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Preview: always on the road

always on the road

12/19/09 EV Chances Record: 8-24-3 (526-612).

Updated: 2017-09-16T04:01:32.144-07:00


The Day Washington Nearly Killed Maxim Lapierre


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If anyone needs any specific clips from the 2010 playoffs just let me know.

Should I make an Oilers version?


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This is priceless.

Oh where art thou physical Ethan Moreau?


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I liked him more when he took stupid penalties. This sort of stuff was part of the package.

Ales Hemsky is too predictable on the PP.


It wasn't too long ago that people were questioning Ales Hemsky and his contribution to the Oilers Powerplay. I remember a particular conversation in a Lowetide comment thread about how the PP was too "static" with Hemsky. How he was overly "predictable" because he rarely "attacks the box". Let's take a quick look at how the PP has been with and without him over the last stretch.

Previous six games before 83 was injured versus LA:

Efficiency - Chances (Via Dennis)
Buf: 1/7 - 10
Atl: 0/5 - 3
Clb: 2/5 - 8
Col: 1/6 - 6
Chi: 1/2 - 4
Pho: 1/6 - 2

Totals: 6/31 19% - 33 Chances (1.06 per PP)

Compared to the last six games without 83:

Efficiency - Chances
SJ: 0/4 - 1
Van: 2/4 - 3
Det: 0/1 - 0
Dal: 0/3 - 5
Fla: 1/4 - 4
TB: 0/4 - 4
Stl: 0/5 - 2

Totals: 3/25 12% - 19 Chances. (0.76 per PP)

The sample is small but all signs point to Ales Hemsky being a positive contributor to the Oilers PP.

Scoring Chances.


Over at Dennis King is doing an excellent job compiling Oiler scoring chances this year. Since I've been preaching the big picture lately, I thought I'd go look at how his metric reflects on the Oilers even strength play this year.

EV chances (Game Number: Oilers-Opponent):

G1: 12-13
G2: 8-13
G3: 15-16
G4: 12-18
G5: 13-13
G6: 12-18
G7: 13-11
G8: 15-19
G9: 14-11
G10: 10-14
G11: 7-16
G12: 13-15
G13: 13-21
G14: 11-21
G15: 20-19
G16: 14-20
G17: 10-15
G18: 19-19
G19: 8-13
G20: 18-21
G21: 15-20
G22: 18-16
G23: 15-20
G24: 12-20
G25: 14-18
G26: 27-16
G27: 17-16 (down 4-0 10 minutes in)
G28: 25-18
G29: 21-21
G30: 15-16
G31: 18-21
G32: 19-22

Our 'chances' record: 7-22-3

Not so good.

Dear Shorsightedness,


I am not particularly impressed with the 2009-2010 Edmonton Oilers. Prior to the start of the season, numerous roster issues had been discussed repeatedly throughout the blogosphere:

- The lack of a proven backup goaltender to share the load with Khabibulin.
- A center to help take some of the defensive pressure off of Horcoff.
- A top six LW that can be relied on in his own zone.
- More veterans and roles players in the bottom six.
- In general too many unproven players in the opening day roster.

This was the narrative going into the season. Most people were pessimistic of the the teams chances to make the playoffs. So what happens, we go out and win the six of our first nine games while heavily relying on the percentages.

First portion (G1-G9 | 6-2-1): Play shitty and get outshot/outchanced but fluke out bunch of wins in the first couple weeks. Percentages very much on our side (team PDO off the charts).

Second portion (G10-G17 | 2-6): Flu hits, team continues to play shitty but is now getting beaten nearly every night. Game 18 was when Smid returned to the lineup (the last guy that was reported as sick), so I used it as the 'end of the flu' marker. Predictably the team is getting outshot and outchanced.

Third portion (G18-G26) | 2-4-3): A lot of the injured guys are back in the lineup for this stretch. Team is generally healthy, as 44 returns to the lineup on G21. Upper end of the roster injuries include only Grebeshkov. Results are poor and the team is still getting outshot and outchanced on a nightly basis.

Fourth portion (G27-G30 | 3-1): After losing Ales Hemsky for the season, the team lays a huge egg on the road in Vancouver. Chances were close after the Canucks went up 4-0. A well earned victory in Detroit followed (although we certainly had some favourable bounces, we did carry the play). Then we won a squeeker in Dallas that could have gone either way, splitting the scoring chances and winning in the shootout. Next we get outplayed by a bottom feeder in the southeast yet pull out the two points in the shootout.

When I look at the season as a whole I just can't understand the logic behind these two quotes.

At least we are now seeing the team compete for 60-65 minutes, compared to the flu-ridden squad that was mailing in third periods or worse for quite a stretch there. IMO a lot of the negativity about this team fails to properly account for that.

- Bruce

[Accounting for the flu ridden period] would go against the narrative so it is not included in the factual arguement(sp) that this is the worst team in the history of history.

- bookie


For me, it's pretty clear that this is bad team with or without the stretch where we had the flu. We have not consistently carried the play at any point this season, and I don't have any reason to think things are going to change. Perhaps Dennis is right when he calls the team mediocre rather than bad, but that would be really unfortunate. It is pretty clear that being mediocre is a lot worse than being bad (draft position, confidence in management, etc).

