HAHAHAHHAHAHAH holy crap...joke of the year right there... PLEASE tell me that having Horcoff 1st line center is a typo...If you have him there you DO NOT know what a good hockey player is...that is just plain BRUTAL...
Far as I am concerned what ever works although I have felt York is playing worse at center than has Smyth(maybe its just Yorks hand and Smyth just looks like hes not playing his style of game)
I was too tired last night when i got home to post a game report so here goes nothing...
1) "Torque" is still playing good but not as dominent as the first game. Torres missed a nice chance where he deked a flames defender and was all alone with McLennan. Laraque is still a force on the boards and was actually looking pretty fast last night. Horcoff was alright but just alright, following the playoffs and worlds i thought he would play a bigger and more offensive role this year even if he is on line 1c.
2) MacT was juggling lines starting midway through the second and at one time he has horcoff, torres, and hemsky...i like the sounds of that line and i think they should maybe be tried out in a practice or two.
3) The first line for the most part was Isibister Smyth and Dvorak but both Chimera and Hemsky had shifts in the place of Dvorak. Dvorak was one of if not the best Oilers tonight. He was always skating and always working no matter who his linemates were. The chances will come to Radek if he keeps it up. Smyth was winning the odd draw and catching hard passes all night which was impressive but he didn't do a whole lot offensively, he only had one good chance in which Hemsky feathered a cross ice pass onto his stick but he couldn't get it over MacLennan mainly because he waited too long. I thought Izzy started off well and i am starting to see the potential but i didn't feel it was a 60 minute effort on his part.
4)The second line that started the game together was Chimera/York/Hemsky but like I said MacT was in a yahtzee mood against calgary and the forwards were his dice...he kept shaking them up. However i think this is a good thing because the chemistry that was there against San Jose was lost against Vancouver and was again missing in the 1st period of last nights game prior to his mixing them up. Chimera had an off game but the pressbox is not the solution, i think his speed is a necessity and maybe put him in Pisani's spot and let Fernando sit. Then call up Stoll to play with Torres and Laraque and let Horcoff center York and Dvorak or Hemsky.
Ales was again mediocre by my standards and i mean he is talented offensively and when we score no goals and he registers few or no shots i don't think it can be considered a good game.
Mike York was the biggest dissapointment for me last night...i don't know if he is hurt or sick but his effort isn't there and i don't think he touched the puck more than 5 times all game and 3 of those times were on face-offs. He needs to play better if we can survive without Comrie.
5) RPM should soon become RRM because Pisani has to be packaged with Comrie and one of Ferguson or Cross even if it hurts our return somewhat because those 3 players are doing nothing but taking up roster space.
The second R of course is Rita but even Salmo would do wonders for that line. Reasoner is a one man show as another poster reported. At least Marty got some decent playing time with more talented line mates throughout this game and in the dying minutes.
Moreau has done nothing to prove to me that his contract was worthy and hasn't shown any signs of deserving an "A" neither. He has been slower than usual, still has no hands but this year he isn't even touching the puck, and Moreau isn't doing the one thing he does well and that would be play physical.
Pisani should have been given a two way contract...AHL and ECHL the way he has performed this year. Slow, clumbsy and maybe even scared or nervous at times. I know it is only his first full year with the team but he's 27 the nerves have to work their way out soon or he will earn himself a one way ticket out of town. I think he becomes the 13th forward in the near future and Stoll or Rita becomes a regular...by the way are we still functioning with a 22 man roster and if so Y?
6) The defense was one of the better points tonight. They played quite solid as a unit and never gave up too many odd man rushes. They cleared the front of the net well and for the most part moved the puck effectively.
Either Jason Smith or Staios, i am inclined to say Smith, had a brutal giveaway in the second period and then decided that it would be best to screen Salo on the shot. That was a bad shift for that pairing but either wise they would solid and both were pretty physical.
Brewer and Cross. At first i was disgusted to see that Semenov was not dressed again and that both my least favorite pylons, Cross and Fergie, were in uniform. Then when i saw Cross paired with Brewer my disgust turned to rage because the playoffs were last year. Anyway Cross almost did enough to redeem himself, keyword almost. He was slow yet sound defensively, it is just too bad that he is too slow to play physical because he does have the size. They logged a lot of minutes but i found Brewer had to be more causious knowing Cross was on the ice and at times had the puck. Brewer covered more than once for Cross' dangling attempts of going end to end stick handling through the opposition and not to mention his aggressive pinch ins. Hopefully that made you all laugh out loud because of course i was being sarcastic. Cross could stick handle around the average 5 year old let alone NHL players but he still likes to try and the Flames forwards with the puck in their feet at the hashmarks had a good 5 second to pick their heads up, have a look and make a smart plays while Cross used his super slow motion sneaky pinchs. Cross saddens me to watch, especially when paired with a talent like Brewer. Cory might have been better tonight but only because his partner made him look better.
Fergie and Bergie. This pair seems to work not bad. Ferguson takes the odd dumb penalty where Bergeron makes the odd bad pinch. They counteract (there is another C word that fits better there it just slipped my head for now) each other quite nicely. I think Cross and not Ferguson should be scratched in favor of Semenov because Fergie just does more things right and he is not such a liability on skates. Bergeron just continues to impress and tonight it was him and Dvorak who were the two best Oilers in my eyes. Bergie seems to be playing less physical that late last year but his offense and confidence with the puck can't go without notice and appreciation. He better be our top 6 all year barring injury.
Final ruling on the defense...Cross sits and Semenov dresses. If Semenov was scratched for motivation purposes then i think he is ready and Cross should be scratched for the exact same reason.
7) As for Tommy Salo. You won't find a bigger Salo promoter on these boards then myself. I think he has what it takes to lead us into the second round and beyond this year and for many years to come but tonight wasn't his night. Some people are probably confused right now, thinking how can it not be his night when he only lets in one goal? Answer is, being a goalie myself, it was obvious Tommy was fighting the puck most of if not all night. Tommy was really fortunate the old bars were behind him tonight... I counted at least 4 posts or cross bars that the Flames picked off but two or maybe 3 of them were because Tommy booted the shot or misplayed the shot if you will and it went off him off the post and out of harms way. He made some nice saves but i think it was more an issue of the puck hitting him then him being set for the shot and making the save. Tommy was kicking out Conklinlike rebounds for most of the game too. Decent game on Tommy's part but not the kind of game that is going to lead us into the playoffs and deap into the playoffs. Put it this way if we were facing Colorado's accurate shooters tonight the score would have been something like 5 or 6 nothing. Between now and Saturday Tommy has to get the feel of the puck and come to the rink more mentally prepared.
8) I was pretty critical of MacT's coaching against Vancouver but i thought he was much better tonight. The powerplay still blows goats but that may not be his department. For a change i was supportive of him mixing up the lines and trying to ignite fires under players @sses. He knows the game and i trust him and his staff; it is not their fault we are not scoring goals.
9) Not scoring goals obviously leads back to the MC issue. Mike Comrie is a consistent 20 + goal man in this league for years to come and although i don't see it being in an Oiler jersey i am partially leaning towards acquiring offense and creativity it return for him. There are still a number of options on the free agent market including cliff ronning, steve thomas and sergei berezin not that i am overly interested in any of those names but if a defenseman comes in return for MC i think maybe all 3 of those forwards should be looked into as far as price and of course wanting to be an Oiler. The Comrie thing is a tough issue especially for Lowe and i think he will handle it appropriately but the sooner the better.