I thought the Generals were due - Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofski
I really did tonight. I thought we were going to win going in. My instincts on this stuff used to be very good; but this year's team has thrown it off entirely. Oh well.
That and I wanted to win. We're going to win some of these games left, and I'd much rather that some of them, if not ALL of them be against the Canucks. As covered many times before, I hate their whiny pathetic team of confused olympic divers playing the wrong sport, and cheap shot artists. That's really all they are and that's why they'll lose out in the playoffs again. Their fans in Edmonton are a bunch of annoying weirdos who do that stupid LLOOOOOOO thing all the time, even at crappy saves. It's sad really.
But tonight, and I'm loathe to use this sort of argument, the refs took it from us. They snatched a random victory against a hated rival away for some unknown reason. Aside from all the uncalled BS all night (like the Pisani stick in the face in front of a ref), which was bad enough, it had to come down to a bogus call late creating a PP, and a flat-out leaping through the air dive to end this game favorably for the Canuck side. Just garbage. It's bad enough to be beaten by complete and total chumps like Burrows, Kesler and Raymond, but to have the refs rub it in just that little bit more...really???
We should have had a cushion I know. We used our odd-man rushes like a bad AHL team would...and many were guilty on this front...even ones that had solid games. When Gagner, Nilsson, Cogliano, O'Sullivan, Grebeshkov and the like can't convert the 2-on-1's they're getting, even one of them, you're going to have trouble winning.
We stayed in this one, which was a nice change. I think honestly the Canucks early attempts at abrasiveness motivated some of the dormant guys on our squad just enough to eek a decent effort out of them. Another fairly strong goaltending effort didn't hurt either. I really feel for both guys because their efforts this year are completely for naught. That's really too bad.
Anyway, let's take a closer look in PLAYER REPORTS
- I know he struggled a bit later on in the game, but he was impressive dynamic for most of the first 2/3rd. He made a bunch of nice choices with the puck and some strong recovery and puck support plays high in the opposition zone that generated chances. He didn't take bad shots afterwards either, though I think he could've held the puck a little longer a time or two. He even hit a couple people and withstood some checks as well. Generally good. I think O'Sullivan's recent solid play indicates that he can stand on his own alright despite lackluster efforts around him. I think this shows why of all the supposed secondary runts, you keep him. He's got a more balanced game and a higher upside should he get going.
- Nilsson frustrates me in the same way I'm sure many are frustrated by O'Sullivan. I see a guy who can make dynamic plays with relative ease, as he did a couple of times tonight, then he can't decide what to do with the puck or gives up on it too easy or suddenly ditches the physical quality he'd brought briefly to his game...it's really frustrating. I think he's totally out of place right now, so I have some sympathy, but I didn't see anything special from him. Somehow he blocked a ton of shots...which is excellent I suppose. I just don't see how he ever fits on a winner here. Anyone???
- A big part of Ryan's job in my eyes is to get open for his one-timer and he failed to do that this evening. This is the kind of game where he pops one late in 2 or early in 3 and supplies the winner. No dice. He played his usual sound, basic game and that's fine with me. His play is largely irrelevant (barring falling off the planet) until TC for me. If he's still here.
- He did indeed play one of his better games in a while. He certainly read well off of Cogliano's skating lines and gave him a place to put the puck. If anything it was Penner who looked slightly out of sorts. I like Gagner's game when he's getting effective shots away and he did that tonight. I was surprised to see him beat Luongo clean the way he did, but that's excellent. He needs to do that more often. He looked tonight more like he looked when Hemsky was his other winger...without Hemsky to make the dynamic plays of course. If Sam keeps this up I don't mind him here. I still have trouble fitting him into my complexion of a winner though unless he figures out how to be effective from my third line.
- One of his more effective games in a long while that's for sure. It hasn't been that he's been lacking effort, but tonight it was focused. He was physically involved, skated into the proper lanes and rather than simply skating with his head down and hoping for open ice, skated to a place where he could get his head up and make a play, forcing the D to back off. That often seems to be the downfall of "speed only" guys. They bury their head, simply expecting the afterburners to supply all they need. The smart ones know better. Cogliano looked smarter tonight.
- Honestly, his basic game was okay but we expect more. His linemates were flying and unless I missed a ton of support work he did, Penner wasn't in on a good night. This is unusual for him. He gave the puck away weakly a couple times and had no physical edge in a game that could've really used it.
- So he takes his visor off and he's a different player? Sorta maybe? At least one we can sell at the deadline perhaps? Good. Moreau did a lot more of skating to the play and a lot less wandering aimlessly. He's still beyond the play and slapper is nowhere to be found, but he was certainly better. Looks alright with Horcoff and Pisani...shocker! I'd look good with Horcoff and Pisani.
- Speaking of Shawn, despite the lack of any real offensive boom and screwing up a couple of net rushes, I didn't mind him tonight. He controlled the puck well and looked right at home with his linemates, something that hasn't been the case for a while.
- A classic quiet-but-effective Fernando game by my eye. I really enjoy watching him play those. People forget his game didn't really change much during the run, he was just more confident. If he hadn't been hurt, I'm sure we woulda seen that. But so go many careers...the same thing happened to Reasoner just as he found "it".
- Blah...very blah...he's lost all edge. I'd think a new coach woulda had it with him by now because he's shown a lot of nothing.
- Good to see him back even though I don't think he'll be around for too long. I'd like to see him play with some slightly better wingers and be given the job of "dig in the corners and pass out" that he's so good at when he wants to be. See if he's still got it. Hard to believe this is guy I wanted over Winchester in the playoffs way back when.
- You know all that progress that he looked to be making? Whether it's entirely circumstances or not, it was short lived. He just has no concept of how to PK and is routinely taken advantage of. Especially if he's out there with Souray. That's way too little skating.
- His shot worked, and he was okay defensively. I think in a game like this though my standard for Sheldon is to make it so none of the Canuck pukes come anywhere near the crease and he prevents goals that way. He didn't do that. Thus I view it as a limited success for him.
- I saw him a lot in the offensive zone tonight. He had a great little turnover play that could have won us the game late and didn't get the greatest break out of it all. Another time he just gave the puck up and it resulted in a rush going our way. He wasn't really great or bad defensively, and he is stuck with Strudwick, but Denis needs to be better. I suspect he will be after the Olympics, where I imagine he'll shine.
- I didn't see him tonight...which is incredibly odd considering he played so much. He must've done fairly well. I still can't wrap my head around a "quiet Tom Gilbert game" but bet he's rounding out his game nicely. The Gilbert naysayers are gonna eat it.
- Liked that he was mean. Didn't like that he was not skating the puck. He almost looked nervous to. Whether that's lack of motivation or what I'm not sure. He should be better. Then again, I'll give him a one-night pass when it doesn't really hurt us any.
- I recall a broken up rush in the second...though one he nearly botched before tipping the puck into the netting. Then again that's Lubomir, it just gets done somehow. Why he's not playing more I still have no freaking clue.
- He served well. You could see the crushed look even though you couldn't see his face. You know its bad when the goalie leaves his mask on and staggers off the ice. He was seriously into this one and had his heart broken. Gotta feel bad for the kid. He's making strides.
Doesn't ever get any easier to take this stuff. I can almost stand it against teams that don't matter to me, but not against these guys. Damn....