ST. LOUIS 7
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?