Oilers vs. Sharks Post-Game: Potulny!

Jonathan Willis
November 28 2009 11:26AM

San Jose Sharks: 5

Edmonton Oilers: 4 (SO)

Against all odds, the Oilers were competitive for the entire evening, but a brutal breakdown in the final minutes of the game cost them two points.

 

Oilers Three Stars, According To Me

1. Ryan Potulny.  Jason Strudwick's first intermission pick to help carry the offensive load, Potulny did just that with a pair of goals that showcased his offensive ability.  The first one was completely self-made, with Potulny creating a turnover at his own blue-line, carrying it down the ice and scoring against Evgeni Nabokov, while the second was the result of a lucky bounce and an instant release.  It ought to have been the game-winner.

2. Dustin Penner.  A goal and an assist tonight, and had a solid game for the most part.  Was the only member of the first line on the ice who arguably was not to blame for the tying goal being given up.

3. Lubomir Visnovsky.  Quietly had an incredibly effective game from the back end, distributing the puck well (as usual) and was more solid in the defensive zone too than he has been of late.  I don't think I saw a single instance tonight when he made the wrong play.

Random Thoughts

Gilbert Brule just missed the cutoff for the three stars because of his involvement with Patrick Marleau's short-handed game-tying goal.  Let's review the play: Sam Gagner loses the faceoff.  Dustin Penner pushes off to the top of the circle to provide an outlet if the Oilers regain possession, which also allows him to cover the high Shark.  Meanwhile, Sheldon Souray gets drawn into the corner and Steve Staios abandons the front of the net.  Now, with less than two minutes left, Brule ought to be scrambling back to cover the front of the net; he's the only forward not involved with the play.  Instead, he's hanging out near the blueline hoping for an outlet pass.  Patrick Marleau gets all alone in front and ties the game up; instead of putting up two points the Oilers give them away and take one point in the shootout.  It was a brutal sequence of events by all parties, but Brule in particular needed to have a little more awareness of the game situation there.  Otherwise he had a very good game.

Souray and Staios were brutal all night, and were on for all four Sharks goals and none of the Oilers' goals.

Speaking of brutal, Shawn Horcoff's line was arguably the worst one on the ice tonight.  Horcoff and O'Sullivan were bad, but I was particularly annoyed with Jean-Francois Jacques.  There's a difference between playing physical and playing stupid, and he crossed over that line tonight.  Aside from his pucks skills (which were, at best, middling this evening) he single-handedly negated a power play in the first period with a late hit on Ryan Clowe, and then he gave the Sharks the man advantage on their third goal by running Joe Thornton into the turnbuckle.  Hits are good, but those hits were stupid, and went a long ways towards helping the team lose tonight.

Jeff Deslauriers had a couple of good saves early, but looked lost on a couple of goals (Patrick Marleau's second in particular caught him moving the wrong direction).  I hope Quinn uses Dubnyk tonight.

Could someone tell me why Sam Gagner and Dustin Penner keep getting tapped for shootout work?  They're a combined 0-for-7 on the year and Penner in particular hasn't looked good doing it.  As for Gagner, he's been at best average since some early-career success.

While I'm being fairly critical here (this was a very nice opportunity that the Oilers' choked on) the team did play a good game - in particular the top line and the Potulny line - and looked competitive in a game they had no business being in.  It could have been much worse.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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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#1 Jmask5
November 28 2009, 11:37AM
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That Syvret for Potulny trade is looking better and better. I know people were down on the Oilers for giving up on Syvret so easily but look where we are now. Potulny could have easily had a hat trick tonight if not for some great saves by Nabakov, while Syvret on the other hand just cleared waivers. Also Brule for Torres is looking good as well.

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#2 Cool Beans
November 28 2009, 11:50AM
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It isn't tom thumbs. Everyone doesn't need to chase the puck. Between Gagner and Staios, Marleau should have been covered. If Brule comes down to get a missed assignment, one more guy is out of position. He needs to be up there to ensure they don't get an easy pass to the dman. Granted they were on the powerplay but still.

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#3 Brandon
November 28 2009, 11:54AM
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The reason they keep getting picked for shootout's is because Quinn is starting the "Dive for 5" movement. When our coach says the team is "not ready to win yet" it says alot about the team.

