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1/27/09

LMHF Game Report #23

Edmonton Oilers - MIA

VS.

BUFFALO SABRES 10
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A brief story for you all; in my last year of Midget we played our arch-rivals in a really big game that if I recall correctly was for the division lead. We’d lost narrowly to them earlier in the year. We’d lose controversially to them in the playoffs after a disallowed goal and an improperly allowed goal led to them winning the second game of a playoff series we should have swept. In this particular game though, we lost 9-2. It was embarrassing; for everyone. We were angry; everyone said so. Our coach was livid but handled it better than I’ve seen most. All of us were pissed off and embarrassed.

I was +2 with 2 assists in that game. No, I’m not joking. Our top D pair and top forward unit shut down the best line in the league and managed to score 2. It didn’t matter, the game was still embarrassing and we knew it.

Anyway, back to our game tonight.

I wager many people didn’t expect a report after such a bad effort. It has been a rather sad year so far when it comes to nights like that. Tonight’s effort however reached an even further level that essentially requires I write something for many reasons. Chief among them is that the mainstreams are either too cowardly, too dependent, or simply will not, say how bad this game really was. It WAS that bad. It WAS that embarrassing. You cannot just pass this off as another loss. I’m fully a believer in that a loss by one goal is as bad as losing by 5, but this is the second time on home ice this season that this team has allowed itself to be destroyed and embarrassed with virtually no fight-back. Tonight there was quite literally no fighting back.

Allowing a team like Buffalo to run over you like that without ONE guy on your team making an issue out of what they were doing in terms of getting their offensive players out and making the big fancy moves with the puck is sick.

I’m talking to you Stortini (and why were you in the lineup???) I’m talking to you Souray (who probably had his worst game as an Oiler) I’m talking to you Horcoff, I’m talking to you Moreau especially, I’m talking to Strudwick and everyone else on this team who sat there and took their beating like good little soldiers who enjoy being part of franchise history. WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!

It started bad and it started early. I am now severely worried about what I hinted at previous to the game in that I think Roloson has lost his edge. He didn’t look focused at all during any time in this game. He was not reacting to goals the same way and has now played 3 bad games since his competition was sent to Pittsburgh. All the while with the media pumping him up saying he was playing great, comparing him to Fuhr after the Columbus game and the coaches saying he’s playing amazing. He’s not. NONE of those first 3 should have went in. There were two that went right through him and one where he moved way out of position. Putrid.

After that our suddenly shoddy D took over, allowing Buffalo to pull off virtual trick plays down low with not one slash or crosscheck placed. It was horrible. Each goal you’d see two Oilers defencemen standing there with stupid looks on their faces wondering what just happened. It was sick. Was this actually just a sick joke tonight? Was our team trying to test our wills?

You want to know what a REAL team does? One with killer instinct and a smart coaching staff to go with it? Calls a time out when they’ve already scored 4 to rest their PP unit and get back on the same page. That was impressive. They came for our hearts tonight and ripped them right out of our chests like a winner with a killer instinct would. Not that they were beating to begin with.

I do feel really bad for the guys who are winners on this team. I was really hoping Hemsky would score on his good chance in the third, then whip his stick into the glass and skate right off. He’d have gotten the loudest cheer of his career. That’s what his team deserved tonight from him. Same goes for Cole who actually busted his butt out there a fair bit.

Buffalo is one capable offensive team, make no mistake about that. But when you stand there letting them pass it around you in a triangle without moving; or let players skate past you without any effort, or don’t hit anyone in your own zone for fear of breaking a nail, you’re gonna get pasted by the Islanders!

And remember games like the Islanders when people try to tell you’ve we’ve only really had a couple stinkers at home this year. We’ve had plenty more than that. We’ve come out utterly flat and QUIT on so many home games this year it is amazing. Where is the pride? Where is the coach not ripping his individual players but maybe admitting that he’s embarrassed? That everyone is? That the effort WAS THAT BAD tonight Craig! I heard you at the presser trying to claim this team put out an effort tonight. BULL! They didn’t, you didn’t, nobody did. It WAS THAT BAD. Get that into your thick freaking skull already and CHANGE yourself and this team. What you’re doing right now is wrong.

