by Matthew “I’d rather be” Eaton
I’m up late again drinking coffee and staring out the window. I can’t sleep knowing my team is sitting in last place. I’m starting to forget what it was like when I looked at this year’s roster and thought about more burning shopping carts on Whyte Ave. I had the cart all picked out too. It’s here in the living room. I should probably take it back.
I keep asking myself what’s missing. I think I have the answer: chemistry.
When I see an Oilers drive, it’s one player fighting his way in with the puck and making the choice to shoot, dump, or make a pass so obvious that one opposing defenceman laughs while the other one blocks it. Our forward lines aren’t units, they’re three guys hanging out for a night looking for each other’s rebounds. Horcoff himself admits to being faked out by Hemsky’s moves sometimes. That’s not good. Horcoff should be talking about how Hemsky fits him like a glove and then there should be an uncomfortable silence while other people in the room cough nervously.
MacTavish knows he has the right players to make one hell of a team and he’s got a new set of lines to take into the next game. The line to watch is Nilsson-Horcoff-Hemsky. Nilsson has made some superb plays in the past. Hemsky is finally trusting his ability to shoot. And Horcoff is solid—lots of energy and nice shooting.
The young Penner-Gagner-Cogliano line is a gamble. If Gagner and Cogliano can keep the puck moving between the two of them, and Penner can start playing in front of the net where he belongs, we might just have something.
Finally the Torres-Stoll-Stortini line sounds like something that should cause injuries. Man, I’d love to see some hits going the other way.
I’d also love to see this shopping cart in action again but one step at a time.