrives in the trenches, but is not able to push his team into those trenches. It's just not in his mind. I'm not sure if we could ever get him to.

This is one of the first games I've seen where Lubomir gave the puck away a few times, didn't get it back, and didn't really create offence. Shame. At least that's entertaining.

Tom Gilbert on the other hand made a great pass and certainly looks to have it together. Maybe he can use the rest of this year to develop consistency.

Smid is probably my favorite though. Whether it was the fight with Iginla, a couple shot blocks, physical play, some excellent skating, he's become like a broken record. We sure need to sign him up for a while in that he fills a skillset we don't currently have much of.

Staios played ornery but didn't make too much happen. I enjoy it when he's not getting beat constantly though.

I have similar thoughts these days with Brule as I do Potulny. I'd love to see the effort he gives consistently on a third line as opposed to a first or second. He didn't make much happen tonight.

Poor Andrew Cogliano. What exactly he was doing scrapping I truly don't know. He needs to put a puck in the net. He did his usual routine of skating fast with the puck and then simply handing it over to Calgary.

Not that we're great at hanging onto the puck lately. Many players including some of our best made habit out of simply handing the puck over or shooting it away tonight.

Ethan Moreau I simply have no use for. I'll try and remember him for the year he was playing like our MVP.

Jacques doesn't skate well enough to hit the way he tries to. It's no wonder he gets hurt because he misses like he did tonight a few times, then simply takes a penalty. He's not an NHLer on a good team. Like much of this squad.

I don't know how this team is going to stay together playing out the string like this. Its abundantly obvious what is happening. It isn't like the run we went on with the kids in that you always got the feeling that might happen. This team is not capable of rattling off 10 wins in a row a time or two. They just aren't.


Random Notes

A couple quick thoughts:

- No matter what happens this season, and despite the fact that wins now hurt our chances at one Taylor Hall, we need to beat Calgary tonight and Toronto in the next game as well. Just to keep our sanity. PLEASE win these 2 games. Find a way.

- These green Canada jerseys are BS. Total and complete BS.


LMHF Game Report #19




Does it really get any sadder than getting spanked by the second worst team in the conference? I guess they're not after the victory but they entered that way I believe.

What took place on that ice tonight was near-blasphemy, seeing an Oilers team play that badly was an amazing sight to be sure.

I swear that save for one sequence, in the second half of the game our "offence" consisted of the times we dumped the puck after finally getting it out of our zone and then heading off to change.

I honestly wish that tonight was the last game for Ethan Moreau. He should be traded, waived or benched immediately. It's bad enough that he's playing a selfish brand of hockey that would only be okay if he were a 60-goal scorer...but his display at the end of tonight's game was the last straw for me. He's clearly not interested anymore and only in it for himself. For a captain to behave that way was unbelievably pathetic. Get him away from the impressionable youngsters who might have a chance still. Ethan's done.

Poor Devan Dubnyk. To wait that long and get absolutely shelled when your parents have driven from far away to watch as well. Some of the goals were certainly his fault, and I'm not going to say that he put forth a particularly good effort, but you still can't help but feel bad for the guy. To have your first start go 7-2 the wrong way is certainly not what dreams are made of.

The one positive tonight I saw was the play of Denis Grebeshkov. He played 20 minutes, was a +1. Skated with the puck a bunch and made lots of plays both in the offensive zone on pinches (he was clearly told to be active early) and in his own zone (the physicality returned). These are great signs for us. I hope Denis can string together some positive games and get a real flow going. We need him to be good for the future to look as bright as it should.

Everyone else was bad in their own special way I suppose. Even our best reliable vets spent this game passing the puck away to the Blues and giving them all kinds of opportunity. I think this team is already playing out the string to be honest. I'm not sure why they bothered with the effort on the road if they were going to mail it in like this, but such is life. Penner gave the puck away a few times and couldn't get much done. Smid and Visnovsky both went behind the net at the same time leaving a man uncovered and St. Louis scored; they had one of their very few off nights and were way off. Even the dependable worker bees were pretty bad. Cogliano was atrocious. Horcoff gave the puck away time after time. Souray took an idiotic penalty (I'm becoming convinced he's totally disinterested).

Perhaps the worst thing on the ice tonight was the refereeing. This went both ways. The Oilers had too many men on the ice for a time twice (and the Blues once). At least 2 PPs the Oilers got were incredibly weak, as were 2 of their penalties against (lifting a stick with one hand is not hooking, nowhere in the rulebook either). The most obvious incident was one you had to have been at the game to understand. When Steve Staios whipped the puck into the stands and got away with it, the ref looked to his linesman, who should have of course been watching the play and he said, for everyone to hear "I have absolutely no idea". WOW. Just WOW. They were horrendous all night.

Brad Winchester looked oddly motivated...I wonder where that came from.

The Blues seem to be trying something in the form of team bonding much like what we tried with the HIGH fives in the 05-06 season. Might be working for them.

Where do we go from here? I'm not exactly sure. Watching a team this bad that's on the verge of giving up is not something I'm used to or in any way desirous of. I don't think high picks solve all your problems and I don't believe that the teams we wish to emulate are tankers. I think I'm going to focus on moving my game reports to audio and use the rest of the season to master that. Maybe by next season with a reloaded roster, I'll have something great to talk about.

Let me know what you think in terms of audio-only, audio/written, stick with written, any ideas whatever that might help make this season productive and better. I just don't see the hockey turning around when even your guys with heart are seeing the writing on the wall.

So many things could have gone right...and they've all gone rotten. O'Sullivan, Comrie, Souray, Moreau, Khabibulin, 6-2-1, Hemsky, I could go on...all we've got is Dustin Penner and Lubomir Visnovsky.

Marc-Andre Bergeron scored his 8th and 9th goals of the year to raise his point total to 19 in 31 games tonight for anyone who's interested. He scored the tying goal with about 130 left and the winner in OT. Even played some 4th line center the other night. Wouldn't it be great to have that kind of thing happen to someone on our team?


Random Trade Proposals


- Sheldon Souray
- Ethan Moreau
- Devan Dubnyk


- Corey Elkins
- Johnathon Bernier



- Fernando Pisani
- Steve Staios


- Tomas Fleischmann



- Robert Nilsson


- Nick Palmieri



- Andrew Cogliano
- One prospect defenceman


- Blake Wheeler


Yay cap space!


LMHF Game Report #18




There were certainly times tonight when I thought we would come out victorious in this one. The problem was however that it wasn't because we were doing anything right in particular, aside from maybe the guy between the pipes I suppose. We hadn't made an ugly, stupid mistake yet. That seemed to be enough for a while as an uninspired Washington team wouldn't do anything and we got 2 great breaks.

It's kind of funny; as a team Washington is not top-to-bottom good. They have about 5 forwards and a weak D. The goalie playing for them tonight stinks. If we'd have gotten any halfway decent offensive chances and executed in even a half-way decent manner, we would've probably won 7-6 or something. We didn't. We were putrid at generating even reasonable offensive chances tonight. There was nothing there.

We scored 2 goals...one because Karl Alzner's foot got in the way, and one because the Washington goalie slid backwards into the net after stopping a sad breakaway effort and stopped another shot that was fired right at his pad...problem was as I said that he was in the net at the time.

It's not like we missed a bunch of great chances, I'd be more optimistic if we had. Even against Nashville there were times where we didn't do things we needed to, but we could have. Tonight didn't really even have that.

I wouldn't say Ovechkin was everything you could want. He looked fairly uninspired for much of the game. Sure he got into it later, but he could've done a few things earlier and looked disinterested. To be able to shoot a puck like that guy though, would be an amazing and unbelievable gift.

Semin didn't actually impress me much at all. Backstrom was better. Thomas Fleischmann is an interesting player. I would be most happy to get Brooks Laich on our squad. Steckel was not impressive. Green is a dirtier player than I imagined, though mostly taking protective measures more than anything.


