Oilers vs. Stars Postgame: Back to Back Wins

Jonathan Willis
December 05 2009 03:45PM

Edmonton Oilers: 3

Dallas Stars: 2 (SO)

I was feeling pretty good about the Oilers' second win in as many games, until the Sportsnet crew went and ruined it by reminding me that it was the first time since October.  Still, it was nice to see another win, particularly in Dallas, where the Oilers have struggled since forever.

Oilers Three Stars, According To Me

1. Ladislav Smid. Smid was credited with nine hits on the game; three more than any one else on the team.  I think that's selling short Sheldon Souray, among others, but there's no denying that he was a physical presence.  He got hurt blocking a shot, but got the puck out before heading to the bench, and in general just had a very nice old school hockey game.  He also scored his first NHL goal (with a little help) since the 2006-07 season; the goal that put the Oilers in the shootout.

2. Jeff Deslauriers.  I'm a little leery about putting Deslauriers in here because he looked shaky a couple of different times.  His attempts to imitate Marty Turco invariably ended badly (aside from the most obvious gaffe, he bounced the puck off the boards on to an opposition stick at least twice), and he got lucky on shots missing the net when he was down and out a couple of times to.  That said, his results were solid: 33 saves and only one goal allowed in the shootout.

3. Lubomir Visnovsky.  It might seem a little cheap to stick just the goal scorers on this list, but Visnovsky absolutely deserves a place here.  I can't recall seeing any Oiler in the last decade as calm with the puck with absolutely no space; Visnovsky feints and dodges like nobody else.  He took hits to make plays and was a vital part of the win today.

Random Thoughts

Apparently all this team needs to win games is Ryan Stone.  Seriously, though the fourth line looked pretty good again tonight, and Robert Nilsson earned a spot on the second line in the third period.  I'm not sure if Jacques was hurt or if he was getting knocked down in the pecking order, but it seems clear that Quinn's willing to give Nilsson some rope here.

I'm always a little confused not to see Shawn Horcoff in the top three shooters.  Sam Gagner's below league average in the shootout now (33% or thereabouts is the league average) and Horcoff has a great conversion rate.  His goal tonight wasn't fancy, but it was effective.

Jason Gregor called it in his gameday post; you can almost feel the faint optimism rising among Oilers' fans.  This team isn't going anywhere, recent success notwithstanding, but it's nice to have these positive moments.

The pairing of Steve Staios and Jason Strudwick continues to frighten me; I like seeing Gilbert alongside SOuray and I think they complement each other nicely, but it's going to be a lot easier to watch this team when Denis Grebeshkov gets back.

A good solid effort, and a good solid win.  Against Dallas, in Dallas, no less.  The contingent of fans that repeatedly question the heart of this team really needs to give this group kudos for some solid efforts the last little while, and while they needed some bounces to win today, even a loss wouldn't have detracted from the effort level on the ice.  At least, that's how I saw it. 

Sportsnet, as always, includes some unintentional hilarity in their intermission pieces.  Today, it came in the form of a list of candidates for the next vacant NHL coaching job.  One of the candidates listed was Tom Renney, so they're either not watching the bench of the team playing or they're way, way ahead of the reporting curve.  In fairness though, they also mentioned that Marty Turco completes 94% of his passes.  Given that pass completion percentage is a stat so obscure even I don't know where to find it I can't compare it to other goalies, but I have to admit it sounds impressive. 

 

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
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.
Avatar
#1 BarryS
December 05 2009, 04:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Two wins in a row, am I dreaming or is it something I ate.

How many games we lost to "bounces"? In hockey, dispite what purests think, games are usually won/lost on "bounces", especially by two teams playing even on the day.

Avatar
#2 Senator Theo
December 05 2009, 04:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

nice game to watch this afternoon - too often these nooners end up being snoozers.

Even though it may not be best for the team long term, I'm happy to see a win like this in Dallas. Makes me think this may be an actual team by the end of the year.

Avatar
#3 The Towel Boy
December 05 2009, 04:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Speaking of snoozers...i totally fell asleep and missed the end of the second and woke up from the comotion of Smid's goal. Awesome.

Avatar
#4 Chris.
December 05 2009, 05:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Willis... You give Lubo a star every game...

Can't disagree in any specific instance; but... You are dancing on the borders of man-crush territory.

Avatar
#5 Lofty
December 05 2009, 05:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Missed the game because I was playing golf today... suck on that!

Nice to see Smid cash in... if anyone should sign a long term deal its him. Good stay at home D man that makes the easy play and takes care of buisness. its painfull to watch Strudwick although he is a great guy.

Avatar
#6 DDP
December 05 2009, 05:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Nice win for the Oil!!!

I like really like how Nillson's played the past two games. He's finally showing signs of why he was given the contract he has.

Brule was good again, a couple good chances, especially the one in front of the net from Penns.

