November 15 2009 06:32PM
Atlanta Thrashers: 3
Edmonton Oilers: 2
That's definitely one of the smallest crowds I've ever seen at an NHL game. I think there were more people in the stands for my rec game last night. Then again, given the on-ice product since Day One (the Thrashers have yet to win a playoff game) and the fact that it was Sunday afternoon, the small crowd wasn't overly surprising.
I was pretty excited to watch Zach Bogosian, a guy who rates very highly by different contextual stats, and I wasn't disappointed. A powerplay goal and more than 24 minutes on the ice today, for seven goals on the season so far. I doubt he can keep that level of offence up, but he's going to be a star for years. He's a special player.
As much as it reflects well on Gilbert Brule, Ryan Potulny and Liam Reddox that they're out there taking shifts against the Kovalchuk line, it doesn't reflect well on this team. It's anybody's guess how much time is left in Fernando Pisani's NHL career, and Ethan Moreau has done his best to work his way down the roster, and outside of that there aren't many (any?) capable bottom-sixers on this team. It was obvious this summer. It's painfully obvious now. Maybe the minor-leaguers promoted to full time duty this fall (Stone and Jacques) will help when they get back, and maybe Marc Pouliot will help when he gets back, but the inability of this team to address a problem that's both brutally obvious and painfully easy to fill (case in point: New Jersey found themselves short in training camp, so they signed Rob Niedermayer; Niedermayer got hurt so they added Dean McAmmond) is simply inexcusable. Then again, they did the same thing last year, so it isn't surprising.
Sheldon Souray played more than 25 minutes in his first game back from injury. He was OK (victimized by Rich Peverley on Atlanta's second power play goal) and it's absolutely vital that he can handle that kind of workload immediately, given the other problems on the roster.
I noticed both the play-by-play crew and various commenters making the error of calling the Moreau, Cogliano and Stortini line the fourth line. That honour actually went to Gagner, Comrie and O'Sullivan. That first group averaged 11:07 at even-strength, while the second group averaged 8:53. Comrie's been basically stuck on the fourth line since coming back from the flu, along with whichever guys he gets partnered with (generally Brule+). Quinn's been running his lines in this order: Penner+, Potulny/Reddox & Co., Moreau/Stortini/Centre and Comrie+. There's all sorts of fun things to read into that, but I'll leave it alone for the most part. I will say this: Quinn called Comrie out at a press conference back before he had the flu, and I don't think he's been at all impressed with his return tour in Edmonton. Thankfully, Quinn's still used Comrie on the powerplay, which is about the only place he's been useful so far this season.
Finally, faceoff numbers are always popular, and here they are for this game:
- Ethan Moreau - 1/1: 100%
- Sam Gagner: 5/9: 56%
- Gilbert Brule - 1/2: 50%
- Shawn Horcoff - 3/7: 43%
- Dustin Penner - 6/17: 35%
- Ryan Potulny - 2/7: 29%
- Patrick O'Sullivan - 0/1: 0%
- Zach Stortini - 0/1: 0%
- Andrew Cogliano - 0/7: 0%