Forward Evaluations: Week 8 (Game 27)


Now that we are a third of the way through the season, I'd like to share my thoughts on the play of our esteemed Edmonton Oiler forwards.Dustin Penner: At what point do we accept that his play so far this year is sustainable. By all accounts, he looks like a new player. His shot totals are up, he's carrying the puck a lot more and he's among the team leaders in Corsi. I don't quite understand how a few lost pounds, some extra minutes on the PK and a new coach brought about this transformation, but I'm happy that my team is reaping the benefits.Ales Hemsky: I absolutely find the criticism of #83 that I've been reading of late to be utterly baseless. In particular, the idea that 83 is 'underperforming' is laughable. Here's a guy who faces the oppositions best and comes out on top. That's a rare breed in the NHL, and he will be missed.Sam Gagner: I'm seeing a lot of progress in his game. This is the strongest he has ever been on his skates and he's starting to win his share of battles down low. He needs to develop this aspect of his game, as he does not have the speed nor the shiftiness to be a difference maker without being hard on the puck. I am quite happy with how he is developing, he's proving that he's one of those guys that wants to get better and is willing to work for it.Gilbert Brule: I'm afraid that a lot of his success so far this year is smoke and mirrors. His shooting percentage is up to 20%, and he's been picking up points in more than his share of the offense when he's on the ice. It's not all bad though, I see a lot to like in his game. While I don't think he's going to consistently hit 60-70 points in the NHL, I still believe that he can be a useful player. He hits, he skates hard, can make a pass and has a plus shot. It looks to me like he can become an outscoring 3rd line winger or tear it up in a second line soft minute role.Patrick O'Sullivan: I'm actually a big fan of his. I think he's relatively hard on the puck, possesses some shiftiness and can win his share of battles. He hasn't had much luck so far, with the goaltending behind him posting a .888 save percentage. I think he's a useful top 6 forward that can help the PK and the PP.Shawn Horcoff: Also having some pretty terrible luck so far this year. He's injured and when he's on the ice our goalies have put up a .872 save percentage. I think it's best for everyone if he opts for surgery and sits the rest of season out. It will certainly help improve our draft positionAndrew Cogliano: So far the hockey Gods have been kind to Andrew. His goaltenders have posted a .952 save percentage while he's been on the ice. This helps to mask the fact that he's been pretty bad so far this year. Part of that has to do with who he's out there lining up with, but I think it's pretty clear that 89 is gaining some clearance.Dink Dumbshit: Dumbshit has been posting a lot better results lately, having found his place on a line with 13 and 16. Dink's frequent offensive zone penalties however have got to stop. He's also pretty lucky to be in the black of GF/GA, considering that when he's on the ice we manage 25 shots per 60 minutes while giving up 37. Ryan Potulny: One of the few Oilers that knows his way around the high slot, 16 has done quite well since his call up from Springfield. He most certainly is a bonafide NHL player, and I look forward to watching him play for us for the next few years. This is the kind of cheap bottom-sixer that we need to be competitive.Jean-Francois Jacques: I'm getting pretty tired of watching JFJ. I love how he hits, but he is such a liability in so many ways when he's on the ice. He makes ill-advised back passes, doesn't win as many battles as he should and despite his plus size does not do a particularly good job getting the puck out of his own zone when its tossed around to his wing. I definitely would like to see him gone after this year. This is exactly the kind of shiny o[...]

Oil @ Flames: Comments From Lowetide's GDT


I thought it would be somewhat interesting for me to share my thoughts on the game from LT's gameday thread. At the very least it will bring a bit of content back to the blog.


A couple comments on tonight's game:

- 22 needs to get back to playing simple hockey. He's making the kind of mistakes that a guy in his position can't afford to make (failing to get the puck out of his zone, losing offensive battles, needless icings).

- Quinn has been slowly poaching 'real' NHL players out of the bottom two lines. Can they hold serve against Calgary's lesser forwards?

- Is the new top line for real? CBJ was missing its top two defensive stoppers (Hejda and Commodore), will these guys be able to compete against a superior Calgary blue.

- How will 91-10-19 fair? By my eye they looked pretty good in CBJ up until 18 replaced 91 on the wing. If 91 is absent and Quinn goes with 18, look for this line to get clobbered.

- Can 46 and 22 make up for the loss of beefcake in the line up (44, 32 and 24 to an extent). After opening the year with some pretty physical outings I think we've looked soft in our last few.


- Why doesn't the (bush league) NHL have a camera that sits at the cross bar level?

- 18 needs to wake the fuck up and get into this game.

- I'm not an 18 basher mostly because I really liked the physical element of his game. I could deal with the stupid penalties, as long as he finished his checks and stood up for his teammates.

Something has changed, he looks like he just doesn't give a shit on 80% of his shifts. Maybe he's pouting over the treatment Quinn has been giving him (less minutes, no longer playing a featured checking role), or maybe he's just past his due date.


- I thought 37-77 had their worst game of the season. I've always liked them as a pair (this and last season), but maybe Quinn's comments about their play is affecting them negatively. He's come out and called them soft and accused them of just keeping guys to the outside rather than trying to win battles. I actually like the way Gilbert plays D (keeps the play to the outside, uses his stick to chip the puck away and generally makes a great first pass out of the zone). Perhaps Quinn is guilty here of some undue criticism (emphasis on what style of play he wants them to play, rather than what is effective).

I did notice a strange play early in the second where Gilbert uncharacteristically stood up a guy at the blue line. He didn't get enough of that player and it led to a 2-1 down low.

My first thought was good for him for showing a physical element, my second thought was how much more effectively he normally plays those sorts of rushes.

