Oilers Vs. Sharks Postgame: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Jonathan Willis
March 21 2010 09:41PM

Edmonton Oilers: 5

San Jose Sharks:1

Despite the score, the Sharks were the better team. Seriously. They were. However, I’m not a Sharks fan and the first overall pick is safe, so I’ve got to say I really enjoyed this game, and I’m definitely pulling for a Phoenix Coyotes as division champs story, which this helps.

 

Oilers Three Stars

 

1. Devan Dubnyk. Asked about getting two wins in two games after his lengthy career-starting losing streak, Dubnyk said “I don’t remember what was so hard about it,” before talking about how hard everyone in front of him worked, going away and then amiably coming back to talk to Gene Principe. He played well again tonight and this is one of those situations where he might make the Oilers goaltending situation a little more complicated before the year ends.

2. Tom Gilbert/Ryan Whitney. This pairing was fantastic tonight, moving the puck sharply, playing solid defensive hockey, and finishing the night plus-3. Tom Gilbert alone had twice as many blocked shots as the entire Sharks team.

3. Fernando Pisani/Shawn Horcoff. It was a good night for the checking line, and both of these players finished with a goal and an assist while keeping their opposition off the score sheet.

 

Other Thoughts

 

The shot clock at even-strength was 24 to 24 in favour of the Sharks, which looks pretty even but doesn’t begin to reflect the Sharks’ territorial dominance. The difference was that virtually every Oilers’ shot not only got through but landed on net – the Oilers had five goals, 19 shots, five missed shots and two blocked shots, meaning that 77.4% of their shots were effective. On the Sharks side, they had one goal, 23 shots, 20 missed shots and 20 blocked shots, so only 37.5% of their shots were effective. It’s a weird split (I can’t recall another like it) and the Sharks numbers are closer to what one would expect from most games, meaning that a) the Oilers made their shots and b) if I were Todd McLellan I’d be spending the entire next practice having guys block shots until they got in the habit of doing it.

It was an unfortunate evening for sketchy looking hits. Rob Blake hammered Ryan Potulny cleanly, but that was just the start. Brad Staubitz butt-ended Potulny in the face (it looked unintentional), and then caught Sam Gagner in the head with his shoulder (again, it looked unintentional). At the end of the game Doug Murray caught Theo Peckham with an awkward hit that sent him tumbling into the boards; Peckham left the game favouring his shoulder.

Three fights in the game; Stortini fought twice, once against Staubitz after a good hit on Dan Boyle (more on that in a second) and then again against Murray a while after Murray’s hit on Peckham. Mike Comrie also squared off against Scott Nichol. None of them were really decisive wins, but I thought the Oiler came out on top all three times.

How did Brad Staubitz escape an instigator penalty when he went after Stortini seconds after the latter hit Dan Boyle? I’m indifferent on the penalty as a rule, but it’s there and the referees should call it, especially when the fight happens right after a clean hit.

Sam Gagner was relegated to the bottom six for the entire night, which I don’t get at all. If Gagner was hurt, he should have been out of the lineup entirely, and if he was healthy he’s arguably the Oilers best player right now (and certainly one of their top three forwards). Sticking him on the bottom half of the forward corps is one more bizarre decision in a season that’s been full of them.

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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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#51 Dan the Man
March 22 2010, 11:49AM
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Links wrote:

Anyone who booed Horcoff when they announced his assit or goal last night is not a true Oilers fan. In general I disagree with booing him, but after he contributes to an Oiers goal? Booing? Really?

What does that accomplish?

I totally agree, that's completely classless. On one hand people paid for their tickets and maybe they should be able to voice their opinions but he had a really good night so at the very least save your boos for when he's playing poorly.

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#52 Crash
March 22 2010, 11:58AM
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I've never really seen the point of booing our own teams individual players at anytime....I can go along with fans that want to boo a group of players say example if the PP unit is struggling but to boo individual players on our own team after they have contributed a goal or an assist or are announced in the starting lineup or announced as a game star makes ZERO sense to me.

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#53 Matt Henderson
March 22 2010, 12:07PM
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@Crash

Once at the game, the fans generally only have 2 means of displaying their pleasure or dislike in the activities of the team: Cheering or Booing. In Shawn Horcoff's case the fans are displeased with his body of work. He represents, in Individual form, the team as a whole. Overpaid and hyped to be something it could never be, struggling beyond reproach for most of the season, but coming around all together too late in the season for it to matter at all.

