Oilers Vs. Coyotes Postgame

Jonathan Willis
April 04 2010 09:04AM

Edmonton Oilers: 2

Phoenix Coyotes: 3 (SO)

After hanging in there with one of the Western Conference’s best clubs for most of the game, the Oilers committed a rash of transgressions in what was apparently an attempt to giftwrap two points for the Coyotes. Two things conspired against those efforts: a fluke goal against Ilya Bryzgalov (Dustin Penner, congratulations on goal number 29) and an outstanding performance in net by Jeff Deslauriers. The Oilers extended things to a shootout, where once again they did their best to lose, with nobody scoring and the coach opting for some strange choices in the shootout (this message brought to you by Fernando Pisani’s six-for-14 career shootout record), but once again Jeff Deslauriers just kept stopping shot after shot until he was finally beat on the Coyotes’ eighth attempt, as Matthew Lombardi reminded us all again what a great draft pick he was. 

Oilers Three Stars, According To Me

 1. Jeff Deslauriers. After that introduction, this probably comes as a major shock. Deslauriers was the only reason this game wasn’t another embarrassing loss in a season full of embarrassing losses. 42 saves in regulation and another seven in the shootout represented a fine effort on his part, and as much as some of this season’s losses can be put on him this was one night where he showed up while the rest of the team slumbered. Best player on the ice.

2. Zack Stortini. Stortini did the lion’s share of the work on the Oilers only legitimate goal (Bryzgalov should have had that weird Penner shot from behind the goal line), Ryan Jones’ first with the team, but he did more than that. In his half-dozen minutes of ice-time he was consistently physical, he back-checked (memo to other forwards on the team: yeah, you’re allowed to do that) and he always seemed to be doing something positive not only without the puck but with it as well.

3. Ryan Whitney. Rumour had it that Whitney was as soft as pre-Subway Jared, but he’s been a different animal in his time with Edmonton and while it’s early I’ll admit I’ve been impressed with the results. He and Gilbert once again were the team’s best defence pairing, both finishing plus-two (with Gilbert picking up two of those second assists Brownlee so loves) while Whitney showed some snarl (although that cross-checking penalty was, shall we say, ill-advised). 

The Penalty Parade

I get that the call on Dustin Penner was marginal. I also get that the referees missed a high-stick on Jason Strudwick. I also understand that on the penalty kill sometimes defencemen like Ryan Whitney figure they can get away with a little bit of cross-checking. That said, what in the name of all the infernos of Dante was Andrew Cogliano doing slashing the midsection of an opposition player? I know he’s young but he’s been a hockey player long enough now to know that’s just stupid. The same applies to Jason Strudwick’s idiotic slash. Just because the captain’s nickname is “Chopper” doesn’t mean emulation is the order of the day (although apparently it doesn’t get a guy healthy-scratched).

It was an ugly loss of discipline, and for all of Steve Tambellini’s high-minded talk about the order that Pat Quinn was going to bring to the team, it’s difficult to see any semblance of discipline out there. Sure they lost (less) under MacTavish but at least there was recognizable system.

Kevin Weekes’ Redeeming Quality

I finally get what CBC sees in Kevin Weekes. At times, he can be a hell of an analyst – especially when he’s breaking down goaltending performances. I’ve been highly critical of Weekes (and I wasn’t overly fond of him tonight) but the guy can think, he just needs to get better at expressing it for HNIC (not an easy job). So I understand why the network is enduring this bumpy patch as Weekes learns on the job.

That said, cutting back on the cliché might help. Saying that Martin Hanzal just ‘wanted the puck more’ than Jason Strudwick as the latter set up another two-on-one (he and Chorney took turns last night) is idiotic: Strudwick obviously wanted the puck, and just as obviously he has the get up and go of a junkyard Pinto. That was a failing of foot-speed, not character, and as much as we like to think that good guys with a lot of drive win every time sometimes winning hockey games does come down to actual talent. It’s a disservice to Strudwick to imply that he has the latter while suggesting he’s missing the former when it’s clear that the opposite is really the case.

Speaking of cliché, the notion that the Oilers just need to be free offensively right after Phoenix scores a goal because three forwards and a defenceman got caught out of position makes no sense. Yeah, I get that they need goals; I also understand that this ‘must get a goal’ mentality is what leaves Taylor Chorney all alone like a deer in headlights.

