Oilers vs. Blue Jackets Post Game: Power Play 2, Everyone Else 0

Jonathan Willis
November 16 2009 09:02PM

Columbus Blue Jackets: 3

Edmonton Oilers: 2 (SO)

That was some good, entertaining hockey if nothing else.  Two fights very early in the game and a ton of scrums kept everybody tuned in despite no goals in the first, and the powerplay was deadly for both teams, with all four goals scored with the man advantage.

Oilers Three Stars, According To Me

1. Ales Hemsky.  Always lethal against the Blue Jackets, Ales Hemsky scored the Oilers' first goal on the power play as the puck slid between the legs of both Mathieu Garon and Dustin Penner.  He also landed a big hit on Rick Nash, which caught the play-by-play crew (and undoubtedly more than a few fans) by surprise.  His goal tonight is his eighth power play point of the season and third goal, both of which are tied for the team lead.  Not that this will stop people from suggesting the Oilers run a better power play without Hemsky.  After all, he's been shooting for years too (right now Hemsky's 2.83 shots/game is just a hair behind Patrick O'Sullivan's 2.95) and people still say he doesn't shoot nearly enough.

2. Nikolai Khabibulin.  Had a fine night, coming up big on several different defensive zone breakdowns.  More importantly, he stopped 30 shots as the Oilers were once again outshot by an opponent.

3. Lubomir Visnovsky.  Visnovsky was in on both Oiler goals and while Sheldon Souray rightly gets credit for his potent shot, it was Visnovsky who hammered home a one-timer past Mathieu Garon (on a Sheldon Souray rebound) tonight.

Random Thoughts

I wandered over to mc79hockey.com after the game, to find that the scoring chance numbers were already up.  I was unsurprised to see that Sheldon Souray, who had been tremendous with the man advantage, was on for three chances for and eight against at even strength; he's still not quite up to snuff after coming back from injury, and it's perhaps a bit early to be giving him 26:56 in time on ice.  That said, it's nice to see him back, and the sooner he gets up to 100% the better this franchise will be.

Also in "nice to see", Dean Arsene got his first NHL action tonight courtesy of Sam Gagner's injury, and played 6:24, all at even-strength.  Pat Quinn said after the game that he would normally have been the Oilers' first call-up, but he was sick and then Chorney performed well.  I wonder if that means we haven't seen the last of Arsene this season.

It's interesting how perception plays a role in things.  Rick Nash had two breakaways tonight, one completely clear and one one partial, and he lost the handle on the puck on both of them.  Meanwhile, Dustin Penner didn't manage a shot on his shootout attempt.  These are naturally reflections of bad ice or bad luck, rather than a lack of skill on the part of these two players, but I've seen other players jumped on in these situations.

There still seems to be confusion about which line is the fourth line.  Quinn referred to the combination of Moreau, Stortini and Cogliano as the fourth line, probably because they seem like a natural fit for the role, but they haven't played fourth line minutes in some time now.  Louie DeBrusk suggested the Brule line, again excusably given that he was playing with two callups.  Neither was correct.  Rather, the fourth line was the line of Comrie, O'Sullivan and Strudwick (who Sportsnet bizzarely listed as the second line).  Strudwick wasn't the giveaway (although he bounced back to defence at times) but Comrie should have been.  He's been Quinn's least-used even strength forward pretty much every game over this road trip.  Comrie still gets power play minutes, but at 5-on-5 he very rarely sees the ice.

I thought Gilbert Brule's line (with Potulny and Reddox) had a very decent game.

Going back to scoring chances, the only real loser on the night was Steve Staios, who was on for 14 of the Blue Jackets' 20 even strength opportunities.  Also looking bad by this metric was the Stortini, Cogliano and Moreau line, who averaged 2/8 at even strength on the night.

Funny things Doug MacLean says (this has potential as a regular feature): apparently, there's a fear both in and out of the Columbus organization that they aren't tough enough to match up with league heavyweights like Zack Stortini.  No, I'm not making that up.

What did everyone else think?

