Sunday, December 16, 2007

The morning after: Some mind-niblets on last night's game

Ah, the morning after: it's not just the name of a pill or kick-ass song off the first cassette tape I ever bought with my own money — it's also a chance to bask in the post-coital glow of Saturday's low-scoring thriller against Vancouver and share a few disjointed thoughts:

• After last night, the Oilers are now an incredible 10-1 in the shootout round (and indeed, have won their last three straight games by SO: crazy), which means they've now collected nearly a third of their points this season — 10 of 34 — from an extra-time feature that doesn't exist at all past the regular season. Some are saying (including a few bitter Canucks fans in last night's thread) that the Oilers are depending too heavily on a new-fangled gimmick round to get their Ws and this will spell trouble come playoff time. And sure, while all those SO wins will admittedly put a pretty big asterisk next to the Oilers' record this year, focusing too much on the shootouts themselves is to detract from the fact that the club is playing some pretty solid hockey to get to that point in the first place. Granted, they've blown more a few third-period leads in those 10 wins, but they've also shown some remarkable offensive prowess and gutsy tenacity (I thinking in particular of Dec. 11's 5-4 SO win over St. Louis, in which the Oilers erased four Blues leads to force extra time) to stay alive in those games.

As rickety as the Oilers may look on paper, there have been what — two, three games this year where they've been totally out of the running? Fact is this team has put together some strong efforts over the last 14 games or so and while SO wins may look cheap, the Oilers aren't doing anything that any other team in the league couldn't do themselves.

That said, I certainly wouldn't complain if the Oilers wanted to try winning a game in regulation time one of these days — something they've only managed to do five times so far this year, most recently in their other kind of SO win over Anaheim back on Dec. 2.

• While Scorcoff had his point streak broken in Thursday's match against Detroit, the dude has still put up an scoff-worthy seven goals and 14 points in his last 10 games, good enough to rank him 21st in league scoring. He's been the best player on the ice for either team more often than not these days.

• I noted last night during his second intermission interview that San Fernando looks like he's lost a lot weight, but my god is he playing well with Robert Nilsson and Sam Gagner. An inspired line concoction by MacT that really brings out the best of all three players' abilities; Pisani's defensive conscience covers up for the young'uns' mistakes while his speed and grit open up room and provide a triggerman for Gagner and Nilsson's ridiculous passing skills. Nilsson in particular has looked like a completely different player since Fernando's return, and if you squint real good you can almost — almost — see why some considered him a solid return for Ryan Smyth.

• It's almost Christmas and the Oilers are a .500 hockey team sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference and only four points out of the NW division lead. I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.

• Mathieu Garon is a force in net. As much as I love Roloson, Lowe has got to hop to it and trade him to the Penguins before they go out and do something crazy like sign Curtis Joseph. Rollie's value is still fairly high and he's a great fit for a Pittsburgh team looking to go deep before their window of opportunity closes in two years when the veterans start retiring and the kids go RFA. Garon is ready to take the reins on this club, I think.

• And speaking of Roloson, Vancouver's Curtis Sanford looks like a real nutbar-in-training. Anyone else notice his little post-buzzer pipe-tapping dance at the end of each period? His highly technical style and competitive fire really reminded me of a young Roloson, too.

• Some Vancouver fans were going off here and elsewhere on the Oilers for icing a borderline AHL team, but how about those Canucks? Outside of the Sedins, Naslund, Ryan Kesler and Trevor Linden, there's not much going on up front in terms of proven NHL talent. Mason Raymond? Jason Jaffray? Kevin Brown? Who are these people?

Bonus 'Fun' Fact: The above photo was taken for the Canadian Press by none other than one Mr. Jimmy Jeong, who, like all three contributors to this here hockey blog, is a former editor of The Gateway, the official student newspaper of the University of Alberta! WOW! If I knew the U of A's motto off-hand, I'd whip it out here. But yeah. Cough.


Loxy said...

To answer your final question...


CinO Exposed said...

"highly technical style"???

What the hell does that even MEAN for a goalie?

Chris! said...

Holy shit, we've been EXPOSED!

It means I thought Sanford has a very technical style of play: economical movement, always square to the shooter, give up few rebounds, doesn't rely on quick reflexes to make the save. Sorry if my wording was confusing.

Anyhow, hope your question mark button gets fixed soon.

Showerhead said...

My claim to fame: I do some work with Jason Jaffray's sister at the U of M. I know, I know - that makes me a pretty big deal, but don't think I'll forget you wondrous people of the sphere when I'm rich and famous.


Chris! said...

I'm going to need your autograph now, you understand.

Doogie said...

I also noticed at one point Sanford was doing the eyes-closed chanting malarkey that Roli has become semi-famous in households, my house for.

James Mirtle said...

My first cassette had to be... Rust in Peace or perhaps Ride the Lightning. I do seem to recall Megadeth being big during road hockey games.

