Looking at the half-hearted crowds in Game One and Two, Detroit fans look like they're a little too used to having a winning team in the playoffs, with even the ubiquitous tradition of throwing octopi on the ice looking staid and routine.
Luckily, some brave Oil fans upstaged this farce of fan-ery and added a new twist: Grade A Alberta beef thrown over the boards in an attempt to please the hockey gods. The deities must have been pleased with our fandom, as our other sacrificial offering, playoff virgin Brad Winchester, ended up with the game winner and his first NHL goal.
Much hullabaloo about the Oilers using "the trap," but the weakest part of the Oilers game going into the playoffs was their neutral zone messiness. If anything, it makes me think MacT is capable of making adjustments beyond sponge puck blocking drills. The only difference from Game One seemed to be some smart pinches from Oil defenceman, a good forecheck and some lucky breaks. In my Zany Playoff Picks I pointed to Detroit's defence, coupled with unproven goaltending, as being the one possible weak link on the team. At least on one goal that was the case (with Chelios skating by the puck, crossing wires with Maltby on Pisani's game-tying play), although there were a couple of glaring turnovers. Overall, a better effort 5 on 5, with a tip of the foam finger to MacT for putting Brad Winchester in place of Georges Laraque.
As for the refs, well, I almost feel bad for them. If they were to call everything by the rules, a Red Wing would be in the box almost the whole game. Lots of weird calls, like the first period Hemsky hooking penalty where the ref somehow missed Maltby punching Hemsky in the mouth in retaliation. There was others. Perhaps it was best summed up on a replayed CBC sequence of Chris Chelios in front of the net:
John Garrett: "Now here you see a good job of...uh..."
Mark Lee: "Well that's just interference!"
Yep. Oh well, who cares.
Enjoy the flight to Edmonton International Airport, Red Dinks. And be best advised: I wouldn't leave your hotel once you get here (and not because we'll kill you, it's just there's just not much happening for nightlife downtown). Can we re-open Goose Loonies?
GAME RATING: 8 Maalox tablets out of 10
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Posted by mike w at 2:46 PM