And then Stauffer’s on the radio talking about how we just won 5 of 6. SO WHAT?!?! Sather wouldn’t have put up with that from the Oilers back in the day. San Jose got a day off cancelled this year for simply LOSING a game. We could have come in having won 15 in a row and that team should have been torn a new one by everyone including themselves tonight. As catharsis at the very least. I really wonder if half of them care after a pathetic display like that. You don’t let other teams walk all over you then come back to wipe their feet and make a drop pass 3 feet in front of your goalie for #9 on the night and still have all their teeth after the game. Buffalo is LAUGHING at us right now. Calgary is laughing at us.

Trying to tell everyone that its going to be okay and that this doesn’t really matter is pathetic and incorrect.

Does everyone here remember when we handed out beatings like this? Or at least played like we meant it at home? Some even go so far as to blame the fans for some of this for not being loud enough. There are about 3-5 guys on that hockey team who deserve any applause at this stage of the season. The rest are so inconsistent and so off the top of their games I’m amazed there hasn’t been more talk about them.

Were we turning it around? Probably.

Will we still make the playoffs? I’m saying yes.

Does that mean tonight doesn’t matter? HELL NO.

Tonight matters because teams that win the cup would rattle off an angry 7 game winning streak after a game like this and never look back. We won’t do that. We would have shown SOMETHING in that game if we were going to.

I’ve watched 2 separate games this year where this team has given up a combined 19 goals and looked so listless I thought I’d have to check for a pulse. Have we EVER done that before? EVER?!?!

Why does this happen? For a lot of reasons I think:

- Our system is entirely geared to shutting down teams that possess one line rather than taking the play to the other team
- We have a “#1” goalie who has been overachieving and a D that isn’t comfortable playing in front of him. On bad nights, things go BAD
- We have no method to pull ourselves out of bad games. No one guy to rally people. No move the coach makes to get things going. No vocal team atmosphere of anger or confidence or anything
- We’re scared to death of success, I don’t like Shawn Horcoff’s playing style but I sure like the game he talks. He knows its all about winning the cup and this team should start acting like it. How come we haven’t heard that in forever? And why not from the coaching staff or management? This team has no business where it is in the standings right now (and I mean it should be HIGHER not lower).

That game was the biggest pile of utter BS I’ve ever been forced to endure in that hockey rink.

I hope like crazy that’s the experience this team needed to get its butt in gear and realize what a dangerous team that knows it looks like. BUF is 2 defencemen from being legit cup contenders, and they know that.

Will it be? I really don't know...

3 comments:

Charlie98 said...

I didn't see much of the game but what I did see was ugly. Turned on the channel and Erik Cole gets the puck in our end and makes the worst play I've ever seen. Using zero effort he has the puck taken from him, taken as in can I have that, sure, thank you very much, I'll just go and deposit this and bingo another Buffalo goal.
I disagree, this team will not make the playoffs, certainly not with this coach. Souray said they weren't ready to play. Didn't it occur to them that Buffalo is a good team, that good teams compete.

David S said...

Nice post again LMH.

The only thing I can think of is that MacT took the risk of letting guys cake it for the last 5 days to have them rested for the stretch. In the post-game comments from Buffalo's players, they mentioned that yesterday was a high-tempo practice. whereas I got the feeling that the Oilers had a fairly easy day back. MacT said as much in his post-game presser where he blamed himself for the (lack of?) game prep. When you're as finely tuned as these guys, taking 5 whole days off is a recipe for disaster.

So it comes down to Friday I guess. In alot of ways, it might be the biggest game of the year.

Charlie98 said...

They mentioned on the TV broadcast that Hemsky spent the all-star break training. Might be interesting to discover what the others were up to, maybe we'd discover who actually gave a damn.