Forward Evaluations: Week 1


It's early but I would like to share my player evaluations so far.Shawn Horcoff: He's had an admittedly slow start to the year. I have noticed that both he and Hemsky have not been able to get in sync. It is popular opinion that having Jacques on the line is part of the problem; however, I tend to think where Hemsky goes this line goes, and he has not been going anywhere.Ales Hemsky: He has not been sharp in the first three games of the season. It looks to me like he's trying to do too much individually and not utilizing his teammates. Numerous neutral zone turnovers and offside inducing dipsy doodles come to mind when I think of his play.Jean Francois Jacques: I think he's played well. The bar is far lower for him that his other two line mates, and while his toolbox is limited, he has made good use of it. He looked both sheepish and hesitant in the game versus Dallas; perhaps this had something to do with the petulant looks Hemsky threw his way a few times during the season opener.Mike Comrie: I am pleasantly surprised with his play. I love his ability to find the soft spots on the ice and put himself in scoring position. This is a very underrated ability that not many players possess. A bit concerning to me is that he looks like he has lost a step or two, and his conditioning may not be up to par. Regardless, he has done his job.Patrick O'Sullivan: I hear concerns about shooting percentage but frankly I like a guy that throws the puck at the net. The ugly goals count for the same amount as the end to end ones, and the best way to score ugly goes is to throw the puck at the net. Another thing I've noticed is that he has excellent acceleration but just above average top speed. A number of times I have thought that he was going to break in alone only to be caught from behind.Ryan Stone: I'm going to go against the grain of most of what I've read so far and come out praising this young player. I read that he scored the highest on the VO2 max during training camp and I think it shows. While never to be mistaken for a speedy hockey player, Stone keeps up with the play just fine. Further, he has landed some thunderous hits in limited minutes. I've also noticed that he is excellent at protecting the puck through the neutral zone and getting it deep. On a couple different occasions he bailed out his pinned line by bulldogging the puck out of the zone.Andrew Cogliano: I'm fairly indifferent to his performance so far this year. To my eye he has been mostly ineffective. Perhaps when Quinn decides to reunite him with 89 he will be able to elevate his play.Gilbert Brule: I think he has shown that he belongs on an NHL roster. Both his speed and shot are all world. Sometimes I think he tries to do too much physically, going in for hits against players of far greater size. I like how he carries the puck through the neutral zone and he seems competent in his own end. My hope is that Quinn takes him aside and has him focus on the defensive side of the puck. Brule strikes me as the type that will never be a big difference maker offensively, but could be successful as a physical checking center with some scoring upside.Dustin Penner: He looks faster and to be in far better shape. Although I did notice him dogging it a bit in the second Calgary game, his fitness has certainly improved. Before the season I was supportive of him on the top line, now I am not so sure. I don't think 13 and 67 can get it done without 27. Despite the praise, I'm not quite ready to celebrate the turn around, and would like to see a few more games.Sam Gagner: He has had a great start to the year. The Coach's comments about how the young 40 point guys don't do enough was obviously directed at Sam, and has he ever responded positively. From challenging Conroy to elevating his linemates (perhaps Ales could learn a lesson here), 89 is playing with a lot [...]

Tom Gilbert: Man's Man.



Kyle Brodziak is my roommate and we decided to go to the mall to do a bit of shopping. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a shopaholic but I managed to only buy a couple of T-shirts and no shoes. It’s pretty rare that I go into a mall and don’t come out with a pair of shoes.

After we flew into Calgary Robert Nilsson and I decided to go see a movie. I don’t know if I should admit this but it was a bit of a chick flick. Nights in Rodanthe I think it was called, with Richard Gere and Diane Lane.




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Gotcha! Journalism.


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I don't usually involve myself in American politics, but I think everyone should see this video.

More Preaseason Thoughts



Just a couple more points to add to what Kinger said below.

-I thought Trukhno started strong and faded down the stretch. He looked like he was trying to do too much through the third. Also I'm not sure he's really cut out to be a PP point man, although the issues there might have as much to do with having Roy on the opposite point as anything. There's definitely some skill there, but I was a little hot and cold on him all night.

-Colin McDonald might have an NHL career, but I doubt he's a scorer. Either way, I'm now officially cheering for him. He just personifies effort out there.

-I liked Sestito. A little like McDonald in that he was clearly trying pretty damn hard. I'm not sure he's got much to work with talent-wise, but at the least he'll be a good AHL role model.

-From what I've seen I think Brule is the best player available for that end-of-the-roster spot. However, I don't think he should get it. I'd rather see him get 30-40 games in the A to find his offense again. He's still only 21 and his development is more important than whatever marginal improvement he brings to the roster. Better to do it now, before he's waiver eligible, than regret it later.

-I heart Crazy Roli. He's worth his cap hit for that blocker punch to Bernier's head alone. You could see the first time he touched the puck how much he wanted to bat it down the ice. Kinger and I cheered like crazy when he got the chance later. We noticed that it was more a line-drive than his typical pop fly approach. A mishit? Something new being tried out in the preseason? Curious.

Preseason: Oilers @ Canucks.



MattM and I attended this evening's game at GM Place. While it was a decent game overall, the 1-2-2 that the Canucks employed after they took the lead made for a pretty dull finish. A few comments:


- We dressed an awfully young lineup and it showed. With the exception of Strudwick, even the legitimate NHLer's were only second and third year Pro's (37, 77, 12, 13, 67, 51, 46). Once the Canucks took the lead the team really deflated.

- The Powerplay had some nice puck movement and I'll be interested to see how the 37-77 pairing fairs on the second unit.


- PDO mentioned it over at PJO's , and I have to agree, Colin McDonald is a MacT type player. Every time he picked up the puck he moved it up ice with both speed and power. He also wasn't afraid to put pucks on the net. So much so that by the end of the night Matt and I were referring to weak shots from the outside as "McDonald's".