Lets keep it going boys. Dare I say 3 in a row? On the road none the less!

Avatar
#7 #EM
December 05 2009, 06:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Very impressed with the Oilers now.

Avatar
#8 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
December 05 2009, 06:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Chris. wrote:

Willis... You give Lubo a star every game...

Can't disagree in any specific instance; but... You are dancing on the borders of man-crush territory.

Can't say I blame Willis for giving Visnovski a star every game. He's such a good defender, and one of the most underrated in the whole league. He makes the best/right play 95% of the time.

Also in defence of Willis, my fiance has already proclaimed me to have a man crush on Visnovski. It's just so nice to watch a d-man make the right plays FOR the Oil and not against them.

Avatar
#9 Harlie
December 05 2009, 06:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I'd love to indulge in some of the K-A that's goin around, but I prefer to remain bitter beer face and wait to be proved wrong. Nice to see these guys playing like a team, I'm diggin that. My brain says the key injuries are too much of a hill to climb the rest of the way in though. And also, don't we always play better against Die'n Roit and Dally? Strange thing is we stole the wins in their barns this time. Crazy year for sho.

Avatar
#10 Hambone
December 05 2009, 06:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I hate it when the Oilers win and people start saying they only won because they got some lucky bounces. Of course they won because they got lucky bounces - that's how most games are decided. You create lucky bounces by playing good, aggressive hockey with lots of shots on goal. "Put the puck on net and good things happen" aka you get good bounces.

Avatar
#11 Hambone
December 05 2009, 06:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

By the way, does anyone else think that Kevin Quinn might be the most boring hockey commentator in the history of hockey commentating? Puts me to sleep.....

Avatar
#12 dragon
December 05 2009, 07:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

kudos given! with no second thoughts.

we have no idea where the team is going and we're lovin' it.

did a comment today on T1260 said that Quinn's team get it on in the latter part of the season?

keeping the faith!

Avatar
#13 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 05 2009, 07:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Hambone wrote:

By the way, does anyone else think that Kevin Quinn might be the most boring hockey commentator in the history of hockey commentating? Puts me to sleep.....

usually after about 10 minutes i am so angry with debrusk i dont even pay attention to Quinn.

seriously, stop saying "if you will" debrusk..

or else i will...well....i will ask you again to please stop

Avatar
#14 Corsby31
December 05 2009, 07:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Lord Stanley here we come...what? too soon??

Avatar
#15 Benhur
December 05 2009, 08:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how weak Gags is defensively. He is a smurf along the boards...he does have compete but not the strength or size to compete. The 2nd Dallas goal he was whacking at the puck instead of tying up the stick or taking the body. I would trade him for Neal in a heartbeat.

Avatar
#16 BarryS
December 05 2009, 08:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Benhur wrote:

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how weak Gags is defensively. He is a smurf along the boards...he does have compete but not the strength or size to compete. The 2nd Dallas goal he was whacking at the puck instead of tying up the stick or taking the body. I would trade him for Neal in a heartbeat.

that's why us fans make poor GM's. You'd lose that trade big time. Dallas would take that trade in a heart beat. 20 year old centers in the league coming on three years don't get given up that easily.

Avatar
#17 dAMagEd
December 05 2009, 08:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I wouldn't say trade Gagner or anything but he has definately been weak defensively the last few games. Both Dallas goals in this game were from players that got away from him.

Avatar
#18 Oilloyalist
December 05 2009, 08:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Win or lose! Still love the oil!!!

Avatar
#19 Dan the Man
December 05 2009, 09:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I'm not sure if Staios makes Strudwick worse or if Strudwick makes Staios worse.

Avatar
#20 Josh Rose
December 05 2009, 10:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Gagner is weak defenseively thats pretty evident, but its because hes not strong enough physically to contain alot of players, remember hes only 20 and hes got lots of time to fill out his body. what i'm getting frustrated with gagner is i always thought of him as this great passer, and more often then not his passes are getting blocked or stolen, hes just trying to force it all the time instead of making the simple play, but as i said before, sometimes we forget hes just 20 years old and hes got alot of time to mature as a player

Avatar
#21 BarryS
December 05 2009, 11:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Josh Rose

Just as long as everyone remembers the passee has a responsibility to get in a position to make the pass easier, I agree he does seem to get picked off a lot. Of course if the player passing the puck and the player you're passing to is standing still, it makes it easier to pick off and how many times have we seen that picture this year, and that's not counting the blind passes, the hurried passes and the here, you have it, don't hit me passes the defence seems to specialize in.

Avatar
#22 Ccubed82
December 06 2009, 12:21AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

How about any CBC broadcast of any game in the last 40 years. At least Quinn can keep the two teams that are playing correct. Honestly how hard is it to correctly call a Toronto vs. Montreal game, they have only been broadcasting the every Saturday night for way too many years in a row now.

