All Time Draft 2nd Round: Edmonton Oilers @ Trail Smoke Eaters (write-ups thread)

06-02-2007, 11:44 PM
Game 1

The highly anticipated second round matchup between the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Edmonton Oilers begins not with a bang, but with a slow burn. The players from both squads are guarded when commenting on the series, and nothing but a solid stream of cliché is emitted from either side. “Would you guys keep your pants on?” grumbles a fed-up Don Cherry as he exits the building after practice.

The play in game 1 of the series is equally tentative, as both teams seem to be taking their time to feel out the opposition. The Trail crowd appears restless, as the first period ends with very little action in either direction.

The second period is a different story, however. Boom Boom Geoffrion opens the scoring with a picture perfect one-timer, having circled the net and dropped to one knee to blast a Henri Richard cross-ice pass into the top corner. The crowd erupts with approval, and the arena shakes to its foundations. An “Oilers Suck” chant begins in the upper level. The Oilers are unfazed.

Edmonton quickly takes some steam out of the home crowd when Mike Peca demolishes Mickey Redmond at his own blue line. Redmond is shaken, but not stirred. At 7:40 of the second period, the Oilers strike back on the scoreboard. Darryl Sittler chips the puck past Gus Mortson at the Edmonton blueline, and heads down the ice with Glenn Anderson on a 2-on-1. Using Anderson as a decoy, the slick centre looks off the lone defenseman Brian Engblom and buries it five-hole on Fuhr. Sittler winks at the boys on the bench as he skates past on his way back to centre ice.

Tempers begin to flare 3 minutes later, when Joel Otto smashes Craig Hartsburg into the glass from an angle that could be described as “questionable” at best. No penalties are awarded on the play, or in the ensuing scrum. The chippy play continues for the remainder of the second, and finds Henri Richard and Bob Gainey serving matching roughing penalties when all is said and done. The players jaw at each other as they leave the ice.

It appears that the second intermission has done nothing to temper the bloodlust. The teams get right into it off the opening draw, with Ted Lindsay being sent off for spearing Geoffrion in the gut. Trail is unable to capitalize on the powerplay. The animosity culminates midway through the period with Wilf Paiement taking it to Scott Stevens in a scrap by the endboards. Cherry and Imlach can be seen jawing at each other from their benches, and the crowd is loving every minute of it.

With three minutes left in the game Trail has a chance to tie it, but Duke Keats bounces one off the post after a mad scramble in front of Vachon. Keats smashes his stick on the boards as he skates off the ice, knowing he missed a golden opportunity.

The buzzer sounds to signal the end of regulation time, and both teams file into their dressing rooms. The Trail fans barely have time to return to their seats when the overtime period is brought to a sudden end. Ted Lindsay bulls his way to the net, and shovels in a goal that gives “ugly” a whole new meaning. The score is 2-1, and it’s a fitting end to a filthy game. The Edmonton players celebrate wildly as the stunned crowd looks on.

1. Ted Lindsay
2. Boom Boom Geoffrion
3. Darryl Sittler

06-02-2007, 11:49 PM
Game 2

The Oilers open the scoring early on as Brian Sutter beats Fuhr with a dubiously long shot just 3 minutes in. Red Kelly will later explain that his goaltender was screened. The players aren’t buying it. A second Edmonton goal is added 7 minutes later with a deflection of a Ted Lindsay shot by Nels Stewart. A 3rd follows a minute later off the stick of Glenn Anderson, who has all the time in the world to wind up and blast it over Fuhr’s glove hand from the high slot. The building is so quiet you could hear a pin drop, or in this case, Punch Imlach laying into Hap Day on the bench for losing his assignment.

The score remains 3-0 until the end of the second period, when Trail's Sweeny Schriner finally solves Vachon with a bullet along the ice, drawing the game back within reach. Sensing a comeback, the Trail crowd finds some life, but momentum is lost with the sound of the buzzer.

The third period begins, and the Smoke Eaters have a definite jump in their step. Trail mounts rush after rush, but none can solve Vachon. With 5 minutes gone in the third, Geoffrion breaks in over the Oilers blueline and leaves a drop-pass for a trailing Henri Richard. POW! Scott Stevens comes across and lays the “Boom Boom” on Boom Boom as he’s looking back. The Trail bench erupts, feeling the hit was late, but no penalty is called. Geoffrion is helped off the ice by Kelly and Richard, and does not return. Blake and Stevens serve roughing penalties for the melee that ensues.

