Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm just Wild about Raffi, He's just Wild about me...

Oilers at Wild
6 pm Mountain
630 CHED, TSN

There are probably two big stories going into Minnesota tonight, the first being that Andrew Cogliano has earned hisself a place on the second line, replacing Jarret Stoll as the center between Raffi Torres and Robert Nilsson. Not entirely surprising that MacT would shuffle that line, which has been held to only one point (an assist by Nilsson) in three games, despite some pretty scintillating play—particularly by Nilsson, who seems to be developing a couple trademarks, including the Sergei Samsonov drop pass in the slot and the seeing-eye cross-icer to Torres. Still, one goal in three games is a fairly legitimate expectation of our ostensible second line, so no surprise; the question here will probably be how long Cogs stays on the line before the Blender gets working.

If I may, though, I'd like to look at a bigger question: how long does Raffi have before he has to start producing? (I know they technically moved Stoll down, but I seriously doubt a penalty-killing, face off-winning, second-unit-powerplay cannon has a whole lot to worry about, even with less offence.) Torres' season last year was overshadowed by the hulking, Godzilla-esque monster that was Joffrey Lupul fanning and checking his reflection in the defensive zone glass, but 15 goals from a second-liner with some PP time is still pretty atrocious. He's streaky and its early, but if Gagner looks like he's going to stay, the Oil have a lot of NHL-ready players who bring a lot more to the table than Raffi if he's not going to score. Moreau has to come back some time, and with the way Sanderson has been playing, it's not much of a stretch to say that Raffi has been the worst LW in the top four so far. (Let's also not forget Jacques and Pouliot, who theoretically could catch on, as well as Thoresen or Stortini down on the farm.)

I don't think it's any secret that I don't have a whole lot of love for Chin Strip, mostly because I find him to be a player like Lupul, except with more questionable hits. I know he's capable of playing tougher minutes, but he's still not anyone who you'd consider a regular penalty killer or above-average defensive player, nor has he ever looked like a player capable of creating offence—he can finish a play (which is useful if he's actually doing it), but there's not a whole lot that starts with him.

Anyway, perhaps this is premature, but with the kids playing like they have, it's only a matter of time before we start asking our second-line LW to score, right?

Oh, and the other big story: this guy, of course.



83 comments:

Anonymous said...

We need to send Raffi out to immobilize that knuckle-draggin' troglodyte called Boogaard. Do it someway, anyway, just get him out of the game. He f'in destroyed us last year with his hits. It makes me nervous when Hemsky holds the puck too long and Boogaard is on the ice. LOOK OUT!

Andy Grabia said...

I've never seen that video before. Holy shit. And yet LeGG beat him up on a consistent basis. Scary.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me if you get a lot of good lefts in, you do alright against big Booger. Not just LeGG, but a few others. Noci the other night did okay, too.

As for hits, he's gotta be really careful now that finally the league is keenly watching these.

I'm thinking and hoping the new speed game will be the diff tonight.

sacamano said...

Pffff. If he had gone through the boards I would have been impressed, but any chimp can throw himself through a pane of glass.

Doesn't Mirtle have a love of all things Boogie?

Pleasure Motors said...

I think Boogard is slightly overrated. The only reason he was able to do so much damage to us last year was because the rest of his team would be kicking our ass at actually playing hockey. If we can manage to get a lead, or at least keep it tied late into the game, Boogard isn't going to get off the bench too much.

We didn't do that a whole lot last year, though, which is why he was always on the ice, destroying our players.

grease trap said...

You'd think that by the 4th game I'd be full of delicious enui for this team, but no. Still stoked, and if I may, still in it balls deep.
As for Torres, am I the only one who likes the fact we've got a complete nut on our team¿ Guy's force of nature.

sacamano said...

I'm here for the beer that was promised me.

3-2 Oil. Marty with 1 goal, 1 assist.

Black Dog said...

I'l be back and forth - first game I get to watch all year.

Wickety wickety wickety whack!

Pleasure Motors said...

I see Marty is the new D-Vo.

grease trap said...

See you after First Period!

anj said...

Game on!

Apparently, the buzz word of the season is "youthful enthusiasm."

mike w said...

I wonder what kind of celebration JF Jacques would have if he ever score his first NHL goal.

Would he just drop his stick and wet his pants?

mike w said...

Healy says that Sanderson didn't have a good camp? Where did he get that particular nugget?

