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1/5/09

LMHF Game Report #17

EDMONTON OILERS 3

VS.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS 2
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I’m not sure about everyone else; but I thought that win was pretty ugly. We didn’t really deserve it; but nearly did the Islanders. We needed it badly and we got it. We played on two wounded legs, a wonky back and while in a dizzy spell essentially and went home with 2 points.

Kinda like the guy who slips on some ice at the bar, spills a drink on a girl he’d never have a chance with, gets a number anyway and stumbles out with a grin. Maybe he deserved the break, and maybe not, but he gets a chance and comes out ahead that night.

I’m wondering how hurt this team really is right now. It was quite obvious that Horcoff had no business playing tonight and was pressed into service. You’ve got to wonder if Pouliot was close to 100%. Other injuries that this team is playing with? Who knows, but with our roster situation so screwed up I wouldn’t be surprised if there were multiples. We didn’t look all there tonight.

Even though MacTavish appeared to be going with the hot hands in the Stortini-Brodziak-Strudwick, I wonder how much of that would actually be because his other lines were so beat up or tired. Cole was working his butt off out there and looked just burnt. Penner was either tired or lazy at a lot of times tonight as well. We need a recharge at the worst possible time; which has me worried about Wednesday to be honest with you.

Islanders goal #1 - Horcoff giveaway winds up in our net. This was the first example tonight of a situation where a wonky back could have affected him. He had trouble bending and controlling the puck all night and the incident got taken advantage of here. It was a nice shot by Okposo, but Grebeshkov has to play him way more aggressively. Staios is close enough to Comrie that Denis has to take a chance on that puck rather than allowing that shot.

Islanders goal #2 - A weak play by Moreau along the boards where he could have taken the man out and instead placed a weak stick led to Visnovsky misreading the play and not being able to recover. I think Roloson could have stopped this but it was certainly a collective effort. Horrid to allow a goal that late.

Oilers goal #1 - Good work along the boards by Stortini followed by a smart play to the front by a well-positioned Brodziak that ends up getting lucky and bouncing in. It was quite strange to see Strudwick’s reaction considering that the puck didn’t hit him. Had to be a tease having his goal taken away.

Oilers goal #2 - Great long distance pass by Gilbert and amazingly Stortini actually picked it up. I’m still a little surprised and figured that Stortini should have dropped a back pass to Brodziak. He was in better position and probably served as a decoy on Strudwick’s awkward first goal of the season and in over a year. We were doing it REALLY ugly at this point but were somehow tied.

Oilers goal #3 - Good solid rush by Moreau, excellent puck movement to a well-positioned Pouliot who didn’t hesitate on his shot and good job by Cogliano to follow up his pass and score the decisive marker. I’m not sure why Ethan was so disoriented on this one but at least someone put it in.

PLAYER REPORTS
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Roloson

- I didn’t think he was very good in the first and early second. He got beat by the only decent shots and gave the puck away several times. Later on he was saved by a post and almost cost us big-time on another missed dump-in late. He was better in the second and third between the pipes but was getting into the old habit of getting down early just a touch.

Smid

- Not a good game. He was shaky with the puck in both the offensive and defensive zones, should probably have had a couple penalties and gave the Islanders chances. Maybe a good pass here or there but Ladislav was not on his game tonight.

Grebeshkov

- In addition to his error on the goal, he was playing far too soft on the shot that rang the post in the third that would have tied it up. This was one of his weaker defensive efforts. He wasn’t using his skills to dictate positioning or the puck and couldn’t compensate with any physical play. I’d say he played too safe tonight.

Staios

- Didn’t love Staios’ game tonight either. His play behind the net was subpar and he drifted into an already occupied corner a couple times. Couple that with nothing offensively and its not a great night for Mr. Staios.

Gilbert

- One of the better D-men tonight as evidenced by a couple chance-stoppers and his great pass to Stortini. Could have had a better first 10 but was generally quite solid.

Souray

- Looked to me like he simplified his game tonight and focused on D. He played well in front of the net and did a simple but effective job. Stopped a nearly-clear rush in the second by using his strength to make the Islander player’s stick useless.

Visnovsky

- Made just a beauty play to take a puck away from a man who had him beat without even coming close to taking a penalty in the third. That was a simple defensive masterwork. He almost got beat a couple times later however on chances that could have cost us. He really could’ve helped out by cashing a couple offensive chances he had in the slot but didn’t manage to. That shot is deadly but it needs to hit corner!

Stortini-Brodziak-Strudwick

- I think the real reason these guys did so well was that Brodziak had a WHALE of a game. He forechecked, positioned himself perfectly, moved the puck around and played a crucial puck support role as the wingers gooned the puck around. He really made the difference tonight ahead of Strudwick and Stortini in my view. The reason those guys could go to the net and get things done or work in the corners were Brodziak passes, positioning and puck support. That’s probably the best you’re going to get out of those two so I hope everyone enjoyed it. Too bad Strudwick couldn’t cash the great chance he had in period 3. That woulda been really nice.

Moreau-Cogliano-Pouliot

- These guys were solid I suppose. I was worried about Pouliot and it certainly took him at least a period to settle in but after that he was back working the corners and getting in good spots which was really nice to see. Cogliano was doing what we’ve become accustomed to and had another very solid game. He’s such a rock right now. His drive to the net that also should have resulted in a goal was quite nice. I was surprised to see him tuck the puck and barrel like that but he did it very well and generated a great rebound which is usually the most important thing. Moreau was solid but I wonder about his health as well. He could have been better.

Nilsson-Gagner-Cole

- Very solid and slightly unlucky night. Cole was barreling all over the ice but seemed to keep coming up woozy. Looks like he took the beating to make the offensive play. He had his chances and certainly could have scored but I liked his consistent effort and really sound fundamental play tonight. Gagner should have scored as he had several conventional and unconventional chances in this game. It turned out to be okay that he didn’t; and at least he’s gaining some confidence. Robert isn’t quite there yet. He’s not taking passes with authority nor using his potent slapper in places he normally would when he’s rolling. I’d like to see him focus in on that.

Reddox-Horcoff-Penner

- I guess they ate up some minutes and didn’t get burned too badly? Horcoff kept messing up with the puck and it sure looked like he was having back issues. Penner looked out of sorts and slow. Reddox didn’t do anything really.
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Not too impressed really but also enjoyed the fact that we managed to win. You need at least 5-8 of these a year.

2 comments:

hunter1909 said...

You sir provide one of the best Oilers viewpoints found anywhere. That especially includes the bland press who are slavishly in the shadow of the Oilers organisation.

LMHF#1 said...

Thanks very much!

Knowing some people in the media biz I think I understand a bit of their conundrum; but they also get bogged down in a lot of unnecessary stuff that clouds their ability to form and forward an opinion.

Not all of course, but many.