The Smoke Eaters are noticeably deflated after watching their offensive leader being carried off the ice in a daze. They mount only 2 shots after the incident, and neither is a serious scoring threat. The Oilers pop four more goals in the remaining 15 minutes. The first comes from Lindsay on a wrap-around, and a second from Scott Stevens on the powerplay (drawing the ire, and booes, of the home crowd), bringing an end to Fuhr’s evening. Just moments later Ian Turnbull picks up the puck behind his own net and dances through the Trail defense like they weren’t there, beating a cold Al Rollins blocker side. Al Secord adds a 7th goal with just 1:15 left, as the Trail fans stream towards the exits in disgust.

With the game out of reach and the clock running down Dale Hunter blatantly runs Vachon, inciting a brawl in front of the Oilers net. Hunter gives Stevens the death stare as he’s escorted to the dressing room. The final score is 7-1, and the crowd is not pleased. A thoroughly embarrassed Punch Imlach storms to the dressing room, and the players sheepishly follow. The Oilers exit the arena quickly and quietly. They're thrilled to be headed back to Edmonton with two wins, but they know the next game will not be so easy.

1. Scott Stevens
2. Ted Lindsay
3. Rogie Vachon

06-02-2007, 11:54 PM
Game 3

Following a vicious beating on home ice, the Smoke Eaters arrive at the practice rink the next day to find the doors locked. Kamensky is the only payer to comment on the incident to the media, simply offering: “coach mad”. Imlach can not be reached for comment.

It's one quiet flight to Edmonton. However, Imlach’s tactics appear to pay off, as Trail comes out flying in the next game. With Geoffrion still sidelined, Gary Unger steps onto the top line and instantly makes his presence felt, one-timing a Richard pass five-hole on Vachon. With time winding down in the first, Kamensky takes a home run pass from Red Kelly at the red line and splits the defense pairing of Hartsburg and Babych before undressing Vachon with the vaunted triple-deke. Trail leads 2-0 after the first.

The second period brings little intrigue, as both teams are stifled by the opposing defenses. Offensive rushes are broken up in the neutral zone, players are offside, shots are deflected out of play. The respective checking lines are the stars of the period.

The third period begins on a decidedly different note. Just a minute into the period, Bob Gainey catches Stefan Persson looking the wrong way with the puck and levels him. Mike Peca scoops up the turnover and skates in all alone. Peca’s backhand deke is thwarted by a Grant Fuhr pokecheck, but Gainey fights off Craig Hartsburg for the loose puck and shovels it over Fuhr, who can only waive at it from his stomach as it floats by and into the yawning cage.

Oilers coach Don Cherry places one foot on the top of the boards and applauds Gainey as he returns to the bench. The crowd roars it’s approval, as chants of “Gai-ney! Gai-ney” rain down from the rafters. Sensing that the momentum is shifting, the Oilers continue to use their physical advantage punish the Smoke Eaters, hitting everything that moves. With 3 minutes left Glenn Anderson squeezes past a Rob Blake hipcheck and charges towards the net from the sideboards. With Red Kelly cutting off his path to the front of the net, Anderson fires high, short-side. The shot beats a crouching Fuhr, but clangs off the crossbar. It’s followed by Anderson himself clanging off Fuhr’s face with his shoulder, taking the net off it’s moorings in the process. Blake throws a vicious crosscheck to Anderson’s face as he’s getting up, and receives a double minor for his troubles.

Coach Imlach can be seen glowering from the Smoke Eaters bench, knowing his squad will be shorthanded for (hopefully) the remainder of the game.

The ensuing Edmonton power-play is slow to begin, losing the puck three times in a row trying to enter the Trail zone thanks to some dogged neutral-zone checking by Provost and Otto, and wasting valuable time. With a minute-thirty left, coach Cherry calls a time out and diagrams a play that consists of a simple shoot-in, “and then get your ***** in there!”. It works. Lindsay recovers the puck in the corner, and the Oilers lay siege to the Trail net, cycling the puck relentlessly, and tiring the Trail players in the process. Shot after shot is thrown in Grant Fuhr’s direction, but he’s at his big-game best, kicking away one shot after another. With 9 seconds remaining Fuhr makes a kicksave, but in the process he inadvertently kicks the feet from under his own defenceman Hap Day, who crashes down on top of him along with Glenn Anderson. The rebound trickles out into the slot, where Scott Stevens winds up to blast it home. The crowd roars in anticipation. FIVE, FOUR, THREE…With Fuhr looking on helplessly, Stevens fires…only to be blocked by Red Kelly, who’s come out of nowhere to slide in front of the shot point-blank. The puck hits him square in the stomach, and the game ends with Kelly lying face down on the ice with the puck underneath him. Trail has won the game, breathing new life into the series.