On a happy note.... the Oil won, and yes i predicted a 3-2 loss in the SO. Hmmmm .... hat!!

Avatar
#23 CeeCee
December 06 2009, 05:14AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Hambone wrote:

By the way, does anyone else think that Kevin Quinn might be the most boring hockey commentator in the history of hockey commentating? Puts me to sleep.....

Just glad we have Louie and not Ferarro ...

Avatar
#24 Milli
December 06 2009, 09:12AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

And Smid becomes the snipper!!!! It was a pretty solid effort all around. Amazing the diference when we have a few guys throwing the body. Souray looked alot more like the BEAST that I love!!!! Man did he throw some hits!!!! No koolaid, December shows us where we will finish, I'll decide if I should cheer for the tank on New year day, until then, all I want for christmas is WINS.

Avatar
#26 Alan
December 06 2009, 10:54AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
BarryS wrote:

that's why us fans make poor GM's. You'd lose that trade big time. Dallas would take that trade in a heart beat. 20 year old centers in the league coming on three years don't get given up that easily.

DO you watch many games? Oilers taking James Neal for Gagner would be a great trade. Neal is bigger, faster and scores more. Gagner MIGHT become a player, Neal is a player. Watch a Dallas game before you make a comment that Neal isn't good. He is already proven and not old...

Avatar
#27 BarryS
December 06 2009, 11:27AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Alan

So you like neal and I like gagner. that's nice. I love fans, we watch one game, see a guy play good and want him on our team. Sad fact, might be his best game this month, or he might like Dallas and not Edmonton, or his linemates make him better. So.

Avatar
#28 Bucknuck
December 06 2009, 11:40AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Alan wrote:

DO you watch many games? Oilers taking James Neal for Gagner would be a great trade. Neal is bigger, faster and scores more. Gagner MIGHT become a player, Neal is a player. Watch a Dallas game before you make a comment that Neal isn't good. He is already proven and not old...

Gagner gets more Points per game than Neal, and when Neal was his age he wasn't yet in the NHL, never mind on his third season. Neal is good, but he is no more proven than Gagner at this point.

Avatar
#29 Eddie Shore
December 06 2009, 11:44AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Gregor/Brownlee

What's the word with JFJ? Was he hurt or simply benched?

Avatar
#31 esa tikkenen
December 06 2009, 02:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Has anyone heard when Grebeshkov and Comrie are expected back? Both were supposed to be 3 weeks. Grebs was 4 weeks ago Comrie was three weeks ago...

Avatar
#32 Hemmertime
December 06 2009, 02:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Chris. wrote:

Willis... You give Lubo a star every game...

Can't disagree in any specific instance; but... You are dancing on the borders of man-crush territory.

Vis is top 10 Dman in league. It would be like saying "You give Pronger a star every game..."

Avatar
#33 Hemmertime
December 06 2009, 02:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Jonathan Willis

Gagner should be untradeable. The two dozen top 6 FW games were him with the kid line tearing it up, and when not, over .6 PPG.

Avatar
#34 Jason Gregor
December 06 2009, 09:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Jonathan Willis wrote:

Alan:

You're way off base if you think Neal's a good return for Gagner. Let's look at these guys at the same age.

In his draft year, Gagner had 118 points. Neal had 44.

When Gagner was pushing the 50-point mark in the NHL as a rookie, Neal was busy missing the 60-point mark in the OHL.

Last year, Gagner scored 41 points in the NHL. At the same age, Neal had finally started scoring in junior, with 65 points in 45 games.

This year, Gagner has 17 points in 28 games. At this same point in his career, Neal put up 37 points in 62 AHL games.

Yes, Neal looks like a good player so far this season. He's also two full years older than Gagner, and last year he only had 37 points. Trading Gagner now would be pretty much the biggest mistake the Oilers could make, especially for a player who looks good but has a little over two-dozen games as a top-six forward on his resume.

Not sure why you think Neal is a bad trade. He is 6'2" and had 24 goals as a 21-year-old rookie last year, plus he is the other big left winger this team is looking for.

He is on pace for 78 points and 40 goals in his second year. He skates well, is physical and plays with an edge. He is 22, and he makes half of what Gagner makes right now.

Neal is an $800,000 cap hit while Gagner is a $1.6 million hit.

Neal will get a raise next year and so will Gagner, but Neal brings size and he is getting better.

Gagner hasn't taken a step forward since his first season. I'm not saying he won't but Neal has improved while Gagner is on pace to only match his rookie totals.

Avatar
#35 Jason Gregor
December 06 2009, 09:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Jonathan Willis

Comparing Neal's junior numbers to Gagner's first pro season just re-affirms that rushing along a young player isn't the best idea. How long will it take for Gagner to catch up???

Comments are closed for this article.