VANCOUVER CANUCKS 5
Two goals are in doubt however, and currently being reviewed by the NHL due to the possibility of them being awarded to Dan Marouelli.
This game had the same story as a ton of the home games this year since we stopped playing great hockey at home a few months ago. It was a really frustrating game where no one really did much of anything great and a lot of things went wrong.
One of the things I noticed once again was the 5-in-the-middle defence working against us quite well from the Canucks…MacTavish still hasn’t addressed this with a system change.
Another problem of course is that our break-out and break-in for the last 1 and a half periods consisted of a disgustingly long pass that was usually untouchable. We only got the Stortini goal because Sykora is very talented near the opposition blue line at taking those passes. Our D can’t pass. Everyone knows it and plays to it. It’s like watching Bantam hockey…some nights you get lucky and the forwards crank up the effort to salvage things, but most nights it just sucks.
I’m not sure if we were ever going and got sidetracked or what. All seemed fine after the first but maybe it was not. I don’t know if we can play the physical game against a team of whiners like Cooke, Bieksa, Cowan, Burrows etc. and win. All we end up doing is taking penalties…and when the ref is looking to give someone 12 minutes (that penalty was stupid…he didn’t even give him any time between the 2 and the 10) you’re in trouble.
-You can only carry a team so far…and when you are literally the only effective line…there are problems. Hemsky’s 8 shots were a product of a lack of chances and frustration at not being able to score. The effort was there from this line tonight but the results just weren’t. Smyth came really close a bunch of times but could not convert. Horcoff made a couple really ugly passes that I’d dog him for but they really didn’t matter. He also couldn’t hit water from a boat tonight, but again, did it really even matter? They did enough, it was the other guys out there who did not.
-I grouped these guys together for a reason…they are a huge part of why we lost tonight. Neither of these lines was effective at all. Without Stoll, neither line could handle a decent VAN line. They were just putrid. Even the unflappable Fernando couldn’t do anything to stem the attack and right his line. Lupul keeps showing sparks…but sparks don’t put points on the board. He needs to start scoring on the rush and he needs to do it now. There’s no excuse for him not converting. Sykora made a great play on the Stortini goal of course, in both the pickup of the pass and the shot choice, but other than that he was ineffective. I hate to say it, but he hasn’t been effective at all since the beginning of the year. If he were a distinct third-liner that would be okay, but he’s not. Toby was not very good tonight either, but he’s being used WAY too much out there. He doesn’t have a hope of being effective with that much responsibility. Nedved is simply too old and slow. Any comparison to Scott Ferguson denotes he absolutely does not belong here. I’m in favor of Brodziak or Schremp at this point surely. Raffi doesn’t seem to know who he is anymore…he can’t even score against Vancouver and was totally useless in a physical game. Not to mention 14 penalty minutes (though questionable) don’t help the cause.
-I’ll save the positive for last, so let us start with Marty and Brad. Marty had one of his worst games tonight. He was brutal on the dot and couldn’t get anything going with the puck. He made bad passing decisions and didn’t help the team. Winchester proved two things: that he cannot really hit, and that he can nail the corner glass from the slot with a really hard wrist shot. Having Stortini on that line shows just how bad Winchester is. Now, on to Stortini…his 6 minutes of playing time was EASILY the most effective per minute of any Oilers player tonight. He hit big, he fought (though Cowan, a seemingly eager challenger, seemed to in fact want a prolonged hug…what a freaking wuss…) and he went to the net and scored his first goal. He deserves recognition for what he’s been able to bring to this team.
-We need you two games ago.
-I don’t really know what to say about the D tonight. They weren’t good. Bergeron is now nervous and lacking confidence after the apparent ugliness in Vancouver, which is the last thing we need right now. Matt Greene is still stuck in a huge funk that means he’s not able to contribute how we need him to. Smid was okay I suppose, and Staios, but both can be much better. Smith and Hejda I just can’t like because of their substandard puck-moving…it’s killing our offensive game even if it keeps a few pucks out of the net. Solid pass to Sykora though.