- Trukhno by my eye had a rather up and down game. He showed considerable passing skill and an ability to operate in tight. However, he was noticeably slow and often turned the puck over needlessly (while not under a lot of pressure). I liked what I saw from him but I'm not as impressed as others in the Oilogosphere. I think his game is a long way from 'NHL ready'.

- Bryan Young was not as good as MattM or I expected. After one full year in the 'A' we thought that his game would have a bit more polish. He had pretty much the inverse of 'calm feet'.

- Matt Roy hasn't changed one bit. I noticed on two separate occasions that he turned his back on his forecheckers. The guy showed some grit but he's just not an NHL defenseman.

- Strudwick was solid and hardly noticeable. I think he's a good fit for the 6/7 spot. I do however also think that Smid's job is safe.

- Gilbert Brule put together a very solid game. He played with a lot of energy and his checking style is nearly identical to the recently departed number 14 (he takes those quick short strides just before laying his shoulder into his target). He doesn't however have the obvious flaws in Torres' game: puck handling, agility (Torres has good top speed but doesn't move well side to side), and shot. I was very impressed with this kid, at just 21 years old I think he's set the bar for the 12th F spot.

- Kyle Brodziak looked like a man amongst boys. His skating has improved and he doesn't seem to have regressed from the Brodziak we saw late last season. I think he was the best Oiler forward.

- Jordan Eberle was a boy amongst men. You can see the talent but he's just not there yet.

The Rest:

- Not really much to say, Gibby and Grebs were feeling each other out and had pretty poor games. Sesito, Spurgeon, Young, Taylor, Benson looked out of place and will be cut soon. Stortini played the pest role perfectly and Potulny had his moments but was overshadowed by Brule.

- Roloson was playing with a lot of fire and I was very impressed with his gamesmanship.

Preseason: Canucks @ Oil.


A few comments on this evenings game:General:- Don Taylor is a poor play by play announcer.- The Oilers carried the play but the Canucks got a couple garbage goals. The fact that the shots were even at the end of the contest had a lot to do with the five minute penalty kill and the Oil taking their collective feet off the gas.- The Powerplay was pretty poor. I don't think Cole is the right fit for that unit. By my eye the play seemed to die with him and he wasn't getting in front of the goalie on a consistent basis. I'm interested in seeing Gagner or Penner out there in the LW spot. I think those two big shots could make use of a big guy in front of the net (27) or a better puck distributor (89).The Players:Sheldon Souray: Had by my eye his best game in Oilers silks. He was all kinds of physical and wasn't afraid to put the puck on the net. An excellent game by any measure. A part of me hopes that last years Souray was 'playing hurt' Souray. I was very impressed with his performance in both ends of the ice.Steve Staios:A pretty mediocre performance. Made a couple decent forays into the offensive zone but also coughed up a few pucks in his own end. We will need him to be better if we hope to make the playoffs. Lubomir Visnovsky: Put together a solid performance on both ends of the ice. Schneider robbed him with the glove on perhaps his best save of the game. Positioned himself well and defended the rush with both his stick and body. My one complaint is that he missed the net a number of times on the PP.Ladislav Smid: The dog is off the leash. This guy looks a lot bigger and stronger than the previous two seasons. I remember tjree distinct moments when he asserted himself physically. First he put Cowan into the post to negate a scoring chance. Second, shortly after Kesler tried to jam it in late in the third he gave Daniel Sedin a nice shot to the melon in the scrum. Third, Ladi ended up on top of Raymond after he turtled vs Benson. Theo Peckham: Shaky start, strong finish. Pecks looked real out of place in the first period. However, he really got it together in the second. He made a few nice passes out of his zone and played the body well. If it was just nerves at first (I think it was) Peckham seems like a real player. He's a year away from the big show, but from the looks of it he will make it.Taylor Chorney: I was surprised by his passing ability, it was on par with his excellent skating. Right now he's too small to win battles in the corners, but that should work itself out over time.Ales Hemsky: Had a pretty bad game. He seemed disinterested and particularly careless with the puck.Shawn Horcoff: You can tell he needs to get his timing back. Scorecoff was not in the lineup this evening. He seemed reluctant to shoot and when he did it was pretty poor.Erik Cole: An excellent player. I'm not sure if he's the right fit for the first unit PP, but his skills at evens speak for themselves. A north south power forward if I have ever seen one.Fernando Pisani: He really looks 100% out there. To me the real difference is that he has his strength back, and can overpower players offensively and defensively.Ethan Moreau: Captain Crunch (or Captain Hook) had a solid game. One particular play stood out to me when Moreau laid out Simek near the Canucks bench.Dustin Penner: He was surprisingly effective on the PK. I also thought that he was a good fit on a checking line with 34 and 18.Sam Gagner: That shootout move was absolutely sick. The guy has an incredible set of hands. It looked to me like he had very little chemistry with 78 and 88. Every time they gained the zone it looked like a game of hot potato as they made frantic passes to each other and created [...]

NHL on SopCast.


