Oilers Vs. Islanders Post Game: Brendan Witt, Offensive Dynamo

New York Islanders: 3

Edmonton Oilers: 1

Once again, the Oilers have struggled to put the puck in the net, with the only goal coming courtesy of an Ethan Moreau centring pass which bounced in off Radek Martinek’s skate.

Oilers Three Stars, According To Me

1. Ales Hemsky.  The play-by-play crew kept talking about Hemsky having the puck on a string, and they weren’t kidding.  He looked great tonight, even though it didn’t result in a goal.

2. Nikolai Khabibulin.  The score was close, but the Islanders had a bunch of Grade ‘A’ scoring opportunities and Khabibulin was sharp.  Two of the three goals against were of the flukey variety.

3. Lubomir Visnovsky.  I noticed one brutal giveaway but aside from that Visnovsky had an active stick and an intelligent game.  He’s more poised with the puck than anyone else on the team, with the possible exception of Hemsky.

Random Thoughts

  • I’m not going to pick on J-F Jacques for going after Andy Sutton, but the level of praise from the play-by-play crew surprised me. Sutton’s hit on Gilbert was clean, and despite the commentators’ words it wasn’t a case of Gilbert having his head down (he was guided into the check) and I’m not a fan of every clean check being avenged by a fight. In this case, I have to wonder if ‘sending a message’ is worth the two-minute minor and the ten-minute misconduct.
  • Was Horcoff hurt to finish the third?  After taking a hard hit from Sutton (who only got more physical after the fight with Jacques) I didn’t see him much outside of one penalty-killing shift, and Gagner moved up to the top line.
  • Goal aside, the fourth line’s been pretty rough and that continued tonight, particularly in their own end.  There are three useful players on that line, but none of them look particularly good as a unit so far.
  • It’s nice to see Fernando Pisani back, and interesting to see him lineup with Gilbert Brule and Patrick O’Sullivan.  That may be a secondary shut-down trio for the Oilers if Quinn sticks with that trio.  He’s been using Brule in that role (and defensive zone faceoffs) and he’s handled it well so far.
  • Awkward segue of the night: "speaking of legs… Horcoff and Hemsky." 
  • It was also great to hear that Steve Staios was practicing again.  I’ve been critical of Staios in the past, but he’s more of an NHL defenceman than Chorney and Peckham right now, and I think it’s probably best to get those guys back facing AHL competition for a bit.
  • Brendan Witt scores two after not scoring in 93 games.  One more would have been an incredibly unlikely hattrick.
  • Tonight’s effort marks six games without a regulation win, and the shootout victory over Detroit is the only one of those games where the Oilers managed more than two goals.
  • It’s tough to blame the powerplay tonight; the Islanders had four opportunities and the Oilers had none.
  • Finally, speaking as a guy with Sam Gagner on his fantasy team, I hope Pat Quinn abandons this kid line reunion thing he’s tried the last few games.  They got some shifts together again tonight and didn’t look good, and were on the ice for the Islanders’ third goal.  Nilsson’s got to be press-box bound as soon as Mike Comrie’s healthy; those fancy no-look passes just haven’t been doing any good defensively or offensively.
  • Grebeshkov and Chorney were on for all three goals against.  After the game, Quinn christened them "fumbledee and fumbledum".
  • Rogue

    Right now, this team is playing with very tight sphincters. The puck is a grenade. This team is also suppose to be fast and quick, yet they seem to be continually outskated and outhustled. We have a very fragile team who, among otherthings. Souray and Staios meaning to this team, in my opinion, is becoming obvious. We miss or lack vetern leadership, or guys that are willing to grab people by the throat and get every ones attention.

    Or maybe this team is the same team that we have seen for the last 15 years….who knows.

  • BarryS

    Would like to finally see a couple games with the actual starting lineup so we could see who fits where. At least this week we should get a couple actual days of practice. it is clear this teams needs reinforcement of what they are supposed to be doing. Seems to me this short training camp, practice time wise, is coming back to bite us. I know, I know, practice time doesn't bring in any money but it sure improves teams. Look at the week off Calgary and Vancouver had, they came out better teams than they went in.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    He looked a lot taller than 6'1" standing next to SMac in that little hunting snippet during the intermission last night. Looked like maybe an inch or two separating them.

    • Dan the Man

      Those stats are according to Hockey db so they could be off a bit I suppose. DeBrusk was never a huge heavyweight though.

