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2/24/09

LMHF Game Report #29

EDMONTON OILERS 5

VS.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 3
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This game was really really embarrassing for two reasons:

- First of all, Tampa is embarrassing because no team with that much talent should be putting forth such a pathetic effort. We should have been up about 5 or 6-0 in the first because all Tampa wanted to do was stand around in its own zone looking lost and alone. That was one of the saddest periods of hockey I’ve ever seen at any level. I also would like to profusely apologize for recommending that this team acquire Marek Malik. I did not do my due diligence on this guy this year and I’m very glad he plays for teams other than ours. Had our coach been smart enough to run Hemsky out every time Malik touched the ice; they would have had a hard time keeping this to single-digits even though Ales didn’t have a good game. I’m thinking of trying out for the Lightning as a defenceman next week.

- Second, to us, because beating Tampa by 1 plus an empty net goal with 1.8 seconds left is incredibly alarming and sad. We realistically could have lost this hockey game late were it not for Vinny taking a shot of the back of the ankle. In the first we looked ready then decided that it was going to be easy and backed off. Seeing how many times you can get Peckham, Strudwick and Stortini the puck is all well and fun, but it’s not acceptable in the first period of any game. For the next two periods our team struggled to get back on track and never really found a flow of any kind. Putrid T-Bay goaltending assured that we won the game but that is truly it. What is wrong with these guys that they can’t bring any kind of offensive energy to a game where they have the chance to grab some points.

Moving on from the points of embarrassment to utter lunacy: starting an old man in goal until he dies is not funny, not good hockey, not sane strategy. It should be grounds for getting a coach fired. Not starting Jeff Deslauriers, Dany Sabourin, Bill Ranford or Kari freaking Takko in this game was INSANE. Period. This guy can legitimize a Roloson start at any time until the man’s heart stops beating. We had a perfect opportunity to rest a goalie who is already tiring considerably and didn’t even think about it…I want to throw things, hit things, and yell at things because of this…how can this possibly be SANE???

How do we improve our PP? Apparently the coach’s answer is to send another guy to the front of the net and further isolate our passing options to Hemsky-Souray-Gilbert. Umm…yeah…that’s going to work on a cold day in sub-prime hell…

I have a really hard time complaining about a ‘W’. In the end its all that matters; but this one I’m pretty negative on because we executed like crap against a horrible defensive team, showed little to no focus and killer instinct, and our top line looked really mediocre. I’m not happy with this.

Oilers goal #1 - Very simple really; puck bounces past Malik, who turns on his flashers and prepares to back up…just as the beeping has started Cole is 15 feet past and ripping a great little wrister by an overmatched goalie.

Oilers goal #2 - Gagner with a good little dig on the boards, Strudwick’s open; sees that Ramo has generously left half the net open and delicately places a slapshot I timed with a wind-up stopwatch into the side of the net.

Tampa Goal #1 - What exactly Dwayne Roloson was doing flopping around and diving trying to block a pass way out of his net I have no idea. If he could get across the net in less than a fortnight he wouldn’t have to dive way out of position to make the initial save. If he had a brain he wouldn’t have dove at the pass leaving his next totally defenseless against Murphy’s easy shot.

Tampa Goal #2 - Bad pass by Cole, mistake on the reception by Hemsky, great shot by Stamkos. Not sure what happened to Staios…was he just getting on or trying to head off and blew it? Missed that at the game and video doesn’t have it. He was pissed. Either way he’s out of position or the guy who changed for him was.

Edmonton Goal #3 - Moreau and Stortini drive the net; Souray rips it through Ramo. It was about time that Souray scored…he was getting all kinds of shots away but having what I thought was a horrid game.

Edmonton Goal #4 - More bad goaltending; good job getting the puck to the net and nice patience by Cogliano to take the puck out of the goalie’s equipment jumble (if Penner could do this he scores 4 tonight in the first 2 periods) and make sure he finishes clean.

Tampa Goal #3 - What exactly the four Oilers (Souray, Staios, Horcoff and Brodziak for those scoring at home) were doing on this one I have no idea. Roloson was out to lunch too as he had no puck control or idea where the puck even was the rest of the time. Pure scramble boneheadedness. Plays off the faceoffs like this are why I don’t like the way MacTavish throws centers over the boards all the time, every game, in every situation.

Edmonton Goal #5 - Another addition to the “things I can do better than _____” category for the evening was watching Shawn Horcoff be unable to score AGAIN on an empty net with a skater guarding it. Thankfully for him Vinny Lecavalier blocked the tying goal and Sheldon Souray cleaned up the mess for his fifth goal. Horcoff screwed up after Hemsky made an excellent play to get him the puck as well. Brutal.