- I will fully admit I let myself think for a while that his team would keep this game sane enough that he'd actually shut Washington out. He was in a really nice groove for quite some time and lit up the first and second periods as our clear star. In the third it all became too much and attack overwhelmed him. He was left undefended with 3 Oilers standing around doing nothing on the first goal, Staios had no gap control and played the second goal like a total bonehead, the third goal was a truly elite-level shot and #4 was another incredible lack of D. He did enough. Admirable effort against a stupidly-effective onslaught.

- Everyone would have remembered Staios' PK shift if we'd won this game. His effort to block 3 shots and keep playing on a gimpy leg was pretty amazing it's true. It could have really lifted the team after a HUGE kill. Instead they had nothing. Denis seemed to be more solid tonight as well. I'm grading these players all however on the basis that the effectiveness of the D was generally quite poor. As soon as they were pressed, they folded.

- Why is Visnovsky not on for as much of the PP as humanly possible? It's truly boggling my mind and everyone around me at the games. We all know Lubomir seems to be the best, most consistent player we have and that given any opportunity he always at least seems to create the possibility for offence, but he's not out there 5-on-4??? Really??? 5-on-5 he and Smid did fine until the third. Probably saw the 2 of them more out of position and scrambly than with any other team this year. Makes a lot of sense, but they also should have known what was coming from game tape. There are more than enough highlight reels around.

- The best of a bad lot I suppose. I've decided that I'd rather have the shots of Pronger or Bergeron than Souray. His is scary hard but does the job so seldom these days. Never see him generate the rebound goal anymore, which was a huge problem we had tonight. No effective low shots. Gilbert's doing alright for himself again which is a massive relief both for those who think he'll generally be worth his contract (myself) or those who hope his trade value goes up. I think Souray isn't bringing his full arsenal at the moment, and that upsets me.

- So, Zack is a center now? Interesting. He did not too bad for himself really and probably played one of the better games I've seen from him in a while. He was helped by Strudwick who played a really simple game and doesn't have to run around. He seemed to have a pretty good grasp on what Quinn needs from the forwards. Nilsson had his moments but was unable to find anything special. I bet many are puzzled at his demotion...I'm not really. I think he had an opportunistic couple games and Quinn took a bit of a gamble. It didn't pay off, but probably didn't hurt either because...

- Is a nice line to watch. They're quite responsible and were pretty solid on the ice for a long stretch of the game tonight. Despite his lopsided numbers, #19 can play in all ends when you give him that job. I think that's what we should focus on. His effort in the offensive zone was SORELY lacking. He took ineffective shots and wasn't playmaking. Horcoff didn't help much there either. Their combined goal was more an exercise in fortune than anything else. For O'Sullivan not to score on that guy in that situation was shameful. Stone was okay but didn't make a really big impact at any time. He needs a little discomfort to creep back into his game.

- It's possible that we were okay in this game until Moreau ran out of gas. I distinctly noticed him shadowing Ovechkin on a couple occasions and it seemed to be working. I'm much more in favor of this type of defending than line-matching, even though it seems to be out of vogue. I didn't notice him attempting to defend very well when AO heated up. Potulny made good choices with the puck but generally didn't do anything explosive; not that we should need him to. Cogliano I felt good for, but he wasn't very effective aside from his goal and it only led to a confidence boost of approximately 30 seconds it looked like.

- They couldn't really manage anything as a group tonight. No one was able to step up their game and create offence at will the way the might have in other games. We needed that at there was just no hope of it this evening. That's really too bad as we could've gone shot for shot and at least supplied some entertainment if they had.


Having seen this team at home now for 3 games, I'm losing what was left of my hope. They have not showed the tenacity they had on the road despite finally having a D worthy of competing at a high level. I suspect far too many players are hurt and/or attempting to do more than should be asked of them. It's going to be a long, painful year because I just can't cheer or take any joy in watching this team lose. It sucks. It's sucked for every year for a long time except for one magical year that couldn't even end right. I don't get why people cannot be moved out and I really don't get why this team that was supposed to compete wasn't loaded up with cheap UFA veteran depth to ensure that nights like this didn't happen.

This is going to be painful...again...:(


LMHF Game Report #17




I could sit here and type about how Ryan Potulny missed two sure-fire one-timers that could have won us the game or talk about the PP we should've had where Nashville instead got one and scored the backbreaker, but I think I'm taking a coach Quinn on this one and saying that would just be an excuse.

We need to win when we score twice in the first few minutes. There's no excuse for not doing that. If you don't win after that and the momentum it brings then you flat out screwed up. Not much more to it than that. We had them and we let our feet way off the gas. We slammed it into reverse and wound up planted firmly in the windshield. Wear your seatbelts boys.

It certainly did seem as though we were skating in sand at many times. We also had to play weak players too much and that doesn't help. Then the lines were jumbled up and it didn't really do anything. I have a feeling the Horcoff struggle has set back in. Being that he only took the one faceoff and was generally in-effective after showing some progress, I'm betting he's regressed. Should be only a matter time now before his disappears from the lineup. Not good for our faceoffs or defensive zone play.

Deslauriers wasn't exactly good tonight; I originally thought he'd hold us in after the initial barrage in response to the timeout Nashville called. He did...but the barrage didn't stop. After the levee breaks, it's pretty hard to put the water back in.

The flood was aided by the pairing of Grebeshkov-Staios. They are terrible together. Simply terrible. The criss-crossing that goes on at random times throws the other one off and suddenly there's an odd-man situation and tonight that meant a puck in our net. They need to be broken up. Of the two I thought Grebeshkov was a little better in that he at least contributed some solid passing and jumped into the play.

Smid and Visnovsky were our best pair, which is to be expected but even they weren't tremendous. Visnovsky was our offensive catalyst once again. We need to get him the puck more on the powerplay as he seems to be the only consistent way to get the puck in.

Souray and Gilbert's efforts were pretty pedestrian to me. Souray needed to get that shot on net tonight.

I viewed Stortini's play tonight as largely a liability. To be effective I find that he needs to contribute some offence. He didn't. He is weak in the defensive zone on the lines that he's liable to play on and didn't help much of anything there tonight.

Jacques looked a little tired or beat up or something. It could be that he's being asked to shoulder too much responsibility right now when we need a team where he's fourth line optional to bang and crash. He's not.

Stone was okay, but just okay. He wasn't really irritating and might not have been used terrible effectively.

Cogliano's game waned considerably tonight. He spent very little time with the puck on his stick and didn't compensate by skating to the openings he needs to.

Potulny as I noted needed to bury his chances and did not. That isn't to say he had a particulary bad game, just that he got his chances but didn't manage to finish and that's his job.

Moreau didn't do anything meaningful. He's gone.

Nilsson took advantage of the opportunities afforded him, and got a few more chances and took very good shots. Again we run into the problem of him having to be played in a role far too elevated for us to win. There will be nights like tonight where he gets 2, but he's still just an opportunistic player. There's nothing wrong with that at all, you need those guys to win, but he can't get a lot of minutes most nights.

Horcoff I covered earlier. I think he's just games away from being gone for a long time.

Brule only showed flashes of brilliance this evening rather than the recent consistent efforts. I'm not sure he ever got into the flow of the game though. I really enjoyed him on the line with Potulny and O'Sullivan on the PP.

Speaking of O'Sullivan...he did some good things. He set up Potulny for what should've been an excellent goal, laid some hits and was more effective than lately. It's upsetting that we have to talk about a pointless game in such a fashion as this, but that's been his performance lately.

Penner was really good and hampered by the refs I suppose. He's suffering without Hemsky though in that he would really be challenging for the league lead right now with him. He's playing that consistently.

Gagner was certainly better tonight in that he was a better distributer of the puck early. Nothing amazing though.

Apologize for the briefness tonight guys. I'm tired and that game was very uninspiring. Perhaps there'll be more to discuss tomorrow. Til then!


LMHF Game Report #16




It was great to be back in the building tonight watching the suddenly inspired Oilers play hockey once more. To be honest the reaction from the home crowd was underwhelming. They weren't particularly excited to watch a team going for its 6th straight win; that disappointed me.

We played well at a few different times in this game. It was very much up and down. We were good early, generating many free pucks in the scoring area in front of the zone but not getting to enough of them. Quick wasn't particularly great at this stage, he just didn't let any bad ones in. We had our chances but couldn't take a good whack at them.

