Monday, October 10, 2005

Edmonton 4 Anaheim 2

So, uh: Whoooo!!!

The good:

The 3 for 7 powerplay pretty much did it. Jarret Stoll and Chris Pronger seem real comfortable on the point, with a Hemsky option on the side boards to keep defenders from cheating towards the blueline too much. Last season teams knew we sucked and would just pressure the points, with Brewer or Bergeron coughing up the puck. Also Hemsky and Horcoff also seem much better at carrying the puck in to the zone, something we didn't do very well in '04.

The best part about the penalty kill was that the Oilers kept their interference infractions reasonably low with 7 penalties called overall. The Oilers came into the game 13th in penalties minutes per game at 16.0 (in 2004, it was 14.9 over the season), a number which will drop after tonight's game. This bodes well and speaks to the mobility of the defence core, and if you discount Ulanov, most of the interference calls are going against backchecking forwards.

The bad:

My first look at him but: Does Rita ever skate into the middle? For a guy playing on the top line he missed his chance to make an impression. He just seems to glide around, and defensively he looked kind of lost, especially when the Ducks cycled around the boards. On one play waiting for a pass from behind the net, he backed away near the circle, only to watch Bergeron pinch in front where he should have been for a good chance. The only time he looked dangerous was when he had plenty of room, something he's not going to get a lot of in the NHL.

Blink and you missed Brad Winchester, since he was only on the ice for 2 minutes. As always, MacT is slow to warm up on these young guys, especially when there's so much special teams anyway. Our million dollar Georges Laraque barely played, too. Semenov looked shaky too, gave up the puck a couple times and was benched for most of the game.

Oh, and one other thing: Peca will not be a scorer, just like hasn't been for years. But I would like to see him wrist some shots, get them on net and only then graduate to slapshots. He's a good defensive player but why do I get the feeling that only Lowe would have payed him $3-4 million if he were a free agent last summer?

Overall: A solid road win. Seven and a half Joey Mosses out of ten.

PS: I think I got my hate back for the Leafs, remembering the whiney, ubiquitous nature of Toronto media and their team. With their loss tonight, I'm certain we'll see a rash of commentary on whether the shootout is "a good way to end the game" the same way we've seen national, roundtable discussions on high sticking or visors the second one of their players gets hurt. Meanwhile, their team sucks.


mike w said...

I swear I didn't see this before I wrote about Maple Leafs (sic) whining...

Matt said...

Scoresheet says Laraque, Reasoner, and "Isbister" were on the ice for both GA, which is probably why there wasn't much of them later on.

Chris! said...

Yeah, Rita sure seemed like a whole lot of nothing out there last night; like I've said before, he does have speed, and it looks like he's capable of carrying the puck some amount of distance, but he didn't look comfortable putting anything together. Before the game, Gene Principe said that MacT told him to watch for how much Rita has matured as a player—so much so, apparently, that he deserves a gift-wrapped spot on the top line moreso than, say, Torres—but all I saw was an overaged rookie who seems the disappointing sum of a few intriguing parts.

I don't know; I know I'm being hard on Rita, but it's tough to give the guy much rope given his age and "experience," and the fact that there are better players in the organization waiting for a crack at the spot that Rita hasn't really earned. But I understand they've got to give him his day in court, and I'll be pleasantly surprised if he improves. It's too early to reach a verdict yet, but combined with his play in the preseasion, the evidence isn't looking great.

As for Isbister 2.0, I'm sure he wants a do-over on that debut. I must have been napping for the two minutes he was on the ice, because I don't think I saw his name once. Whatever though; chances are he'll get Rita's spot on the top line tonight, and we can all get a better look at the goalscoring dynamo that potted 22 at the AHL level last season.

mike w said...

>As for Isbister 2.0, I'm sure he wants a do-over on that debut. I must have been napping for the two minutes he was on the ice, because I don't think I saw his name once

As Matt pointed out, the 4th line was on the ice for two goals. The forwards didn't do a good job backchecking on the first one, but the second goal was all Markkenen gift-wrapping Corey Perry's first NHL goal. I'm curious to see the lines for tonight.

Pleasure Motors said...

First of all: Mike, that was a remarkably prescient post, considering it happened two minutes before the game actually started. Any predictions for tonight?

Also, since it seems to be all the rage to mock TSN's comment board, I really dug the headline on this one:

sunderlandlad-- "two tickets to paradice eddie money rocks oh yeah ..."

Do we have, perhaps, another Randy?

Rusty Cameros said...

How could there be another Randy?

"With a flick of the switch, she'll blow you SKY HIGH!!!!! (air guitar sounds) Beow, mow Mrwwww!"


Also...I only saw the last ten minutes, but when did Stoll get hit by that bolt of lightning, making him all powerful? The journal named Torres as the game breaker, but Stoll was front and centre in a third period that was embarrasingly one-sided.

Anonymous said...

I used to be a Rita fan, but after this game, I'm not so sure. On defense, he swung his stick around, looking like any bad minor league player. He just couldn't handle the pressure of the top line. He should be moved, but the second line is solid, so I'm not sure who else can fill Smyth's spot.