Oilers Vs. Senators: A Good Night For The DFF

Jonathan Willis
March 10 2010 07:33AM

Edmonton Oilers: 1

Ottawa Senators: 4

The nice thing about the Dive For First is that there’s some solace in watching a loss. Add in the fact that the Maple Leafs beat Boston last night, and this was a pretty good night for draft pick aficionados.

It had some points as a hockey game, too. Jeff Deslauriers was magical in the first period, single-handedly keeping the Oilers in the game as the team around him collapsed and let shot after shot after shot get through to him. It also had some strong performances; the Whitney-Gilbert pairing may have finished minus-1 but they were pretty good, and the checking line did a fine job containing Alfredsson and Co.

The Oilers were badly outplayed at even-strength and compounded the issue by taking a string of unnecessary penalties. There were other problems too, although I won’t linger on them; suffice to say that this was probably Potulny’s worst game as an Oiler, watching Strudwick and Chorney try to figure out defensive zone coverage really needs circus music, and the Cogliano line, which was so effective last game, was the opposite of that tonight.

There was also some dirty stuff, with Shawn Horcoff throwing a hit I didn’t like on Anton Volchenkov; the hit was imitated a while later by Peter Regin, who chose Ryan Potulny to knock into the boards.

 

Oilers Three Stars

 

1. Fernando Pisani. It was a strong night for all three members of the checking line; not only did they shut down Spezza and Alfredsson but they contributed the Oilers’ only goal, off some good corner work by Horcoff and a nice point shot by Aaron Johnson, which Pisani banged home. It’s the sentimentalist in me, but I like seeing Pisani have good nights. He also tallied three hits, tops among forwards.

2. Jeff Deslauriers. Deslauriers started unravelling late in the game, and the game winner was of the wretched variety, but for the first half of this one he looked to be the only Oiler at the very top of his game, playing in a manner that had me flashing back to his performance over the Oilers five-game road winning streak earlier this year.

3. Aaron Johnson. The gap between the top of the Oilers’ defence and the bottom is a wide one, and Johnson is the final member of the competent trio, all of whom had good nights (Gilbert and Whitney are the other two). He recorded four hits, managed his first point as an Oiler, and has made Theo Peckham look as comfortable as we’ve seen him on defence. I’d like to see the Oilers retain him based on what he’s done so far, he seems to be a well-rounded defenceman who fits with the team.

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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 Robin Brownlee
March 10 2010, 07:42AM
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I was frantically bashing off another glowing Deslauriers story during the second intermission and all of a sudden . . .

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#2 The Towel Boy
March 10 2010, 07:46AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I was frantically bashing off another glowing Deslauriers story during the second intermission and all of a sudden . . .

That's what you get for extolling his virtues!

...but by all means, keep it up. We're in the stretch drive! Every loss is critical.

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#3 rubbertrout
March 10 2010, 07:47AM
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Just lose baby!

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#4 BUCK75
March 10 2010, 07:48AM
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@Robin Brownlee

We all thank you for your contribution to the aquisition of Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall Brownlee.

I am going to nominate you for man of the year on the Nation!

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#5 DangerMan
March 10 2010, 07:59AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Deslauriers seems to work on the same expiry date that Mathieu Garon did as an Oiler. When he's hot, he's real hot, but all of the sudden he will be blowing real cold without warning.

Those types of goaltenders are tough to evaluate, but I think there is enough history there now to say that this is who he is.

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#6 Librarian Mike
March 10 2010, 08:00AM
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BUCK75 wrote:

We all thank you for your contribution to the aquisition of Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall Brownlee.

I am going to nominate you for man of the year on the Nation!

Makes sense, as the trophy would probably be named after him anyway.

*Imagines the Brownlee Trophy...*

http://www.sportsartifacts.com/golfportlandtrophydt.JPG

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#7 Petr's Jofa
March 10 2010, 08:29AM
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Magic Number is down to lucky 13.5!!!

Any combination of Leaf wins or Oiler losses and the Oilers are the #1 lottery seed. This assumes that the Islanders and others above the leafs don't completely poop the bed.

Almost a perfect night, too bad Calgary jumped Detroit to take 8th spot in the West.

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#8 Bob Cobb
March 10 2010, 08:39AM
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NHL officiating sucks, Horcoff got a penalty for his hit and Iginla did the same thing to Souray and got away scott free, I guess whether or not you get a penalty depends on the name on the back of the jersey afterall.