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#4 David S
November 28 2009, 12:16PM
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It strikes me that Quinn is one of those old-school coaches that absolutely HATES the shootout, so he basically gives up and throws out guys on a whim. MacT seemed to put alot more thought into his list, always sending out the hot hands. I know there's a huge MacT hate around here, but you have to admit he tactically thought through every aspect of the game, including the shootout.

Still, it shouldn't have gone to that point. The Oilers caught a break in a San Jose team that clearly thought they could win by mailing it in. They dialed it in late in the game and as usual a mental lapse on our end was our demise. Too bad because it minimized a herculean effort on behalf of our boys.

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#5 Oildrop89
November 28 2009, 12:32PM
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I was happy with the effort, the forecheck, and the intensity shown by the team in this game.

However, giving up those leads late in the game, even to the top scoring team in the leaque is frustrating. You have a powerplay, but you know the faceoff is in your zone, you know they're going to be hungry for the tying goal, play strict man to man coverage until you gain possession and break-out.

Overall I was pretty happy though to say the least.

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#6 Rob...
November 28 2009, 12:36PM
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David S wrote:

It strikes me that Quinn is one of those old-school coaches that absolutely HATES the shootout, so he basically gives up and throws out guys on a whim. MacT seemed to put alot more thought into his list, always sending out the hot hands. I know there's a huge MacT hate around here, but you have to admit he tactically thought through every aspect of the game, including the shootout.

Still, it shouldn't have gone to that point. The Oilers caught a break in a San Jose team that clearly thought they could win by mailing it in. They dialed it in late in the game and as usual a mental lapse on our end was our demise. Too bad because it minimized a herculean effort on behalf of our boys.

I'm not willing to give the Sharks the credit you are. I think they played a good game. Their 'misfortune', if you can call it that after getting 2 points, was somehow finding themselves playing an angry Oilers team.

Other than 2 stupid checks, by Jacques, and the shorthanded goal I enjoyed watching the game thoroughly. It's just a shame that no team can keep up that intensity level for the remainder of the season.

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#7 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 28 2009, 12:49PM
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With the type of production we've seen this year, how do we consider Jacques-Horcoff-POS the first line when Penner-Gagner-Brule are all healthy?

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#8 Skidplate
November 28 2009, 12:52PM
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In regards to the shootout picks, I was thinking the same thing. The only reason I can think of that Quinn continues to use Gagne and Penner is that they show mad skill in practice. They sure aren't showing it in game situations though.

I thought Souray was the prime culprit for letting Marleau score unmolested shorthanded. Staios had the guy in the corner and Souray followed them into the corner, forgetting all about Marleau.

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#9 DonDon
November 28 2009, 12:53PM
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Above mention of Quinn's possible drive-for-five. I think Tambellini has been on a drive-for-five since he took over the GM's position (maybe not by design). The Oil is comfortably situated in 13th position in the Western Conference past the quarter-pole and the 14th placed team is behind by one point but has two games in hand over the Oil. God bless the farm system; some of the talented players are getting chances to play in the NHL. If the team and fans can survive this season and possibly the next out of the playoffs, and Tambellini's brain paralysis ends, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. Time to move unproductive players, contracts and salaries and make something positive out of this wasted season.

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#10 Oildrop89
November 28 2009, 12:54PM
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Every time I see someone abbreviate Patrick O'Sullivan as POS, I think of Piece of s**t.

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#11 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 28 2009, 12:56PM
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Oildrop89 wrote:

Every time I see someone abbreviate Patrick O'Sullivan as POS, I think of Piece of s**t.

I usually spell it out. It was intentional this time, though.

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#12 JackBauer
November 28 2009, 01:00PM
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That was a game the Oilers will circle at the end of the year as a missed opportunity. They could have won this game against all odds against one of the best in the league, used that momentum to pump up the team and the fans but instead were left with the usual Oilers nonsense. Cough up a lead or a tie late, take unnessecary penalties, cant make passes, cant kill penalties etc etc.

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#13 Chickenplucker
November 28 2009, 01:03PM
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I thought JDD was good tonight but he does seem to give up a lot of rebounds. I thought on Marleau's second goal that Thornton was on JDD's blocker side and put the pass across to the wide open Marleau, another example of poor defensive zone coverage.

His worst play was the attempted poke check on Thornton for the short-handed goal.

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#14 TV
November 28 2009, 01:16PM
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Sometimes I just don't understand your thought process JW, but I guess that is on me..?

