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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Crapshoot Summary

First Period: Detroit 5 - Edmonton 0

The Oilers skate around like a bunch of headless chickens on skates. They don't anticipate - they react. In no way do they dictate any aspect of the game, as the Red Wings dominate them offensively, defensively, and physically. They win all the battles for loose pucks and almost all their passes are tape to tape and they crash the net at every available opportunity.

On the other side of the ice are the Oilers: who wouldn't know a pass if it hit one of them; flinging pucks into danger zones and turning offensive chances into defensive liability; making blind passes to players who aren't there; passing off what could be clear shots and potential rebounds. Nobody on this team (save Hemsky, Cogliano, and Cole) cuts to the middle - nobody crashes the net. Same old ring around the rosie along the boards in the offensive zone. Nothing doing - nothing happening.

Second Period: Detroit 6 - Edmonton - 0

The Oilers begin to win puck battles and start to take the puck to the middle and crash the net. Still too many fancy passes that don't go to anybody on the same team - if you're going to try to "thread the needle" make sure the pass goes to somebody.

The increased intensity and attention to detail on offensive breakouts means the Oilers show to compete in the second period.

However, the Oilers still give up a goal near the end of the period.

Third Period: No thanks!

I turned it off at this point. It's like watching a slow and gruelling boxing match that is heavily lopsided in favour of a one competitor. The loser is good enough not to get knocked out, but has no weapons of their own to fight back with. As a result, the loser gets pounded and pounded until his own mother wouldn't recognize him. In this case, it's a 60-minute obligation to play through a hockey game where the Oilers never really showed up.

The Summary:

When you react and don't anticipate (or dictate!) the other team will always pick you apart. Doesn't matter if you're playing Detroit, San Jose, Buffalo, Chicago, or Florida. Doesn't matter if your the Oilers, the Rangers, or the Stars. The game plan was non-existent, another reminder that the Oilers under MacTavish will always be a fringe team because their place in the standings reflects their play on the ice - inconsistent and without purpose, without meaning, without intensity.

I don't care if the Oilers lose - but it's the way they've been losing: listlessly; apathetically; sleepwalkingly (is that even a word? It sure describes the Oilers...).

The Oilers play on the fringe - pass it around on the outside without taking it to the net. Without Hemsky or Visnovsky, the Oilers will usually avoid taking it to the middle, hoping that somehow Souray's point shot will aways turn into something - anything! But often that added pressure to the point shot just forces Souray to turn the puck over either directly or as a ill-advised pass to the man along the half-boards or to the other point man who is probably not open at this point in time.

This fringe personality - it's directly a result of playing a 60-minute penalty kill where the Oilers react - and don't anticipate. It's also directly a result of the coaching staff mentality - because with the quality of players we have on this roster, no fricken way we should performing this poorly. Fire MacTavish already.

However, I'm beggining to think that unless the Oilers lose hardcore, the boys on the bus will never be kicked out of town. They're so entrenched in their safe little jobs that poor performance means a promotion to another position within the franchise (aka. Kelly Buchberger, Kevin Lowe, Jeff Truitt is next) and that's probably what's due for Craig MacTavish. Honestly, nothing will change until the day Daryl Katz gets fed up with this administration - but will he ever be?

The Good News

Niklas Kronwall, Pavel Datsyuk, and Ty Conklin are in my pool. It's sad when your favourite team loses and you're already calculating the amount of points you're going to get in your pool because of it ...

3:10 Update ...

So the only Oiler to get a goal is Zachery Stortini...

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Blogger Ontario Oilfan said...

Man, you hit the nail on the head. I couldn't agree more with your summary of the team in general.

I got some good points from Hossa today too. P-M Bouchard gets the nod tomorrow. Sad indeed.

February 7, 2009 at 10:26 PM


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