Oilers vs. Capitals Postgame: That's Not A Choice, It's A Lack Of Options

Jonathan Willis
December 20 2009 12:21AM

Edmonton Oilers: 2

Washington Capitals: 4

I'm honestly not even sure what to say after a game like this one. The Oilers didn't deserve the early lead they jumped out to, but after claiming that 2-0 spot they collapsed in the third, allowing the Capitals to score four unanswered goals. Jeff Deslauriers answered the bell early and struggled a bit at the finish, but this game shouldn't be laid on him.

Outside of Deslauriers, though, there are plenty of perfectly acceptable targets.

This isn't a very good team. Tonight marks the 13th time they've been outshot by 10 or more, something they've only managed to do to an opponent twice this season. Fun side point: this team seems to have become more explosive under Pat Quinn than they were under Craig MaccTavish, but they've also struggled to hang on to leads. Under MacTavish last season, this team won 80.8% of the time when leading after one, and 89.3% of the time when leading after two (both top-10 in the NHL). This season, those numbers are 66.7% and 80.0%.

No positives tonight, no three stars; nothing else. This team is seven points out of the playoffs and one point out of the draft lottery, and they're giving away points to teams playing the second half of back-to-back games.  I just don't know that I can scrape for positives when Washington sends out Ovechkin and Co. and the best Edmonton can manage in response is (one-armed) Shawn Horcoff, Patrick O'Sullivan (in a slump to end all slumps) and (NHL rookie) Ryan Stone.  Looking for a bonafide checking line, that's the best Quinn can do, and I can't even call him on it because there aren't any other options

Seriously - look down the roster.  There's nobody.  Hemsky would help a fair bit, but despite the sheer volume of forwards on the team there isn't anybody proven who can handle a checking role.  It's Horcoff, O'Sullivan, rookies, the Ghost of thecaptainethanmoreau, and the faint hope of a healthy Fernando Pisani.  In fairness, it's hard to be too irate; it's not like this has been a persistent, nagging problem for the last year and a half or anything.

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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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#1 TonyT
December 20 2009, 01:05AM
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The Oilers done, I love 'em but after winning 5 in a row and a week later finding themselves 1 pt out of last, it's pretty much done. We've seen this roster for the last two seasons, without changes there is not enough to get into the top 8. *I hope Tambo uses this time to evaluate what he's got.

* denotes sarcasm. FTNF Fire Tambellini Now Fackers!

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#2 Racki
December 20 2009, 01:21AM
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I know it was a loss, and a bad one at that (in that they let a win slip through their fingers), but this post needs some Staios love.

Three blocked shots on one powerplay, and even tips another shot wide of the net (which didn't count as a blocked shot).

And how crazy was JDD tonight? 2 periods of standing on his head... I guess he got tired in the 3rd? :) At least one of Ovechkin's goals should not have gone in (from that angle???).

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#3 mattyfinch
December 20 2009, 01:25AM
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this was 100% the reffing, and i know we might call that now and then, but seriously what a joke tonight.

1. They dont blow it down when DD has the puck and let the russian swing at it till it goes in, but at the other end the whistle is pre blown anytime the puck is in the crease.

2. 2 penalties? really... thats it? are you F(%*ing kidding me? Its getting silly out there.

3. How is it that 4 blind goofs made it on the ice in the same night? the simple trajectory of the puck off gilberts shot is more then enough to prove that it hit Greens stick, yet they still get it wrong... cmon now.. f$&* me.

4. More the 3 times i saw too many men on the ice for the caps, yet the 3 blind mice + 1 managed to miss them all.

Overall, like any job, if these thick headed overpaid babies are gonna continue reffing like this, like anyone of us, if they mess up, their job should be on the line.

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#4 Muji 狗
December 20 2009, 01:43AM
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From TSN.ca:

Ovechkin scored just 32 seconds into the third period to cue the comeback after receiving a tongue-lashing from his head coach.

"I challenged him and started him right off the bat in the third and he came through," Boudreau said. "The reason he is the best player in the planet is that instead of going 'Woe is me, why is the coach yelling at me?' he took up the challenge and said 'I'll show you' and got three points and led us to the victory."