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 BingBong
November 17 2009, 10:11AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

The announcers even said that Phaneuf spent time shooting the puck off the boards to see how the banks were, why don't we do this stuff?

Because our guys are still learning how to cover the opposing players in the slot... :-)

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#52 Dan the Man
November 17 2009, 10:33AM
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BingBong wrote:

I usually like Gagner in the shootout - his moves are sick - but he never seems to score on them. Hemsky and Sully are guys I for sure keep in there - I just don't think Penner is really a "breakaway" kind of guy. More a presence in front of the net with quick hands. Nilsson would be good, but yeah if he's not in the lineup then there's no chance of that. Remember Pisani's shootouts? He'd always score on that little 5-hole move...

Yeah Hemsky and Sully are automatics for sure, Horcoff was really good in shootouts 2 years ago too but when Gagner is back I'd probably include him in the top 3.

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#53 Dan the Man
November 17 2009, 10:41AM
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I'm a Scientist! wrote:

err...cause passing pucks around the boards have about as much chance of going in as i have of hooking up with Lindsay Lohan.

How did Calgary (et al.) beat us? They threw pucks at the net and got ugly goals.

I just don't think that can be successful over an extended period of time. Calgary's goals were bouncing off 3 different guys before going in to the net. I'd gladly take a few of those but realistically can a team rely on those types of goals to win?

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#54 I'm a Scientist!
November 17 2009, 10:45AM
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Dan the Man wrote:

I just don't think that can be successful over an extended period of time. Calgary's goals were bouncing off 3 different guys before going in to the net. I'd gladly take a few of those but realistically can a team rely on those types of goals to win?

Well, what are we currently relying on? Is it working? All i am saying is that the odds of scoring go up when players throw pucks at the net.

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#55 Dan the Man
November 17 2009, 10:47AM
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Senator Theo wrote:

Before last night he had 2 career attempts, right? I haven't heard anyone asking why he wasn't being used more. Is that right that he's only had 2 attempts?

It used to be easy - Hemmer, Symtty and whoever was having a good night.

How many Shootouts have the Oilers had this year? 3? And Penner was used in 2 of them. Prior to this year Penner sucked so no one would be asking why we aren't using Penner in a shootout.

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#56 I'm a Scientist!
November 17 2009, 10:47AM
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BingBong wrote:

I might be wrong, but I seem to remember half of Calgary's goals against us were deflections from point shots. I wouldn't even classify those as "ugly" goals - deflections are tough to master. But it seems like they practice them at least a bit. The Oilers however can't even get away a clear point shot let alone tip it in. The way to score on these ginormous goalies nowadays are on screens/deflections. That's why Penner's presence in front of the net on PP's is a goldmine, yet we don't seem to want to use him.

No you are right, the were deflections...or bounces off bodies. I bet 1/2 those shots were going wide of the net, but the fact of the matter is that the team threw the puck at the net and the rest of the team made something happen.

You are right, with Penner in front, we SHOULD be getting more tipped goals, but we just aren't shooting!

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#57 Deans
November 17 2009, 10:50AM
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Very entertaining game last night. Maybe the best game of the season.

I was also shaking my head when Mclean went on his toughness rant. For me, as an analysist, Mclean has zero credibility. I usually avoid the 'expert' opinions of the Sportsnet crew (including DeBrusk) but I acidentily forgot to mute the TV during intermission. I will try not to make this mistake again.

I like watching O'Suillivan but it's becoming clear that this kid can't finish. Fun but frustrating player to watch. Too many fowards on the Oilers who can't play a complete and consistent game.

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#58 BingBong
November 17 2009, 11:00AM
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I'm a Scientist! wrote:

No you are right, the were deflections...or bounces off bodies. I bet 1/2 those shots were going wide of the net, but the fact of the matter is that the team threw the puck at the net and the rest of the team made something happen.

You are right, with Penner in front, we SHOULD be getting more tipped goals, but we just aren't shooting!