JFJ shows his team-mates, & more importantly the opposition that he will cross the line a little with his opponents & try to protect his own players at the same time. How long have Oil fans been begging for a guy like this..? Where was Penner when Hemmer was taken out for the season on that shift..? I for 1 LUV to see a guy put his own body & career on the line for his Club, it's just too bad that there is not a few more guys like him that would/will follow suit.

As for the Penner SO attempt, let's give some credit to the 2 players involved shall we..?

Penner made a nice deke, got the puck up & made a nice play, the only problem was Nabby made a better play & even sweeter save with the trapper to seal the 2 digits.

Maybe it's me, but I'm having a hard time deciphering between the "fan" & the "reporter" when it comes to some of your scribes JW. But as per the above, I guess that is all on me to work out..?

6x

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#16 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 28 2009, 01:31PM
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I can probably hazard a guess at why JW mentioned Jacques here. He deals with numbers that describe the tangibles of the game. He firmly believes that the tangibles are more important when it comes to determining who's going to win the game, because over the long run, the team that posts better numbers beats the team that 'wants it more'.

Hits affect the numbers when they are effective plays to gain puck control, which is not what J F Jacques is doing when he starts swinging for the highlight reel.

From this standpoint, JW is understandably disgusted by J F Jacques playing his role to the point where he becomes a liability on the ice.

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#17 Jamie B.
November 28 2009, 01:34PM
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Gagner WON that faceoff. He also broke his stick so he wasn't covering anyone. I blame Deslauriers a little for trying to poke it away and getting tangled up with Staios and Thornton so he couldn't come across when Marleau got the puck. Not that I blame JDD for not trusting his inept (at least last night) d-men, but I think he needs to there.

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#18 Wyseguy
November 28 2009, 01:35PM
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Gag's used to make goalies look foolish with his deke to the fore hand. Yet this year he always shoots. Nabokov went for the poke check early, likely he wanted to force him to shoot.

I think he should stay with that move until goalies can prove they can stop it more than half the time. Look at Jussi Jokinen, he hasn't changed his move since the shoot out was introduced.

If you're a sniper, shoot it, if you can deke, then deke. Gag's isn't a sniper.

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#19 TV
November 28 2009, 01:49PM
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Then you sure must not like a hell of a lot players who earn their living in the NHL JW.

IE; The Great 8, Darth Pronger, Malkin, Kovy, Getzlaf, Regehr, etc etc, or old players like Mess & Anderson.

Sometimes a little blood has to be spilled, especially when 1 of yours is put down for the season. It's not as if JFJ was trying to pull a Bert, he was simply being physical.

"Then what are YOU prepared to do? Because they're not gonna give up the fight, until one of you is dead. If they send 1 of yours to the hospital, then you send 1 of theirs to the morgue." 6x

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#20 Robin Brownlee
November 28 2009, 02:00PM
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TV wrote:

Then you sure must not like a hell of a lot players who earn their living in the NHL JW.

IE; The Great 8, Darth Pronger, Malkin, Kovy, Getzlaf, Regehr, etc etc, or old players like Mess & Anderson.

Sometimes a little blood has to be spilled, especially when 1 of yours is put down for the season. It's not as if JFJ was trying to pull a Bert, he was simply being physical.

"Then what are YOU prepared to do? Because they're not gonna give up the fight, until one of you is dead. If they send 1 of yours to the hospital, then you send 1 of theirs to the morgue." 6x

Hey, Mr. Fake Blood and Guts: If you're going to steal quotes from movies, at least attribute them.

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#21 Dan the Man
November 28 2009, 02:04PM
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I'm gonna agree with TV on the JFJ thing, I have no issue with a guy taking the odd aggressive penalty. He was hitting everything that moved and this team has need that type of presence for some time. I also loved his fight.

The bad side of aggressiveness is when you put yourself way out of position while going for the big hit, like Souray did on Heatley last night which led to the first Sharks goal.

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#22 sizzler
November 28 2009, 02:19PM
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@Jonathan Willis

He was doing what he is supposed to do, that is hit. Although he got 2 penalties in that process, but I believe he is going to get better and more efficient at this. He is still young and is important to the team.

Last night JFJ much better than Gilbert's sister (POS)

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#23 TV
November 28 2009, 02:28PM
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Duly noted there RB, but I figured a iconic quote like that was a pretty rhetorical 1..?