Fans can and should boo the team or players when they feel their entertainment has been jeopordized. Now, Shawn Horcoff cant be blamed for accepting his contract, but by booing him the fans convey to ownership that they made a mistake. A mistake that did not go unnoticed by the customer. A mistake they hope is learned from and rectified in the future.

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#54 Crash
March 22 2010, 12:49PM
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@Matt Henderson

Fair enough, if the fans want to boo if they are displeased with someones body of work then so be it....but when the fans decide just to boo the player for the sake of it such as when the player is announced as being in the starting lineup or has contributed an assist or a goal or is announced as one of the 3 stars then I think it's counter productive. Not only to that game in particular but also to other players who may take notice.

I'm not a big proponent of Shawn Horcoff as one of our key go to guys either but I don't think the fans need to constantly boo Shawn Horcoff in an endless attempt to let management know they made a mistake. I think they know.

If the guy has scored a goal or had a good night I really don't see what booing him accomplishes.

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#55 Bucknuck
March 22 2010, 01:06PM
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@Crash

I agree.

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#56 Matt Henderson
March 22 2010, 01:06PM
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@Crash

If he's really turned the corner and gotten over his various issues, then he can win the fans back. He's got the time.

If he plays well next year and actually contributes to a winning team, then the boos will slowly go away.

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#57 Links
March 22 2010, 01:29PM
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@Matt Henderson

I've gone to every home game this season, and effort has never been an issue with Horcoff. What exactly is negative reinforcement of his play going to accomplish?

Fans are frustrated, I get it. I am too. But Horcoff never gives weak efforts, and it is just a weak showing by our "fans" to boo him after a goal/assist.

Spin it any way you want, but its pretty simple.

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#58 Matt Henderson
March 22 2010, 01:49PM
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@Links

I never said he wasnt trying. His performance, though, has been miserable for 2 years and cant support the expectations of his contract.

I hope that he turns it around.

Fans who use quotation marks around the word Fans are unnecessarily condescending about the actions of people who are just as invested in the team as themselves.

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#59 Ender
March 22 2010, 01:56PM
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Don't boo your own guys unless they do something classless to deserve it. We sign a thug like Boulerice and he goes out and swings a two-hander at someone's face, boo away. That's about the player. You have a problem with management and the contract they offered someone? Send team management an e-mail. That's not the player's fault, and booing the player at this point benefits no one.

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#60 VK63
March 22 2010, 02:04PM
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The hall of famer Rod Phillips had the second Stortini fight as a total domination/beatdown by storts. Go figure.

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#61 Bucknuck
March 22 2010, 02:09PM
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VK63 wrote:

The hall of famer Rod Phillips had the second Stortini fight as a total domination/beatdown by storts. Go figure.

I love Rod for that. I always picture a complete punch fest in my head listening to him. And the amount of AMAZING saves by the opposing goaltender makes my mouth dry.

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#62 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 22 2010, 02:33PM
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Ender wrote:

Don't boo your own guys unless they do something classless to deserve it. We sign a thug like Boulerice and he goes out and swings a two-hander at someone's face, boo away. That's about the player. You have a problem with management and the contract they offered someone? Send team management an e-mail. That's not the player's fault, and booing the player at this point benefits no one.

I agree to an extent, but I do think this view lets the player off too easy. It's not simply managments fault for offering that contract (or any contract) they offerd it with the expectations of a certain level of play and it's up to the player to deliver that level. I highly doubt Horcoff went in expecting something in the 4 range and managment blew his socks off with a 5.5 deal right off the bat. I'm sure Horcs camp presented him as a solid 2 way center that scores in that .7 - .9PPG range.

Lowe was paying for the .7 - .9 PPG defensively stellar Horcof that we seen the three years prior to his signing, not the .45PPG, -28 Horcoff that we've had this year.

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#63 Jodes
March 22 2010, 03:26PM
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Man my Jedi mind powers are good.. Who called it last night? lol

Dean Arsene recalled by the Oilers as of today..

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#64 VK63
March 22 2010, 03:32PM
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@Bucknuck

Indeed, the guy rocks. I enjoy that the between period game highlights in Rexall are a combination of the closed circuit video and Rod and Stauff get voiced over.