Ovechkin admitted he didn't have a terrific start to the game.

"We made them feel pretty good about themselves," he said. "Then Bruce came into our dressing room and gave us a bad time. But in the third, I feel like I'm on fire."

The Russian star sniper said that even if his third was better, his overall game wasn't good enough.

"I'm not happy how I played even if I scored two goals," he said. "That's now how I want to play or how I want my line to play."

Whataguy! Love Ovechkin.

It felt weird being up 2-0 going into the 3rd. We all knew that Ovie and the Caps were going murder the Oilers. But they didn't during the first 2 periods. And that felt strange, uncomfortable even. On that note, the Oilers' 3rd period implosion kinda felt good in a "ahh... that's more like it" kind of way.

Dive for Five is Alive and well.

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#5 Sandra
December 20 2009, 02:08AM
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Your article is right on Jonathan, Do you think that the refs were intimidated bi OV? He did call that Gilbert penalty. Do they get fines? The oficiating has been real terrible this season. Rumours on the web have MacT having a job in 2 weeks, You think Columbus? Might buy more time for Howson.

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#6 westcoastoil
December 20 2009, 03:25AM
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The reality is success in the NHL comes down to 1 of 2 things. 3-4 years of being the absolute worst (Pitt, Wash, Chi, LA - TB when then won the SC, Ott went to the finals) or excetional mgmt. = Det., NJ Calgary to some degree: Phaneuf, Regehr, JayBo, Bourque, Kipper)

The Oil caught lightning in a bottle in '06 and would have missed the playoffs if Van hadn't caved. Klowe jammed us to the cap and 18 months of Tambo = status quo.

It would sure be nice to have one or two players who know how to shut doen a 2 buzz game to win.

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#7 Lofty
December 20 2009, 06:18AM
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mattyfinch wrote:

this was 100% the reffing, and i know we might call that now and then, but seriously what a joke tonight.

1. They dont blow it down when DD has the puck and let the russian swing at it till it goes in, but at the other end the whistle is pre blown anytime the puck is in the crease.

2. 2 penalties? really... thats it? are you F(%*ing kidding me? Its getting silly out there.

3. How is it that 4 blind goofs made it on the ice in the same night? the simple trajectory of the puck off gilberts shot is more then enough to prove that it hit Greens stick, yet they still get it wrong... cmon now.. f$&* me.

4. More the 3 times i saw too many men on the ice for the caps, yet the 3 blind mice + 1 managed to miss them all.

Overall, like any job, if these thick headed overpaid babies are gonna continue reffing like this, like anyone of us, if they mess up, their job should be on the line.

How about the holding penalty on Penner in the first?

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#8 HATECRIME
December 20 2009, 08:02AM
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i can not believe how badly we suck!we have so many over paid underworked people it's not funny.been a fan for 25 years and its getting pretty hard to keep defending these guys .this sucks.

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#9 SirFozz
December 20 2009, 08:40AM
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I knew the Oilers were in trouble when the Caps didn't come out for the third period until the last second- 5 minutes after the Oil. Have to give my goat props, great blocks on 5 on 3 and deserved ovation.

DFF continues.

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#10 Colin
December 20 2009, 09:02AM
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The streak was an abberation, where absolutely everything went right: lucky bounces, bad teams, favourable officiating, blah, blah, blah. It isn't going to happen again. This team blows and has blown for most of this decade. I would love nothing more than for this team to lock down a decent playoff spot, but they just aren't good enough. And even with Hemsky they're still not even close.

Not sure why Quinn would take this job in the first place, he either loves coaching that much or he's' hoping for a job upstairs? It had to be apparant to him how little there was to work with here.

I fear we'll all be regretting that win streak when it costs us a top 3 pick at the end of the year. Then again the oilers just might suck enough to overcome that.

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#11 courier
December 20 2009, 09:26AM
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@westcoastoil

What makes anyone think that even with a top five pick, that this player would agree to sign with a team that hasn't had a winning season in his lifetime.