Chris! said...

This just in: Matt Greene sucks.

Did anyone else see the replay Huselius's tying goal in the Detroit-Calgary game? Incredible hands.

...aaaaaand Minnesota just scored.

mike w said...

Of course. Now it's a slow bleed.

mike w said...

psfsst!

[a bottle of beer is opened]

Black Dog said...

Crazy hands.

The stats they throw out about the Wild v. Oilers last year make me want to cry.

mike w said...

Not a bad run there by the Oil.

They have to be tighter in the neutral zone and use this new fandangled "pinching" thing by their D.

grease trap said...

When we start playing like a team instead of a collection of excellent hockey players we're going to be pretty near unstoppable.

Unfortunately we've only got the Reasoner line gelling so far.

Second period might be better. the Wild seem to be having increasing trouble keeping the Oilers at bay.

Chris! said...

You know things are starting to fall apart when even Jacques is giving the Wild trouble.

Chipping away, chipping away.

Black Dog said...

Good period after the first few minutes. Way faster then last year, the Oil I mean. Look for Pouliot to get bumped up to play with Cogliano and Torres I say - they had a terrific shift late in the period when Nilsson took a stick in the face and got off early.

grease trap said...

Yeah, a couple of non-calls so far...

Andy Grabia said...

Where's my beer, Winters?

What's shaking, people? Down 1-0, I see. Have we played ok?

grease trap said...

First half of the First period was amess, but things seem to be pulling together. Let's hope the Wild continue to forget how to trap.

mike w said...

Sorry, just Fanta and ice milk.

Black Dog said...

Playing fine - old time Oilers hockey (2000 version) - fast fast fast. And they're losing. I'm live blogging so you can get high/low lights from the first there.

mike w said...

Nice shot, Stollie!

Andy Grabia said...

Every time I see the back of Brodziak. I keep thinking Kovalenko is out there.

Can I just vocalize my dislike of the pop-up comment window? It really prevents me from posting ten comments every minute.

Andy Grabia said...

Uggh. I hate the WIld. ZZZZZZZZZZZ.

mike w said...

Heh.

During the break from this chess match, they show highlights and Kovalev is up against ONE defenceman. How novel.

I love Tom Gilbert.

mike w said...

COME ON YOU CHOWDERHEADS!

mike w said...

FUCKFUKCJFUFzxcs

Andy Grabia said...

The PP looked good, but it's obvious to the point of painful what they are trying to do.

2-0. Healy had it right. Four guys in the zone and no one putting any pressure on the guy with the puck. Painful.

sad oil said...

Sigh. This season has last year written all over it.

mike w said...

Don't kill yourself, sad oil. I promise you that they can't trade Ryan Smyth again.

mike w said...

This is not Tarnstrom's night, btw.

grease trap said...

ouch

Andy Grabia said...

The difference between style of play at home and on the road is sticking out. I wonder if it's real, or just a matter of opposition and a small sample size.

Black Dog said...

Haven't been as good this period.

But its also the Wild. Wings then the Wild. The '85 Oilers wouldn't have had it easy.

Well, they would have. But not the 05/06 squad. Two tough teams to play against.

mike w said...

I think it's more a matter of opposition. The first two games of this road trip are against two fine teams that play the ice very well. To this I say: why don't we get to play Phoenix 8 times?

mike w said...

Where's the Gaborik hold there? Arms all around our D-man.

sad oil said...

Oh god$#@(*$&#@(#$dammit, not another power play that we'll flush down the toilet.

mike w said...

So what is watching a Minnesota-with-the-lead game in experiential time?

...four hours? six?

Oh nice, a penalty.

Anonymous said...

This will just make the third-period comeback that much more inspiring!

Right?

grease trap said...

Hey Grabia, hope you're not too mad, I was just messing around and assumed you could just edit out anything you wanted.

Second period, much like the first. We've got to get that powerplay together, though. Isn't that where all our points were supposed to be coming from?

mike w said...

The PP hasn't looked terrible, but they have to do something down low and crash the net. Hemsky looks like he could almost walk into the box.

Andy Grabia said...

It's only four games in, but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the Oilers just thought they'd have to change personnel to see an increase in PP production. There seems to have been little thought put towards the notion of altering strategy. Which is shocking, because I know Kevin Lowe had a plan. Cal Nichols said so.

Black Dog said...

Souray even said in the intermission - 'hey, we have to change it up a bit and move it around down low"

No shit.