1. Download and install the required applications:

a. Download the sopcast client from this link:
b. Unzip and open the SopCast Folder.
c. Double click and install Setup-SopCast-3.0.0-2008-3-10.exe
d. Download the VLC media player from this link:
e. Double click and install vlc-0.8.6e-win32.exe
f. Download the Combined Community Codec Pack from this link:
g. Double click and install Combined-Community-Codec-Pack-2008-01-24.exe

2. Watch the games:

a. Head over to the NHL forum:
b. Open the corresponding "game day thread" (eg, Yesterday's thread is located at and the day before is located at
c1. If you are using windowsxp, just click the corresponding link next to the game inside the thread and SopCast should open and start to buffer (eg in the case of today's Carolina game, you would want to click on the part that says "PeltVision": 7:00 pm (23:00 GMT, 00:00 CET) Carolina @ Atlanta PeltVision on SOP, 250k VLC Req!)
c2. If you are using windows vista, manually open the SopCast player. With Vista, you have to right click the corresponding link in the gameday thread and select copy. Next, go to the SopCast address bar and paste the link.
d. Start the SopCast stream and let it buffer.
e. Open VLC.
f. In the "file" sections of the VLC menu, go to Open Network Stream, select "HTTP" option, and type in (If port 8902 doesn't work, try 8912).
g. The game video should now be playing in VLC.
h. You MUST leave SopCast running; closing SopCast closes the stream.
i. Make sure you mute the SopCast player audio (not VLC), so that the two audio sources don't bleed into each other.

Postgame: Stars @ Oil.



LiveBlogging: Oil @ Canes.


Looks like I'll be following the game via the the Carolina feed, this should be ugly.For any of you out there without access to a video feed, feel free to join me on sopcast channel 39461First period.- Oilers give up a quality SC just seconds into the first period. Luckily Whitney shoots it wide.- A second ridiculous Canes chance as Grebs gets stripped at the Carolina blue line. He recovers but nobody picks up the trailer coming down the middle.- Predictably 12-89-34 are back together. It has been a few games since 18-13-34 have done anything, so a change seemed like a logical choice. Plus as Dennis mentioned over at LT's, 12's been playing pretty well of late.- Hemmer makes a real pretty play and sets Horc up in the slot. Ward comes up with a good point blank save.- So far Carolina is moving the puck really well, we need to do a better job in our own zone.- 1-0 Canes. Just after I typed the last line, Brind'Amour beats Garon with a hard one-timer. Unless we can get control of zone possession, we are going to get blown out here. The Canes have 7 shots in the first 7 minutes.- Oilers PP. Commodore, who is one of the best Canes PKers, gets sent to the box. Let's see if our PP can carry some of the momentum from last night.- Hemsky takes an unsportsmanlike penalty behind the play. Wow, that's a CHINCY call. It looked to me that he complained after taking a slash in the slot. I saw it and it looked like a penalty to me. Instead of a long 5-3, well be skating 4on4 for a minute and a half then killing a 30s penalty.- Horcoff with a real nice defensive play behind his net. He comes in and stripes Larose before he can take it to the front of the net.- Souray gets away with a hold that negated a clear break away. It looks like we got our even up call. - It seems like we are gonna play pond hockey again tonight. I'm not so sure that's a good idea against a team like the Canes; they have scored a lot of goals this year.- Great little play by 12 sending 16 and 51 on a 2 on 1. 16 elects to shoot and misses wide. Hopefully that wasn't his signature 'one good play a game'.- The top line draws a penalty. A nice little cycle by 27-10-83 generates some sustained pressure.- Commodore wins a battle in the corner against 3 of our guys. Nice play by the Caronlina defenseman. I've actually always thought pretty highly of the guy since I followed the Flames run the year before the lock out. I think he's one of the more underrated guys around the league.END OF THE FIRST PERIOD.Carolina comes out with a lot of fire and so far looks like the team that wants it more. Deja vu. During the intermission, Brind'Amour comments that before the game the team was talking about how the Oilers tend to collapse too hard and give up the high slot. Fuck.Second period.- Souray looks to me like he's trying to do too much again. This is the sort of play that got him in a lot of trouble during his first 8 games with the team.- 1-1. Gagner gets the monkey off of his back as Ward lets in a fairly soft goal. Some nice puck movement as the kids find some open ice.- Scratch the above, they gave the goal to 28. Good on him, I've always been a fan.- Carolina colour guys embarrasses himself as he laments on how Guerin was involved in the Samsonov trade to the Oilers.- 51 with a clear break away. Too bad he makes nothing of it and shoots wide.- Hedican takes a careless high sticking penalty. Oilers PP. Big chance here to take this game over.- The Carolina PK looks real sharp. We just can't seem to get setup in the zone. Shades of last years PP.- We fail to generate anything on the PP. Honestly, that was pretty deflati[...]

LiveBlogging: Oil @ Caps.