LA then controlled until later on in the second period. In this time, Souray scored, and Nilsson, Penner and Horcoff all should have. Those blown chances, 2 clear breaks and a downed goalie, wound up costing us the game in my estimation.

We kept control until a 3-4 minute stretch in the third that saw LA storm our zone. Their goal wasn't pretty in any way shape or form, and I honestly couldn't believe we got beaten again by an iffy point shot from a weak defenceman. Unbelievable.

After that we had our chances too...I could not believe however that Quinn stuck with Nilsson late in the game when Potulny was easily the best offensive player available at the moment. Penner fanned on another in a game of missed chances. Sad really to go down fighting that way.

I wanted to check Deslauriers save percentage in the third period over the last few games. He's allowed all of 2 3rd period goals in the last 6 games. I was convinced he wasn't going to allow #2 save for a fluke...and it happened. Damn.

Watching this team was almost like encountering a new one, more on that in PLAYER REPORTS

- To be honest he disappointed me tonight. It's not that he was bad but that he didn't dominate at any point. He didn't really go on any great rushes down the wing or take more than 1 great shot. As noted he missed a great chance in the second and a good chance to tie in the third. He needs to finish at least one of those. There was a rush he made in the third where the same move he made against STL was open to him and instead he centered the puck to no one. He was just a little off tonight. He also had another tip chance off a nifty pass by Gagner that just missed.

- Save for a couple shifts I really wasn't very impressed by Sam tonight. He seemed to be forever in the way and a step behind the play. He won more battles in the corners than at times this year but just couldn't create any direct offence. He needs to playing with Brule and Penner.

- Still looking really solid. He took a couple of really good shots and missed the opportunity to take a couple of others. His skating was good and he worked hard in the corners. The perplexing thing about this line as opposed to the last time the team was in town is that they didn't look particularly fast or dynamic but more plodding than anything. They got chances but they weren't explosive. I'm hoping they are better next game, but maybe they just got worn out tonight.

- The first half to 2/3 of the game saw a totally new Robert Nilsson. He was working his butt off, took some shots at the net, and was even hitting people AND separating them from the puck. It was truly amazing. Then it happened...the slot-double-clutch. After he started doing that, his offensive zone play got awkward and he simply wasn't as effective as he'd been. Robert needs to let that wonderful slapper go when he's free and clear in the slot, and he refused tonight. Shame. He was on pace for a great breakout game. I think the promotion might be too much pressure for him. Being on the PP definitely seems to be. He cannot be relied on to be the guy carrying the puck in; and abandoning the carry for the dump just doesn't work in a modern PP. They proved that with how many times they gave the puck up that way tonight.

- He was just okay for me tonight. I don't think the new line combo worked very well for him save for a couple shifts in the second. He had one really excellent chance in front of the net that simply required he hold the puck for three feet and go up; but instead he took a weak shot that was easily stopped. Didn't look good on the PP.

- Great to see Ryan Stone and his brand of positional, physical hockey back in our lineup. He does indeed make a difference in the makeup of this lineup. All he needs to do is keep doing what he's doing. The first two periods were really strong for him, the final one less so.

- Crazy idea: when Hemsky comes back, Potulny should play with him. At least on the PP. Any guy who can bang the puck like that can play with Ales and score a TON. What an utterly beautiful goal that was he scored, first making a good decision to go to Souray then readying to fire and making no mistake. He made many possibly unnoticed plays tonight either with the puck or without that show he's here to stay. Everything is moving faster for him now, while the play around him slows down. Ryan has found the NHL confidence that so many struggle to find. When he isn't scoring, he's skating well, playing his position and even getting physical occasionally. He won some very impressive puck battles tonight. Our best on the ice today.

- Definitely signs of life. He blew by several defenders while maintaining control of the puck which is something home ice hasn't seen from him with any kind of regularity in a while. #2 rightly pointed out that after he banged Potulny's already-goal back into the net, at least he'd finally put one in. He just needs to keep working and we need to stay patient with him. If he's not going anywhere for an upgrade, at least he's useful and working really really hard.

- The Potulny-Cogliano combination needs a better version of Ethan Moreau on it. The 20-goal version. He's sped up his decisions and his playmaking to attempt to keep up with a line that moves at blinding speed now that Potulny is playing confidently, but it's still not enough and the play seemed to die with him much more often than either 13 or 16. That's too bad. I think it's time to 4th-line him, though only if they can establish another guy on that line in his place.

- Disappointing to see that the one guy who didn't take flight on the road trip is #19. He's got to keep plugging away. I really think Quinn will turn him into the guy who was here in TC eventually, but there are always some bumps along the way. Quinn seems to take a longer and more complete view of guys like O'Sullivan, so I think we shouldn't lose patience or claim he's on his way out just yet.

- He didn't really do much. One really good shot on net but that's about it.

- Bad fight, but at least he drew the PP. Good hit previous to that, but Stone is a better hitter overall.

- Tom looks like he's turned the corner. He has returned to using his skating and his puck-moving ability to create time for himself to make better plays. He also is using his body to separate the man from the puck in the corner. These are the things Tom needs to do to be effective. When he knows he can skate, the opposition is forced to back off as it was tonight. That is why Tom suddenly isn't turning it over. It's not that he was doing anything dumb before, it's that he wasn't using his strengths to create a situation where the offence has to respect him as soon as he has the puck. He was panicky. Perhaps he took a lesson from Smid, who skates the puck out of harm's way on such a consistent basis. Gilbert uses a more rangy approach while Smid works better by dragging his opponent in close, but it's the same basic idea.

- His shot seems to have smartened up. Had he not clanged one off the post we probably win too. Defensively I'm not sure, he was really confident with the puck but wasn't exceptionally physical. On LA's second period goal, he made a bad decision to lung at the puck carrier rather than truly shut down the pass to the stronger player, but he was in a bit of a desperate spot too I suppose. Mixed game from Sheldon rather than second star in my books.

- He made a very uncharacteristic mistake and couldn't recover for once on that same play that left Souray flat on his face. Aside from that he was quite solid and made the same passes and decisions that we all know and appreciate. I think it's a mistake relying on Souray instead of Lubomir on the PP. Quinn chose Souray tonight. Was it #71 that made that fabulous breakaway flip pass to Brule that was called offside?

- What new is there to say? He was an utter joy to watch as he has been pretty much all year.

- I'd say he made the primary mistake on the first LA goal in that he half-committed to going to Brown and left the seam that got the puck to Richardson. Grebeshkov was caught somewhat, but it wasn't really his fault that he was caught. Staios could've made an aggressive play on the puck carrier with Grebeshkov taking away some of the pass option but Staios didn't. Aside from that he was quite quiet.

- Just okay in his first game back. You could tell he was playing a little gingerly out there. I'm not sure why he was up on the PP so quick, but at least he wasn't shy about jumpinging into the play. I'm sure he'll be fine, and Staios-Grebeshkov making up the bottom pairing sure make us a better team. We didn't give the Kings very many good chances tonight.

- He was alright. I figured he could've stopped at least one of the first two LA goals. He wasn't going to get beaten on a straight play in the third though, as he was locked on. I'm sure enough people have commented on his puck-handling, which is certainly a little scary, but didn't get him into trouble.

To be honest, I thought we were winning this. Especially when down 2-1 going into the third. And even with our horrid PP. A lot of big maybes and what ifs tonight. Oh well. Til Thursday!


2010-11 Edmonton Oilers

Because I haven't done one of these in a while:



It'd be an interesting forward crew, with no requirement for a HUGE offseason signing. They're large enough, can score, and can defend.

Remember those that immediately dismiss Comrie: He's likely going to cost very little and has shown himself to be a reliable veteran presence who can score goals when healthy. There's no reason to think that wouldn't continue.

I'm not sure where to put Hall honestly supposing we draft him, but if he's a star, let him be one. We can always move things around later.

Potulny and Stone have earned places if they keep what they're doing up to any reasonable level. Eberle will make the team and can place in a safe place to start.

You can see who I've moved out.