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#9 Red Deerian Convert
March 10 2010, 08:39AM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

Magic Number is down to lucky 13.5!!!

Any combination of Leaf wins or Oiler losses and the Oilers are the #1 lottery seed. This assumes that the Islanders and others above the leafs don't completely poop the bed.

Almost a perfect night, too bad Calgary jumped Detroit to take 8th spot in the West.

They can make it. I hope Stevie Staios gets another shot at a playoff series (the flames won't make it past the first round).

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#10 Mike Modano's Dog
March 10 2010, 08:48AM
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I have to say something about Deslauriers. I know we will play him this year, but I think we have to give him more time.

He reminds me of a young Grant Fuhr - and I don't say that lightly. He was my favorite goalie to watch all-time, and I have always been the biggest fan of goalies.

What I mean by that is in Grant Fuhr's earlier days he wasn't exactly 'solid'. He showed flashes that he was going to be a great goalie, especially with his lightning fast glove hand. But in the first few years he would be having a good game, and then let in a goal that a bantam goalie shouldn't be letting in. It would frustrate the fans, and I remember Grant being sent down to the minors in his second or third season after playing with the Oilers because of inconsistency. It was at this time that Grant famously referred to Edmonton fans as A55HOLES!! Haha.. - but we deserved it! I love you, Grant!!

The point is that Grant would play extremely well, or make the greatest saves in the world, as Jeff did last night, and then really falter. I don't mean letting in a goal at the worst time ala Jussi Markannen, I mean letting in just WEAK goals - either during a game or for the entire game. Grant was always susceptible to doing that but he later became a goalie that would make up for that IN SPADES due to all the saves he made that he had no business making. He wound up becoming the Oilers' go-to goalie and winning them several Stanley Cups as the best goaltender of his era.

I am not saying that is what JDD is going to go on and do in his career, but only that it is too early to say that he's not. He is starting to show uncanny athleticism and a confidence in himself that is absolutely magnetic to watch. I really love to see that - a goalie that will leave it all out there on the ice come hell or high water, and won't apologize for taking the chance he might look bad if that is the way he thinks he has the best chance to make the save. He played SO good during the flurry and waves of scoring chances the Senators threw at him earlier maybe he tired, physically or mentally. Whatever the reason I will admit he definitely faltered after playing all-world for the first 35 minutes of last game.

The point I am making is that he is showing something special if you look hard enough at his performances. Yes, it is inconsistant, and it is frustrating at times, as well... but that is life with an up-and-coming goaltender.

Let's give him a chance to see if he can learn to carry that play for longer stretches, and more games at a time; let's not give up on him yet. For the first time in a long time I really see something in a goalie here in Edmonton. I don't want to write him off to the fact that he will always play that way yet.

He is showing us flashes of superior athleticism and brilliance in goal, now I think we have to give him the chance to find his consistency. I, for one, sure hope he finds it because the Oilers could use a franchise goalie in their organization!

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#11 Librarian Mike
March 10 2010, 08:53AM
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@Mike Modano's Dog

Let's give him a chance to see if he can learn to carry that play for longer stretches, and more games at a time; let's not give up on him yet. For the first time in a long time I really see something in a goalie here in Edmonton. I don't want to write him off to the fact that he will always play that way yet. He is showing us flashes of superior athleticism and brilliance in goal, now I think we have to give him the chance to find his consistency. I, for one, sure hope he finds it because the Oilers could use a franchise goalie in their organization!

If you substitute 'goalie' for 'player', you have just described every player the Oilers have ever drafted since 1982 (except for Ryan Smyth).

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#12 Ender
March 10 2010, 08:54AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

So... hard... to... care....
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#13 Harlie
March 10 2010, 08:55AM
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@Robin Brownlee

thankfully for us DFF'rs that JD's pads turned into Clownpants with 10 minutes left in the third. PHEW!!!

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I only watched the first two periods, but it was really good hockey from a very poor team. JDD was simply amazing and is the reason it wasn't a complete blowout. 26 giveaways, I still see we haven't learnt that we shouldn't be doing no look passes.

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Anyone notice how similar JDD's numbers are to Rollie's? Considering the shat show of a team we have JDD numbers aren't all that bad.

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#16 Archaeologuy
March 10 2010, 09:09AM
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They had me worried for a while, but not even Jeff "Jacques Plante" Deslauriers could keep this team from losing last night. Keep it up against Montreal and Toronto and we'll have made some real ground in the DFF.

