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11/25/10

LMHF Game Report #9

EDMONTON 3

VS.

COLORADO 2
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When we scored #3 tonight, everyone cheered a bunch and most remained standing for some time. We needed this home win and badly. It's one thing to stink; it's another to stink even worse than normal at home.

I didn't see a great game from the guys tonight. Tonight is the type of game that proves you don't actually need to play 60 to win. You need to play 5 great minutes and 55 decent ones. We did that.

We gave up too many shots and spent most of our offensive zone time on the perimeter. Credit to Colorado for keeping us to the outside most of the night, but they paid dearly when they didn't.

Strangest moment of the night: they played a rap-infused version of Free Fallin...so very very very wrong.

I trust that everyone sitting near someone in a hideous green non-hockey jersey calmly informed them that they were in the wrong building watching the wrong sport in the wrong province and kindly asked them to leave. So very annoying...

Colorado certainly looked like a team that played late last night. They were asleep for the first few minutes and dragged themselves essentially lifeless back into the game just enough to have something of a chance but that was it. They certainly have some talent, though all but Duchene looked off their games tonight. On to our squad

PLAYER REPORTS
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Gerber
- Didn't really have his body under control and kept sliding out of the net. I could see how his style would be effective when he's on because he can cover a lot of net, but he looked a little over-amped tonight and gave up some seriously juicy rebound. His best save came only because he'd kicked out a rebound to an open Avs player. If not for Sam scoring on him, he has a 1 goal allowed night which is wonderfully solid for that many shots. He definitely has a unique method of playing the puck; often flicking his stick out with one hand to direct it. I suppose if our players had seen him more they'd know where to go and it wouldn't look so awkward. It generated a goal in the second for the Avs, but generated the winner for us. Congrats on returning to the show with a W Martin!


Peckham
- Just destroyed 3 different Avs players with wonderful right-on-the-edge hits. This guy is the best Oilers hitter in a long time not just because he connects but because he does it without being thrown way out of position like some of the forwards who try to land bombs. Even though he had something of an iffy game in his own zone (he wasn't as strong as usual in the corners but okay in other areas), this was an excellent game for him because it was noticeable after the hits that several Avs players backed off of the puck when he was near. They also must know he can fight because none came after him despite his aggressive play. VERY effective night from Theo.

Gilbert
- Really liked the little rush play he made with tired linemates in the third to gain the red line and get the puck deep. I think I might have caught some of what the problem is with Tom. Normally, he's from the calm school of defencemen and sort of slides into his position, cutting off opposition forwards rather than catching or hitting them. Tonight and recently, when I look for him in the spot he should be (safe side, tight gap, facing the play), he's often overcommitted towards the opposition player. Because he's not physical, this means he often misses his check and the puck and is forced to chase. He's not a chaser. This needs to be corrected.

Whitney
- Great pass to catch Magnus in stride in the third; loved the calm read. Controlled the puck and the play for much of the night, often skating it into the opposition zone and making a solid play. I think without Hemsky as an outlet he took some of the neutral zone responsibility on himself. I'm surprised he didn't bring up his hitting game when he saw what Peckham was doing. Certainly one of our best and much improved since the last games on home ice.

Smid
- He looked a little out of sorts tonight; and that was before he got popped in the third. I was certainly scared for him as he sort of wobbled around the ice the rest of that shift. It appears he's okay and I sure hope so. Looked like a good fit with Whitney tonight as he knew how to find him with the pass and where to provide defensive support.

Vandermeer
- bringmebackshawnbelle! *cough*, nothing special and nothing really bad I suppose.

Foster
- What is it with Oilers players getting caught in the mouth with the puck lately? I don't get it...He got some shots away and made a couple lovely slap passes (the one I remember most was in the second and Penner kind of whiffed on a great chance). He also kept up the minor physical element of his game which is good. Not amazing defensively, but oh well.

Cogliano
- Okay, so let me get this straight: Andrew Cogliano turns into a scorer if we outfit him with a 2-piece mask featuring face and jaw shield as opposed to a full shield? (seriously, find a pic it looked silly as all hell!) If it takes looking like RoboCop's strange hockey-playing cousin out there, so be it I guess! What Andrew did well tonight was use his speed to get to the scoring areas and lurk there. He's forgotten how to do this the last year and some but it certainly came back tonight. The strange thing about this way of playing is that it's actually easier to do than his usual strategy of skating a million miles with the puck but never being in a scoring area. I loved his quick little jump play for goal number 2. Renney missed a chance to use a hot player more than he'd anticipated in the game plan tonight. #13 didn't see the PP (despite his 2 linemates playing there) and didn't get overshifted, yet still managed to come within inches of his trick several times. He was really good tonight and needs to remember where he spent most of the evening. Should've been first star and didn't even get one.

