ST. LOUIS More than zero
This report is being done mainly for posterity's sake. I'm not going to waste a lot of effort writing about whatever the hell THAT was. Frankly I've already gotten more enjoyment out of my very late dinner of hot wings and curly fries than that game provided. The best moment of the whole game was when some girl licked a guy's face on kiss cam and then won the BVJ tickets. Seriously. This was 1993 bad...
Those of you who follow these posts know I don't go really negative very often. I try to see the positive even in the worst of games but this was really hard to take. Then I'm on my ride home hearing the media in this town making more excuses for this hockey team and also claiming that the players aren't happy that the fans booed them tonight. I'm not sure I buy that as I only heard Horcoff's words and I know how the media operates when the team plays a stinker...but simply claiming the Blues were good and that fans shouldn't have booed that abomination of a "hockey game" is a joke. To think that I for some reason should cheer for a team that has been as bad as this one for so long, has absolutely STUNK at home since the beginning of last season, and put forth absolutely no effort after what qualifies as a three week vacation in terms of an NHL scheduling break...You've got to be completely insane. It is bad enough that this horrible homestand we just choked away is considered "playing better". We've really been that horrible. Amazing.
First off, the Blues played a solid defensive game and that was it. The Oilers have beaten plenty of teams that have played solid defensive games. The other squad pushing back a little against your attack is no reason to throw in the towel and play like complete boobs. I saw more basic passes missed tonight than I've seen in a long time. I haven't seen that many players skate away from finishing their check in forever either. The goals the Blues scored were pretty bloody weak and the result of bad efforts by the Oilers, rather than strong ones by St. Louis. You can't just give away games like that and expect respect.
The Oilers had precisely one line going for any significant part of the game. The Hall-Horcoff-Hemsky line generated chances in the first and second periods. Hall is still only maybe 75% but was certainly better. Horcoff was just okay and Hemsky made some things happen. By the third things had degenerated to the point where even these guys weren't effective and Horcoff was as bad as I've seen him in a long time. Hall kept falling down, couldn't beat anyone and couldn't even seem to get his shot away. Something's up there.
Pretty much everyone else was utterly terrible for almost 60. Let us highlight some of the worst offenders:
Mike Brown has already stopped hitting people. He also made horrible plays with the puck, skated himself into corners several times and it was actually embarrassing to think that guy we watched tonight was on an NHL roster.
Ryan Smyth spent the whole game reaching his stick at people while not skating.
Eric Belanger is an embarrassment to the jersey and should never see Oilers ice again. It is bad enough that he's fallen off as far as he has since we've acquired him, but tonight he peeled away from every check, made no offensive effort and basically just quit on each shift at the first sign of adversity. It made me sick.
Ryan Jones still thinks he's a defenceman in the offensive zone.
Ryan Whitney should hang em up to preserve his moderate legacy. This is not the guy we watched before and it never will be again. He was horrendous tonight. We really should have moved him by now. It sucks what has happened to him but we can't will him to be better.
Why won't Nick Schultz hit anyone or make a decent pass?
Watching tonight hurt my brain. Listening to the commentary after the game made me want to damage it.
How long are people going to continue making excuses for this hockey team? After games like tonight, this team should hear it from everyone, fans, media, and themselves. They should expect it, accept it and take responsibility. The short season opportunity these guys are trying so hard to throw away isn't going to come around again for a long time. Having a great home schedule to close the season where you're constantly playing the teams you need to edge out to get into the playoffs is an opportunity you don't see often either.
That's about all I can muster for now. If you feel like ranting go ahead and do it here. If you feel like defending this hockey team, get your eyes checked and your head examined. The excuses are so old at this point.