1. Red Kelly
2. Bob Gainey
3. Grant Fuhr

06-02-2007, 11:57 PM
I need me sleep, so that's all you get for now.

Is this the begining of a Smoke Eaters comeback? Will the Oilers take a strangle-hold on the series next game? Will J.R.'s shooter be revealed?

Wouldn't you like to know...

Tune in tommorow night for continuing coverage.

06-03-2007, 01:18 PM
Stomping Trail in their barn in game 2, I love it.

Looking forward to taking a stranglehold on the series tonight..............

06-03-2007, 10:42 PM
Game 4

Having picked up their first win of the series in the previous game, the Trail Smoke Eaters are riding high. Knowing that they stole one on enemy soil has erased the shame of dropping the first two games at home. More good news comes the next day, as Bernie Geoffrion has been cleared by team doctors, and participates in a full, problem-free practice. He will once again be anchoring the top line.

Game 4 can not arrive soon enough for the Smoke Eaters, and they’re rarin’ to go by the time puck drop arrives. Trail is intent on upping their physical play. Rob Blake fires up the Trail bench early on, with a well-timed hip check that sends Punch Broadbent ass-over-teakettle. Dale Hunter follows suit, bodyslamming a surprised Jack Stewart in the corner on the forecheck. Stewart replies by slashing Hunter as he skates away, and as usual, the retaliation gets the call. With Stewart in the box, Trail capitalizes on the man-advantage for the first time in the series, as Red Kelly sneaks in off the blueline and one-times a Valeri Kamensky feed past Vachon.

With 6 minutes remaining in the first, the Oilers even the score. Nels Stewart controls the puck behind the Trail net, and sends what appears to be a centering pass out front to Ted Lindsay. The pass never arrives however, as it deflects off the skate of Stefan Persson and bounces past Grant Fuhr. In spite of the accidental nature of the goal, Stewart has some choice words for the Trail goaltender as he skates by. The Edmonton crowd grows louder as the period wears down.

The second period begins with the Oilers once again controlling the play, and again Nels Stewart is the catalyst. While clashing with Joel Otto at the side of the net, Stewart manages to tip his second goal of the game into the top corner with just one hand on his stick. He then proceeds to punch Otto in the face after the play, and happily goes to celebrate his goal in the penalty box. Things go from bad to worse for Trail. On their ensuing powerplay, they’re caught napping with a poor player change, allowing Duane Sutter to break out of the Edmonton zone with the puck on a 1-on-1 rush against Duke Keats. Sutter cuts to the middle of the Trail zone, and slides one past Fuhr by using Keats as a screen. The crowd goes wild, knowing that their Oilers are that much closer to taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the best of 7 series.

Punch Imlach calls his timeout to regroup. Whatever he says seems to have worked. The Smoke Eaters come out of the timeout flying. The top line seems to have found a new gear, and none of the Edmonton players seem to be able to skate with them. Boom Boom Geoffrion receives a stretch pass from Red Kelly and blows past the Oiler defense. He fakes a shot, and then finds a trailing Henri Richard, who dekes past a flat-footed Scott Stevens and beats Rogie Vachon glove side. The Smoke Eaters bench is buzzing as the period comes to a close, and the Edmonton fans move nervously towards the concourse.

The third period begins as the second ended, with the Smoke Eaters buzzing around the Oiler zone like flies on stink. There’s an audible groan from the Edmonton crowd as Trail finds the seemingly inevitable tying goal when Mickey Redmond steps out from the corner and snaps one far-side. Three minutes later Sweeney Schriner is sent in on a partial break and takes Vachon from forehand to backhand, easily sliding it past the helpless goaltender. He returns to the Trail bench like a conquering hero, as the crowd falls deathly silent.

As the period moves along, the Oilers slowly begin to crawl back into it. They get their break with 6:20 remaining, as Craig Hartsburg blasts one through a maze of legs that finds its way to the back of the net. With the game tied, both teams play with increased vigour, and the play goes from end to end for about 4 non-stop heart-pounding minutes.

The deadlock is broken by an all-too-familiar character with a mere 90 second left. With a shining example of his often-overlooked finesse game, Nels Stewart gives Gus Mortson the old outside-in move and moves in alone on Fuhr. He fakes a wind-up, freezing the goaltender, and then beats him with a quick shot that squeezes just between Fuhr’s arm and body. The crowd goes mental, and Stewart is mobbed by his team mates behind the net. The Oiler faithful boisterously count down the remaining seconds of the game, and it goes into the books as a 5-4 victory for the home team. Nels Stewart picks up the much deserved player of the game honours for his hat trick. The Smoke Eaters quickly file to the dressing room, knowing they will have to fend off elimination on home ice in game 5.

