My theory going into tonight's game was that we'd either win narrowly or get blown out. That didn't wind up being the case despite the score. Though I'm sure many will question the take, I thought we actually came out of the gate pretty well. We controlled the puck and took some nice skating lanes in the Chicago zone to create the "chance for chances", as it were. Our problem wound up being that we had neither the final deke move nor the extra gear of speed to burn Chicago's D. They were patient and well positioned, which led to us turning the puck over harmlessly more than not.
The game couldn't be discussed without mentioned the refereeing; which was terrible. I hear people say things like "you've got to earn the powerplays" and all that junk, which is fine, but having such uneven standard of what constitutes an Edmonton penalty versus what constitutes a Chicago penalty is unacceptable. Sure, we didn't blow by them and force trips, but the hooks, holds and crosschecks were there all night in plain view. Sutherland and his buddy were just looking the other way. Also, if you cannot correctly pick which player just took a penalty, you shouldn't be able to give one. I'm referring to the weak hooking call made on Hemsky but given to Vandermeer. Brutal x2. Chicago saw what was going on tonight and went down easier because of it. To cap it all off, the goofs in stripey pajamas gave out 10 mins times 2 just because they felt like it. Back to training for these jokers.
Chicago controlled the puck well after our initial solid play to start the game. They made our D look pretty weak a number of times, mostly in terms of their ability to change speed. I lost count of the amount of close plays where Chicago simply turned it on for a couple strides and made the Oil D look like an unmoving blob. That was disheartening.
We were not able to generate consistent offence for a number of reasons, but we had enough bursts to make this a contest. No one seemed to have their net-finder functioning well tonight though.
-He was solid positionally and kept us in it long enough that we could still have won. Not much to be done on Bickell's move, Sharp is a very good shooter and Kane is too. Both the Kane and Sharp goals also saw horrible defensive coverage miscues. He made a couple great saves, one on a Hossa breakaway, then another on a near breakaway and rebound after the "Hemsky penalty". He certainly wasn't the problem tonight.
- Tom on the other hand was part of the problem. I was wondering if there was something physically wrong with him tonight like a migraine or some sort of flu. He kept skating into the wrong corner or giving the puck away clean while there were skating lanes open. He made mistakes on both the Kane and Sharp goals, but also a decent number more in the corners. He's almost never that bad in that area. When Peckham is covering for Gilbert's mistakes and not the other way around, we're not going to win many. He also didn't create anything offensively. Ever since Gilbert went from being an offensive feature in his rookie year to playing second or third fiddle, his offensive game has suffered. He doesn't play as well instinctually as he used too. I wonder if this aspect will ever fully return when I see him play games like this, that could have been salvaged by a great shot and a rush.
- Just okay tonight; he needed to be more physical against a Chicago team we're actually capable of intimidating now. He also covered up a couple of Gilbert's mistakes but wasn't too great on the goals either. No offence from Theo tonight. Also wasn't too impressed when he got hammered by Seabrook; must've been off-balance or something ( I hope).
- Not near enough skating with the puck; which is his strongest play from the defensive zone. His positioning was just okay, and like Theo he needed to be more physical for us to win tonight. No forays into the depths of the offensive zone, which is a change from the last time he was here. Maybe that gameplan is out the window?
- Let's see...terrible defensively (he got skated past more than anyone), no offensive contribution (even when he gets the puck in the clear it's like he's lost all concept of what to do) and went to the penalty box. Ya know when you're discussed as sitting over Jason Strudwick things are bad for a guy who was excellent offensively very recently. Please take him back for something Tampa!
- He either got a really bad break (aided by a bad decision by Taylor Hall to pass to him) or made a bad read on the Bickell goal. On first glance it looked like he wasn't in proper position then played the pass horribly, review seems to confirm that but I'd be interested to know what everyone else thought of that play. With that many white sweaters high, Hall probably shouldn't have made the pass. Petry was not as slick as usual tonight, muffing several passes and not showing a lot of his slick skating. He wasn't too bad defensively, but that's not really the trademark of his game.
- Meh, I'd say he held his own. He got blown by a little less than Foster, so at least he wasn't the worst defensively. Certainly not at the half-decent level he was playing before the injury. Good shot to set up Eberle though, I liked that choice.