Any input on the other guts part of my reply Robin..?

I personally like to see some players 'play' on the edge over a 82 game schedule.

6x

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#24 Robin Brownlee
November 28 2009, 02:36PM
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TV wrote:

Duly noted there RB, but I figured a iconic quote like that was a pretty rhetorical 1..?

Any input on the other guts part of my reply Robin..?

I personally like to see some players 'play' on the edge over a 82 game schedule.

6x

Players like Jacques will take penalties if they're playing their game. It's about balance. A coach like Quinn will accept penalties of aggression if they set a tone, if there's a purpose.

Running after players or taking yourself out of position, as Souray did coming out to hit Heatley, are less palatable.

Essentially, I'm with Willis, but I'm not as concerned about the penalty aspect as the positional and strategical part of it.

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#25 esa tikkanen
November 28 2009, 02:36PM
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no mention anywhere except one post above that Gagner won the faceoff but broke his stick. he dropped his stick but for some reason abandoned his man.

for all of quinn's complaining about his forwards not being good defensively, he has to own the decision to have Gagner on in his own end with a minute to go instead of putting out Horcoff there. Good chance if Horc takes that draw we win the game. Even if he loses the faceoff he would have stayed with his man so he does not have the chance to go in alone and score.

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#26 TigerUnderGlass
November 28 2009, 03:04PM
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@Jonathan Willis

1.) When did you get scribes? (post #14)

2.) Where can I get some? I have some fairly intensive writing to do over the next 3 or 4 weeks.

@Brownlee

Half the fun of a referential comment is waiting to see who notices. Are you really going to insist on references during conversational writing? Are you really the annoying guy who explains which movie he just quoted every time he make a reference?

If you're going to insist on this then the comment section needs updating because I am a strict proponent of Chicago Style referencing and currently we lack the proper formatting tools.

"Essentially, I'm with Willis, but I'm not as concerned about the penalty aspect as the positional and strategical part of it."

I should add that this is very much how I see it as well. Taking the odd penalty for a reason can be beneficial, but getting out of position to take is is very problematic.

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#27 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 28 2009, 03:11PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

1.) When did you get scribes? (post #14)

2.) Where can I get some? I have some fairly intensive writing to do over the next 3 or 4 weeks.

@Brownlee

Half the fun of a referential comment is waiting to see who notices. Are you really going to insist on references during conversational writing? Are you really the annoying guy who explains which movie he just quoted every time he make a reference?

If you're going to insist on this then the comment section needs updating because I am a strict proponent of Chicago Style referencing and currently we lack the proper formatting tools.

"Essentially, I'm with Willis, but I'm not as concerned about the penalty aspect as the positional and strategical part of it."

I should add that this is very much how I see it as well. Taking the odd penalty for a reason can be beneficial, but getting out of position to take is is very problematic.

Disagree.1

1Pretty Things, Oil Kings 'n'. Thoughts on Willis' Post, hxxp://www.oilersnation.com as viewed on November 28, 2009.

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#28 Garett
November 28 2009, 03:23PM
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Well, we now know that Grebs, Cogs and a pick WILL NOT be traded to Canes for Eric Stall bcuz that douchebag eklund says that this is a rampant rumor he has heard from 3 sources. His sources are Buzz his dog, the spirit of his dead dog is the 2nd source and the crap I took this morning is the 3rd source! Whata loser!

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#29 misfit
November 28 2009, 03:23PM
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Hey come on. Jacques was out there hitting everyone. Didn't you see those two big hits on Thornton? He got him so rattled and off his game that he only managed 3 assists and a +2 rating on the night.

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#30 TigerUnderGlass
November 28 2009, 03:24PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Fair enough, I stand corrected.

It's not quite right, but I guess it's close enough.

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#31 TigerUnderGlass
November 28 2009, 03:25PM
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misfit wrote:

Hey come on. Jacques was out there hitting everyone. Didn't you see those two big hits on Thornton? He got him so rattled and off his game that he only managed 3 assists and a +2 rating on the night.

I wonder what sort of thrashing we might have taken if Thornton was on his game. The may have had to demote the team.

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#32 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 28 2009, 03:26PM
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Garett wrote:

Well, we now know that Grebs, Cogs and a pick WILL NOT be traded to Canes for Eric Stall bcuz that douchebag eklund says that this is a rampant rumor he has heard from 3 sources. His sources are Buzz his dog, the spirit of his dead dog is the 2nd source and the crap I took this morning is the 3rd source! Whata loser!

he is a loser that continues to make money because "donkeys" (like yourself) continue to visit his site, and then make fun of him by spreading his rumours on other sites.