1. Nels Stewart
2. Henri Richard
3. Red Kelly

06-04-2007, 10:11 AM
Game 5

The Smoke Eaters arrive home to Trail knowing that they’ve dug themselves into a hole. “We’ll just have to dig ourselves out” offers Curt Fraser, not realizing that it’s probably impossible to dig oneself out of a hole.

Trail begins the digging early in game 5, controlling the play, and executing with textbook precision. The first goal of the game comes halfway through the first period when Bernie Geoffrion beats Vachon with an absolute rocket of a shot from the top of the circle. Vachon had a clean look at it…but c’mon, this is Boom Boom shooting. The Smoke Eaters continue to build on the momentum, as they thoroughly outskate the Oilers, winning most of the puck battles. By the end of the first period they’ve added another goal, as Kamensky capitalizes on a puck-playing mix up between Vachon and Jack Stewart, and neatly tucks the puck into the empty cage. As the players go to the dressing room, the fans give their Smoke Eaters a standing ovation.

The second period is a much more closely-matched affair. The Oilers have regrouped, and they’ve come to play in the second frame. Scott Stevens gets the ball rolling when he delivers a devastating hit on Kamensky by the blueline. Kamensky is fine, but the Oilers bench is back into the game. A few minutes later Stevens makes his presence felt on the scoreboard as well. With Claude Provost in the box for an inadvertent high-stick, Stevens buries a shot from the point, bringing Edmonton back within one. Trail responds with the period winding down, when Sweeney Schriner breaks in off the wing and beats Vachon from a poor angle between his skate and the post.

The third period begins with a goaltending change for Edmonton, as Eddie Giacommin warms up in the visitor’s cage. The change seems to act as a wake-up call, and the Oilers carry the play for the first half of the 3rd. They once again draw the game within 1, as Brian Sutter takes the puck hard to the net, before shoveling it across to Glenn Anderson for the easy tap-in. Two minutes later Ted Lindsay and Punch Broadbent execute a picture-perfect two on one, but Fuhr comes up with a brilliant glove save as he moves from post to post. The Smoke Eaters once again stretch their lead to two, as Wilf Paiement fends off Jason Smith and fires a bullet past Giacommin to make the score 4-2. With 6 minutes left, Trail runs into some penalty trouble. With Dale Hunter already in the box for roughing, Joel Otto is slapped with a boarding penalty just 20 seconds in to the penalty kill. Sensing their chance, the Oilers throw all their firepower on the ice. It’s a shooting gallery in the Trail zone, with Sittler, Stewart, and Lindsay whizzing passes back and forth through the box. However, nobody can beat Grant Fuhr, who makes 6 saves on the two-man advantage to keep the score the same.

With 2:00 left in regulation time, the Oilers once again get their shot. Trail is once again penalized as Duke Keats hooks Mike Peca to the ice. Knowing that they need two goal to tie, Don Cherry pulls the goalie, giving Edmonton a 6-on-4 advantage. Stewart wins the draw, and the Oilers move the puck around with crisp, precise passes. Ted Lindsay is set up alone on the crease, but Fuhr slides over to save the day. 20 seconds later Sittler circles into the slot from the sideboards and labels a shot for the top corner. Fuhr flails at the puck, and it tips off the top of his blocker and over the cage. Red Kelly desperately fights off Glenn Anderson for the loose puck, and blindly turns and fires, knowing his squad needs a change badly. The puck sails over the head of Ian Turnbull, and the Oilers can do nothing but watch as it skids into the empty Edmonton net at the far side of the rink. Dead centre, as usual. The home crowd erupts, knowing they’ve secured victory. The Trail players exit the rink in jubilation, knowing they’ll live to fight another day. The Oilers exit quietly, already thinking about finishing this series on home ice in game 6.

1. Grant Fuhr
2. Red Kelly
3. Scott Stevens

06-04-2007, 11:53 AM
Game 6

Game 6 in Edmonton is a war of attrition from the very beginning. The home team is making their physical presence felt at every opportunity, and the Edmonton crowd is electric. In spite of the physical dimension to the game, there’s very little in the way of scoring chances. Henri Richard has the only good chance of the first period on a partial break, but he fails to beat a re-focused Rogie Vachon. The period ends with plenty of coinciding minor penalties, and coinciding zeros still on the board.