Andy Grabia said...

Hey Grabia, hope you're not too mad, I was just messing around and assumed you could just edit out anything you wanted.

No worries, GT. I appreciate you saying that. I'm not mad at all. I just figured it was the right time to address it.

grease trap said...

cool

Andy Grabia said...

Hmm. How many ex-Edmonton media types are on during this broadcast? Cuthbert, Dutchie, Rishaug. Was Miller on at all?

grease trap said...

Souray...did we get the raw end of that deal or what? Sorry if this is too negative, but jeebus that guy isn't doing much, is he?

I hope he starts scoring goals before I get wistful for MAB.

Lowetide said...

PP: MOVE YOUR FUCKING FEET.

Andy Grabia said...

Hi, LT!

That was a softy, that second goal. Roli should have had that.

grease trap said...

Dude, enough of this fanta sh*t, we need beers for LT, stat!

Andy Grabia said...

THE BLENDER! CHRIS CUTHBERT SURFS THE OILOGOSPHERE!!!

mike w said...

Pouliot has got to learn to get off the ice. That can't endear him to teammates...

mike w said...

Shit. That's a BoA coinage of yours isn't it, Andy?

Andy Grabia said...

Two Blender references. Wow.

It was a commenter on BoA who coined it. Maybe asiaoil?

mike w said...

arrgh

James Mirtle said...

Doesn't Mirtle have a love of all things Boogie?

Aw common - a 260-pounder called the Boogeyman?

I don't even care how well he fights.

grease trap said...

This game is so frustrating I feel like I need to crush something with my mind.

uni said...

This is like watching that scene in Austin Powers where he very slowly drives towards the henchman in a steam roller contraption.

Only not nearly as entertaining.

Andy Grabia said...

At least the Flames lost again.

mike w said...

turnovers, turnovers. trap perfection.

Andy Grabia said...

Is that eight posts on the year?

Black Dog said...

Yep - its the Wild - you could dress anyone for that team and its always the same.

mike w said...

sigh.

Black Dog said...

No goal.

This game would bug me more if it were Phoenix or Columbus but its Minnesota - they are built to kill us.

Always have - always will. Or so it seems.

mike w said...

turnovers. off-sides. huh.

Chris! said...

"... they are built to kill us. Always have - always will. Or so it seems."

Yep, and even after four or five years of consistently losing game after game the exact same way, the Oilers coaching staff has yet to come up with a system that works against Minnesota.

Seems like we're content to flip a coin for the first goal of the game and accept the loss if the Wild beats us to it.

If we're frustrated, it's our own fault.

Andy Grabia said...

Raffi gets the Loch Ness Monster. He could get that 65 games of the year.

Anonymous said...

Loch Ness Monster?

David S said...

Lack of grit is the only way I can describe it. Its like they almost pre-forfeited the game.*

Roloson is on the bench. Yeah, that'll work.

*Confirmed.

Andy Grabia said...

Loch Ness Monster?

Some gimmick award from Healy for the player whose name you know, but you can't see. Very appropriate for how Torres is most nights.

What a gross game. I'm so glad it's over.

mike w said...

They beat us because our strengths become weaknesses against this style of play. I think they should of gave up on the cross-ice feed and endless 5-pass setups and should of just crashed the net, but what can you do.

Funny how utterly different this game would be if the Oilers had the first goal.

mike w said...

And what a tough way to get a shutout in my pool.

Lowetide said...

See this is way blind faith is a bad idea. ALL the forces of nature were against the Oilers, but instead of going for a walk or finding that "Learning the Guitar from Burk Ives" book I bought in 1971 I allowed Glenn Healy to say stupid stuff in my living room for 2.5 hours.

mike w said...

Agreed, LT. I half-contemplated my patented "walking away for a while" to see if it would have turned the game around.

I could used my free time more wisely, like weaving a macrame pot holder or something.

Lowetide said...

mike w: lol. When my kids were really young, I used to go up and read them a book in their room so God would know how good I was and help the Oilers.

But I think God was reading me. :-)

Andy Grabia said...

Well I enjoyed the company, if nothing else.

Lowetide said...

Good read, Andy. Fun stuff, even without beer (when you buggers get to be my age, you'll LOVE the word "weeknight").

Anonymous said...

If I was a Minnesota/lemaire fan, I'd probably find competitive chess, and soccer fascinating.