This, That And The Other Thing

Aside from making hilariously dated pop culture references and injecting a little life into the Oilers’ post-game, what does Pat Quinn actually do? Thinking back, I can recall lots of images of him cursing after a goal, but every time the camera flashes to the bench during a time out, or after a player makes a bad play, it’s Renney or Buchberger doing the talking. We hear a lot about their responsibilities, and about those of Wayne Fleming, but I’m wondering if Quinn’s role has become more of a caretaking job, because he looks (again this is from some distance so it may be wrong; it is only conjecture) like a pretty hands-off head coach.

I’m still trying to figure out why Zack Stortini was tagged for a defensive zone faceoff on the penalty kill for the last few seconds of the Patrick O’Sullivan penalty. That felt like an odd choice.

If you missed it, Steve Tambellini will not be making the decision on Hall vs. Seguin vs. Fowler, as that duty will fall to head scout Stu MacGregor. That of course is the right call; the whole point of having a scouting staff is that they get to see these players a lot more than Steve Tambellini does.

Lee Stempniak was a marked man all night, but I hope someone had a quiet word with Dean Arsene about how it isn’t cool to elbow the opposition in the head.

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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 Jasmine
April 04 2010, 06:44PM
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@Scott in Grande Prairie

The Oilers have never gotten respect from the zebras. I don't recall the refs penalizing the Isles last season when they were in last.

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#52 Jodes
April 04 2010, 06:47PM
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Lofty wrote:

Would hope they could win something. Oilers could always bring Fuhr back which would help. I'v seen Iggy play and he can get it around although I think he would have a tough time with getting hot when it counts.

Grant's going to be busy with the Desert Dogs as they make their first playoff appearance since 2002..

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#53 Reagan
April 04 2010, 07:19PM
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Too bad we can't post pics here. I got some cool shots from last nights game in Phoenix. I must say running into the CBC crew was fun. The kids got interviewed by FSN. Our sign apparently made it on HNIC, but I have to watch the footage! Just walked in the door, and have to eat. Air Canada licks... enough said. Anyways, Coyote Fans for the most part are friendly except the two dufus' next to us that wouldn't shut up about the Oilers suck and have no real insight into the game, other than fighting and hitting. Insert Amrican farmer sterotype here... However I made the jumbotron with my play fight with the Howler! LOL Anyways beer are just as expensive in Coyoteville, but the chicks are way HOTTER!!!

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#54 Archaeologuy
April 04 2010, 08:53PM
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Graham James pardoned. Absolutely disgusting.

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#55 Dan the Man
April 04 2010, 09:07PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Graham James pardoned. Absolutely disgusting.

That completely sickens me but apparently most criminals obtain pardons regardless of how horrific the crimes were.

Sportsnet - Only a small segment of offenders, including those convicted of murder or branded dangerous offenders, are barred from being pardoned. "We cannot discriminate based on the crime committed," Douglas said. "Very few people are ineligible for a pardon. Everyone else is eligible no matter their crime. We have to follow the law." The board's latest planning report says pardons are beneficial not only to the individuals who earn them, but to society in general. "Pardons encourage commitments to lead law-abiding lives, help people secure jobs and reduce reliance on social programs."

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#56 Hemmertime
April 04 2010, 10:21PM
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Reagan wrote:

Too bad we can't post pics here. I got some cool shots from last nights game in Phoenix. I must say running into the CBC crew was fun. The kids got interviewed by FSN. Our sign apparently made it on HNIC, but I have to watch the footage! Just walked in the door, and have to eat. Air Canada licks... enough said. Anyways, Coyote Fans for the most part are friendly except the two dufus' next to us that wouldn't shut up about the Oilers suck and have no real insight into the game, other than fighting and hitting. Insert Amrican farmer sterotype here... However I made the jumbotron with my play fight with the Howler! LOL Anyways beer are just as expensive in Coyoteville, but the chicks are way HOTTER!!!

Do a little write up and send it to Bingofuel, like the people did who did the roadtrip to Edmonton. Would be interesting read.

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#57 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 04 2010, 11:00PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Graham James pardoned. Absolutely disgusting.

Our legal system continues to let us down.

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#58 Jodes
April 04 2010, 11:26PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Our legal system continues to let us down.

Absolutely.. It still burns me to this day that a guy like that and guys like James Roszko are continued to be given preferential treatment by the justice system and the cops who work their arses off to bring these guys to justice are laughed right out of court..

