EDMONTON OILERS 5
CALGARY FLAMES 1
Well, it's nice to paste Calgary like that regardless of the circumstances. It's a little upsetting that it had to come NOW, but at least we got to see it I suppose.
Any idea why people leave really early during wins when games are not ending late at night? I don't get it. Stay and enjoy the victory. Especially the last one of the year. Why not?
It's kind of funny what happens when a team relaxes a little. Things like saucer passes suddenly become much more prevalent. The thing I think the team could learn from last night is that going forward; they need to play a little more relaxed and more confident. These passes work and we have enough skill guys that we need to use them. I saw more sauce in that game than in the past 15.
Sure Calgary wasn't playing their best and clearly didn't put forth the effort they needed to, but Jeff was excellent. It was a joy to watch a much more conventional and athletic goaltender in net. We have another guy who can stop the puck...who knew...well besides about half the fanbase. His stretch save in the second period was amazing. That was probably the save of the year Oilers-wise. The only goal that got by him was largely Chorney's fault...and he almost stopped that. He suffered some rebound control issues later in the game, but early on was near-perfect. A sheer joy to watch him play.
On the positive side, he can really skate with the puck. He was markedly improved since I saw him last. As with all young defencemen, he'll have to learn to make the play as he enters the zone better. One kind of strange thing I noticed is that very seldom does he take one hand off of his stick. This isn't a great thing. If you've ever taken advanced skating lessons, one of the first things that you learn is that there are times and places where you're at a distinct advantage with one hand as opposed to 2. Especially backwards which is obviously pertinent to a defenceman. I think this could have been nerves and will change in a hurry, but it was just odd to notice in an NHL defenceman.
Continued his strong play. He's ready, plain and simple. Play him next year.
They were okay. Not a lot of demands placed on them last night. Gilbert made some standout defensive plays to break up Flames rushes. Grebeshkov wasn't spectacular, great to hear he may be close to re-signing.
Was this Steve Staios' last home game as an Oiler? I doubt it. I'd hope we're better than needing him next year but am not holding out much hope on a team that trusts mediocre vets more than higher-end vets. Steve ideally would be in Strudwick's role next year but he makes too many dollars to justify that on a team with 2 horrendous contracts up front and some big-ticket defencemen. Souray was pretty good. It was lovely to see that perfect blast in the third. It has been forever since we've seen such a simple and beautiful goal like that.
I wonder if this was his last home game as an Oiler as well. I can't see them needing the guy next year. That shot he took on his goal was something else; amazing that a big guy like him would pick the corner like that. Great that it dribbled in, he deserved it. Good work from him. A little disappointed that he didn't get into anything, but who would in a game like that?
Did some great work and showed some of the really good parts of his game. If you want an example of a simple and excellent play in a corner to show kids, get tape of this one. He made contact, directed the puck, got it back, was aware of the play, then made an excellent pass. So well done. Those kind of plays win games. He was excellent. I hope under a new coach he gets a better kick at generating some offence, because he's entirely capable. Did great work on the O'Sullivan goal too.
Lazy and uninspired. It happens...new coach...new Penner. Book it. That episode beside the net that got him booed wasn't exactly the greatest thing though...
They were okay, but quite invisible. I'm intrigued to see what happens with Cogliano going forward. He's clearly not a center. We need his goal scoring off of the wing.
I've never seen a guy in an Oilers uniform take so many quality shots and get so few goals. That cannot last long. Patrick made a lot of solid plays and got the puck to the net really well last night. Getting only 1 was nearly unbelievable and a shame. This guy will be excellent for us next year when he settles in with some linemates and is used properly. The lack of icetime and lack of appropriate PP time he was getting hampered his output. I don't think he'll have that problem next year. Such an excellent fundamental hockey player.
Solid performance. Sam's come a really long way and was likely our best player over the last 25 games. Great time for him to step up like that. I'm really looking forward to seeing him play next year. I really hope he's still on a second line, but we'll see. O'Sullivan-Gagner-Kotalik wouldn't upset me in the least. Definite 20-20-20 potential there.
The man on the bubble didn't have a spectacular game but also didn't play that much. I don't know whether he'll be back. I really enjoy Nilsson's game and how dynamic he can be, but he has serious consistency and confidence issues that perhaps he shouldn't have after this many years as a pro. It'd be great to have the luxury of giving him another year, but I don't know if we will have room.
Kotalik's goal was nice. He really does fit in on this team and 6 in the last 9 isn't bad at all. I hope we don't pay him like a first-liner and force him onto this line in the offseason. That's not his ideal role and won't make us anywhere near elite. I want to keep him on the team rather badly though. Horcoff had his best offensive game in a really long time. We need to send him down to the Easton factory again. Ales was alright.
Well I guess that's that. I haven't been this disappointed in a home season since I've been a ticket holder. This should have been a good year. Year-end wrap to come soon. Thanks to everyone who reads and comments! You're the reason I keep at it and I enjoy every second.
Til next year, the Game Report desk is closed...