-Drew the Oilers first penalty in the third finally. I really like the way he plays the game so my reviews will usually be positive and this one's not an exception. He's still winning nearly every battle along the boards for the puck, looks solid at the point on the powerplay, and set up both linemates as well as getting a couple chances of his own. The one intriguing thing for me about Omark is that his tenacity combined with board skill could actually make for an excellent defensive player if the coaching staff is willing to spend the time to teach a guy who clearly thinks the game through. Sometimes this type of guy is "harder to coach" but the results can be substantial if you're able to reach them.
- Magnus continues to show his wheels and generate chances that way. He wasn't exactly a sniper tonight but that's okay. I'm still not a big fan of using him on the PP as it doesn't appear he's learned that skillset yet, but I think he will. 5-on-5 he's a joy to watch play. There was a sequence tonight where he outskated and schooled Marian Hossa...if that doesn't get you excited about a player I'm not sure what will.
- Missed chances were the order of the evening for Sam. He did a good job of getting open and the pucks got to him, but whether it was a pure whiff or just a miss/save, he didn't have the touch tonight. I'm a little worried about his confidence in his goal scoring ability, as he sure is missing a ton of chances lately.
- Certainly enjoy watching Liam play over Jacques even if it's not going to be much icetime. Generally his work on the PK was alright, but they should give him a try with Penner or someone a little bigger because having he and Cogliano out there just covers way too little ice. Would've liked to seen some hitting from him tonight.
- He didn't follow up his Nashville effort very well. Needs to play with much more energy. Made one decent play to get the puck to Fraser in front of the CHI net in period 2 but that's certainly not enough.
- Pretty boring game, but on his chance in the offensive zone, even with the puck bouncing you have to try to knock it down and go against the grain of a moving Crawford. That play could've been a game-changer and we just happened to have the wrong guy in that spot. He was okay elsewhere, but I still don't see why okay should be his limit. He has some tools but never seems to bring them to work.
- Watching him play with Hall and Eberle reveals the massive gap in their skill levels that is already present. It comes through in passing/receiving, shot selection, skating lanes and reads. Cogliano was reduced to near invisibility with these two. He is not a good puck support C, so the only way he can really have an impact on this line is to drive the net and own that real estate. He didn't do that. I still don't get how a guy who's only had one 2-goal game this year doesn't try to replicate that performance every night out...there was a formula to his play that night.
- Meh, he drove wide and got some shots but I didn't see anything amazingly dynamic in his game tonight. He actually looked a little tired in the third when they'd show him on camera. I wonder if he's going to get more proficient at setting up Eberle, who doesn't rely on the wide rush and can give Hall a better option than that wide-angle shot he's falling in love with a bit. Maybe time to throw Horcoff back with him.
- He was the one Oilers forward I thought was really with it tonight and coincidentally got rewarded with a goal. He made some really solid choices with the puck, especially at the offensive blue line. He also doesn't take the stupid crowd-urged shots that a lot of his teammates do and thus doesn't give the puck away after that shot gets blocked. In a game with so many PKs, he, Hemsky, and Penner should all have had a go. I think that would have kept Eberle functioning at a high level. There almost wasn't enough ES icetime to run the 3 main lines through properly. Great that Jordan's baseline "nothing special" games look like this.
- I'm sure being on a losing team is wearing on Ales and the two guys ahead of him. They can brave-face it all they want, but all these men have played for the Stanley Cup and this has got to just stink. Ales still looks a little out of it from his injury, and he and Horcoff are not reading off each other like they usually do. I'd shake it up right now. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what's going wrong in Ales' game at the moment, but he doesn't seem to have that "lock in and get it done" approach to go to at the moment. He looks quite frustrated.
- Hasn't seemed to find his offensive game yet. There's not a lot of jump in his stride and he's not picking up the puck support turnovers that are the trademark of when is playing well. No shots or plays on the rush either. Funny thing is he isn't doing anything horribly wrong, he just looks stuck in sand to some extent.
- Dustin had some moments tonight where you just love his game. He ran over some people very heavily in the corners, drove the net and got into position for good shots. Unfortunately he didn't convert. I suspect if he makes the game 3-2 late on the chance from beside the net that he got we might actually tie it. Again, I haven't seen him in front of the net near as often as he needs to be, and the passing game he has is still absent. Finding Hemsky streaking wide works really well when he has that. I'm hoping it comes back, but this might be a wait til next year kinda thing...sadly.
Losing sucks...no matter what's at the end of the rainbow. Very thankful I had entertaining company tonight otherwise it would've been really boring. Want more jump from these guys.