The play opens up a little in the second, but not a whole lot. Both teams are still hungry, and scrum after scrum breaks out in the corner, in the front of the net, by the benches, at the face off circle…

Halfway through the period Duke Keats breaks in on Dave Babych. He left and then cuts hard to the right, swimming past the defender. Vachon is there to make the save however, and the game remains locked at zeros. As the second period winds to a close, the Edmonton crowd is visibly nervous. They realize that in such a tight game, one slip-up could have this series tied.

The 3rd period begins with some action, as Scott Stevens neatly picks the pocket of Henri Richard at the blueline and send the puck up to a streaking Punch Broadbent. Broadbent breaks in on net, only to have the puck poked off his stick by a diving Red Kelly. With 9 minutes remaining in the period, Bob Gainey displays some offensive flair that not even he knew he had, as he bowls his way past Schriner and then dekes past Rob Blake on his way to the net. At the last second he remembers he’s Bob Gainey, as the puck hops over his stick when he goes to shoot, and bounces harmlessly to a waiting Grant Fuhr, who smothers it. The third period ends at 0-0, with Trail outshooting Edmonton 16-12. We’re going to overtime.

Overtime finally brings some scoring. A Scott Stevens shot block send the puck bouncing out of the Edmonton zone. Broadbent picks it up, and finds Ted Lindsay in behind the Trail defender. Lindsay fires low, but Fuhr kicks it out. However, Lindsay jumps on his own rebound, and buries the game winner.

The series is over, and the Oilers pile on Lindsay in the corner as the crowd goes wild. A dejected Red Kelly takes a knee as he watched the opposition celebrate. It is later revealed that he played the final 3 games of the series with cracked ribs suffered on a shot block in game 3.

1. Ted Lindsay
2. Red Kelly
3. Scott Stevens

06-04-2007, 11:54 AM
Oilers win the series in 6.

3 stars of the series as per GM voting:

1. Ted Lindsay
2. Scott Stevens
3. Red Kelly

06-04-2007, 12:15 PM
6 games is surprising, I thought for sure this one would go the distance. Congrats to Murphy.

06-04-2007, 12:54 PM
Woo Hoo!!!!

Off to the Robson division championship after taking out arch rival Trail!!

Surprised it didn't go the distance but I think the physical edge was huge and that probably put the Oil over the top. Here's hoping for a rematch with Trail next draft.........:cheers:

Now off to Nanaimo, against another team that is similar to Trail and who the Oil have a large physical edge over.....................:naughty:

God Bless Canada
06-04-2007, 01:13 PM
Congrats to my esteemed rival and colleague Murphy on his series victory.

Obviously we're disappointed with the result. We play hard, we play to win, and we thought we would win the whole damn thing this year. I'd be selling my guys short if I didn't think my team would go all the way.

We're going to re-evaluate our philosophy when it comes to team building. We believe that defence, hockey sense, team play, depth and coaching is the combination to win a championship. Obviously, the majority of GMs disagree with the Trail brass. Time to make some adjustments to our selection process, get a little more sandpaper for our scoring lines, and maybe put a little more emphasis on the second line, and take some emphasis from our two-way and 4th lines, especially if we continue to have large numbers in the draft.

I think that Saskatoon victory over Siberia cost me the division title. If Siberia wins that series, we get the match-up we wanted from the start, which was Siberia, and we get to watch Edmonton and Nanaimo beat the crap out of each other. Then we scoop up the leftovers. Had we won this, I don't know how much we would have had for a series against Nanaimo.

It doesn't matter whether we lost in 4, 5, 6 or 7 games. Bottom line is that we didn't win. And we don't care which round we lost in. Our goal, from a team perspective, was to win the championship. We didn't do that. Back to the war room.

06-04-2007, 01:25 PM
Now off to Nanaimo, against another team that is similar to Trail and who the Oil have a large physical edge over.....................:naughty:

I'm still working on it, but you're going to see a very different lineup than Saskatoon did. I won't be able to match you physically, but I'm going to do my best with what I've got. ;)

I think that Saskatoon victory over Siberia cost me the division title. If Siberia wins that series, we get the match-up we wanted from the start, which was Siberia, and we get to watch Edmonton and Nanaimo beat the crap out of each other. Then we scoop up the leftovers. Had we won this, I don't know how much we would have had for a series against Nanaimo.

I agree that the matchup really hurt you. Had Siberia pulled it out against Saskatoon, I think you would have made the Division Finals fairly easily and would have been in good shape going into it.

06-04-2007, 02:10 PM
Lets be frank, Edmonton and Trail are two of the better teams in the draft. Having them go head to head in the second round was bound to end with dissapointment for one of our better GMs.