The Canucks essentially blew their budget on Luongo, Naslund and the Sedins, which left Nonis filling out the forward lines with scraps. Honestly, did anyone think Brad Isbister would find another NHL home?

Curtis Sanford is quite good. Maybe the 'nucks should move Luongo to Pittsburgh instead.

Scarlett said...

Mirtle and the 'Deth? My kind of man! My first cassette was Highway to Hell by ACDC.

Way to show the love for the Oilers. Some people are talking smack about the Oil gaining points in the SO but they are playing some damn good hockey of late. Our so-called AHL team is really coming together into an NHL team. I'm loving it! But I agree, I would like to see a regulation win and holding onto a lead in the third. That'd be nice to see.

Anonymous said...

hunter1909: As one of the biggest FIRE MACTAVISH loudmouths(banned until Doomsday from HF and Oilfan lol), even I have to respect the manner which Lowe and MacTavish have got the team lurking in the playoff hunt, near Christmas.

Now I totally expect the usual Oilers go on their post Christmas losing streak until March

Anonymous said...

You can always count on another Gateway alum to bail you out:
"Quaecum que vera", which always evoked In Vino Veritas to me.

Gateway parties always had an amazing amount of booze-thanks student union fees!

Anonymous said...

the Oilers are depending too heavily on a new-fangled gimmick round to get their Ws and this will spell trouble come playoff time

Is this really the best anti-shootout attack against the Oilers that can be made? Reminding all 6 Edmonton fans who started the season realistically expecting a Stanley Cup hoisted above Gagne's rookie shoulders that the shootout wins don't help in the playoffs? Is this what fans should really be worried about? Finishing higher than Phoenix is still somewhat of a lofty goal.

Stache_master said...

Jimmy Jeong Ruled the school... That guy tot me to throw a frisbee while smoking a cigarette!

You guys shoulda heard the vancouver 1240 guys whine last night about how the shootout was causing the league to have an unfair and boring parity.

Anonymous said...

Remember what Phil Esposito said: "It's not how, it's how many" I will take SO wins. It keeps me from altering all the oil drops on my Oiler stuff into single tears.


Andy Grabia said...

I was really hoping Jimmy would be the guy to take my pic for the Staple's story. Alas, it was not to be...

As if you don't know the motto. Or it's English translation. Or the University Cheer. And so on. Nice try, though.

Anonymous said...

Yay, FMN!

Temujin said...

Well first of all, it's Mike Brown, not Kevin Brown!

And secondly, any Canuck fan who chastises the Oilers for picking up points in the shootout forget that they were the beneficiary of it on multiple occasions last season.

Thirdly, I hate Raffi Torres.

Yes, I know he didn't play last night, but it needed to be said.

We'll get ya next time.

Chris! said...

Shit, did I write Kevin Brown? What deep dark recess of my Oilers' roster-retaining brain did that come from? Ima change that right now.

And hey, teams/fans always complain about the shootout when they aren't winning any. Remember Pat Quinn's prolonged hissy fit post-lockout?

sacamano said...

The first album I bought with my own cash was Helix's 'Walkin The Razor's Edge'. I still dust it off at least twice a year. '(Make Me Do) Anything You Want' is a highly underrated Power Ballad, and 'Rock You' is one of those wicked 80's videos that they just can't make anymore -- why yes, those chained-up prehistoric(?) women really are fully exposing their pendulous breasts.

Bonus Fun Fact: Helix Lead Singer Brian Vollmer teaches classical singing in Ontario, and sings the stuff at Weddings all over Ontario. It really shines through in his Helix material, don't you think?

Bonus Humiliating Moment from Sacamano's Childhood: In Grade 6 I had a birthday party and one of my friends gave me U2's 'War' on cassette. The only problem was that my folks were luddites and we still only owned a turntable. I still remember how shocked that kid was that (a) not only couldn't we listen to it during the party but (b) the chances seem slim that I would ever be able to listen to it at all.


Anonymous said...

First album was "Metal Health", I bring it up only because the lead singer passed away recently, made me feel old.

Helix WAS a great CDN metal band!

Loving Scorcoff and Pisani right now, also our amazing Gumby Goalie. I stand by my pre-season prediction we make the playoffs,

The Duke abides,


Anonymous said...

I think that the Nucks are not that great up front. But Morrison, Cooke, Burrows and Pyatt are pretty darn good Nhl'ers still. As for Raymond, he is ranked pretty high up in prospects in the league. Jaffray is older and a fringer, Brown is Stortini with the exception of knowing how to fight :)

kinger said...

Seriously, any Canuck fan who complains about the shootout needs to realize that they went 17-7 after three periods last year.

Dennis said...

The first cassette I bought with my own money was Heartbeat City by The Cars. This was followed by 5150 by Van Halen.

Rock Deputy said...

my first cassette was "Look What The Cat Dragged In" by Poison... but that was mostly because of the "hot chicks" on the cover.

nathan said...

What would you want from the Penguins in return for Roloson?