END OF THE FIRST PERIODUnfortunately, for the second time this week, school has interfered with my ability to catch the beginning of an Oiler game. However, much to my surprise, it looks like we had a real strong first period. For any of you out there without access to a video feed, feel free to join me on sopcast channel 38858Second period.- 2-2. I tune into the game a minute and a half into the period and I missed two Washington goals. Sigh.- I am really interested to see how this Oiler team responds. It's important for these guys to show some composure here.- Oilers PP. From what I've read it was pretty solid in the first period. A goal here would certainly send a message. - 3-2 Oilers. Our powerplay looked AWESOME. The two bombs up high opened up the down low play. The team shows some great puck movement as Hemsky goes to Horcoff who goes cross crease to Penner. That's how our powerplay should look.- While our powerplay does look really good, I think the Caps are playing us wrong. Both this season and last, it seemed to me that aggressive PKs had our way with us and we found a lot of success against a more passive style. Washington played us way too passive in that last PK.- 77 saves us a goal as he stretches across the crease and shuffles the puck back into Roli's. We got our Bieksa.- Haha, one of the Washington announcers had to be corrected when he commented that Cujo had signed in Phoenix. Sad.- Horcoff takes a bad penalty off of the faceoff. He gets his stick caught up in Semin and skates with his head down to the box.- Semin bails out Horcoff and takes a slashing penalty just after the Caps powerplay starts.- Oilers take another penalty. This is going to be a 4 on 3. That looks to me like an awfully weak call on Stoll.- 3-3. Ovechkin carries up ice then makes a nice pass to Mike Green sneaking in from the point. Green makes no mistake and takes a beautiful top corner shot.- Washington is looking really dangerous. I love how despite scoring on the Powerplay, the caps will get an extra minute of man advantage after half a minute of 4on4. Getting scored on in a 4on3 situation sucks.- 37 with a STUPID give away at his own blue line. This kid just does not get it. It's a good thing it was Brashear who had the eventual scoring chance. Still, 37's screw up has led to over a minute of caps pressure in our zone.- 83 goes around Erskine and draws a tripping penalty. So far we've had stellar success on the PP (2 goals, plus another just after expiration). A goal here would really help to turn the momentum.- Powerplay was largely ineffective. Some nice puck movement but the only real chance hit Penner in front of the net.- 4-3 Caps. This is sad. After 37 gets stripped behind his own net, Roli let's in a STUPID ASS GOAL. Look to see Garon starting the third.END OF THE SECOND.Generally speaking I consider myself a MacT supporter. I think that so far this year he's done a really good job with this team. With that said, what the HELL was he thinking starting Roloson. When was the last time this team played well in front of him? When was the last time he played a full 60 minutes without giving up a weak goal? I actually don't really think it's important how well Roloson plays, it seems to me that the team plays worse in front of him. Garon constantly comes up with HUGE saves that keep us in games. Roloson just can't come up with a big save, AND has been letting in real weak ones at key times (instead of going into the third tied, we are now down a goal thanks to a terrible goal with only 50s left in the period.Third period.- The pond hockey resu[...]

LiveBlogging: Kings @ Oil.


The talk of the town is the resurgent powerplay. In the pregame podcast, both players and coach credit the improved play to "chemistry". I think I can buy that explanation; After all, two of the five players on our 'first unit' are new to the team this season. Unfortunately I have class until 5:30 and a 45 minutes trip home, so I should be picking this game up shortly after the puck drops. For those of you that don't have access to the pay per view feed, you can join me and catch the game on sopcast channel 31511.5 Minutes info the first period.- 1-0 Kings. I turn the game on just in time to see Grebs with the blown coverage on O'Sullivan.- 83 takes a bad penalty 50 feet from his own net. Kings go on the powerplay. This is a big kill, if we go down 2-0 this game is as good as over. The Kings have the 4th best powerplay in the league. That's not really surprising considering all the talent.- Nice play by 44 as he knocks the puck down on the PK and clears it down the ice. 24 and 44 are starting to look gassed out there, we really need a whistle here.- 25 with a solid play breaking up a Frolov break out pass. The Kings get numerous quality chances, but the Oilers successfully get the kill.- PPV announcer (Kevin Quinn?) talks up 5's season. How far do you have to have your head up your ass to think he's had a good season.- 12 shows he's not just a skill guy with a real nice dump and chase. Unfortunately it doesn't lead to much as LA moves the puck out of the zone and generates a bunch of chances. Garon comes up big with saves on Johnson in the high slot and a cross ice one-timer by Blake.- 18 catches Handzus with his head down. As bad as we have looked so far this game, at least we have a physical presence.- A nice long shift by 19-16-89. However, I knew it was over when I heard Quinn say that Staios had chipped it into the corner and Gagner was going to get it. Predictably Gagner lost the battle and LA cleared it down ice.- 44 with an ill-advised clear up the middle of the ice. Vishnovsky gets a chance and Garon makes a solid save.- Stortini does his best punching bag impression. Still, the kid deserves credit for going out there and sacrificing his body for the good of his team. Win or loss, I'm sure getting punched by a 250 lb. goon still hurts.- WOW. Chopper absolutely destroys Jack Johnson behind the Kings net. That was sick.END OF THE FIRST PERIOD.From what I saw we played pretty poorly at the start of the period. Despite the bad start, we ended the first with some solid physical play. I really think that's a good way to approach a team like LA. Chopper talks about the bad start and the improvement over the last 5 minutes of the period. I gotta agree with his analysis, the team looked a lot better in the last five.Second period.- We need 27-10-83 to play like they did Sunday versus Calgary. A nice start to the period as Penner and Hemsky both have SCs.- Great play by 77. After a minute+ of sustained pressure in the Kings zone, he chases down O'Sullivan and stops a potential break away. I'm really surprised he was able to catch him there, I thought that he would be gassed after such a long shift.- 2-0 Kings. Pitkanen and Nilsson combine to give away the fuck at the Oilers blue line. It's really unfortunate that the Kings managed to capitalize on their first chance of the period.- 24 bails out Garon and clears a puck out of the crease. Top line has a pretty brutal defensive break down, giving O'Sullivan a clear run to the net. - Oilers put a bunch of shots on the net. Problem is they are all coming well from th[...]

LiveBlogging: Flames @ Oil.


