Saturday, December 31, 2005

"Looking Good," he said earnestly

Oilers 4, Predators 2

Well, shit: after two straight losses to Minnesota for some reason, we come out and more or less dominate the Predators, who are actually a surprisingly talented team (at least to those of us who don't pay attention to anyone outside of the Northwest Division, like yours truly).

I suppose I could soften you up with supple prose, but dammit, I'm really drunk, as is our wont, and as such, I have nothing but the energy required for point form notes. Do enjoy.

-Mr MacT: Please don't ever start Ty Conklin again. There were probably three or four times, at least, that Jussi made saves where Conky would have been beaten like a disrespectful Catholic schooler. Markkanen is by no means perfect (rebounds!), but he doesn't put us in a hole, unlike certain netminders. Consider letting Mike Morrison play again, as well--he certainly isn't worse at fundamentals than Conklin.

-This was a surprisingly emotional game, considering Nashville should mean about as much to us as Chicago, albeit slighlty better.

-Glenn Healy mentioned that the flu has been going throught the Oil roster, and suggested that was the reason for the "performance" against Minnesota. That's not entirely hard to believe, given how we played tonight. That said, I think we do far better against teams that decide to try to skate with us, as opposed to teams who play tight and conservative (thought, still, Minny is not a boring team, they're just not as agressive as some).

-If we have one strength, regardless of line, it's our ability to control the puck down low. We cycle like few other teams I've seen, and almost all of our goals seem to come from controlling the puck in the corner and working it out in front. We were helped slightly by Nashville's complete lack of size, but man, we work the corners rather well, I think.

-As Chris! pointed out in the Black Dog basement, the Smyth/Horcoff/Hemsky line has an innate ability to know where each other are. The number of no-look passes they make that connect is amazing, and they seem to know the appropriate times to shoot and pass with each other on the ice. Hemsky also apparently posses a stick imbued with puck-nip; he makes ridiculous moves look perfectly natural, and dinks around with the puck like it was shinny against pee-wee players. I hope he actually does play with Jagr at the Olympics--what he'll learn will make him stellar.

-Matt Greene looked fine out there, even with a sort-of dumb penalty against Tootoo. Though, speaking of dumb penalties, what the hell was Brad Winchester thinking? You might at least wait until the puck is around before punchering a guy in the face. He didn't get off the bench much after that.

-Go Big Georges! Sure didn't have a hope in hell of scoring on that breakaway, but he seems to have remembered that he's bigger than everyone except Zdeno Chara and Shaq, and can use that to his advantage. He looked pretty good with Stoll and Torres, who are apparently incredibly good buddies off the ice, which makes me question Stoll's judgment of people (you just know Torres is a prick--it's the facial hair). BG also almost fought, which is a good thing for an enforcer to pull every so often.

-Did anyone else get the impression that Chris Cuthbert was making fun of Healy throughout the game? It just seemed like he kept pointing out the obvious flaws in Healy's analysis (like when he called the Oilers' assitant coaches a "crackpot" group, as if they were writing letters about alien conspiracys to the Journal or wearing big red clown noses or something). Totally deserved, of course, but still sort of funny, at least to me.

-Steve Staios and Ethan Moreau both have more talent than their statistics ever show, they just have abosolutely no finish whatsoever. Nice to watch them though. Oh, also, if Todd Harvey weren't on our team, I'd want to slash him in the teeth. Nice player to have, though.

Update: As per anonymous' comments, the names are now mostly correct. Alcohol may make you more attractive, but it sure doesn't help your memory.


Anonymous said...

Cheechoo and Isbister??

Don't drink and blog, folks.

mudcrutch79 said...

Georges Laraque put together a couple of shifts in the third period that were simply awesome. That breakaway was buckets of fun-I don't know who the Nashville defencemen were but when you can't run down Georges Laraque when he's got a five foot head start, you've got serious problems. Cory Cross was probably sitting in the press box laughing at how slow they were and knowing that even if he's too slow for the Oilers, as long as there are guys who lose foot races to Georges Laraque, he can be employed somewhere in the NHL.

The hands on the breakaway were simply awesome too-it was like he was just waiting for Vokoun to poke check him and didn't want to bother with the move. I've advocated getting rid of Laraque for years, I figure there's no way he'w worth his paycheque but when he has a good game, he's one of the most entertaining and unique players in the NHL. Nowhere near one of the best, but still just awesome to watch. They cut to MacT at one point and it looked like he was laughing at some of the stuff Laraque was up to. Good times.

Hemsky was the other fun one tonight I thought-you've pretty much said it all. I was disappointed that we didn't get a replay of what I believe was the Oilers first shot or first scoring chance-he did a sick through the legs move, forced the dman to chase him, and threw it back to Horc. Atypically, Horc was prepared for the pass and actually got a good shot off. Shame it didn't go in-it would have been a beauty.

Colby Cosh said...

Buh? What's with the drive-by hit on Moreau?

Pleasure Motors said...

Ahem--good lord, that must have been the primitive parts of my brain taking over. I'm going to update that for posterity sake.

Also, it's not a drive-by hit. I love the guy, I think he's probably one of the best Oilers on the ice on a night-in, night-out basis, but considering how utterly tenacious he is on the puck, and the number of good scoring chances he creates because of it, he really doesn't score much. Seriously, if he finished half the chances he created, he'd be the first-round power forward he was drafted as. Right now he's just a gritty winger who gets about 40 points a year. But he clearly has more talent than that.

sacamano said...

Call me an eternal optimist, but I still love BG.

He has been getting better and better over the last three weeks. One of these days he is going to figure it all out.

mike w said...

Ah Georges. There is something elusive about him, no? Some hidden talent maybe, like that night got once got a hat trick a few years back. And if we're gonna play a fourth line for a few minutes a game it doesn't matter who we have, so it might as well be a crowd pleaser and the league's reigning heavy weight champion. He's defensively lost at times, but that probably has something to do with his lack of drive at times. For that reason I think he'd be good for us in the playoffs, however.

As for the rest of the game last night, I'm gonna give a tip of the old puckhat to the Oil crew. Ryan Smyth's ridiculous penalty shot goal was amazing, mostly because he faked out me even though he seemed to do the backhand in slow motion. It was a brilliant shootout move: the backhand protected the puck and took away Vokoun's pokecheck, so he had to follow the puck and get stretched out for Symth's forehand. Nice.

I sort of lost track, but I counted about 5-6 straight minutes in the third where the Oilers were in almost complete possesion of the puck. When I watch other teams like Pittsburgh, the Islanders or even Colorado, I see players that just float around for periods at a time. The Oilers sometimes take dumb penalties and let in soft goals, but they're well-coached by MacT.

Onward to Calgary!

mike w said...

I really should read my own posts for spelling, clarity, etc before I publish them on the blog... Oh well.