Oilers vs. Blues Postgame: Record Setters

Jonathan Willis
December 11 2009 11:25PM

Oilers: 5

Blues: 3

It was really two games tonight; the first half where the Blues dominated, and the second half where the Oilers dominated. Regardless, the Oilers came out of it with the victory, and in so doing improbably set the franchise record for consecutive wins on the same road trip. Crazy stuff. 

Three Stars, According To Me

1. The First Line. It might be a bit of a cop-out, but it’s true. Plus-4 on the night, with a combined nine points, this was the unit that drove the Oilers offensively. There were some bad moments early (both Brule and Gagner had brutal, brutal giveaways) and the bounces certainly went their way, but Penner’s size and strength were simply unstoppable and both Gagner and Brule were lethal in concert with him.

2. Shawn Horcoff. Horcoff took a whopping 28 faceoffs tonight, only six of them in the offensive zone, and he won 20 of them. He was brilliant in the third, scoring the winner on a play where he did pretty much all of the hard work. Not only that but he was double-shifted for most of the third period, and he left the ice for just over 30 seconds in the final three minutes as Quinn rode the heck out of him to hang on to the lead (he took Gagner’s spot on the top line in the defensive zone).

3. Lubomir Visnovsky. Asked to step into the breach after Sheldon Souray was ejected for unsportsmanlike behavior, Visnovsky was admirable, playing just a hair under 25 minutes. He may have had only a single assist on the night, but he was a big part of moving the puck in the right direction, and led the Oilers with a plus-12 Corsi rating. 

Random Thoughts

Since that was such a fun game, let’s get the negativity out of the way early. The pairing of Steve Staios and Jason Strudwick was beyond brutal. Of the Blues 22 even-strength scoring chances, 12 happened with Steve Staios on the ice. Nine happened with Strudwick on the ice. By eye and by number they were dominated by the Blues. While we’re on the negative, let’s also mention the Souray elbowing penalty and unsportsmanlike call – for a guy who often plays on the edge of legality (and he does) he gets a lot of calls in his favour, and nights like tonight are going to go a long way to making him a marked man for NHL referees. Lastly, the penalty kill: I’m not sure what Penner, O’Sullivan and Staios were thinking on the Oshie power play goal, but whatever it was it wasn’t NHL penalty-killing.

Andrew Cogliano had a few chances tonight, but I really wanted to make note of his shooting percentage. Here it is for this season and the two prior:

  • 2007-08: 18.4%
  • 2008-09: 15.5%
  • 2009-10: 6.7%

Guess which way it’s going to go.

Great fight between J-F Jacques and B.J. Crombeen; both deserve credit for hanging in that long.

Anyone else catch the play where Souray wanted to fight Brad Winchester, but Stortini intervened? The announcers figured that Stortini knew that the Oilers needed Souray on the ice, but I couldn’t help wondering if Stortini was just trying to save his old teammate from an ugly beating. I’m probably wrong, but that’s what went through my head.

I also thought that Tom Gilbert had a quietly effective game; given what he’s done so far this year “quietly effective” is more than welcome.

Zack Stortini didn’t see the ice for the last 10 minutes of the game, and O’Sullivan and Jacques were benched for the last five. Jacques only played 5:11 on the night, although he did miss some time because of his fight.

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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 Cole G
December 11 2009, 11:42PM
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On the Souray ejection, call me biased but i think that Bill McCreary went a little overboard with it. Sourays roughing penalty was one of those that usually gets swept under the rug by the officials, its clearly punishable, but one that is rarely called on a single player only. Not sure what Souray could have said that put moustache over the edge because, most of the time if you read the players lips as they skate over to the box, there`s always some sort of trash talk they throw at the official who made the call and it just gets shrugged off. usually i think he`s a very fair, and old fashioned ref...but his antics reminded me of a mcgeough during that little incident...

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#2 Hoss
December 11 2009, 11:43PM
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For the first time in a while I kept watching after they went down 3 0 cause I had that feeling they might be able to make something happen. Damn Penner looks good out there!

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#3 Lance
December 11 2009, 11:43PM
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I don't think it's a big deal that the Oilers won five road games straight when considering that two of those were won in the shootout.

Before the Lockout this run would not have happened.

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#4 Giggsunited
December 11 2009, 11:47PM
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Wow! who would of thought? good job Oil, now I have no clue whats in store for the future? At least I'm a NY Jets fan too!??

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#5 VK63
December 11 2009, 11:58PM
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Conklin was kinda bad huh?

