Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Avalanche of Suck

Man, was that a good game for about 25 minutes or so. Seriously, from about the 12-minute mark of the second period to around the 15-minute mark of the third, the Oilers looked vaguely like the team that won three games at the beginning of this year. It’s a piteous shame that the rest of the time we looked inept: not lacking heart, not getting bad break, inept. For the majority of the game, we looked like some evil wizard who lives secluded in a cave in Aspen somewhere sucked the hockey sense right out of us. Anyway, pluses and minuses.


When we had confidence, we were playing well. For a brief window there, we started shooting with reckless abandon, and it worked well. We seemed fairly sound defensively, outside of a few big errors which all lead to goals, unfortunately, and uh…shit, I swear there was one other upside, somewhere. No, in all seriousness, though, had we played 60 minutes the way we played 20, we’d have probably won this game. Really easy for the negatives to overwhelm the positives, though, and on that note:


We don’t have any confidence. There isn’t one player who looks or feels like they know what they’re doing out there. They know they’re playing badly, but they don’t have a clue as to what to do to fix it. They’re all worried about making mistakes, and so they don’t do anything. We jump out of it every once in a while, but by and large, we’re lost, looking for someone to show us what to do, with no one able to do it.

I’ll defend Markkanen until I’m blue and copper in the fact, but he was rough this game. The first goal was a bad giveaway, but it was a slapper from the top of the circle with no one in front of him—easily stoppable. He committed far too quickly on the second one, too: there’s a difference between sliding across the crease and diving across the crease, and if he’d have stayed on his feet, there’s no goal there. Don’t even get me started on Konowalchuk’s first. My father could have stopped that, and he just had ligament-repairing surgery on his left shoulder.

Special teams, as usual, were bad. We got a PP goal, but we were pretty useless most of the night—we started shooting, finally, and it worked, but even after that, we looked fairly confused. Allow me to be the first one to explicitly say this, but seriously, what the hell does Craig Simpson have to do to lose his job? Drive down to the Stollery Children’s Hospital and whip his dink out? The man turned a middle-of-the-road special teams unit into the worst unit in the league, and he evidently has all the leadership and motivational skills of a plague-infected rat, with the exception being that the rat could probably motivate fear. I liked Simpson a lot as a player, and as a commentator, but the guy couldn’t coach his wife at a Lamaze class. He’s good for nothing but one-liners at his expense.

I don't know, I have to admit, I'm pretty disgusted at this point, and it really seems like the only way to change anything is a fairly major shake-up. A firing, a trade, something to at least give the illusion of confidence somewhere. Of course, knowing the Oilers, we'll probably fire MacT and hire Simpson. I feel like I'm rattling a metal cup against prison bars.


Anonymous said...

I don't think the first goal was Markkanen's fault. It wasn't his fault Ulanov is a fucking dumbass. I'm still pissed about that one.

I also hope the league reviews the tape of the alleged 'goalie interference' call against Smyth.

mike w said...

Good God that was heartbreaking!

Markkenen was fine. He seemed to mirror the Oilers themselves, actually. When they were creating chances and cycling well, he was controlling his rebounds and looking confident.

Ulanov looked like the kind of Ulanov we had the first time we got rid of him.

Anyone expecting Peca to do much should just try to do a mental side-by-side of him with Torres. A sign of a scorer is how often he looks dangerous; with Torres he has the lateral movement and the quick stick to get some goals, even flukey ones.

I still think Hemsky is great.

Dare I say I haven't given up on this team? You may guffaw when I say we're missing a puzzle piece or two, but I like a few things the Oilers are doing. The puck possession was there, like it has in many of similar games derailed by bad ill-timed goals. And our defence (probably hurt by the benching of Ulanov) was pretty good at collapsing into a little column in front of the net, and blocked a lot of shots. The PK got in the lanes and was pretty good, too. And oh yeah, faceoffs paid off for once. The supporting cast is there: just imagine if we plunked in a true blue playmaking centre in the middle of that little hockey goodness...

Ah, but the loss: What can you say? They played better but with absolutely no confidence. But in contrast to last Friday, I'd rather have the team play pretty well and lose it to a couple fuck ups.