I'll be doing live commentary during tonights game.In the pre-game scrum, MacT talked about putting a big stretch of wins together and getting back into some sort of post season picture. I know it's his job to stay positive, but I don't buy that he thinks this team can make the playoffs. For the first time in a long time, the team is healthy and has put together a stretch of games where they looked like the best team on the ice. However, they did it against two teams from the East that have been struggling and an overachieving Coyotes squad. Before I'm convinced the Oilers can go on a real run, they'll have to show me they can beat legitimate playoff teams (Canucks, Flames, Stars, Wings), and LOOK like they deserved to win.As for tonights game, I think we can steal one if Garon plays exceptional. I'm curious to see if MacT tries to run 27-10-83 against Iginla or if he tries to keep them away so they can focus on scoring. Also, I wonder if the kids can have another big game against the largely veteran Flame bottom six. My guess is if we win it's going to be a low scoring affair, with points from the powerplay and the top line.FIRST PERIOD.- More sopcast problems. At this rate I might just have to sign up for Centre Ice Online at the halfway point of the season. The game is on channel 31511, but the buffer can't seem to get over 70%, so the image is pretty choppy. Hopefully it settles before the puck drops.- Stream just shot up to 100% during the pre-game commercials. If you don't have the ability to watch the game, I'd suggesting downloading the sopcast player and clicking the link in the last post. - Top line with a nice early rush. Looks like MacT is going to use Iginla to check Stoll. I suspected that would be his choice.- Grebeshkov with a stupid give away then a lazy penalty. Where is Tarnstrom...- The PK comes up big and the Flames get nothing out of their early powerplay.- Stoll wtih a nice little move on a 1on1, the guy actually is starting to look like a valuable NHL player again. I wonder how much of his resurgence can be credited to an increase in confidence. Shooters in particular seem susceptible to confidence slumps. It would be great for the Oil if confidence was his problem, rather than lingering concussion issues.- Hemsky with a nice move on Eriksson, turning him inside out and drawing a penalty. Oilers PP.- 1-0 Oilers. I was JUST about to comment on how the Flames know how to effectively play against an Oiler powerplay (eg: pressure the hell out of the puck carrier) and then we score. Shows how much I know.- 18 shows us why players like him are essential to winning games. He shows no fear as he takes the puck to the net. Lombardi, coming in on the backcheck, inadvertently takes out his own goaltender (shades of MAB anyone). Driving the puck to the net is a sign of a team that isn't afraid to get a bit dirty, something that this Oiler team has been lacking all year.- Smid with a sick give away just inside his own blue line. Good thing he was out there against Boyd and Marcus Nilsson. As long as MacT can keep 5-35 away from anyone with any talent, they have a chance to get out of this game without hurting their team on the scoresheet.- 89 shows us why he should never be on the ice at the same time as Iginla. A careless neutral zone pass leads to an Iginla charge and a Flame chance.- MacT seems to be content getting 27-10-83 out there versus Tanguay's line. We'll see if Keanen tries to get away from that match up.- Again Stoll looks like a reborn player. I honestly can't[...]

LiveBlogging: Isles @ Oil.


I'll be posting notes during this evenings game. I hope that the sopcast stream is more reliable this time around. For those of you wanting to catch some of the action, tune into sopcast channel 31511 (or click here if you have sopcast installed)- My feed cuts out just as the game is about to start. Excellent.- I seem to have missed the first five minutes. My feed cuts in as Hemsky gets smothered by 5 Isles at their blue line.- Gagner playing with Reasoner. I liked the energy I saw out of 89-51-46 last game, I'm not sure how I feel about the change. Although 28-51-46 is certainly appealing as a line that can cycle and build up some energy down low.- Hemsky with a great chance down low. 27-10-83 looks good early on.- Grebs turns over the puck in his own zone which leads to a bit of Islander pressure. This kid constantly is making something out of nothing.- Gagner et. al get pinned in down low by Satan's line. Ugly shift from the Oilers.- MacT throws 27-10-83 out there against the Comrie line. I think he will try to get that match up all night.- Gilbert with his best Grebeshkov impression as he gives it away to Park for an A+ chance in the slot. - Some Oilers pressure draws an Islander penalty down low. Let's see which Oiler powerplay shows up tonight, the bad one or the really bad one.- Apparently the Islanders have the 6th best penalty kill in the league. This doesn't bode well. Horrible powerplay, currently Richard Park is playing keep way in our defensive zone.- Gilbert gets a weak shot on goal with the powerplay winding down. We managed to gain the zone and setup in only one of our five tries.- Gilbert again puts a shot on goal that Pisani manages to tip. Dipietro forced to make a good save. At least we got one solid chance out of the man advantage.- Hemsky with another good chance down low. Surprise, surpise, Comrie and Bergeron on the ice. MacT must salivate when he sees those two out there.END OF THE FIRSTSome solid chances from 27-10-83 at ES. Beyond that, not much offense outside of a nice rush by 18 in the middle of the frame. As for the Islanders, they didn't manage to generate a whole lot of offense. it looks to me like it's going to be a button-down type game.SECOND PERIOD.- 1-0 Oilers. A great little snipe by Hemmer. The top line is humming tonight.- 2-0 Oilers. Top line, top line, top line. Horcoff getting back on track with Hemmer in the line up. The top line is looking great.- 3-0 Oilers. Reasoner pots a quick one on a Stoll feed.- Oilers are really coming alive here. You can see the weight drop from their shoulders.END OF THE SECONDHad some problems with my stream, wasn't able to follow the play too closely. However, it looks like things are solved for the third period.THIRD PERIOD- Islanders nearly put one away, Garon gets lucky as Sillinger rings one off the post.- Oilers back to the powerplay. Souray gets trapped in deep leading to an Islanders chance.- Long 5-3 coming up here for the Oil as Hunter draws a goaltender interference penalty. Stoll gets two great chances with DiPietro moving. - Lots of quality chances that we didn't capitalize on. That powerplay looked really good. Souray hits the bar as the PP shows great puck movement.- A quick fight between Stortini and Jackman. Give the decision to Jackman as the aptly named "huggy-bear" strikes again. I actually think that Stortini was pretty gassed at the beginning of the fight, he had already been out for a full shift.- I think 12 is a better fit than 89 to play with 16 and 19. I think[...]