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#12 courier
December 20 2009, 09:48AM
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When it comes to the revs, it's more about what the score is than what a penalty is or is not. Look at any box score and you will notice that when a team gets a lead they will almost always get the next penalty. sorta like the WWE they choose what they wanna see, like the Gilbert delay of game penalty. they (NHL+Revs) wanted the Caps to get back in the game. It is better PR to say Ovechkin leads Caps to come back, than to say no name Oilers win.

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#13 ChaseEmDown
December 20 2009, 09:50AM
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mattyfinch wrote:

this was 100% the reffing, and i know we might call that now and then, but seriously what a joke tonight.

1. They dont blow it down when DD has the puck and let the russian swing at it till it goes in, but at the other end the whistle is pre blown anytime the puck is in the crease.

2. 2 penalties? really... thats it? are you F(%*ing kidding me? Its getting silly out there.

3. How is it that 4 blind goofs made it on the ice in the same night? the simple trajectory of the puck off gilberts shot is more then enough to prove that it hit Greens stick, yet they still get it wrong... cmon now.. f$&* me.

4. More the 3 times i saw too many men on the ice for the caps, yet the 3 blind mice + 1 managed to miss them all.

Overall, like any job, if these thick headed overpaid babies are gonna continue reffing like this, like anyone of us, if they mess up, their job should be on the line.

Four unanswered goals in one period is not 100% reffing. This team sucks and they manage to shoot themselves in the foot time and time again. This isn't the first time they've blown a 2 goal lead and it certainly won't be the last.

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#14 courier
December 20 2009, 10:13AM
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Maybe the revs should be required to face the media after every game.

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#15 sizzler
December 20 2009, 10:18AM
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Injury, sickness and now the ref's.....whats next? Good teams earn there breaks............and oilers are not a good team

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#17 Milli
December 20 2009, 11:47AM
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I have held off on the dive for 5, BUT, I am now fully on baord. I had thought we needed to give them at least until January 1st, but nope, I was wrong. I cannot wait to see the oilers pick second overall. I cannot wait to see them sell at the deadline (although I'm sure they won't do ANYTHING). I say I'm done wacthing, but like any junkie, I'll be back next game, hoping we can put together 22 wins in a row......

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#18 misfit
December 20 2009, 12:03PM
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There's something very wrong with our powerplay right now. Hemsky would help a great deal, but it's more than that, I'm just not sure exactly what the solution is. It cost us more than one game this year, and while it didn't account for the 4 unanswered goals int he final period, and maybe didn't directly result in the loss, it was bad last night too. Somehow we managed to look like we were at a disadvantage whenever we were up a man.

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#19 Shaun Doe
December 20 2009, 12:12PM
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The problem with this team, even amidst the winning streak, is that we never play well enough for long enough to progress in the standings. We won 5 in a row and stayed at the same position due to everyone else ahead of us continuing to win.

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#20 misfit
December 20 2009, 12:14PM
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oops, double post.

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#21 snoadog
December 20 2009, 01:39PM
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[this post needs some Staios love.}

Ya, that was the first truely heroic act from the team this year.

But really, we are justa a mess.

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#22 BarryS
December 20 2009, 01:57PM
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Love it, team gets beat by a one guy team, who seem to get by with a little help from four friends and the rats are again heading for the dock. After OV the caps are just an average team. Not a hope they win the cup, baring a half dozen major injuries to the teams ahead of them. Better than us, but's that's liking saying my dead dog is faster than your dead dog.

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#23 RossCreekNation
December 20 2009, 02:06PM
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BarryS wrote:

Love it, team gets beat by a one guy team, who seem to get by with a little help from four friends and the rats are again heading for the dock. After OV the caps are just an average team. Not a hope they win the cup, baring a half dozen major injuries to the teams ahead of them. Better than us, but's that's liking saying my dead dog is faster than your dead dog.

Give me a break! Nicklas Backstrom is a superstar. Alex Semin is no slouch himself (although he's not my cup of tea). Oh... and that Mike Green guy... he's aight. So let me see... they've got 4 players right there that are better than ANYTHING the Oil can throw out there. Beyond them, they've got a mix of skill, grit, leadership and yes, some cheap plugs to fill out the roster.