Pavel's going to be coming down in salary and could be a cheap UFA. If we can't get him that's okay but I'd sure like to. I'm also understanding of the fact that we may need to move Gilbert, but we'll see. I'd rather be incredibly steady 1-6. I also considered removing Souray, as I think he may be traded.

They're looney tunes if they trade Lubomir, so I hope the rumors about him being unhappy are untrue.



No-brainer for me. #35 is exactly what we've needed and #38 has flashes of brilliance that will make him an excellent #2 by next yr.


LMHF Game Report #15




In a stinking shootout...

Wow...that was far from the game that I was expecting; especially after the way we started out. We looked listless and lost for a really long time tonight.

Then something happened; I'm not exactly sure what. Please forgive me if I miss a bunch of things tonight, as this game seemed in my mind like some sort of epic adventure into the twilight zone.

Suddenly we decide to play what looks like playoff hockey...then we back right off...then when you think we're dead again it roars back out of nowhere, only to mount the worst powerplay in history and almost lose a lead and a game instead of easily sealing the win...then we pick the wrong shootout shooters and lose. How epic, thrilling, and sad, all at the same time. I really didn't know what to think at a bunch of times tonight.

It's a very interesting night when your best line is Moreau-Potulny-Cogliano; and not because others are playing horridly but because they're playing really well. The emergence of Mr. Potulny, who once again used his excellent shooting, skating and positioning to make a difference, has been something else to watch. An added benefit is that he certainly doesn't play the game softly. On his first goal, he legged out a breakaway when many Oilers would have either given up or been caught, then instead of taking a stupid shot, made an absolutely beauty of a move. His second goal was great positioning and an excellent shot. We need players that score the type of goals that come from that 15 foot arc as we are quite effective at getting the puck there enough times on a nightly basis. Moreau played his best game of the year by far. He was a man on a mission in terms of his skating, his checking, his puck control and his moves in close. He didn't get away any great shots which is unfortunate, and I'm still missed as to how he missed in alone after a great move in the second period, but his game was great even without the results. Cogliano, even though he still hasn't scored, skated like an utter madman tonight. He chased down just about every puck he could and made a key defensive play late in the game to make sure Heatley didn't send us home pointless. He's found a way to contribute in the last couple games and we can only hope now that the points will come.

The other guy that keeps on proving we might have a winner is Gilbert Brule. He scored a nice goal from out front after some hard work, then made another one happen with a nice play to Penner from behind the net. This guy's the real deal and his efforts are now becoming quite consistent. He needs to be kept around most certainly. Penner looked a little lost in the first and second; either tired or frustrated would be my guess, but still found a way to contribute in the third. It's hard to believe this guy is suddenly so consistent, but he is indeed. Gagner complimented the line alright, but wasn't stellar in any particular way. Usually he's capable of being a primary playmaker and offensive threat on a line, but it seems he's relegated to secondary at present. I hope he re-emerges.

The Stortini-O'Marra-McDonald line was an interesting one to watch. I'm really enjoying the way O'Marra plays the game. Seeing him live added to my thought that he may indeed be ready to make this team next year. He takes solid skating lines, finishes checks, plays big and has the confidence of a player that looks like he knows what he's doing. Sometimes that's half the battle. I get the impression that McDonald isn't a good enough skater to be in this league for any length of time, but will certainly reserve judgment for the time being. Stortini was physical, which he had to be. I'm still looking for his slight offensive tendency, which has disappeared from the planet.

It does not seem we have a working combination in Jacques-Horcoff-O'Sullivan. I'm not quite sure why but they didn't really generate much of anything despite Jacques effective physical play. We need to get to a place where he's relegated to the fourth line rather than having to check good players of course. Horcoff was just okay I thought. He was one of the few who had a better first than third. His play dropped off a bit later on. O'Sullivan couldn't seem to buy one tonight. He's a step slower entering the zone which is causing him problems at present. I'm not exactly sure why this is.

The story tonight in terms of our loss is likely how bad Staios and Souray were as a pair. They've never been particularly suited to one and other but tonight was an utter disaster. When they weren't getting tangled up or taking each other's check and getting confused, Souray was busy taking anger penalties. The one against Thornton late was total bull (I never knew such a large man could play hockey like such a girl, and then whine about it like crazy), but the others were stupid. I understand he's likely frustrated but it sure didn't help us tonight. Staios didn't really do much of anything to help the cause in any zone.

Smid on the other hand was stupendous. He kept driving the offence deep into the SJ zone; I'm not sure I've seen him with the puck creating offence that many times in one game before. He stepped up when we needed him to. Visnovsky was good, but not great. He had flashes of brilliance I suppose. I was just looking for the game-changing play (almost scored at the end I guess) but it didn't come.

Strudwick went another game without really driving me nuts, so I'll take it. Gilbert didn't take another step forward, but also didn't step back.

Deslauriers was good; but still managed to allow too many goals. I don't think any were particularly bad, but 4 was just too many.

I must admit, I did get more than I expected tonight. I thought we'd get whomped.

One of my favorite topics every year is why San Jose won't win the Cup. Prior to this year, it was always because their top-end talent was of the wrong sort for this pursuit. What has occured now up front is that San Jose has a bunch of plugs and overrateds on its 3rd and 4th line. I saw an article suggesting signing Malhotra over Comrie would have been a good one...yet I don't see a statistical argument that in any way shows this; especially if you consider that Comrie played a bunch while ill. In addition for the fourth line Malhotra would've been a good choice simply to have more NHLers on this team...anyway back to San Jose. They also have not rectified the issue of their D not really being all that good. They still guys who aren't winning a cup. They'll fail again this year, and not just because Chicago is shaping into a juggernaught, but because they're not built to win.

And this wouldn't be a LMHF Game Report without saying...yeah...that Marleau guy sure is so much worse than Horcoff.......*facepalm*


LMHF Game Report #14



Los Angeles 3

Well, we know one thing for damn sure, this team sucks without Ales Hemsky. I was hoping my point from my previous post would be proven by something other than an injury of course...

The Oilers came out ready to play. There were an absolute ton of finished checks and really solid short passes in the first half of the game. This had us leading for a time and we really should have been ahead by 2 or 3, but there were not opportunistic guys around the net ready to finish tonight. Nobody was there when the pucks were squirting through. There were many.

If that play where Moreau drove the net would have been executed a little better, we should've scored there especially.

In the second half of the game and especially without Hemsky we didn't control the puck at all. This let the Kings trap work quite effectively. Before that point it wasn't working too well at all.

Once a trap is working, if your team is tired at all, it's pretty difficult to break back through it. We certainly encountered that again tonight.

There were many chances to take the lead when the score was 1-1, but they were fleeting chances. There was very little sustained pressure. Deslauriers held us in as long as he could and its unfortunate that the picture of his game will be tainted by the fact that Matt Greene beat him on a slapper rather than emphasizing that he stopped the league's leading scorer on numerous occasions.

We seem to have a rivalry with LA and the game was rather physical with many scrums, but we were never able to get in LA's face as we have with some other teams. Tonight we had our star cross checked and didn't do much of anything in return. That's pretty unacceptable. Where were the runs at Kopitar? Why wasn't Brown getting sticked behind the play? There's a smart way to do this and we didn't.

Oh well, to the PLAYER REPORTS

- A really solid outing for him. Save for middle-end of the second he was very much in control of his rebounds. He was always in good position and helped out with the puck some tonight as well. For a time I didn't think he'd allow another goal for a while. Still, as I alluded to earlier, stopping Kopitar 6 times and Brown 5 times is nothing to sneeze at. Good effort; his squad let him down.

- Rough and tumble but never got to be all that effective in this regard. His shooting was better tonight in that it was more under control and generally at the net, but he can still do better. He hasn't really beaten a goalie yet. Defensively I liked what he was able to do in the corners, getting the puck out safely.

- Not too shabby I suppose. There were a couple of occasions where he got beat in footraces that expose where he is a liability, but none of these really hurt us. Did his best to keep pucks alive and was alright at that.

- Mark it down; might be the first time I've gone 3 straight with no complaints about him. He even rushed a couple pucks to center tonight. Definitely playing better.