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#17 Reggie
March 10 2010, 09:14AM
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@Robin Brownlee

ha ha .... nice one.

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Not sure if Gregor is lurking, but he mentioned how this rule on headshots won't take effect until next season as it has to go through all kinds of groups first.

My question is why was the Avery rule brought in instantly?

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#19 OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM
March 10 2010, 09:27AM
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I believe they brought in the Avery rule right away because it was easy to implement it into the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. I may be totally wrong though.

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OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM wrote:

I believe they brought in the Avery rule right away because it was easy to implement it into the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. I may be totally wrong though.

So in the mean time headshots will still be allowed? Seems kinda stupid to risk the players safety.

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#21 Petr's Jofa
March 10 2010, 09:29AM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

Was it a new rule or was it just that the commissioner stepped in and told the refs to call an unsportsman like penalty?

Edit: Really slow on the reply.

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#22 Jay
March 10 2010, 09:32AM
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Willis, what line did a good job shutting me down?

Signed: Alfredsson's 3 points and Spezza's 2 points

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#23 Harlie
March 10 2010, 09:37AM
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RIP Haim

Drugs kill.

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#24 Archaeologuy
March 10 2010, 09:39AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

So in the mean time headshots will still be allowed? Seems kinda stupid to risk the players safety.

The Avery ruling was in response to something that had never been seen before and was never at any time considered acceptable.

A rule against headshots will invalidate something that has been in the game for as long as the game has existed. Major difference. The players risk safety every night they play. Knee-Jerking a new penalty for hitting only risks ruining the game. If a new rule MUST be implemented they better take their damn time and make sure it's done correctly.

The last thing I want to see is an NHL where Cassie Campbell could have played.

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#25 Cory Dakin
March 10 2010, 09:48AM
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I just watched the commercial on sportsnet advertising oilers hockey. The tag line at the end is still "Hockey that matters. All season."

Somebody dropped the ball on that one.

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#26 OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM
March 10 2010, 09:49AM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

It's tough to make a rule change mid-season especially with hits to the head. Maybe they will call more 'intent to injure' penalties but this rule change could really be a culture shock to hockey.

Like Arch said they have to get this done right because the last thing we want is to take a lot of the big hits out of the game.

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#27 Petr's Jofa
March 10 2010, 09:50AM
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Cory Dakin wrote:

I just watched the commercial on sportsnet advertising oilers hockey. The tag line at the end is still "Hockey that matters. All season."

Somebody dropped the ball on that one.

It matters to the draft lottery.

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#28 RossCreekNation
March 10 2010, 09:50AM
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Gotta say... Johnson has surprised me. He was literally a spare part in Calgary... a guy I didn't notice much - good or bad. Looks to be a good fit here. Clearly a top-six, thus far.

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#29 madjam
March 10 2010, 09:52AM
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JDD and a healthy Khabby going into next season , and i believe our goaltending duo is preset for next season . Defensively , it looks like the size and physical presense of our defence may shape up thusly - Whitney , Souray , Gilbert , Plante , Peckham , Smid , Chorney , Strudwick or Johnson . Offensively there may be a big shakeup . I'm expecting R. Nash to make the jump to big club for starters despite having a year or so eligible college to go. Svensson has to add a defensive game to his repetoire and i don't know if he can at this stage . From what i have seen of him he is a lazy backchecker . Eberle's size may keep him on the outside for another season or so - till he bulks up some more . Hartekeinen may be a dark horse for next season , and don't be surprised if Oilers use some present diminutive forwards to draft another first rounder low enough to get Neidereiter .Will the Oilers be able to move forward with Horcoff's albatross of a contract , or will they buy him out ?

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#30 dragon
March 10 2010, 09:56AM
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@Archaeologuy

Archaeologuy wrote:

'The last thing I want to see is an NHL where Cassie Campbell could have played.'

Or Tom Gilbert...

Oh, wait, we have an NHL where Tom Gilbert plays.

He had points during the game last night where he was obviously reluctant to make physical contact in order to clear the puck.