~But for sure... "after 'OV' the Caps ARE just an average team"~

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#24 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 20 2009, 03:06PM
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BarryS wrote:

Love it, team gets beat by a one guy team, who seem to get by with a little help from four friends and the rats are again heading for the dock. After OV the caps are just an average team. Not a hope they win the cup, baring a half dozen major injuries to the teams ahead of them. Better than us, but's that's liking saying my dead dog is faster than your dead dog.

FYI:

backstrom had as many assists as hemsky had points last year.

in fact, backstroms 66 assists equalled the 66 points hemsky led the TEAM with.

and, he is all of 22ish years old..

add in semin, green, vahrlomov(sp??)

~but yah, after OV they are only average~

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#25 BarryS
December 20 2009, 04:22PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

FYI:

backstrom had as many assists as hemsky had points last year.

in fact, backstroms 66 assists equalled the 66 points hemsky led the TEAM with.

and, he is all of 22ish years old..

add in semin, green, vahrlomov(sp??)

~but yah, after OV they are only average~

Question, if all OV's points are subtracted from everyone else, how do they look?

Harder question, how many wins do they loose this season if it could be determined how many of their wins came on the heals of a game like yesterday, OV takes the game and his team in hand and they win? I know they've won a few without OV.

Even harder question, how much do the others depend on OV for the "intangeables" leadership, condidence, etc. etc.

Don't doubt Backstrum's is good, how go would he be if he was the best/second best player on another team is my point. In other words, would he make them as good as OV makes Washington?

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#26 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 20 2009, 05:17PM
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@BarryS

take ovechkin away and they still look better than "average".

backstrom, semin, green etc etc.

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#27 Original Ogden Brother
December 20 2009, 06:36PM
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"Love it, team gets beat by a one guy team, who seem to get by with a little help from four friends and the rats are again heading for the dock. After OV the caps are just an average team. Not a hope they win the cup, baring a half dozen major injuries to the teams ahead of them. Better than us, but's that's liking saying my dead dog is faster than your dead dog."

Wow

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#28 Original Ogden Brother
December 20 2009, 06:39PM
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"Question, if all OV's points are subtracted from everyone else, how do they look?

Harder question, how many wins do they loose this season if it could be determined how many of their wins came on the heals of a game like yesterday, OV takes the game and his team in hand and they win? I know they've won a few without OV.

Even harder question, how much do the others depend on OV for the "intangeables" leadership, condidence, etc. etc.

Don't doubt Backstrum's is good, how go would he be if he was the best/second best player on another team is my point. In other words, would he make them as good as OV makes Washington?"

Caps went 6-2-1 when AO was out. Also, check out their scoring leaders AO's first season... notice that his points are roughly the same now as then, yet his teamates point totals are substantially better (because his teamates are substantially better)

What's the point of saying "oh ya, well if they didn't have Ovechkin" take the best player off any team and they will be worse off.

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#29 JackBauer
December 20 2009, 09:32PM
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I cant stand this argument. Its like a crutch fans use to explain why thier team sucks ass. Its the same argument that people use to say, "If we didnt meet Dallas all those years in the 90s we could have won 5 cups!" Well we didnt, and your not going to take OV from Washington.

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#30 ChaseEmDown
December 20 2009, 10:10PM
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BarryS wrote:

Question, if all OV's points are subtracted from everyone else, how do they look?

Harder question, how many wins do they loose this season if it could be determined how many of their wins came on the heals of a game like yesterday, OV takes the game and his team in hand and they win? I know they've won a few without OV.

Even harder question, how much do the others depend on OV for the "intangeables" leadership, condidence, etc. etc.

Don't doubt Backstrum's is good, how go would he be if he was the best/second best player on another team is my point. In other words, would he make them as good as OV makes Washington?

It's called leadership. Every great team needs one. That's why the Oilers aren't a great team, or even good for that matter. Sure, take OV away and they may not be as great, but he's there whether you like it or not. Give me one team that has won the Cup that didn't have a great leader.

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