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#6 Smokin' Ray
December 12 2009, 12:00AM
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Great 3rd Period by the Oilers. Before that they sucked. But a win is a win and it's nice to see 5 in a row beside the Oilers name. And not 5 losses in a row like most of us predicted a few weeks ago.

FULL RECAP HERE---> http://oilersjambalaya.blogspot.com/2009/12/b-95-edmonton-oilers-recap-vs-st-louis.html

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#8 Eddie Shore
December 12 2009, 12:02AM
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@VK63

Some of the goals weren't that great but Conks made some pretty big stops in the 3rd as well.

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#9 TheGunnShow
December 12 2009, 12:05AM
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Watching that made me happy.

That's the type of comeback effort that previous Oiler incarnations would have never tried to muster up.

and we've done it twice this year.

positives.

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#11 Wanyes bastard child
December 12 2009, 12:20AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The review at St. Louis Game Time is worth reading.

I started reading the review, then saw the beer add to the right with the hot girl and lost focus... turned back to the review and saw it was gone... or I had already read it in the 10 seconds it took me to get distracted by boobs :P

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#12 Smokin' Ray
December 12 2009, 12:22AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The review at St. Louis Game Time is worth reading.

It was a whole whopping 9 sentences. Wow! Gripping stuff.

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#13 BarryS
December 12 2009, 12:27AM
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Lance wrote:

I don't think it's a big deal that the Oilers won five road games straight when considering that two of those were won in the shootout.

Before the Lockout this run would not have happened.

Get over it.. The shootout is here to stay and given its popularity with the paying fans is not likely to go away. The only guys who complain are the old time sports guys, who can remember the time Bobby Hull got his mega buck weave job pulled off in a fight, now that was funny. A win by shoot counts the same two points as a win in OT and a win in regular time and the point for a OT loss is more often than not important to the standings at the end.

Like who cares. The past is gone and is never returning.

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#14 BarryS
December 12 2009, 12:30AM
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@Jonathan Willis

But one played good enough to win, the other didn't. On the whole I'd rather have a goalie who could have an occasional bad game and win, then one who had an occasional good game and lost.

Also good to see the team bail out the goalie once in a while rather than doing the old foldo like they did in Vancouver.

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#15 The Towel Boy
December 12 2009, 01:04AM
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I don't think Wanye should be allowed to come home from Europe. Since he left the Oilers have been playing good and winning.

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#16 GSC
December 12 2009, 01:16AM
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Cole G wrote:

On the Souray ejection, call me biased but i think that Bill McCreary went a little overboard with it. Sourays roughing penalty was one of those that usually gets swept under the rug by the officials, its clearly punishable, but one that is rarely called on a single player only. Not sure what Souray could have said that put moustache over the edge because, most of the time if you read the players lips as they skate over to the box, there`s always some sort of trash talk they throw at the official who made the call and it just gets shrugged off. usually i think he`s a very fair, and old fashioned ref...but his antics reminded me of a mcgeough during that little incident...

I couldn't agree more.

Shelly is one of the guys who seldom jaws at officials, he's usually quite civil and thus earns the respect of his peers. When he went off at McCreary, I had a feeling that the boys would respond.

The initial call on Shelly was weak as all hell, and the fact that he put McCreary on notice says a lot. Good for Shelly.

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#17 #EM
December 12 2009, 01:31AM
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The Oiler's true identity is slowly but surely emerging. I love the resiliency of this group.

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#19 Reagan
December 12 2009, 02:48AM
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McCreary is simply an A$$... Enough said. Just like that othe half whit that called a hand pass a few years ago on Horcoff...

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#20 dunciano
December 12 2009, 04:45AM
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Let's give them a standing ovation first game back

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#21 Lofty
December 12 2009, 07:04AM
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It sure is nice watching Brule on the first line. I know he had a couple bad turnovers but compared to Hemsky turning it over constantly Brule is getting the job done. I forgot what it's like to watch a guy play with passion again.

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#22 ColmCanada
December 12 2009, 07:45AM
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I still think this is just a beautiful aberration, but I'll take it. And what is that eejit McCreary playing at?

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#23 BigE57
December 12 2009, 08:53AM
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It's going to be pretty tough to keep Penner off the olympic team if this keeps up. Who saw that coming?

Great win!

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#24 No Clue
December 12 2009, 09:04AM
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@ Jonathan Willis

Sure but the Blues didn't score 6 and the Oilers did score 5.

I wasn't so much that one goalie outplayed the other, it seemed to be more of that the oilers worked harder when it counted, took more shots and had more quality scoring chances resulting in more goals than the other team equalling a WIN.