- Also improving; he kept it quite simple out there. It's unfortunate that he couldn't do anything during his foray into the offensive zone in the third that could have given us the lead, but here's hoping that Gilbert returns soon. Defensively I liked his effort. He's turned down the panic and turned up the body positioning and skating. These are good things.

- He was good as always and lugged the puck a fair bit. Disappointing he wasn't able to create a little more offensively.

- Solid and physical; what else is new? Love having this guy on our blue line.

- Was playing well and controlling the puck plus busting through checks until the injury. Likely had a point or two in him tonight but wasn't around when the game was on the line unfortunately.

- A ton of chances and no results. He more than anyone could have factored into this game due to being handed chances by both Hemsky and O'Sullivan. Sam just flat-out missed his chances tonight. Very disappointing for a guy who lives on the type of chances he was getting.

- This was the first game where I thought he might have looked a little off. Don't get me wrong in that he was still pretty solid, but didn't have any wow in his game today. The Kings seemed to do a pretty good job in not letting him get up to speed entering their zone.

- Aside from Hemsky he was probably the only guy consistently getting into the Kings' end of the ice. He still took too many awkward shots, but I liked his game tonight. He didn't shy away from any contact and set up a number of chances for his teammates to score. Only 1 needed to get taken advantage of but none did. He struggled a little on the PP.

- I thought he needed to step up and do something tonight and was unable to. Quite disappointing. I'd support a contract and a call to Kip Brennan for the next Kings game if this keeps up.

- Pretty blah effort from Liam; though he did throw his weight around some. Less puck possession than I'm used to from him.

- Too many turnovers and weak puck losses on the other side of the red line. He wasn't as good tonight as the last few. I can understand with his linemates, but also he can be better. In the early first he made a couple moves that had me thinking he'd turned the corner, but his light quickly dimmed.

- Mixed bag in that he had chances and was okay with the puck but was unable to convert or really generate chances for other guys.

- Didn't hit as much as last game or drive the net as well, but he was okay. Solid scrap with O'Donnell who appeared to be offended by a perfectly clean hit...that's sad.

- I'm not sure what to do with this guy anymore. He gave it his all tonight; you cannot doubt that. He was jumping on the puck, skating like mad, doing whatever he could to score. The fact remains that I'm not sure he got one good shot away on the goalie. The guy has just completely lost his scoring touch and I don't know where it went. By the end of the game he was trying to win in the trenches, something that plays totally away from his skillset and that he won't be able to do effectively, and it didn't work out at all. I'm not sure where we go from here. The effort is there...what's missing?

- Really good burst of skating, hitting and effort in the first period. We had the Ethan of old for a brief time. He couldn't keep it up, but still one of his better efforts I suppose.

- Really enjoying his play still. Solid tip for a goal as the result of smart positioning and a solid play. Not many guys stand in for the Souray bomb like that. Well done sir.

Not much else other than that this was very disappointing. We needed this. SJ is getting absolutely destroyed by Chicago (who is cup-worthy if they don't have injuries) and they're gonna be pissed. Friday could get UGLY.

Hemsky Banter

I must admit I am somewhat at a loss.

This year, for no particular reason a substantial quantity of the "whipping" that goes around every year. It's truly silly to rag on one of your top 2 point guys and a top 25 PPG guy in the NHL. He's a legit first liner we are very fortunate to have and at the deal we've got him, one of the best bargains in the NHL.

And yet his practice habits are questioned (later with corrected context by the coaches but this fact seems completely ignored by many commentators), his efforts this year are demeaned, "only a top 2 player in 3 or 4 games this year" was probably the quote that set me off.

If you cannot see that he's been important to most of the wins we've had this year I probably cannot help you. He stirs the drink. He and Penner complement each other immensely. One does not have the success they are currently having without the other.

Penner is lauded because it's such a leap for him. Hemsky is lambasted because it's only a moderate one. Sad really.

Watching them both skate through checks this year, really showing how hard they're willing to work to win, has been a revelation. They have looked truly excellent and if given any supporting offence will surely lead this team to many wins.

Yet Hemsky is slagged on as if he wants nothing to do with the team and is lazy and skips practice...this makes no sense.

This has nothing to do with keeping him around either...this is not about not offending his sensibilities as I'm sure he can handle that, this is about accurately reflecting the on-ice events.

The stats say he's producing. Sight says he's producing. He's been top 2 on our squad. Easily. The only man that competes for top 3 with Hemsky and Penner is Visnovsky, but he of course is responsible for playing for a very different type of game.

This is especially surprising in light of the last couple games, where Hemsky has been utterly stellar. I'm sure he's doing just fine in practice aside from a specific event that was highlighted. That's about being fair and consistent as a coach. It doesn't matter who makes that mistake, they should be commented on.

In one of these episodes, Hemsky was compared negatively to Joni Pitkanen. This further enraged me. Pitkanen was one of the most talented guys to wear the jersey in the past few years; he also produced very well for us. He was excellent. Because of a coach who was unable to connect with him, and I'm sure to some extent because of a media bent on re-affirming their ability to exploit "access" to the team into value for the reader and therefore slagging him because he was quiet and a little different, he is long gone.

This process is illogical and silly. Hemsky's been excellent this year. Or maybe no one will give anyone any credit until they put 215 points on the board? Unless of course they're a slug. But that's another rant...


LMHF Game Report #13




There are many ways it's possible to feel after a win, despite the prevailing "a W is a W is a W is a W" sort of line. Tonight was not tremendously satisfying, but instead more like the needed dispatching of a team that we should handle with relative ease and certainly did for a couple periods.

The only two criticisms I'd have of our squad tonight are that we got a little weak in the third period, and that we took way too many bad shots (most of which didn't reach the net) that kept this from being a 7-0 game. We were spending our time outskating and outworking PHX to get goals and we should have kept doing it. That turned out in the end to be just fine, but there's nothing wrong with continuing to head to the well if there's a constant flow of water.

Don't forget when we play PHX that we are still in Ilya's head. Odd how that playoff season was so dependent on the heads of the opposition goalies but it was. If we'd have discovered Cam Ward's kryptonite, well, you can figure it out....

For all you Dubnyk fans out there - he looked excellent in warmup btw. Very controlled and tight in his movements.

Back to the game; it seemed like it might be our kind of night when Souray's goal was banked in by PHX, then really became ours when Horcoff's goal counted where he could't make one count against Chicago. Some times the game is just that simple I suppose. We did indeed get a couple breaks tonight, but we also got some strong efforts which will be covered in PLAYER REPORTS

- First so I don't forget him like last time, though I highly doubt I could. I'm not sure a guy could have rebounded any stronger, sustaining his great play even during the ugly defensive effort in the third period. I thought Quinn might give his top line a little more ice to make sure he brought this one home but he didn't. Deslaurier's rebound control only really slipped in the third period because of the onslaught. Prior to that he had this sucker under control and did a superlative job of showcasing his flexibility, athleticism and size. Beauty effort and boy did he look pumped. Good for him!

- Continued to play very very well. He spent his night carrying the puck through opposition checkers (which, if you're looking for something, is what has really improved with him this year) and making plays. It's too bad he wasn't able to connect as he could easily have had 3 by the second period. When he wasn't directly generating offensive chances, he was busy drawing penalties, which he did with hard work and smart skating. Beauty game.

- It's become routine to say he played well and I hope we never forget how far he's come. His game is usually quite simple: a couple power moves here, PK there, shot from the slot here; smart skating play there, some good passes, yak a somebody who's giving a smaller guy trouble, throw some poor bastard around behind the net, simply get it done. What a luxury that this guy is on our team. I'd never thought we'd be saying that. 9-2 on the dot BTW.

- Not his best effort I'd say. There were a number of times when he had the space to do something with the puck and was unable to decide whether to shoot or distribute. He flat whiffed on his best chance of the night which wasn't the easiest play in the world but still Sam should put that in. I hope Quinn keeps the lines this way though because the other 2 are good enough to help Sam out while keeping some balance in the team. Sam will find his way playing with these guys.

- Again a very solid effort. He made his linemates a lot better on the ice and did a pretty solid job of controlling the puck and making simple plays. He also found a way to contribute offensively which is key of course. I'd like to see him make his passes a little more decisively, but for now he's doing fine.