I remember a couple of games ago when we had a chance to tie it with a 5 minute PP late in the game - the look on Penner's face when he came off the ice was "WTF?". He was taking abuse in front of the net while our guys just passed it around the perimeter the entire time - what a waste. I remember Cogs (among others) had a few times with clear lanes to pass it to him, and instead went back to the point where our d-men were basically covered. I think our 2nd goal last night was a direct consequence of Quinn yelling at the guys to shoot more on the PP with Penner in front. It was ugly yes, but it went in, mainly because how big Penner is.

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#59 HansBaurMesserschmittWatson
November 17 2009, 11:27AM
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my ticket says 7 p.m start tomorrow

tsn says 7:30 start tomorrow

must be a leafs game on the earlier half of the scheduling

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#60 HansBaurMesserschmittWatson
November 17 2009, 11:28AM
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BingBong wrote:

I remember a couple of games ago when we had a chance to tie it with a 5 minute PP late in the game - the look on Penner's face when he came off the ice was "WTF?". He was taking abuse in front of the net while our guys just passed it around the perimeter the entire time - what a waste. I remember Cogs (among others) had a few times with clear lanes to pass it to him, and instead went back to the point where our d-men were basically covered. I think our 2nd goal last night was a direct consequence of Quinn yelling at the guys to shoot more on the PP with Penner in front. It was ugly yes, but it went in, mainly because how big Penner is.

im sick of people talking the oilers they need to shoot more

give it up

im mean really

give it up

this guy says he knew what the WTF on penners face was

shooooooooooooooottttttt

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#61 rubbertrout
November 17 2009, 11:30AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:
Well Doug Maclean said it and well look what happened to big guys took on two of our big guys and lost. So in a way he is somewhat right.

Blunden (who fought Stortini) isn't really a scrapper.

Neither is Huggy Bear truth be told. Sorry I meant isnt much of a scrapper. The moustache is glorious though

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#62 HansBaurMesserschmittWatson
November 17 2009, 11:32AM
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i swear everytime stortini gets a chance to fight oilers play a better game.

he would be a way better captain then moreau.

2x on the moustache

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#63 rubbertrout
November 17 2009, 11:33AM
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@Deans

I was also shaking my head when Mclean went on his toughness rant. For me, as an analysist, Mclean has zero credibility. I usually avoid the 'expert' opinions of the Sportsnet crew (including DeBrusk) but I acidentily forgot to mute the TV during intermission. I will try not to make this mistake again.

What little credibility he had went completely out the window when he did the flip flop on Balsille. "Wait, you'll actually give me a job? I'm all for the Coyotes in Hamilton now regardless of what I might have said before."

What a douche.

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#64 BingBong
November 17 2009, 11:40AM
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HansBaurMesserschmittWatson wrote:

im sick of people talking the oilers they need to shoot more

give it up

im mean really

give it up

this guy says he knew what the WTF on penners face was

shooooooooooooooottttttt

WTF?!?

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#65 dragon
November 17 2009, 11:48AM
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happy I taped the game last night. quite good effort.

i would really be interested to learn what ever gotten into Hemmer starting hitting people like that towards the end of the game. :-))

up till that time I couldn't keep track of his lost pucks. after that I started laughing and just gave up on the count. surprising Hemsky! (still wouldn't give him first star, Jonathan...)

LOL

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#66 mowgli
November 17 2009, 12:39PM
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Play JDD and we'll win

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#67 David S
November 17 2009, 12:45PM
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Anybody wondering what the deal is with Shawn Horcoff might want to go over to the Oilers site to see last night's post-game video.

Dude should NOT be playing.

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#68 common sense
November 17 2009, 12:48PM
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Souray has a good shot and is tough but he's not a defensive juggernaut. His history as a Hab was to be severely negative plus/minus....

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#69 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 17 2009, 12:55PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

I was also shaking my head when Mclean went on his toughness rant. For me, as an analysist, Mclean has zero credibility. I usually avoid the 'expert' opinions of the Sportsnet crew (including DeBrusk) but I acidentily forgot to mute the TV during intermission. I will try not to make this mistake again.

What little credibility he had went completely out the window when he did the flip flop on Balsille. "Wait, you'll actually give me a job? I'm all for the Coyotes in Hamilton now regardless of what I might have said before."