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#25 Milli
December 12 2009, 09:06AM
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JDD reminds me of.....Fuhr, ya, there I said it. He bends,. but he don't break. When the team rallies, he rarely seems to let in that next goal. I'm digging this kid right now. Tom Gilbert has quietly solidified his game. And one other thing, I had no idea how good Lubo really is, he has stepped up and shown me, that guy is gold, so cool under presure, rarely makes a mistake. WOW. Great trip.

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#26 No Clue
December 12 2009, 09:07AM
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@ BigE57

Should the D train make the Oly team? I think he should too, but will he? I'm betting NO. he's not the marquee name that gets picked. I'd be willing to put $$ on it.

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#27 rOIlty
December 12 2009, 09:14AM
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Its been a long time since I have seen an Oiler line play with that much emotion and passion. Warms the heart it does!! GO OILERS

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#28 Robin Brownlee
December 12 2009, 09:19AM
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Five wins is not a franchise record for consecutive road wins. The record for a single season is eight games, set Dec. 9/86 to Jan 17/87.

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#29 dwayne
December 12 2009, 09:26AM
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Ha, Penner has the same amount of points as Heatly..Hopefully the team can build on this and keep it going. Personally the Oilers are a better team without Hemsky. I think its time to shop him this summer!

GO OILERS GO!

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#30 Fiddle-di-doo
December 12 2009, 09:32AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Five wins is not a franchise record for consecutive road wins. The record for a single season is eight games, set Dec. 9/86 to Jan 17/87.

5 wins consecutively on one road-trip! Noone is saying the glory days are back! Gotta take positives when we get 'em!

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#31 sizzler
December 12 2009, 09:36AM
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Good win. Big ups to JFJ for a timely fight. Penner is Penner. Good to see brule start getting his confidence back......3yrs in coming

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#32 VK63
December 12 2009, 09:38AM
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from that linked St Louis blog:

"Brad Winchester playing on a line with Perron and Berglund is like the fat kid who you invite to play one day because you didn't have enough skaters, yet you don't have the heart to tell them to leave the next few times you play. Damn you Andy Murray." -Author Unknown

Hockey sure brings out the best in people... ha!

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#33 GSC
December 12 2009, 09:41AM
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Note to Tambo: get Brule and Stone re-signed.

Immediately.

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#34 Death Metal Nightmare
December 12 2009, 10:04AM
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this might be the "game of the year" so far.

Gagner seriously needs to start doing roids. he had some good opportunistic points but holy crap is this dude tiny, cartoon legged in his strides and weak everywhere against opposition unless the puck just pops to his stick in a broken type play where he has space suddenly. i suppose we'll see what his development looks like in the next couple years but it doesnt seem like hes going to get dominant anywhere in his game other than maybe hands.

great win. great persistence. hands down Penner was the catalyst in the win creating time and space by using his body great down low and on his rush. good to see him playing more like his size instead of a 15-year old twirp.

Penner - Brule - Hemsky

next year

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#36 Travis Dakin
December 12 2009, 10:10AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Whoops.

It's funny because TSN was just reporting it as their "franchise record for most consecutive road wins" too. Leaving out that "on one single trip" part is so easy to get wrong. Oh well.

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#37 Robin Brownlee
December 12 2009, 10:13AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Whoops.

This was widely mis-reported going into the game, notably by Tychkowski at The Sun and the Sportsnet broadcast crew.

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#38 Rob
December 12 2009, 10:21AM
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I'm certainly not the first to notice but it is rather coincidental that without Hemmer there is a dramatic improvement in team play. I wonder how Oiler management will respond if, and its a big if, the team performs well through the end of the schedule without Hemmer.

Is the improved responsiveness of the team Quinn's coaching regime or is it a players 'me- first step aside boys' style being absent?

Has Hemmer been allowed to think he's the man to the detriment of team play? I have watched his on-ice posture and he sure carries himself like a spoiled suck at times. He was getting his points this year but the team was abysmal. He is absent and the team thrives not- withstanding this is only a 5 game stretch.

The Oil were smaller than the sum of their various parts earlier this year with Hemsky and now seem to me to be larger than the sum of those same parts.

I think the answer to this may be a while developing. But let's see how the rest of the schedule goes.

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#39 Connor
December 12 2009, 10:21AM
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GSC wrote:

Note to Tambo: get Brule and Stone re-signed.

Immediately.

I agree, they both work hard and play hard. They have almost brought an energy to the oilers and I hope this energy continues.