- Very effective tonight. Aside from making it dangerous for PHX defenders to play the puck (job #1) he made some nifty moves with the puck and even channeled his inner Penner for a couple of wide outside drives. Probably one of his best games of the year. Was in front of the net causing trouble on the Souray goal.

- I didn't notice him too much tonight but thought he played okay. His best chance game on a LW rush in the second period where he had a great chance to unleash his hellish shot and didn't quite catch it all. Bryz had cheated and Brule probably would have scored if he'd gotten it. He struggled a little on the defensive side but not so much to hurt us.

- Great to see him go wide and get one. It's been FOREVER since any of us has seen that. Probably his best game in quite a while too. Needs to cover the points better in his own zone though. He used to be great at that and is now caught running around constantly.

- What can really be said other than that the frustration continues? He simply cannot get anything going offensively, and simply being a decent defensive player isn't good enough because he's not elite at it.

- Another excellent night of hard skating, getting open in places to shoot, then making the play necessary. I'd really like to see this guy stay around as a bit part, especially if we're able to parlay some of our skilled players into a top-sixer. He's exactly the kind of guy this team needs in the bottom six to complement some of the bruisers. He's growing on me.

- Well, after getting beat up some guys shrink from the game but #46 did not and I give him credit for that. He went to the net and drew PHX's ire, laid some hits and was generally a pain in the butt. Solid game from Zack.

- Did his job again I suppose. Couple hits, an offensive chance, decent D. Don't really need much more from him despite looking forward to the day he is again replaced by a more skilled guy.

- Handled himself well dealing with what was essentially a demotion. Not much to be had offensively on the line he was playing with but did a solid job on special teams.

- Souray's shot gets the press but this guy's play wins trophies. I'd wager to say that Visnovsky makes the offence of this team go like nobody since...well Coffey I'd bet. The guy is incredible. He can control a game with his skating and passing. I think he's generally the biggest reason we win games and probably the biggest reason we won tonight. The thing about Lubomir is that by the time you realize he's made a mistake, he's already got the puck back and probably made a pass to a streaking forward. As usual, he was calm, collected, distributed the puck excellently and led from the blue line. Great game. We should all be very happy we get to watch this man in an Oilers uniform.

- Flat solid. Unspectacular but he didn't need to be. Great to see him getting in Bison-whoever's face, pissing him off, then waltzing away like the tougher man. This guy is everything we need in a top 4 defender.

- He played well and controlled the puck from his own zone. Watch how effective our offensive rush is when he jumps in. I repeat this point a lot but even tonight though the goal resulted from a PHX player putting it in his own net, it was Souray barging into the zone again that created it. We almost need a set play to get him moving with speed into the zone. It's lethal. He was solid on D, but his shot was ineffectual save for one. He can do better than that. Pity he didn't get to Doan or Bison-idiot...that woulda been a funny beat-down to see.

- Pretty solid in my estimation. Certainly not as effective as last time out in that he didn't really have anything to give in the offensive zone, but also didn't make any really horrible defensive mistakes.

- Much better. He bumbled the puck a lot less, and just like Lubo caught his mistakes rather than panicking. This is a good thing and represents a sign of the normal Tom Gibert. As he improves there, he can resume jumping into the offence and being the effective guy we know and need. Here's hoping Tom.

- Again I didn't notice him bobbling the puck away, so again I'm generally happy.

PLEASE NOTE: These player reports likely reflect mostly first and second period sentiment, as periods like the third are often harder to judge or don't stick out like the others did.

MY 3 Stars


HON M to Horcoff and Penner.

HUGE games Wednesday and Friday. We need those games like you wouldn't believe. We need to win and HEAL. If we can somehow get this ship turned around and start adding players, we'll be fine.


A sad note tonight: Just before the game my fiancee was notified that one of her best friends from High School had died of a lung infection; she was also pregnant with her first, having been married just last year, and the baby-to-be died as well. Stuff like this reminds us all of what's really important in life. So this game report goes out to Shawna Ali; I didn't know her well but had met her a couple times and she was a truly exceptional person who lived all of her 20-some years to the fullest. I thank her for helping make my fiancee the woman she is today.


LMHF Game Report #12




In a lot of ways we didn't play that well tonight. Our D was weak, our #1 goalie was out when we really needed him to play, and only 1 forward line was really playing alright.

On the other hand, if some things go another way, this is such a different game. There was a Kane pick on a Chicago goal, the impossible call on the Hemsky/Horcoff/Huet play, Potulny (2nd) and Reddox especially (3rd) missing gimme goals. To top off the misfortune and indignity for the evening, Ethan Moreau gets run into Huet, which should have drawn the Oilers a much-needed powerplay and instead Toews puts the nail in the coffin on an illegitimate Chicago powerplay. There were even bad icing calls. A lot of "circumstance" was at play in tonight's game.

Both #2 and I went into tonight's game thinking that it would either be a blowout for Chicago or the Oilers would pull out a victory. Chicago wasn't really ON enough to blow us out; and we didn't take advantage of the chances that could have won us the game. Huet wasn't very good and while the Chicago D moved the puck well, they were perfectly vulnerable. The first line did fine in creating offence. O'Sullivan was doing well. Cogliano was skating through with complete ease.

But nothing. Those players we had ready to shoot in the slot last game weren't there. That was the difference, as it so often is. Anyway, let's talk PLAYER REPORTS

- I really thought he'd come back with a great game tonight; so much for that idea. I'm a huge Tom Gilbert fan, but he might have played his worst game as an Oiler tonight. Aside from being horrible in his own zone (I believe he had two seperate shifts with 3 giveaways within 20 feet of his net for example), he didn't create any offence and skated utterly horribly. The guy was falling all over himself. I swear that Tom's got some kind of complex going on right now. He's an excellent skater and passer and is simply doing neither. He even made Strudwick look good by comparison.

- Probably his best game of the year to be honest. He didn't really many mistakes, covered his man, passed the puck okay and even skated with it occasionally. I didn't mind him tonight at all. Especially next to Gilbert who was so bad.

- Didn't create too much and had one of his weaker games. His weak games are still okay, but we need him elite against Chicago.

- Definitely one of his weaker games. Despite trying to be tough, which is good, and skating with the puck okay, he wasn't as good defensively as he usually is.

- Not as good as last game. He was shakier. Better in the offensive zone sort of in that he controlled the puck alright; too many silly shots though. Defensively, he was just okay.

- Certainly angry and wasn't able to get anyone to scrap with him (I imagine his reputation precedes him), generated a goal with his shot and played pretty decent defence. He was especially good in the corners and skating with the puck some.

- He made a couple defensive mistakes and was summarily benched. One thing that he hasn't done in a while is generate some offence and he needs to do that to be effective. On a night when he couldn't hit, wasn't a pest and didn't generate offence, the best place to describe him would be useless.

- Started out great with many hits that should have got us going. I suppose in that sense he did his job. Showed some rust with the puck which hopefully he will knock off.

- He wasn't very good, but was also set up to fail. I truly question the wisdom of Quinn to put out Jacques-Gagner-Stortini as a line as it has precisely zero chance of being effective against Chicago. Sam wasn't able to really generate any offence and certainly wasn't all that good in his own zone. I didn't see anything special.

- He kept skating through the Chicago D and kept getting the puck on his stick. The problem with his game is that he suddenly has completely forgotten how to do anything productive anywhere near the net. He either took weak shots, gave the puck away, or passed off badly. Cogliano should have had at least 2 goals tonight. There's no reason he should get those chances and not score. He's more than talented enough. It almost looks as though he's lost his intensity and focus on the ice. He needs to find it and quick. I'm not sure how patient we can be with him honestly.

- Quite lackluster compared to what we've seen from him in a number of games this year. The thing to remember is that this guy is still finding his way and should not be expected to lead. I still think he was more effective than a lot of guys on the roster tonight, though he did get whacked around physically some.

- Missed a glorious chance at 4-2 that would have completely changed the game (and I really believe have led to an Oilers win). Other than that I really didn't notice him much.

- Did his job and got a couple shots. Can't particularly expect him to drag a team out of a loss.