~ yeah, great game by Gilbert ~

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#31 Dan the Man
March 10 2010, 10:11AM
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madjam wrote:

JDD and a healthy Khabby going into next season , and i believe our goaltending duo is preset for next season . Defensively , it looks like the size and physical presense of our defence may shape up thusly - Whitney , Souray , Gilbert , Plante , Peckham , Smid , Chorney , Strudwick or Johnson . Offensively there may be a big shakeup . I'm expecting R. Nash to make the jump to big club for starters despite having a year or so eligible college to go. Svensson has to add a defensive game to his repetoire and i don't know if he can at this stage . From what i have seen of him he is a lazy backchecker . Eberle's size may keep him on the outside for another season or so - till he bulks up some more . Hartekeinen may be a dark horse for next season , and don't be surprised if Oilers use some present diminutive forwards to draft another first rounder low enough to get Neidereiter .Will the Oilers be able to move forward with Horcoff's albatross of a contract , or will they buy him out ?

It would cost Katz 17 million dollars to buy out Horcoff. I'm sure he can afford it but seriously it's not going to happen he's got 5 years remaining.

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#33 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
March 10 2010, 10:51AM
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madjam wrote:

JDD and a healthy Khabby going into next season , and i believe our goaltending duo is preset for next season . Defensively , it looks like the size and physical presense of our defence may shape up thusly - Whitney , Souray , Gilbert , Plante , Peckham , Smid , Chorney , Strudwick or Johnson . Offensively there may be a big shakeup . I'm expecting R. Nash to make the jump to big club for starters despite having a year or so eligible college to go. Svensson has to add a defensive game to his repetoire and i don't know if he can at this stage . From what i have seen of him he is a lazy backchecker . Eberle's size may keep him on the outside for another season or so - till he bulks up some more . Hartekeinen may be a dark horse for next season , and don't be surprised if Oilers use some present diminutive forwards to draft another first rounder low enough to get Neidereiter .Will the Oilers be able to move forward with Horcoff's albatross of a contract , or will they buy him out ?

there is no way, at all, the oilers buyout horcoff.

at all

honestly. FFS.

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#34 Toblerusse
March 10 2010, 10:51AM
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If you want to see the epitome of soft, go to 6:35 of this clip and watch Horcoff shy away from contact instead of diving for the loose puck and initiating contact.

SOFT SOFT SOFT Mr.6million Dollar man.

Very weak Shawn. Since we can't get rid of you, can you at least bring back the old Horcoff. The one who wasn't a giant sissy.

PLEASE!!

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#35 JorgeR
March 10 2010, 12:50PM
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I'd be interested in a article about the effectiveness of Steve Staios as a flame at the end of the season. I just can't see him being a difference maker but would love to hear otherwise. Hope Willis or someone does it. Not much else to talk about come mid April for Oilers

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#36 Jaime
March 10 2010, 01:30PM
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@Mike Modano's Dog

Grant Fuhr started playing right after he got drafted. Deslauriers is 25. It ain't happening.

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#37 Jaime
March 10 2010, 01:38PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

The old boys club couldn't care less about player safety. If they really cared, we'd see an automatic penalty to a hit to the head. IMO there's still way too many Brian Burke type executives in this league who don't want headshots taken out of the game. An out of position shoulder to the head? It's fine with them. Still very dangerous, but sadly for many fans it's a reason to watch the game. Until there is a blanket penalty for all contact to the head, we will be having these problems with officiating headshots consistently and accurately. There can't be any grey area, if we really want to clean up this game, it needs to be black and white. I don't believe the priority of the NHL is cleaning up this game.

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#38 m3sh
March 10 2010, 02:01PM
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@Harlie

It was only a matter of time before Haim finished the job he started 25 years ago. Surprised he survived this long frankly.

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#39 dunciano
March 10 2010, 05:03PM
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Pisani gets his 3rd goal...

Ties Deslaurier in points!

pfff

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#40 dunciano
March 10 2010, 05:11PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

there is no way, at all, the oilers buyout horcoff.

at all

honestly. FFS.

I wonder if they would pay for putting him on LTIR for a whole season.

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#41 Pajamah
March 11 2010, 06:46AM
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JorgeR wrote:

I'd be interested in a article about the effectiveness of Steve Staios as a flame at the end of the season. I just can't see him being a difference maker but would love to hear otherwise. Hope Willis or someone does it. Not much else to talk about come mid April for Oilers

Let someone else write that, or all you'll be staring at is how Staois is ineffective because of Corsi/EV, qualcomp etc. as opposed to actually:

a) saying something positive b) watching the players, and making a determination as to how well he is playing

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