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#41 Chris.
December 12 2009, 10:34AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Five wins is not a franchise record for consecutive road wins. The record for a single season is eight games, set Dec. 9/86 to Jan 17/87.

If we were back in 1986 we'd be talking about how the Oilers just went 3-0-2 on their five game road trip. (Can't believe it took this long for someone to finally say it.)

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#42 Chris.
December 12 2009, 10:36AM
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Oh sorry Lance. (comment #3)

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#43 Harlie
December 12 2009, 10:48AM
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dunciano wrote:

Let's give them a standing ovation first game back

Bryan Hall is that you?

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#44 Heavyd
December 12 2009, 10:52AM
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@No Clue

Ill take that bet.

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#45 OILERSORDEATH
December 12 2009, 11:11AM
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Death Metal Nightmare wrote:

this might be the "game of the year" so far.

Gagner seriously needs to start doing roids. he had some good opportunistic points but holy crap is this dude tiny, cartoon legged in his strides and weak everywhere against opposition unless the puck just pops to his stick in a broken type play where he has space suddenly. i suppose we'll see what his development looks like in the next couple years but it doesnt seem like hes going to get dominant anywhere in his game other than maybe hands.

great win. great persistence. hands down Penner was the catalyst in the win creating time and space by using his body great down low and on his rush. good to see him playing more like his size instead of a 15-year old twirp.

Penner - Brule - Hemsky

next year

@ Death Metal Nightmare I think Gags will keep getting stronger each year because he has the drive to keep improving. Hemsky on the other hand not so sure I care to see him in a Oiler uniform ever again the way they are playing without him. I think we could land a Frolov type player using Hemmer as trade bait.

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#46 Racki
December 12 2009, 11:13AM
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I think Souray would have been fine against Crombeen... but I'm glad Stortini stepped in. Didn't need Souray off the ice for 5 minutes (needed him off the ice for a period and a half later though I guess haha).

Also, in case no one caught it, the TV guys (Sportsnet, TSN, etc.) cut off the replay of Souray chirping. Why?

Well, he says to McCreary - "F--- you" near the end of his tirade, and thats when McCreary had enough and signaled the misconduct. I think McCreary needs a bit thicker skin, but I couldn't figure out anything Souray said before that point that might have pushed McCreary to the edge.

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#47 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 12 2009, 11:16AM
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Racki wrote:

I think Souray would have been fine against Crombeen... but I'm glad Stortini stepped in. Didn't need Souray off the ice for 5 minutes (needed him off the ice for a period and a half later though I guess haha).

Also, in case no one caught it, the TV guys (Sportsnet, TSN, etc.) cut off the replay of Souray chirping. Why?

Well, he says to McCreary - "F--- you" near the end of his tirade, and thats when McCreary had enough and signaled the misconduct. I think McCreary needs a bit thicker skin, but I couldn't figure out anything Souray said before that point that might have pushed McCreary to the edge.

It was Souray and Winchester. I think Willis was suggesting that Stortini intervened to protect Winchester instead of vice versa.

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#49 Shifty203
December 12 2009, 11:19AM
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Rob wrote:

I'm certainly not the first to notice but it is rather coincidental that without Hemmer there is a dramatic improvement in team play. I wonder how Oiler management will respond if, and its a big if, the team performs well through the end of the schedule without Hemmer.

Is the improved responsiveness of the team Quinn's coaching regime or is it a players 'me- first step aside boys' style being absent?

Has Hemmer been allowed to think he's the man to the detriment of team play? I have watched his on-ice posture and he sure carries himself like a spoiled suck at times. He was getting his points this year but the team was abysmal. He is absent and the team thrives not- withstanding this is only a 5 game stretch.

The Oil were smaller than the sum of their various parts earlier this year with Hemsky and now seem to me to be larger than the sum of those same parts.

I think the answer to this may be a while developing. But let's see how the rest of the schedule goes.

I've wondered this myself before as well. Most people don't like to talk about it due to Hemsky's pure skill, but this isn't the first time the teams improved while he's been out.

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#50 Racki
December 12 2009, 11:24AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

It was Souray and Winchester. I think Willis was suggesting that Stortini intervened to protect Winchester instead of vice versa.

Oh woops, I don't know where I got Crombeen from.

And that's an interesting thought. Winchester's a tough cookie, but Souray's got some pretty heavy hands (even without the wrist guard ;) ).

And I just watched the replay again, and I think I may be wrong about Souray dropping the F-bomb to McCreary on the other play... too hard to tell what he said. So I take that part pack.

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