- Did his thing offensively and generated a bunch of chances for others but wasn't really able to get a great shot away that could have changed the game. I'm very pressed to think of when he last really played a bad home game in that he's always very solid. Basically it's as simple as he's never "the problem" on the ice.

- Put forth an effort I suppose, but certainly not effective. He definitely got jobbed on the penalty though, that was not his fault in the least.

- I thought he was much better tonight. Specifically in the offensive zone he was shielding the puck with his body and making smart passes leading to chances to score. He was finding his skating lane more effectively than in other games this year. I hope he's getting his health back because they need him; but I'm not sure how I'll be able to tell anymore since it seems like everyone's injured all the time. Very positive on Horcoff's game tonight.

- Really good. I like nights when he scores garbage goals. Did exactly what he needed to do and kept driving the puck. Can't hold this one against him.

- Good, not great. Made his plays, was good defensively and at least tried to get the team going. No doubting the first line controls the puck and it's largely due to him.

Yeah, I'm not sure we had three stars tonight.

I got a fair bit more depressed as I wrote this. I thought it'd be more positive when I started out. Oh well.


LMHF Game Report #11




After what seemed like forever, we finally got to see the home town crew again tonight. For those not in attendance, rather than absence making the heart grow fonder, the Oilers were welcomed back with quite a bit of listlessness by the crowd up until the latter end of the 2nd period. I'm quite sure that tonight's game was a sellout only because the Oilers would have bought up the remaining tickets, as there were a ton of empty seats and standing room spots to be seen. With the club seriously slumping, the fans didn't seem very excited about the prospect of tonight's game.

But then again, for a period and a half, neither did the Oilers.

We started out as we so often have since the brisk start to the season...taking weak or dumb shots with no chance of even generating a scoring opportunity, skating weakly with the puck in the neutral and offensive zones, making weak dumps and weak passes our chosen method of play. It appeared that this would be another episode of simply muddling through a game rather than playing it.

I almost wonder if it was a blessing in disguise that the Avs managed 4 goals. Deslauriers wasn't very good at this point, but the Oilers D was atrocious. Gilbert missed an easy check on the first goal. Gilbert and Strudwick played "who's the worst down-low defender" on the second, and shooters were left wide open to pick their spot from a clean lane on the third and fourth. Pretty unacceptable.

All the while, the first line short of chugged along, effective and consistent as ever, albeit with the added twist of moving Horcoff to the wing for much of the night (Penner took 15 faceoffs and was playing in the C's lane for much of the second half). The other lines played weak, ineffective hockey for a long time.

Perhaps it took their Captain getting an elbow in the teeth to wake them up. They were certainly more into the game after that and suddenly you almost felt like we could claw our way back in if that goalie just held on for us. Colorado was weak and slow all night; they took advantage of bounces but were tired and/or lazy for a bunch of the time.

So then we started getting players that can shoot (Gagner, Potulny, O'Sullivan) into the slot and working to get them the puck with some open space. What a shocker...they scored goals. Rather than weakly throwing a bunch of useless pucks on net, we used positioning and hard work to create chances and made no mistake. The EN goal was fitting and the topper for a number of reasons, but more on that in PLAYER REPORTS.


- Easily the best Oiler on the ice tonight. I'm not sure what game 630 CHED called, but Ales was sublime in all ends of the rink. He set up Horcoff's goal with a smart drag-and-shoot move, set up numerous chances with some beautiful passing, continued his defensive clinic from Columbus in terms of things like positioning and skating the puck out of harm's way (beautiful example of this in the third), ran the cycle like a mad man, then, fittingly, skated through about his 100th check of the night and put the game away with the EN goal. It doesn't get much better than his effort tonight even without 4 or 5 points. The guy was excellent. He even logged almost 23 minutes of icetime.

- He played really solidly everywhere except in front of the net. He probably had 3 chances that were bobbled somewhere in between his feet and stick that he converts on a night when he's hot. Penner was solid on D, controlled the puck beautifully, skated by the opposition D on numerous occasions and just like Hemsky, was awesome on the cycle. The reward could've been much bigger for those two tonight.

- I'll give him credit for improving as the game went on and a solid effort on the LW for the first time in a long time. He was okay. He hustled for his goal and was certainly in the right place. With that said, there's a reason non-stupid people were yelling "don't give it to Horcoff" when the first line was on the ice...he fought the puck hard tonight. We never did get to see a replay of the shot he missed on after Hemsky's setup on the PP in the first, but that must have been close. Horcoff has watched as Penner has stepped up and Hemsky has figured out how to work really well with both Penner and Visnovsky. Horcoff needs to figure out how to be more effective in this new style. I suggest entering the zone with speed on the wide sides without the puck and making sure he's open in the slot (not the faceoff circle) more often.

- His shot is a lethal weapon and a difference maker on this team. He only needs about 5 feet and a fraction of a second to take it as well. Beauty goal. He worked quite hard and improved his game in the defensive and neutral zones in the third. Before this point he was a little shaky. I've also noticed he tends to pick his spots better with hits than he did before. Great work on the forecheck leading to O'Sullivan's goal. We're going to win that Raffi trade even if off-ice stuff isn't factored in.

- Great to see him go to the spot he needs to be in and pot a goal. He was solid and unspectacular for the rest of the game, but did what he needed to do then. Nothing wrong with a nice controlled game from him. He doesn't need to sizzle all the time. Keep in mind that he's also fourth in scoring despite limited time with the premier guys on this team. He's a huge part of our wins this year in terms of being a calming on-ice presence.

- Gave what he had and worked really hard. He keeps his game simple even if the junior scorer tries to break out from time to time. He's not quite good enough to manage that at this level, but then again he doesn't really have to. I still hope he turns into Pisani 2.0...but I dunno...

- I'm a little perplexed as to what's wrong with this guy to the point where he keeps winding up in the minors. He can skate, shoot, seems to know where to go in the offensive zone, is just fine with the puck...he really looks like a useful offensive depth guy in the 11-14 forward range...maybe it's just our team makeup I don't know. Really liked his game and thought he generated several offensive chances. Good solid finish on his goal.

- Not near visible enough for me. He looked weak on the puck and is just bringing nothing towards the net that I'm able to see. I know he's probably lost some confidence and is struggling, but the guy has the tools to be an offensive threat and is doing nothing. Brule is seriously outclassing him in terms of being able to be a speedy difference-maker.

- Great to see him back on the scoresheet, but honestly I expect better from Sam. He was weak on the puck for much of the game tonight and didn't take control at any point. A good example was his net drive in the third that ended in a weak poke check. Sam had them beat, either with a quick shot or a move around the pile, and couldn't do either. Needs to get back on the horse.

- Did his job after the elbow, not much time for anything else unfortunately.

- Another injury, I'm so shocked. He was actually playing a decent game before getting whacked.

- Great story on this guy and he made a lot of solid puck plays tonight after he was asked to step up in light of Tom Gilbert being benched. The sad thing for him is that I think he might be a better hockey player than Strudwick (positioning, skating, passes esp) but he'll still get shipped out when people are healthy. Glad to see him play though.

- If you need an example of how NOT to defend a 5-on-3, watch Strudwick. He spent half his time there on his stomach. Brutal. Just not good enough. Outclassed by Arsene. Made bad passes and basically got Gilbert benched with his horrid work on the Avs second goal.

- We've fallen a long way when Tom is getting benched. Thankfully for both him and us he was able to make a small offensive contribution to outweigh the fact that he is for some strange reason getting manhandled behind and in front of his net this season. It seems like he's not using his body positioning effectively and is panicking because of it. Needless to say, not good. I think the benching will help him out, as Quinn will follow up and tell him what he needs to do. Tom's still an excellent defenceman; he's just lost his way.

- I address these 2 as 1 because watching them work together is simply amazing. With this pair and the 1-line on the ice, we're essentially home free. Smid does what he's learned to always do; intimidate the opposition, skate all the pucks he can out of trouble, and just generally stabilize the heck out the back end. Lubomir distributed like a mad man as usual and creates all kinds of offence. The sheer joy of watching a unique premier defenceman like him, even when he starts of a little jumpy and loses some pucks, is worth admission. Simple things make great plays, like the way he jumped up into Hemsky's rush that resulted in a goal. He does them all the time like it's nothing at all. Sliding all the way across and putting a perfect low shot on Budaj's far pad so that if it didn't go in it went straight to Gagner...poetry with a puck.