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#65 Ender
March 22 2010, 05:16PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Let's assume that a given player is not living up to a fan's expectation of his contract. We'll start by recognizing that every fan can have very different expectations. As is evidenced on these forums every day, some fans see value in certain players while others do not. The whole Hero/Goat concept would be dead without that. Therefore one fan may be prepared to waive or demote a certain player while others see value in his play. Is the first fan justified in booing loudly whenever said player touches the puck? I guess it's their ticket so they can do what they like, but I'd argue that it's not a very productive way of expressing your opinion. In fact, in certain cases the added pressure of listening to fickle fans can actually adversely affect the athlete's play even more. If it's a rookie you're booing, it may indeed help get him demoted, and could help spell the end of chances for that prospect. If it's a vet, this only drives his value down and makes him even harder to trade. In either case, isn't it better to have the player suceed/fail on their own without the added pressure of dealing with a fan chorus?

I guess the only time I can really understand booing is if it's used to indicate displeasure over a specific action. I used an example of a cheap penalty example above but if we want to use Horcoff as an example instead, then let's boo him when he fans on a shot in front of a wide-open net rather than when he's breaking down the wing and loses the puck on a stick-check. The difference is that the second thing happens to every player in the league, often several times a game. The first thing is something you should have figured out how to do in junior and certainly by the time you sign your first contract with 7 digits in front of the decimal. One is a bad play and deserves booing. The other just displays the injustice of the fan.

Bottom line; boo the action and not the player. If you're going to bray about how 'any minor-league bum should be able to connect on that one-timer' when Horcoff misses, you're a hypocrite if you don't stand up and yell it again just as loudly when Hemmer does the same thing. Granted, I believe you'll be yelling it less often at Hemmer, but you should be prepared to do it every time it happens or you shouldn't do it at all. Similarly, if you're going to cheer when Penner scores, Shawn Horcoff deserves the same consideration when he produces the same effect. If a fan is cheering or booing with an agenda, it's the fan that has the problem; not the player.

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#66 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 22 2010, 05:40PM
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Ender wrote:

Let's assume that a given player is not living up to a fan's expectation of his contract. We'll start by recognizing that every fan can have very different expectations. As is evidenced on these forums every day, some fans see value in certain players while others do not. The whole Hero/Goat concept would be dead without that. Therefore one fan may be prepared to waive or demote a certain player while others see value in his play. Is the first fan justified in booing loudly whenever said player touches the puck? I guess it's their ticket so they can do what they like, but I'd argue that it's not a very productive way of expressing your opinion. In fact, in certain cases the added pressure of listening to fickle fans can actually adversely affect the athlete's play even more. If it's a rookie you're booing, it may indeed help get him demoted, and could help spell the end of chances for that prospect. If it's a vet, this only drives his value down and makes him even harder to trade. In either case, isn't it better to have the player suceed/fail on their own without the added pressure of dealing with a fan chorus?

I guess the only time I can really understand booing is if it's used to indicate displeasure over a specific action. I used an example of a cheap penalty example above but if we want to use Horcoff as an example instead, then let's boo him when he fans on a shot in front of a wide-open net rather than when he's breaking down the wing and loses the puck on a stick-check. The difference is that the second thing happens to every player in the league, often several times a game. The first thing is something you should have figured out how to do in junior and certainly by the time you sign your first contract with 7 digits in front of the decimal. One is a bad play and deserves booing. The other just displays the injustice of the fan.

Bottom line; boo the action and not the player. If you're going to bray about how 'any minor-league bum should be able to connect on that one-timer' when Horcoff misses, you're a hypocrite if you don't stand up and yell it again just as loudly when Hemmer does the same thing. Granted, I believe you'll be yelling it less often at Hemmer, but you should be prepared to do it every time it happens or you shouldn't do it at all. Similarly, if you're going to cheer when Penner scores, Shawn Horcoff deserves the same consideration when he produces the same effect. If a fan is cheering or booing with an agenda, it's the fan that has the problem; not the player.

I wasn't really debating the booing part, for the most part I think booing is ridiculous. I was contesting the point that it's management is (fully) at fault for being a disapointing player.