LiveBlogging: Oil @ Blues.


Thanks to some technical difficulties with sopcast and Ubuntu, I'm just now tuning in with 13 minutes left in the third.

- Looks like we are off to a terrible start, only one shot on Legace and we are down a goal.

- This sopcast feed is really unstable, I might have to try and find another one.

- Back online with 9 minutes left.

- This sopcast feed needs more peers, it's cutting in and out. If you are reading this at game time, it's on 22668. Download the client at

- Nilsson takes a stupid penalty. Let's see how our PK looks tonight. I wonder how long it's gonna be before Robert draws out. It's been 8 games or so since he's had an impact offensively. If he isn't bringing offense, why else is he in the line up?

- A pretty solid kill. Nice play by Marty down low to break up the centering attempt. Those cross crease passes have been killing us of late.

- TV timeouts are so ridiculously long. Does anyone know when the league implemented these things? In the early 90's I attended a lot of games and I don't seem to remember these long breaks.

- A nice forecheck and cycle shift by 27-10-28. It's no secret that I'm a fan of 28's, nice to see him get a chance with the big boys.

- Chopper shows great patience on a nice rush, too bad Souray made nothing of it by blasting a shot 5 ft. wide of the net.

- Another Oilers powerplay. Johnson goes to the box for hooking. Looked like a pretty weak call. Hopefully we can get a shot this time around.

- Some pretty good puck movement, but it was all around the perimeter. Blues clear it down the ice.


From what I saw it looks like having Johnny back in the lineup isn't making much of a difference. The team looks pretty flat.

Second Period.

- 1-1. A solid forecheck leads to a Gilbert goal. Let's just try and forget that first period.

- Oh man, that was hilarious. As I said after last game, Smid is playing with more of an edge. The guy gives Backes a forearm shiv and then ends up dropping them. A pretty good fight too, I don't know much about Backes, but I'd give the decision to Ladi.

- Another fight, Stortini drops them with King. Storts is really hanging on for his life. Rob Brown: "both guys are really doing a good job keeping things in tight", hahahah.

- My feed seems to have completely cut out. Gonna try Matt's windows suggestion from the comments.

LiveBlogging: Oil @ Jackets.


With Matt out of town with the family, I'll be watching this one on sopcast. You can download the player here and find out what games are showing here. Tonights game is on channel 36000.First period.- I didn't expect to see Roli in net, you'd think MacT would have gone with Garon after the 5 goal Wild game.- Pies is in the game despite the injured foot, that's good to see.- Souray leads a rush and puts a weak shot on net. Honestly, I wish the guy would just stick to his strengths and avoid his weaknesses (carrying the puck up ice).- Columbus announcers talking about how Hejda is logging a lot of minutes and leading the team in plus/minus. I'm lookin' at you Kevin Lowe.- Penner gains position on Foote on a dump in but nobody comes in support. I'm not convinced Gagner is a great fit for this line, he's probably the weakest player on the team on the boards.- 1-0 Jackets. A fairly innocent looking rush leads to a rebound goal. Can't really put that play on anyone, although the offensive cycle ended with Gagner being in poor position to receive a Penner pass.- Judging by the early results, I'd say our chances to win this game are extremely poor. We have not managed to generate any offense (rush or cycle) and Columbus has looked dangerous on the rush.- I'm really puzzled by the Roli start, I don't think the team feels as comfortable with him back there as they do with Garon. It's not that Roli is playing particularly poorly, rather, I think it's more that Garon has stolen some games, and the team knows they need their goalie to be exceptional to win games.- Westcott takes a poor holding penalty on Nilsson, Hitch won't be happy.- Souray sucks when he gets pressured on the PP. He needs time and space to either make a pass or take a shot. I think the guy at the opposing point really has to be comfortable handling the puck. Maybe Toronto would be willing to give up Kaberle for 'five assets'. I mean if five assets can get you Pronger why not Kaberle?- Nash and Zherdev hem our top line in it's own zone for an excess of two minutes. It's not pretty.- Souray takes a couple bombs at ES. The only problem was Leclaire saw them both and made what looked like two fairly easy saves.- 18-28-46 is a very weird line. Still, they just put together the best offensive cycle I've seen so far in this game.END OF THE FIRSTAfter we had watched Smid's game a few times last year, I remember a conversation between Matt and I about his upside. We didn't think he had the offense to be a guy like Kaberle, and agreed that Ohlund represented a fairly solid high point. I mentioned this comparison a month or so ago on HF, and some guy shot me down saying that Smid doesn't have the same physical edge. I beg to differ, the only positive thing I can see out of the young kids game this year is that he's playing a lot more physical. He just gave Rick Nash a couple shots to the back of the head during a puck battle behind the net. I think a lot of people forget that he's still just a 21 year old kid. I can remember that at 21 my body was still growing in terms of strength. Smid possesses a big frame and there is no reason he can't play with and Ohlund-like edge. I'm really interested to see how he plays with Gilbert. It seems to me that every guy that has played with 77 (Pitkanen, Tarnstrom, Grebeshkov) played their best hockey while paired with him. Perhaps I'm giving Gilbert too much credit, but I've certainly seen a pattern.Second period.- Grebes[...]




Stoll, Nilsson, Schremp, and Smid for Brad Richards.

Sanderson to PHX for a 4th.

Roli to PIT for a 2nd.

Sign Gilbert for 15.5 over 5.

Sign Pitkanen for 22.5 over 5.

Pray the salary cap goes up.