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#33 misfit
November 28 2009, 03:27PM
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man. This site really doesn't want me to post for some reason. Every time I try, I get an error.

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#34 Harlie
November 28 2009, 03:39PM
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dp

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#35 Harlie
November 28 2009, 03:39PM
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Chicago style referential posting rules. LAME*

* from a t-shirt that my brother would wear when he was employed as an Engineer at Nortel.

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#36 VK63
November 28 2009, 03:41PM
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misfit wrote:

man. This site really doesn't want me to post for some reason. Every time I try, I get an error.

If only it was selectively contagious

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#37 TV
November 28 2009, 03:45PM
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@Robin Brownlee

I'm in total agreement on the "pick your spots" part of the game RB, it just seemed to me that JW was/had taken his criticism of JFJ's play & demeanor a little too far out of left field.

Like I stated earlier, that is/was completely on me to figure out.

It just seemed a bit contradictory from a few of his earlier views on issues such as these.

Thx for the reply, much appreciated...

BTW, I'm not fake, I was just drawn that way.

6x

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#38 TigerUnderGlass
November 28 2009, 03:45PM
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I expect many of you have already read this and the sentiment expressed is old news now, but it made think "what the hell?"

From the Edmonton sun via thefourthperiod.com:

For the time being, however, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini doesn't plan on pulling the trigger on a trade to bolster his roster.

"A lot of teams deal with injuries at different times of the year," Tambellini told the Edmonton Sun. "This has been a hard month for us, dealing with the flu virus, concussions and now this with Ales. But that's what you're dealt with and we'll find ways to get through.

"We'll see how our guys react. There are some people that we know we can get more out of offensively. So we'll see how this group reacts and we want to see how the team looks with some people coming back in a couple of weeks. But these situations can present opportunity also, so we'll see what happens."

This seems to fit very nicely with the piece Willis wrote on the topic. Can he really possibly believe this or is he just posturing? I have a hard time believing he is this dense, but what do I know.

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#39 Skadden
November 28 2009, 05:43PM
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esa tikkanen wrote:

no mention anywhere except one post above that Gagner won the faceoff but broke his stick. he dropped his stick but for some reason abandoned his man.

for all of quinn's complaining about his forwards not being good defensively, he has to own the decision to have Gagner on in his own end with a minute to go instead of putting out Horcoff there. Good chance if Horc takes that draw we win the game. Even if he loses the faceoff he would have stayed with his man so he does not have the chance to go in alone and score.

Gagner did win that draw, and he had to drop his stick or else he'd have been penalized for playing with it broken. I'm not sure he could have done that much without a stick to defend right in front of his own net though, I've seen that time and time again when someone loses their stick. They're essentially useless out there unless they can use their body to block the shot, or move their opponent and I'm not sure Gagner had the time to do either.

As for Horcoff, he's been abysmal on the draw since hurting his shoulder, so your assessment that we'd have won with him taking the draw is off. Horc was 43% on the draw last night, Gagner was 53% and in the last 5 games has only been below 50% in faceoffs 1 game. Gags is 53%, 89%, 78%, 54% and 38% in the last 5 games so I don't see how Horc who has been 43%, 100% (taking like one faceoff, 0%, 0% and 33% is any better.

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#40 JackBauer
November 28 2009, 09:49PM
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Did my post get erased?

Wtf?

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#41 srbuhr
November 29 2009, 12:07AM
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I dont get the chance to watch many games live but think I have seen two of the Oilers best and worst games recently. The win over Columbus was a heroic effort by Penner (with some help from Hemsky) and the loss to San Jose was unbelievable. Gagner clearly wins the draw (I was sitting in section 116 12 rows up) and Souray turns to the crowd away from the puck - have no idea what he could have possibly been thinking. If he simply skates to the puck and rings the boards (like Staios always does) Penner takes the puck up and out of the zone. This team clearly has to rid itself of some players and play for the future. Lets start with POS and Horcoff (I have no idea how) and build from there. Given the teams draft history though lets don't go for draft picks, that will only make it worse. Thank God I got the tickest for this game at half price because I got what I paid for.

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