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10/20/11

LMHF Report - Game #4

EDMONTON 1

VS.

MINNESOTA 2

In a freaking shootout...
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Sorry in advance for the shortness tonight guys...I'm exhausted today for some reason and this will be a little less in-depth than usual.

Well, that was pretty tough to take. It's bad enough to lose that way when you don't play very well...but tonight we put forth a pretty solid effort and came up short. We deserved a win and didn't get it. It wasn't luck, but inches and some coaching decisions that cost us tonight. We were very very close to having a very good game.

I have to call out Tom Renney's decisions in the third period tonight. Not playing the kids and not trying to make this 2-0 was a bad move that ultimately played a part in costing us the game. They weren't lighting the world on fire, but they also weren't playing badly and had generated some excellent chances.

We obviously hit some posts tonight which stinks...we made some really strong plays and did not finish. On one hand that's upsetting as we need to focus and make the most of these...on the other...we are certainly generating more than I thought we would at this point.

Our team is playing solidly defensively as a five man unit right now. We kept Minnesota to the outside of our zone for most of the game, even on extended possessions and that is impressive. We'll need to keep that up while finding a way to improve our transition game.

Offensively...well...we're seriously overdue...but so were the Generals right?


Smyth
- He played a solid game other than that stupid goaltender interference penalty that negated a dangerous looking rush. Lots of solid plays, passes and checking. Continued to have an edge which is certainly something we need to see from him.

Horcoff
- Also played a solid game until late in the third when he made some fairly perplexing puck decisions. Horcoff seems to be healthy and that's making a big difference right now.

Jones
- Much better game from him tonight. He wasn't getting caught gawking or standing still and moved into much better offensive positions. I'm still looking forward to him going down the lineup some, but he held his own tonight.

Hall
- Not one of his better efforts as he had limited rushes and wasn't all that great at puck retrieval in the corners. He still set up Eberle and had a couple dangerous shots, but the fact that he's ill showed somewhat (and not just in his goofily unshaven look).

Eberle
- The poor man can't buy one right now. He was given a gift by Hall and couldn't cash, made a great little play late in the second and caught jersey, is just missing shots and no one could finish his passes tonight. I'm worried he's getting a little down on himself...he even changed up his shootout move and missed because he didn't go high like usual. Jordan's still playing some excellent hockey, but he needs to see some positives right away or we might be in for a prolonged slump.

Hopkins
- Not his best game, but he got a couple chances and broke up some plays in the defensive zone. Good to see he can contribute even when he's not on fire offensively.

Paajarvi
- Really liked his game tonight because he used his speed so well. Beat every defender he had to on the rush and kept the puck in the offensive zone with beauty reads and pure speed on at least 5 broken plays. A really veteran-looking effort from Magnus tonight.

Belanger
- Speaking of can't buy one...hits goalie pad...post...the SO disaster...it was a painful night for him, but he played some very good hockey, showing a lot of speed and adapting to the position of the swedes better than in the other games.

Omark
- Very solid game from Linus as part of a very solid line. Omark made some really veteran decisions late in terms of either dumping the puck or putting it on net when that was appropriate. Also set up a couple glorious chances for Belanger and Paajarvi that just weren't cashed. This line deserved much better tonight.


Eager
- I continue to be impressed by Eager. In addition to his keeping the Minnesota agitators occupied, he broke up a strong minnesota rush with a nice backcheck in the first, and got himself into good offensive position many times. I hope he's growing as a player and we don't see a regression, because he's very useful right now.

Lander
- Gave it his all in what might be his last NHL game for a while. Some really good offensive and defensive efforts, and also took a beating and kept at it. He'll be back soon and for a long time.

Petrell
- Simple and effective defensive game, as usual.

Whitney
- Showing really well in his return so far. Tonight he played a focused and sound defensive game with some well timed and judged jumps into the rush. Some of the dynamic offensive skills aren't back just yet but the fundamentals are there.

Potter
- Just keeps on impressing. Despite some small signs of nervousness early tonight, he settled right back in and played quite well.

Gilbert
- Aggressive physically and offensively tonight...another guy who probably should have scored. He gave the puck away a couple of times but other than that was excellent.

Smid
- Skated the puck out of some really difficult spots flawlessly and played a solid, physical game.

Sutton
- Quite good tonight actually, as he made some good puck choices other than 1 pass to absolutely no one, played physically and kept things sane around the goalie.

Barker
- He's playing like a very talented guy with absolutely zero confidence. He's getting by, playing simple with checking and some decent passing, but that's nowhere near all that he is. Good enough tonight.

Khabibulin
- The best I've seen him for almost the whole game tonight. He was aggressive, loose and active the whole game. I didn't think Minnesota had a chance with him playing like that, which is what made it all the more shocking to see him leave his five hole exposed with 2 seconds to go by cheating to the other side of the net with one leg and not covering with his stick...we found a way some how. Other than that 2 seconds, he was sublime.
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Another thing that didn't help us at all tonight was the pathetic reffing. We should have drawn at least 4-6 extra powerplays with the hard work we were doing and got nothing. It was pathetic right down to that moronic linesman screwing up so many icing calls.


Frustrating night guys...this team should have at least 4 wins by now.

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