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#67 Andrew
March 22 2010, 05:41PM
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Once again fans boo Kevin Lowe, not Shawn Horcoff. If someone plopped a 6 year contract for over 30 Million dollars would you say no? No one in their right mind says no. Horcoff is not anything less or more than what we've always seen. A solid two way centre capable of filling the no.2 slot. For those of you wondering why he's struggling it's because of his shoulder. His faceoff percentage this season is 47%, significantly below his usual average of 52-53%. That tells me that he's playing despite a bad shoulder which is an act that shouldn't be booed. The Oilers training staff should have shut him down because of the fact he's been so ineffective and allowed him to rest his shoulder or if necessary, to get surgery on it. I honestly don't know why they kept playing him through the injury, that decision is right up there with playing Cogliano and Gagner in the bottom two lines. Also the intermission discussions on Hall/Seguin were interesting. Although I think the Oilers would benefit more from Seguin as he's a complete player who the Oilers could use to fill a lot of holes. Hall is more skilled but can't play on the PK and isn't a pure centerman and a lot of his points come on the PP, whereas Seguin scored much more consistently during 5 on 5 play. The Oilers need a no.1 center as I see Gagner as more of a second line center at this point due to his poor faceoff ability.

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#68 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 22 2010, 05:45PM
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Andrew wrote:

Once again fans boo Kevin Lowe, not Shawn Horcoff. If someone plopped a 6 year contract for over 30 Million dollars would you say no? No one in their right mind says no. Horcoff is not anything less or more than what we've always seen. A solid two way centre capable of filling the no.2 slot. For those of you wondering why he's struggling it's because of his shoulder. His faceoff percentage this season is 47%, significantly below his usual average of 52-53%. That tells me that he's playing despite a bad shoulder which is an act that shouldn't be booed. The Oilers training staff should have shut him down because of the fact he's been so ineffective and allowed him to rest his shoulder or if necessary, to get surgery on it. I honestly don't know why they kept playing him through the injury, that decision is right up there with playing Cogliano and Gagner in the bottom two lines. Also the intermission discussions on Hall/Seguin were interesting. Although I think the Oilers would benefit more from Seguin as he's a complete player who the Oilers could use to fill a lot of holes. Hall is more skilled but can't play on the PK and isn't a pure centerman and a lot of his points come on the PP, whereas Seguin scored much more consistently during 5 on 5 play. The Oilers need a no.1 center as I see Gagner as more of a second line center at this point due to his poor faceoff ability.

Actually he's significanly less then what we've always seen.

Again, do people think Lowe came out and offerd 30/6 right off the bat? Or do you think Horcs camp presented their guy as a player that put up .9/.7/.9 PPG over the last three years and argued that he should be paid as such.

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#69 canadianmandy
March 22 2010, 06:19PM
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Completely agree with you about Gagner. I found since after the Olympic break since coming back from injury, he's slowed down a bit. But the most puzzling thing is that he got moved down to the 4th line after the Minnesota game(where he was easily the best forward). I would have moved him down before that game since he was struggling a bit. It's great that Cogliano is getting a chance, but still...STill I must say, i think Gags is handling the situation with lots of maturity. Other players on this team who complained earlier in the year could take a page from his book.

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#70 Canadasportsguy
March 22 2010, 09:49PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

Hey cableguy

who did he shut down? Joe Thorton? He was a bum all night!! He had a tap in goal.

The guy is a good guy but you can see him struggling.

TBH

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#71 third string plumber
March 23 2010, 12:06AM
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@Bucknuck

ya Rod can really sell a game

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#72 Andrew
March 23 2010, 07:18PM
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good point Odgen Brother but look in the end it's still Lowe's fault. Of course it's a negotiation and Lowe definitely didn't just hand out a check for 30 Mil. But Lowe should have had a ceiling in terms of amount and term for Horcoff's contract. Say 4 to 4.5M for 5 years because at the time Horcoff was playing fairly well and was just under a point per game player as you pointed out. However he gave in and gave up a lot of money.

A prime example of what to do is shown by a GM like Ken Holland. Jiri Hudler asked for way too much and Holland didn't want to move a lot of salary to get under the cap. So he allowed Hudler to leave because he assessed Hudler's abilities and saw that he was replaceable in terms of offensive production. As Fippula was a very similar player and at this point both players had been slotted in at the second and third line.

Lowe should have seen that Horcoff's 70+ point season was a definite anomaly as he had previously never broke the 50 point barrier prior to the 73 point season and in the two seasons after Horcoff put up second line center numbers with a 51 and 50 point season. While you could argue that the year he was hurt he would have been a point per game player there's no proof of that. Players always have highs and lows in a season and Horcoff made the most of his offensive highs in 07-08.

At 29 years of age it is highly unlikely he's all of a sudden blossoming into an offensive center. He should have stood his ground and let Horcoff go when he felt Horcoff was demanding too much term and salary.

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