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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This is Mike Ricci. The only thing uglier than Mike Ricci, in the entire game of hockey, past, present or future, is this Oilers squad and their poor excuse for what would normally be called puck control. A perfect example was this ridiculously disgusting 9-2 loss to Chicago.

This wasn't a hockey game. This was the Oilers - a highly paid bunch of skilled players parading around on a 60 minute penalty kill with no consistency, intensity, or desire.

The Oilers came off of a 3-0 win against Vancouver, the Northwest division leaders, on Saturday night. Craig MacTavish called it the Oilers best game of the season.

I recommend he get his eyes checked.

Let's keep it in perspective here. The Vancouver Canucks very blatantly went on air and called it their worst game of the season. I think they're right. They have been handing our asses to us so far this season and they will continue to do so the next time we meet them. Roberto Luongo is still injured. Two of the goals against Curtis Sanford were somewhat flukey. The Dustin Penner goal was the result of hard work but easily could have been a routine save 99% of the time. The Robert Nilsson goal was a classic cherry pick and even he admits (TSN) that he had no idea what he was doing back there.

No offense to Bobby Nilsson, but the Canucks passed the puck right to him.

Subtracting those two flukey goals, we're sitting at a 1-0 win without Roberto Luongo in net. What's the score if he's in net? 0-0 going into a shootout?

Furthermore, if we can't outscore the Canucks by more than 1 legitimate goal with the Saviour Luongo himself out of the lineup, there's no way we will win games when we play a team with their #1 goalie in net and playing on top of their game.

We saw that tonight against Chicago.

What's the difference you ask?

Let's see here...

  • needless panic - sometimes the safe play is the easiest play
  • wayward passes: if your passes don't go to someone, they're not going anywhere except the other way as an odd-man rush into your own goddamn zone
  • we're chasing the puck, not playing the man
  • we're going where the puck is - not where the puck is going to be
  • the penalty kill continues to be atrocious
  • no intensity, no desire, no anything
  • we're not skating - just watching Sam Gagner and Ethan Moreau turn the puck over inside our own blue line makes me sick to my stomach
  • not challenging passing lanes: we're not only screening Garon and Roloson, we're also letting people pass the puck in circles around us
  • hitting to hit - not hitting to gain possession of the puck: if you're playing physical without using it as a means to the end (acquiring the puck) you're just wasting energy and time
  • we're not utilizing our team mates well: guys are chasing their own dump-ins, and their linemates are trailing badly and not providing any puck support whatsoever leading to clumping and odd-man rushes in the opposite direction
  • and why are guys beating us to loose pucks in our own D-zone?

  • Trust me. We did not beat the Canucks because we played well nor did we lose to the Blackhawks because of their stellar play. Let's be honest here. The Oilers have no puck control, no puck support, panic more often than they should, and make outlet passes to nobody. We played bad against the Blackhawks and the Canucks played worse on Saturday.

    Nor is the team using common sense. MacTavish sat Penner for parts of the third and opted to play Cole on the 1st line again.

    Remember? That experiment failed miserably. It's not like it's Penners fault that the Oilers suck. You can't put him back in the pressbox and expect the whole team to haul ass.

    The same goes with putting Gagner back on the 2nd line. Last time I checked, people get benched for lack of performance. But no, on this Oilers team, you split up lines that play well in favour of the poster boy Gagner. We had a line which was producing - the Schremp-Cogliano-Pouliot line - remember them? Gagner couldn't keep up with the Cogliano's and Nilsson's if his life depended on it. When MacTavish started playing the kid line against tougher competition this season it became clear which component on that 3-piece line was underperforming: Sam Gagner. Cogliano and Nilsson have both seen time on other lines and performed. Gagner hasn't performed anywhere this season. Bench his ass.

    But hey, if we're gonna play like this for the rest of the season, let's just trade away our pending UFAs and sit tight until Jonathan Tavares is ours. Otherwise, fire this whole defunct administration which has no clue when it's time to pull the trigger, starting with Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish.

    That is, unless you want to watch more peewee crap like this for the rest of the season, because I'm sick of watching the Craig MacTavish's, Kelly Buchbergers, and Kevin Lowes get promotions for mediocrity.

    P.S. I'm sorry I had to do that Oilers, but it had to be said. Fire your coach and move on.
    P.P.S. Ales Hemsky, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Ladislav Smid played well tonight, on a night that will go down as the worst game the Oilers played in recent history.

    "It was the 125th consecutive regular season game to sell out in Edmonton."

    How much longer?

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