Friday, October 5, 2007

Well, then...

It's quite late, and I'm quite drunk, but it wouldn't feel right to not post a game recap on the first game of the season, so ...

Some thoughts on the first game of the year:

-Holy living fuck does it feel good to watch some hockey that I care about again. I mean, I like idle speculation as much as the next person, but at some point I want to see people play.

-I don't think we're going to win a lot of games, but I like everything about our team except for the defense pairing of Matt Greene and Sheldon Souray.

-Seriously though: unless our goaltending is in the top five in the league, there is no way this team makes the playoffs.

-Regardless, this is the first time in a long, long while the Oilers have had a decent amount of players with skill. Watching people like Cogs, Gagner and Nilsson was exciting almost every shift, even if the finish wasn't (always) there. These guys can make people look stupid, however they manage to look themselves.

-Sheldon Souray has the worst lateral movement of any NHL player I've ever seen. It's like watching an Atom player trying to learn how to skate backwards, except we pay him assloads of money. Also: the only thing he can do with the puck is slapshot it. It's a matter of time before teams just have one of their guys lie on the ice in front of him: he has no other options than to wind up and shoot towards the vague vicinity of the net, no matter where he is on the ice.

-Speaking of which, if fickle Oiler fans will be justified in irrationally scapegoating any defenceman in the history of the team, it will be Matt Greene.

-I don't know about Samwise, but Andrew Cogliano is a hell of a player. I don't know if there's anyone on the team who transitions from defence to offence as quick and ably as he does. If we put him on a regular shift with Hemsky, he might just get some consideration for the Calder.

-Maybe that last statement is generous, but fuck it: it feels damn good to get a win, whatever the circumstances. I think I speak for all of us when I say, "GOILERS!!!!!"



canablach said...

I woke up this morning, other side of the Atlantic, went to the net and grew a great smile on my face.

"I don't think we're going to win a lot of games" and
"there is no way this team makes the playoffs"
which makes me sad, again.

But I'm still smiling so I guess we'll be patiently waiting.


Doogie said...

The way I see it, if Cogs gets a sniff of the Calder, the Oil are in the playoffs. I know the plan was to win every game 5-4 last year, but this year, it might actually work.

Nilsson, Cogs, Samwise, Brodziak and "Brad" Gilbert all looked fantastic last night. And how about that Hemsky? Looks like he's added a few moves over the summer: he did everything but score last night, and damn if he wasn't trying. I dunno if it was the shit finish to last year, or the "A" on the sweater, but you can feel through the television that he wants this. Ditto several other vets, but him especially, you just get the feeling he's decided that this team is going to be his sooner or later, so what the fuck, let's just do it.


Anonymous said...

PM: Agreed re: Souray. I think I said exactly that to a friend yesterday--worst lateral movement I've ever seen in an NHL player. I think his slapshot is safe though. I'm not even sure Jason Smith would put himself in front of that thing. I guess we'll see on Saturday.

However, I don't see why everyone is so down on this team re: playoffs. We have amazing depth, and I think our depth will save us. If Roloson falters we have arguably the NHL's best backup in Garon. We have so many good defensemen that Smid is in the A. If we falter up front, we have a plethora of prospects and defensemen to offer up in return. That depth also helps to hedge us against injury.

Something like 6 rookies or almost-rookies suited up last night. Imagine how far we are ahead if just one of them has a great season (because we never have great rookies).

I think we're going to be competitive this year.


Justin said...

If anyone's down about the playoffs, it has as much to do with the competition in the West as it does the Oilers. You can be a pretty decent team and still miss the playoffs.

mike w said...

We have amazing depth, and I think our depth will save us.

Sheesh. Let's not get ahead of ourselves and start planning the parade route.

It's nice that our rookies have come through so far, but this is still a very similar to the team that tanked last year and our big pickups are the biggest question marks (Souray, Penner, Pitkanen).

Anonymous said...

mike w: No parade-route planning here. I'm just saying that we shouldn't, as fans, settle for mediocrity from the get-go. Leave that for TO fans.

this is still a very similar to the team that tanked last year

I count ten players from the final game of last season who played last night. I think the makeup of this team is pretty different...


Doogie said...

One more Hemmer note: did you see him come flying back to help break up that 2-on-1 in (I think) overtime? Jesus Christ.

mike w said...


I would argue that based on the headlines and audible groans I hear here in bars, Leafs fans suffer from too much expectation. The played a pretty good game against the Eastern Champions the other night and the fans were already making whiny noises about their team being crap. They even mock cheered Raycroft when he wasn't actually playign bad. Clearly, this town has problems with expectations.

As for the Oilers, the team is still similar, but I didn't say it was identical. The biggest additions are the biggest variables, and you should take with a grain of salt a team that relies on half a dozen rookies, no matter how nice they look on opening night (I'm more interested to see if a Gagner and Cogliano have the conditioning to look this good in February).

And besides that, when you consider this team's recent history, I think it's wise to maintain a bleak, heads-down Calvinist outlook on this team's fortunes.

Anonymous said...

You don't think this team wins a lot of games?????? Wrong!

Anonymous said...

mike w: Fair points all. Admittedly I'm a fan first.

I've been following the Oilers since I moved to Edmonton in '98, and this is the best crop of rookies they've had by about 6 miles. If a single one of them can have a good season, I think it will go a long way toward helping this club do what it wants to do long-term. MacTavish has guys like Pouliot, Sanderson (who only played because Moreau was out) and Smid waiting in the wings for others to falter, and I think that's a very enviable position to be in.

As for Leafs fans, they need to jettison their GM if they ever want to win. They have a cap-limit team and not a single superstar. That is disgraceful. (On our end, I would argue that Hemsky is a budding superstar, and that we still have a few million in space besides.)


mike w said...

You don't think this team wins a lot of games?????? Wrong!


Steve said...

we still have a few million in space besides.

Do we? That wasn't my understanding. But I've been known to be wrong before (see, for example, my last ten or so comments on this blog).

In any event, we have no more room to sign players to contracts, even if we do have the money and the cap space. Whee!

fever4flames said...

uh, no u dont. if u put pisani on the permanent injured status (or whatever its called) then yea, youd free up $2.5 mil in cap space... but since the oilers have no intention of doing that since they somehow believe pisani is going to get better this season (not happening, from what i've heard), nope-- no cap space for the oil after they signed gagner et al.

hope the souray $$ was worth it.

Darien said...

KLOWE is getting a multi-year contract extension. Looks like he'll be oil-town for quite a bit longer...