Pure and simple, if the justice system actually worked, Cst. Peter Schiemann, Cst. Brock Myrol, Cst Anthony Gordon and Cst. Leo Johnston would still be alive today serving their communities, because Roszko would be in jail for his crimes.

I hope his lawyers and the JP that let him out are happy..

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#59 MikeR
April 05 2010, 01:42AM
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I suppose that like a rookie skater, we should give Kevin Weekes some time to acclimate to his new job. And I certainly agree than he can really bring some insight into the position of goalie.

However I cannot stand listening to him talk. The clichés you mentioned and the lazy mistakes. For example: Dean Arsene makes a borderline hit and then they go to commercial. Coming back from the break Weekes wants to highlight the hit and says "I understand that Arsene is a young player wanting to make an impression."

Arsene in 29!

How many times are we going to hear him say "shooting themselves in the foot?"

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#60 Kizz
April 05 2010, 07:52AM
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According to lowetide Omark signed to 2 year deal

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#61 timseb29
April 05 2010, 08:50AM
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Great observations;you would think quinn would expand stortini's ice; move him up in the line up; simply as a way of detemining for next year; this head coach should have people worried; his double talk a standard he has used since his toronto days safeguards himself while laying either blame or reasons on the players; there is no communication between himself and the players (have you ever seen his practices) there is no working with players he conviniently deligates; while he stands STOIC. The communication between renney and himself has crumbled; be forwarned.

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#62 Archaeologuy
April 05 2010, 09:50AM
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Dan the Man wrote:

That completely sickens me but apparently most criminals obtain pardons regardless of how horrific the crimes were.

Sportsnet - Only a small segment of offenders, including those convicted of murder or branded dangerous offenders, are barred from being pardoned. "We cannot discriminate based on the crime committed," Douglas said. "Very few people are ineligible for a pardon. Everyone else is eligible no matter their crime. We have to follow the law." The board's latest planning report says pardons are beneficial not only to the individuals who earn them, but to society in general. "Pardons encourage commitments to lead law-abiding lives, help people secure jobs and reduce reliance on social programs."

I dont understand how anyone can serially sexually abuse children and not be considered a dangerous offender.

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#63 Mouse
April 05 2010, 09:51AM
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Went to a Wings vs Coyotes game at Jobing.com arena at the start of Jan while in Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl. Awesome arena and pretty good atmosphere. There was about 14000 fans, with lots of Wings fans there. Really reinforces how much we need a new stadium.

Best part, they sell luxury box seats off at the ticket office if the owners don't want them. $40 bucks a seat for main level luxury box tix on the blueline. A 40 of vodka = $39 and beers are cheaper there than on the concourse. Needless to say, we were the last people in the stadium drinking with the security and waitress.

Also highly recommend the Saddle Ranch right outside the arena, lots of talent.

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#64 Reagan
April 05 2010, 12:05PM
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Mouse wrote:

Went to a Wings vs Coyotes game at Jobing.com arena at the start of Jan while in Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl. Awesome arena and pretty good atmosphere. There was about 14000 fans, with lots of Wings fans there. Really reinforces how much we need a new stadium.

Best part, they sell luxury box seats off at the ticket office if the owners don't want them. $40 bucks a seat for main level luxury box tix on the blueline. A 40 of vodka = $39 and beers are cheaper there than on the concourse. Needless to say, we were the last people in the stadium drinking with the security and waitress.

Also highly recommend the Saddle Ranch right outside the arena, lots of talent.

There was just over 17,100 fans the night we went. They said it was the first real sell out of the season, but I'm not so sure of that.

I saw 60's of booze go for $12.99 at Costco. That was the import Royal Reserve from Canada. That made me truly chuckle. However my Captains Morgan 60 was worth a whopping $14.99 at Costco!

Saddle Ranch was cool. Saw two bands before the game.

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#65 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
April 05 2010, 12:16PM
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Reagan wrote:

There was just over 17,100 fans the night we went. They said it was the first real sell out of the season, but I'm not so sure of that.

I saw 60's of booze go for $12.99 at Costco. That was the import Royal Reserve from Canada. That made me truly chuckle. However my Captains Morgan 60 was worth a whopping $14.99 at Costco!

Saddle Ranch was cool. Saw two bands before the game.

Yeah, booze in the states is cheap. I'm heading down to Fargo (only a 2 hour drive from Winnipeg) in May to do some grocery shopping.

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#66 TigerUnderGlass
April 05 2010, 12:46PM
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CVV signing confirmed as well.

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=316730

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