What a douche.

That was still the funniest primetime sports I ever seen when he explained himself.

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#70 Dan the Man
November 17 2009, 12:59PM
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David S wrote:

Anybody wondering what the deal is with Shawn Horcoff might want to go over to the Oilers site to see last night's post-game video.

Dude should NOT be playing.

Wow...what is he wearing in that video? Looks like some kind of shoulder harness or something? Or is it just bandaged up?

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#71 Ogden Brother
November 17 2009, 01:00PM
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Who was is that wanted to trade Hemsky for Krejci?

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#72 Dan the Man
November 17 2009, 01:03PM
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McLean reminds me a lot of Milbury. Both are loud obnoxious morons who set their respective franchises back a decade with bonehead decisions. I'm not sure how either guy can be critical of anyone or anything when they were so clearly inept at what they did.

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#73 David S
November 17 2009, 01:04PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Wow...what is he wearing in that video? Looks like some kind of shoulder harness or something? Or is it just bandaged up?

Looks like a support/restraining harness with some ice crammed in.

Oh man, I had one of those when I partially separated my shoulder. That usually means one more hit and its surgery time.

No wonder he's having trouble with shots and FO's. I'm completely surprised the team let that video go. Normally, you'd NEVER know what's actually up injury-wise.

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#74 rubbertrout
November 17 2009, 01:14PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

McLean reminds me a lot of Milbury. Both are loud obnoxious morons who set their respective franchises back a decade with bonehead decisions. I'm not sure how either guy can be critical of anyone or anything when they were so clearly inept at what they did.

Kind of like putting Matt Millen back in the booth in the NFL.

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#75 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 17 2009, 01:27PM
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David S wrote:

Looks like a support/restraining harness with some ice crammed in.

Oh man, I had one of those when I partially separated my shoulder. That usually means one more hit and its surgery time.

No wonder he's having trouble with shots and FO's. I'm completely surprised the team let that video go. Normally, you'd NEVER know what's actually up injury-wise.

Not that I can see the video, but Souray was wearing something that sounds like that last year, but it was in between periods he had it on.

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#76 Ender
November 17 2009, 01:31PM
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David S wrote:

Anybody wondering what the deal is with Shawn Horcoff might want to go over to the Oilers site to see last night's post-game video.

Dude should NOT be playing.

Wow. Dude looks like he's held together with duct tape and baling wire; when did Red Green make the training staff?

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#77 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 17 2009, 01:42PM
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Gagner day-ro-day with hip injury, so that can't be the puck that hit him can it?

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#78 Rigger
November 17 2009, 01:45PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

Nooooooo, we cannot afford to lose more players to potentially long term injuries. Dammit! Someone get over to RX1 with some calcium pills and vitamins STAT!

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#79 Milli
November 17 2009, 02:12PM
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I disagree with the Milbury / McLean thing. McLeanisn't a great quote, just a talking head, Milbury played a hard nosed game, understands the game(just not a good gm, like most ex players) and is great to listen to. The guy on Saturday, when he was showing old school hits, pretty sweet.

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#80 Dan the Man
November 17 2009, 02:50PM
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Milli wrote:

I disagree with the Milbury / McLean thing. McLeanisn't a great quote, just a talking head, Milbury played a hard nosed game, understands the game(just not a good gm, like most ex players) and is great to listen to. The guy on Saturday, when he was showing old school hits, pretty sweet.

I have no problem with Milbury as a player but he made some of the worst trades in history and he often comes off as a Don Cherry wannabe like he did last Saturday on Hotstove.

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#81 roughneck
November 17 2009, 02:50PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Kind of like putting Matt Millen back in the booth in the NFL.

Did Matt Millen hire his incompetent hometown Buddies from the far east?

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#82 Eddie Shore
November 17 2009, 05:51PM
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@Ogden Brother

It's pack mentality, unless of course we are agreeing with you right? The truth is Moreau has been bad. As far as his penalty last night, yea it may have been a borderline call. But, because of all his careless penalties he is going to have a reputation as a guy who is careless with his stick. Thus, he will not get the benefit of the doubt.

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