Our Best Tonight: Cogliano, Stortini, Cole, Gilbert

Andrew stood out by far as our best player tonight and it wasn’t even close. The main thing that he added to his game this evening was a lot of patience with the puck that led to really solid plays on a night when we had a lot of time and space. He was using his speed very effectively to hit the holes out there. Even off the bench he was coming in fast. Loved the shift where he made the nifty play to keep it in at the blue and created offence. Certainly could have had a more productive night point-wise with a break or two. Also drew a couple penalties. Nicely done.

Stortini continues a strong stretch despite a wholly inappropriate role on a line that needs to be scoring for the club to succeed. He’s keeping things simple and focusing on driving the net, which he certainly knows how to do. This is leading to success and that’s great.

Cole was perfectly suited to take advantage of the TBay D and did at least the once. He was also a little physical and at least played with some intensity out there. He wasn’t spectacular, but he was good.

Gilbert is doing the best defenceman we have going right now. Easily. He’s just so solid back there and is preventing anything from happening along with his partner Smid. He’ll chip in with assists because he’s a good passer but mainly he’s just playing a really simple and effective game based on puck control and good positioning. Very nice. Honorable mention to Smid who has stepped up HUGE as I have noted before, and continues to do so.

Our Worst Tonight (remember, this doesn’t mean they STUNK): Souray, Roloson, Staios

Souray is an incredibly controversial pick I’m sure; but I thought that despite two goals he wasted so much puck possession with BAD shots from positions he cannot score from that he deserves some flack tonight. He’s a vet and knows better than to be shooting from so far out and while standing still. He needs to jump into the offence and he didn’t do that AGAIN. His D wasn’t impressive and he needed to be more physical in front of his net and in the corners tonight. He’s better than that. Great stats night; but not great play.

Roloson’s probably dead-tired, but he can’t be flopping all over the place or allowing horrible rebounds. He wasn’t THAT bad, but he certainly wasn’t good. Good the old man a rest already; the team can win with someone else too; that’s allowed.

Staios I thought was slow and didn’t contribute to moving the puck; plain and simple.

Ineffective: Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky

These guys looked like nothing but an overrated checking line tonight. They all played alright in their own zone as a unit but Ales looks hurt and a little lost. I’m not sure what’s going on but the Oilers have changed their neutral zone attack strategy and it’s thrown this line off something fierce at even strength. They needed to get out more against Malik which would have really helped, but in a game where these guys should each get three points and take a third period rest, they were near-useless offensively. That’s a pretty substantial problem. Horcoff needs to focus on his shooting which we’ve covered here before, but tonight just reinforced that. He’s got confidence issues this year if he can’t even best a guy with no pads on at least twice already. Penner looked pretty invisible. I can see the TBay D being able to play against him though because they are at least sort of large.

Best Game: Strudwick-Peckham

Easily their best game as a unit. Theo’s confidence in taking shots and holding on to the puck that key extra second was probably helped by a game like this where he’s given some space and time. Strudwick’s always going to be the same and play the same game, but he did alright for himself tonight.

The rest: Gagner, Nilsson, Moreau, Reddox, MacIntyre, Brodziak

Thought Sam played okay. Too many turnovers but he’s remaining aggressive which is a positive sign. Hopefully we can get him to work extremely hard on his shooting in the offseason.

Nilsson wasn’t dangling like I thought he might try to tonight. Couldn’t really seem to get his feet moving in the open space like Cogliano did.

Moreau could have scored a couple and looked really miffed when his wrister hit the bar in the third. Ethan needs to remember that even though he scored 20 once, he’s not a scorer first. Back to basics for you Ethan, then place your shot from a good position.

Mac did his job and did well in his fight against Koci. Should have got the chance to go at him again however as he remained an idiot to us for the rest of the game. Coaching mistake here.

Liam played another really solid game in his appropriate role. Loved the sacrifice shot block. Good on him tonight for sure.

Brodziak continues to play well in a crummy role and go unrewarded. He should be playing with Moreau and Cogliano. No doubt whatsoever.
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Like I said, just not that happy with this one; initial reactions might be over-harsh on the Souray and Roloson, but the reaction to the team’s overall performance I stand by.

1 comment:

raventalon40 said...

Souray is an incredibly controversial pick I’m sure; but I thought that despite two goals he wasted so much puck possession with BAD shots from positions he cannot score from that he deserves some flack tonight. He’s a vet and knows better than to be shooting from so far out and while standing still. He needs to jump into the offence and he didn’t do that AGAIN. His D wasn’t impressive and he needed to be more physical in front of his net and in the corners tonight. He’s better than that. Great stats night; but not great play.

I agree wholeheartedly.