Well, we know one thing for damn sure, this team sucks without Ales Hemsky. I was hoping my point from my previous post would be proven by something other than an injury of course...
The Oilers came out ready to play. There were an absolute ton of finished checks and really solid short passes in the first half of the game. This had us leading for a time and we really should have been ahead by 2 or 3, but there were not opportunistic guys around the net ready to finish tonight. Nobody was there when the pucks were squirting through. There were many.
If that play where Moreau drove the net would have been executed a little better, we should've scored there especially.
In the second half of the game and especially without Hemsky we didn't control the puck at all. This let the Kings trap work quite effectively. Before that point it wasn't working too well at all.
Once a trap is working, if your team is tired at all, it's pretty difficult to break back through it. We certainly encountered that again tonight.
There were many chances to take the lead when the score was 1-1, but they were fleeting chances. There was very little sustained pressure. Deslauriers held us in as long as he could and its unfortunate that the picture of his game will be tainted by the fact that Matt Greene beat him on a slapper rather than emphasizing that he stopped the league's leading scorer on numerous occasions.
We seem to have a rivalry with LA and the game was rather physical with many scrums, but we were never able to get in LA's face as we have with some other teams. Tonight we had our star cross checked and didn't do much of anything in return. That's pretty unacceptable. Where were the runs at Kopitar? Why wasn't Brown getting sticked behind the play? There's a smart way to do this and we didn't.
Oh well, to the PLAYER REPORTS
- A really solid outing for him. Save for middle-end of the second he was very much in control of his rebounds. He was always in good position and helped out with the puck some tonight as well. For a time I didn't think he'd allow another goal for a while. Still, as I alluded to earlier, stopping Kopitar 6 times and Brown 5 times is nothing to sneeze at. Good effort; his squad let him down.
- Rough and tumble but never got to be all that effective in this regard. His shooting was better tonight in that it was more under control and generally at the net, but he can still do better. He hasn't really beaten a goalie yet. Defensively I liked what he was able to do in the corners, getting the puck out safely.
- Not too shabby I suppose. There were a couple of occasions where he got beat in footraces that expose where he is a liability, but none of these really hurt us. Did his best to keep pucks alive and was alright at that.
- Mark it down; might be the first time I've gone 3 straight with no complaints about him. He even rushed a couple pucks to center tonight. Definitely playing better.
- Also improving; he kept it quite simple out there. It's unfortunate that he couldn't do anything during his foray into the offensive zone in the third that could have given us the lead, but here's hoping that Gilbert returns soon. Defensively I liked his effort. He's turned down the panic and turned up the body positioning and skating. These are good things.
- He was good as always and lugged the puck a fair bit. Disappointing he wasn't able to create a little more offensively.
- Solid and physical; what else is new? Love having this guy on our blue line.
- Was playing well and controlling the puck plus busting through checks until the injury. Likely had a point or two in him tonight but wasn't around when the game was on the line unfortunately.
- A ton of chances and no results. He more than anyone could have factored into this game due to being handed chances by both Hemsky and O'Sullivan. Sam just flat-out missed his chances tonight. Very disappointing for a guy who lives on the type of chances he was getting.
- This was the first game where I thought he might have looked a little off. Don't get me wrong in that he was still pretty solid, but didn't have any wow in his game today. The Kings seemed to do a pretty good job in not letting him get up to speed entering their zone.
- Aside from Hemsky he was probably the only guy consistently getting into the Kings' end of the ice. He still took too many awkward shots, but I liked his game tonight. He didn't shy away from any contact and set up a number of chances for his teammates to score. Only 1 needed to get taken advantage of but none did. He struggled a little on the PP.
- I thought he needed to step up and do something tonight and was unable to. Quite disappointing. I'd support a contract and a call to Kip Brennan for the next Kings game if this keeps up.
- Pretty blah effort from Liam; though he did throw his weight around some. Less puck possession than I'm used to from him.
- Too many turnovers and weak puck losses on the other side of the red line. He wasn't as good tonight as the last few. I can understand with his linemates, but also he can be better. In the early first he made a couple moves that had me thinking he'd turned the corner, but his light quickly dimmed.
- Mixed bag in that he had chances and was okay with the puck but was unable to convert or really generate chances for other guys.
- Didn't hit as much as last game or drive the net as well, but he was okay. Solid scrap with O'Donnell who appeared to be offended by a perfectly clean hit...that's sad.
- I'm not sure what to do with this guy anymore. He gave it his all tonight; you cannot doubt that. He was jumping on the puck, skating like mad, doing whatever he could to score. The fact remains that I'm not sure he got one good shot away on the goalie. The guy has just completely lost his scoring touch and I don't know where it went. By the end of the game he was trying to win in the trenches, something that plays totally away from his skillset and that he won't be able to do effectively, and it didn't work out at all. I'm not sure where we go from here. The effort is there...what's missing?
- Really good burst of skating, hitting and effort in the first period. We had the Ethan of old for a brief time. He couldn't keep it up, but still one of his better efforts I suppose.
- Really enjoying his play still. Solid tip for a goal as the result of smart positioning and a solid play. Not many guys stand in for the Souray bomb like that. Well done sir.
Not much else other than that this was very disappointing. We needed this. SJ is getting absolutely destroyed by Chicago (who is cup-worthy if they don't have injuries) and they're gonna be pissed. Friday could get UGLY.
Pretty blah effort by the Oilers overall. Thought the Kings played a nice road game basically trapping all night and getting the lucky goals they needed to win in a game like this.
Pretty tough to watch the Oilers not able to sustain a forecheck until the last 8 minutes of the game. The Kings had a far too easy night getting the puck out of their zone
On the other hand the Oilers Defense did a nice job keeping the Kings to the outside and not allowing any shots or rebounds close up.
People are going to infer alot into that game(see the PGT thread) but to me at least the Oiler forwards needed to be alot more intense which they were not. Outside of Moreau's line and JFJ it looked like alot of guys just skating with no purpose most of the night.
I have seen this movie before and it makes me frustrated and tired. The current version of the Oilers resembles some of the awful early to mid 90's teams. Hemsky is the least of the Oilers' problems. He may not be a superstar (or even as good as Dougie was when he was here) but his contract is amazing for his calibre of player.
The team is just flat out not good. Most nights I look at the roster we have and the other team and I'd be willing to swap straight up. Why do we expect quantum leaps from players year after year?
There are some nice things going on this year - the play of Smid; Penner; Brule may be a player; and Visnovsky will probably wind up with 60 points if he is healthy (long time since we had a blueliner do that I think).
However, there are far more bad things happening - regression in most of the young guys not named above, and in particular, Gagner and Cogliano are looking more and more like secondary players; continued lack of direction from management and no sign that anyone in the group "gets it", and awful contracts that will haunt the team unless Katz decides to blow a wad of cash burying some of the bums in the AHL.
I think the team is perfoming at the correct level. I thought they were somewhere around 11th in the West before the season and nothing they have done, including the hot start, changed my mind.
This is the first year I haven't attempted to go to every home game possible. This is coming from a hardcore fan who has Oilers in the blood. Last night I left halfway through the 3rd period. I had seen enough. I was tired. I had to work early. I wasn't going to stay up to watch the product I was watching.