Tuesday, March 7, 2006

You must be Jokkinen? (sorry)

Stars 4, Oilers 3 (SO)
(I actually saw this game live edition)

Well, I guess any time you let the league's best penalty-shotter take two against you in one game, you're probably going to come out on the bottom. From where I was sitting in Rexall, the penalty shot call was perhaps a little suspect, though the fact Conklin got beat so badly suggests that Jokkinen probably would have scored had he not been bothered, so maybe it was fair.

The bigger story, though, was the fact that we evidently take the label "third-period team" as a badge of pride. I was actually quite surprised that the Oilers even managed to get four shots in the first period--Dallas kept us hemmed in or to the outside essentially the entire 20 minutes--and about the only thing we could do with any proficiency through the first two periods was hit, and even then it was mostly only in the first (which was as physical a period as I've seen this season, actually). We battled back nicely, absolutely dominating the Stars through the last bit, but it would have been nice to not spot them the lead. I'll take the point, though. And I'll give some points (zing!).

-The biggest thing Spacek and Tarnstrom bring are defencemen willing to pinch and lead rushes. Both Pronger and Bergeron prefer to hang back and hit the long pass (or the booming shot), so having these two jump in occasionally gives us a nice sort of mix, especially on the top pairing. The one thing I noticed about The Big Dick, though, was that he seems to have trouble getting back from the offensive blueline. It might have something to do with his knee injury, but he loses about a half step most every time he starts coming back. He looks really good in that offensive end otherwise.

-I know Quimby is good on shootouts and all, but I still wonder about the value of bringing in a goalie completely cold to face the best shootout team in the league.

-Almost more than a goalie, I think what we really need is another scorer. Right now, it seems that if you shut down Hemsky-Horcoff-Smyth (which is actually proving quite hard to do), you've pretty much handcuffed our scoring. We almost have more threats on the back-end than we do up front, considering Stoll has cooled off a bit and both Torres and Dvorak only score in streaks. A lights-out goalie would be nice, but I'd only really start to feel comfortable about the rest of the year if we also add an offensive spark to line number two.

-Credit to the little girl three rows behind us who chanted "Let's Go Oilers!" through, almost literally, the entirety of the second period (she quieted down for about a minute until the organ started playing it at the next break). I would have thought her throat would start to hurt or something. I'm against children as a general rule, but if I ever have a daughter, I expect similar levels of devotion.

-I don't have the energy to look this up (someone with plenty of time, perhaps? Colby?), but I'd be curious to see our record when we score three goals or less. I imagine it isn't pleasant (which would give slightly more creedence to my scorer theory--and to the goalie theory, I guess. Shucks.)

-My formative Oiler years were when Calgary was roughly as good as the house-league peewee teams I was playing on, so Dallas ranks up with Colorado as a team who inspires a blood hatred, but I didn't mind these guys so much. Jere Lehtinen has always been one of my favourite players, and Sergei Zubov is one of the most amazing passers I've ever seen. Steve Ott and Brenden Morrow could slit their throats on each other's skate blades for all I care, though. Oh, also, between Turco and Fernandez, Dallas has drafted two of the best ten goalies in the league (maybe even best five, though that's a bit of a stretch). Who the hell do we have to pilfer from their organization to find a solid goalie prospect?


Heather said...

You're right about it being unpleasant. Get ready to hold your nose...
In games that the Oil have scored three or less goals our record this season is 9 wins and 25 losses. One of those losses was an overtime loss so we got at least one point.

I got the stats here:

Heather said...

oh wait a sec...we actually managed to get 5 points overall on the season considering all the games we loss in OT or shootouts when we scored 3 or less.

Steve said...

Thoughts on the Roloson trade? I like it. I think the team's good enough this year that shoring up a major weakness for the rest of the year is worth sacrificing the first round pick (and it goes without saying that the conditional third rounder is peanuts if he does re-sign).