Penner
- The semi-dominant Penner was back tonight; plain owning players while he ragged the puck on command. This is the kind of guy that has a 4-point night with Ales Hemsky. He flourished as the puck carrier and dominant player on his line tonight however. I suspect it was he that gave Cogliano the chance to play in the scoring area. I'm surprised he wasn't able to pop one tonight.

Brule
- Decent, aggressive game from him. His slapper wasn't effective because he was forcing it too much from non-ideal positions but he was aggressive in the corners and actively distributed the puck. For some reason he picked tonight to be horrible on the dot...

Jacques
- 2 hits that I thought should've earned him at least one penalty. I understand why people get excited for some of the stuff he does, but the only other thing I remember about his game tonight was a weak shot from the RW in the third.

Fraser
- Even less. Does he do anything? Seriously? I can't find anything from this guy ever.

Stortini
- Had an even more borderline hit than Jacques behind the Colorado net. Cogliano got booted for something very similar and Stortini's, while slower, looked like a harder hit. He did skate fairly well tonight and made at least one decent backcheck play, but nothing really special.

Paajarvi
- I didn't really notice him much until the end of the game (he hadn't even drawn a penalty!), but boy did he ever have a shift at the end. When he gets his feet moving and commits to making a move with the puck in a protected position, he's very hard to stop. Needs to learn to go upstairs on that play however. The nice thing about Magnus is that he doesn't tend to make mistakes that wind up in our net. Looks like he may have some confidence back.

Jones
- Kind of a mid-physical game from him in that he was finishing checks but not making huge contact. I don't mind this because it can be part of a successful strategy. He also uses his skating well in games like this. It's really too bad he doesn't have just a little more offence to his game.

Gagner
- Didn't love Sam's game tonight, but he was okay. Tough break knocking one into his own net. I'm really not a fan of the way he sets up on the powerplay, and that continued tonight. He also took a couple more of his special slappers that always seem to go high. He grips really low and almost upshoots them...don't quite understand his method.

Eberle
- Nothing quite like taking a pass from your goalie, going the length of the ice, beating an opposition guy behind the net with smarts and positioning, faking another defender to pass between his stick and feet, passed several more, to the guy waiting wide open to finish the game. That play was beautiful for so many reasons and only happens with Jordan Eberle leading it. Just stupendous. He almost led a rush up the middle (that looked like Magnus 3.0) as well and spent the night getting the puck to the slot. His line generated a bunch of offence (even if it didn't succeed often) and it almost always came off his stick. He made two mistakes tonight that I can recall; one was not clearing a puck from his own zone in the third, and he got beat to a puck in the corner in the offensive end. He makes so few mistakes I can usually recount the individual plays. Amazing.

Horcoff
- Pretty solid game from him. He spent the evening in solid puck support position and got some solid shots away from scoring places. Kind of unlucky not to pop one. Certainly worked hard and wasn't overskating his checks.

Hall
- Much better game offensively from Taylor. There was one shift where he popped the puck over an Avs' stick in his own zone (reminding me of a move from NHL 11) and then tried it again and was rebuffed. Rather fun to watch. He got past opposition players much more easily than usual and went to more appropriate spots. Very nice finish on Eberle's pass, showing plenty of patience, awareness and precision to put the puck in even though Budaj was there. If anyone would like to see an example of why I criticize how Hall carries the puck, watch the third period with about 16:30 remaining and he gives the puck away on the rush after a lead pass from Penner I believe. He needs to eliminate that play. Thankfully it was much less plentiful tonight than in previous efforts. I didn't like his defensive game too much because it looked like he was chasing and not winning puck battles. Thankfully his offensive play counter-balanced that.
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Anyone else think if we had a strong D it'd be fun to see what Peckham could do to opposition players playing forward? I think that'd be great.

Winning is so much more fun than losing...YAY!

1 comment:

David S said...

Couple of things -

- I'm stunned Zack isn't used as the central piece of a hard crashing fourth line on an ongoing basis. I'm more stunned that he sits out in favor of "All I've got to do is hit guys" JFJ. Man that dude is useless.

- HHE could easily become our 1A in short order. Gotta give credit to Renney for putting those two kids with Horcoff, and just as much credit to Horcoff for making it work. Beauty trio those three.