- Probably the best I've seen him this year. He took solid shots at the net, played physically, moved the puck well and didn't look slow. He stepped up on an night when we needed it.

- You can tell he's working himself back in more than anything. It was good to see some nasty play and a couple big hits, but his shot needs A LOT of work right now. It's misfiring and getting blocked (without opposition players going down hurt) all over the place. Simply not good enough. He defensive game was fine, and the drive to the net on Brule's goal was a typical example of how good things happen SO many times when he drives the net, but our ace defender can be much better than this.

- Despite a weak defensive effort early on that led to the conditions for goals...he really looked off as well. He made a save or two before the 5-on-3's got heated and those saves I believe put him back in a really nice groove. After that he was doing what he does best; making himself as big as possible in correct positioning. After that, while the Avs didn't get a lot of shots, they had many great chances and he turned aside all of them. He held our boys in just long enough and then shut the door to finish. Good enough!

My Three (Oilers) Stars

1. Hemsky
2. Visnovsky
3, Smid

Chicago is sure to be a stern test, but remember, we have a nice long homestand and players that will be filtering back. Sounds like a recipe for a nice little roll for me. If the forwards that scored tonight have truly snapped slumps...we are again quite dangerous.


A Treatise on Shooting

Ever since I could remember, the hockey players I've followed most closely have been the ones who could fire the puck. Why exactly this is I'm not sure; could be from watching my first games as a kid, could be my fond memories of having the best slapper in the league when I was young (using the ultra-whippy Bauer Supreme, it was black and gold and I scored nearly 50 with it one year, only to graduate to XX-flex sticks after the growth spurt hit) or maybe even playing NHL 94 and unleashing the fury of the Bondra-Iafrate-Hatcher Capitals on an unsuspecting opposition. I don't think I ever lost a game as the Capitals and those slappers were my weapon of choice. The ability to strut in over the blue line and blast the puck by a goaltender who has full view of you and knows exactly what's coming is one of the most fulfilling ways to score a goal, and you can usually see that in the joy on the faces of those in the NHL or even in Atom who do it well. We had a guy on my Midget AA team who could do it with such ease. If he'd been 6'2" instead of 5'10" I'm sure he'd still be playing somewhere.

Shooting is one of the single most misunderstood parts of the game. The problem begins in that newcomers and casual observers seem to think it is the most simple part of the game. Gotta shoot to score right? Taking more shots is always better right? Just fire it at the net right?


These sentiments could not be more wrong. Shooting is one of the most complicated arts to master in the game. I've noticed that hockey moms are often the most guilty of the "SHOOT" disease in hockey rinks, but I don't really blame them for this as it does seem simple. The thing about shooting effectively is that it must be done in the midst of the entire fray of the game. With everything else going on, you must find enough physical room to deploy your selected shot, obtain the space to put the puck through, decipher where to put the puck so that it has the best chance of reaching the net (read: net behind the goalie, not "on net"), how to disguise your intentions, and many other internal calculations within the game if you hope to be an effective shooter. Those who do this well are those able to slow the game down in their own minds and see clearly. Shooters are not panicky. They are calculated. Though the shot often comes off in a fraction of an instant with an utterly violent motion, that motion is controlled and decisive. The best shooters have this procedure so programmed in that the process simply looks like an instinctual and savage movement.

I maintain that Wayne Gretzky was the best shooter ever. It's true that there have been many greats including the Hulls, Bossy, Sakic, etc., but the way Gretzky was able to simply beat goalies at will is undeniable. Watch film of him and you will see how he used the entirety of his skill to position and time shots in order that they find the back of the net. See the Vernon goal in 88 over the shoulder. See his 5 goals to get to 50 in 39. See countless times where he intentionally banked point shots off of his own linemates for goals, or saw a goalie out of position and used his pad, back or skate to score. His combination of accuracy and (when he needed it) power are unmatched from my eyes. Some older observers might dispute it, but he's the best I've seen because he understood when, how and where to shoot better than anyone. You didn't see Wayne Gretzky firing off stupid shots into defenders all the time, or getting checked because he was busy trying to shoot from a bad position. Also, from what I've seen, when he truly needed to score, he went to his forehand, which is another thing I've observed that great goal scorers will always do.

Alexander Ovechkin is probably the best shooter playing today. Watching his wrist shot alone is worth the price of admission. He has a really unique approach and release, but I think this often distracts watchers. Ovechkin is a truly great shooter because he uses the entirety of his game to set up his opportunities. Half of the reason he has a lethal shot is his skating speed. Many observers do not understand the impact that skating speed has on shooting power. It's something that you can't really understand until you've done it I suppose, and they don't showcase it in something like the hardest shot competition. Ovechkin is also the very best at moving the puck so slightly as to be able to do what looks like shooting straight through a defenceman. He's not; he's created his own small lane and uses his quickness to unleash devastating wristers before the defenceman can react. There are not many NHLers that can do this, as it is so much more than skating up to a defenceman and shooting it magically by him.

To bring this discussion back to your favorite team and mine, it has been spouted by so many that the cure to what ails the Edmonton Oilers is simply to take more shots. More shots will magically equal more goals and this team will be fine. There are a number of reasons that this simply isn't true, but more on that later.

The fans that attend live games, many of them anyway, do not seem to grasp the intricacies of shooting. They call for shots on the Powerplay most frequently, missing the whole point of the 5-on-4 situation which is not to get more shots but to get BETTER shots that are of higher percentage chance to score. The point of all that passing it to create a lane to another player collapsing the defensive box and creating a situation where a forward (usually) has an opportunity to shoot at an undefended, possibly screened and hopefully out of position goaltender. Simply taking more shots accomplishes none of this and relinquishes the puck control that the 5-on-4 situation affords you. Your goal is not to blast 100 pucks in the general direction of the net and hope that 4 or 5 go in. If your team somehow manages to score 4 or 5 goals in half your games, you'll be a pretty great team in this league. Doing this requires better chances, not more pucks directed at the net.

Directing a puck towards the net accomplishes absolutely nothing in and of itself. It can in fact be a negative because if you do not score, create an offensive rebound or cause an offensive zone faceoff, you've turned the puck over to the opposition who can then break out on you. Odds are you're also out of position at this stage.

If you gave a team a goal, and that was to direct 50 pucks at the net in a given game, I submit to you that this team would not win hockey games. The easiest shots to take are often the ones least likely to go in. An undefended shot from the blue line, even when you're Sheldon Souray, is of relative ease to take, but has a very low chance of success for many reasons. The shooting percentage that teams have is not simply because they direct pucks at the net, but is because they direct some of the right pucks at the net.

The Edmonton Oilers of 09-10 have many problems in the offensive zone right now. The desire to shoot is not one of them despite the howls of the peanut gallery. When this team has been in position to take effective shots, they have not been shy at all about taking them. Gilbert Brule is a great example of a talented shooter who's made a lot of his chances so far this year. I wish we had 3 of him (ideally one that was 6'3", but those kinds of guys go first overall). What has occurred lately is that this team is not getting itself into the positions required to take effective shots, and not corralling rebounds in high percentage areas where goals are had. There have been many games this year where we've had an obscene number of pucks blocked after they were poorly directed at the net. This needs to stop. Our game in the offensive zone has become much less fluid despite our roster which is structured to play a very fluid offensive style. There are teams that can play the table-top hockey style game, stay in place and fire shots. We are not that kind of team. We need rushes (Hemsky, Penner), passing plays (Gagner, Cogliano), players in position for rebounds (Comrie, O'Sullivan), and room to fire shots (Brule, Moreau). We are a perfectly capable offensive team that is more than capable of getting into ideal shooting position and taking advantage. We simply do not create these opportunities on enough occasions.

This process should be the focus of our efforts as a team. Simply focusing on directing pucks will not lead to wins, only to frustration.