      DeBrusk probably pulled out the platforms again.

    • Librarian Mike

      LOL. I suppose drop-passes in the neutral zone can be deadly when done by 'kid liners'. Seriously though, nothing makes me crazier than people, especially rich people who have plenty of options, drive drunk. No excuse.

      As for arrogance of players, obviously that poster has never seen an interview with Wayne 'I've been talking about myself in the 3rd person since the 80s' Gretzky.

  • Dan the Man

    So when are people going to man up and either:

    A. Proclaim Quinn/Renney to be idiots.

    B. Admit MacT is a competent NHL coach who was given a sub-par roster.

    • Hatecoff

      A.) why would they be idiots ?

      B.) mac t is a competent coach who wasnt given a sub-par roster.
      he had a good roster but was forced to make lemonade out of pears and eventually lost his players, the fans and then his job.

      • Wasn't Horcoff on that roster?

        I am interested to see if someone has an answer to your earlier comment about the goalies on the icing calls. Must be some kind of exception to the rule but I never really thought about it.

      • Hemmercules

        I give the team part marks for health/injury this year, but that only goes so far.

        A. Every (or almost every) team has flu/major injuries

        B. I'm sure last years team had it's share of bumps/bruises.

        • Librarian Mike

          This year's Oilers are still pretty much the same as last year's Oilers. While there have been flashes of great play, they have all-too-often fallen back on their old habits. As for coaching, it's far more common for players to make a coach look good than the opposite.

          I can't help but wonder if Horcoff's shoulder has ever healed from a couple of years ago. Having to take 93 faceoffs per game certainly didn't help though.

          • Librarian Mike

            Ya, I'm really pulling for Horc to get back to at least average 2nd line production, but the more I see of him the more I wonder if his body (shoulder) is just plain done. Vclav in TB had the same surgery (I believe) and has seen a similar drop in his production.

  • Hatecoff

    when a team gets an icing call against them they are not allowed to change the players on the ice

    how does it make sense that when a team pulls their goalie and ices the puck, one forward comes off and the goalie comes back on ?

  • @ OB original

    I thought MacT was competent but at the same time, it was time to move on. Also, until the Oiler flu pandemic, I was enjoying watching the style of play this year compared to MacT's style.

    • Hatecoff

      I agree, no question it was time to move on… My post was directed to the (large) contingence that felt he was an incompetent coach that had no business standing behind an NHL bench.

      As to the style of play, I think we are seeing now that it may have as much to do with personal as to coaching philosophy… ie MacT didn't have access to JFJ/Stone and to a less extent Brule for the vast majority of the season.

  • Rogue

    Wait….I am sure Shawn does lots for the community and is a good guy. I never said that the Oil is better off without him. I PRAY that he returns to his form of a few years ago, however, I fear he wont. I think he has played well in the last few games. I probably should not have relayed what was said. I apoligse, but if I was any high profile player struggling, I would not be making my prescense known to everyone. Sometimes I wonder if these athletes think they are above reproach. Anyways attempt to edit it out.

  • Librarian Mike

    I have to share this because it made me laugh. There's an article in The Score about the fact that Phil Kessel has been cleared to play tonight. The title of the article is:

    An Era Begins: Kessel Cleared For Debut Tonight

    I wonder if they'll have a pregame ceremony where they raise his banner to the rafters as well…

  • Hatecoff

    they need something positive to write about the leafs, even if it is just optimism.

    i hate the leafs as much as horcoff but i honestly do have a feeling they will win 3 out the next 5 games with him in the line up.

  • smiliegirl15

    Quinn and Renney certainly aren't idiots but I wouldn't go so far as to say MacTavish is competent. He certainly had a team of underachievers, as do our new coaching pair, but it's the coach's job to get something out of them too. So far, Quinn and Renney have been able to get most of them going (Exhibit A – Dustin Penner). We still have underachievers but at the same time, those who were able to coast under MacT's favouritism are being exposed for what they really are.

    • smiliegirl15

      You've got guys that have improved and regressed, if Quinn gets (alot) of credit for Penner, then he needs to shoulder blame for Gilbert (etc) as well.

      Also, if the record this year is similar to last year you simply can't say Quinn/Renney aren't idiots and Mctavish is incompetent… it's completely contradictory.

      • smiliegirl15

        but at the same time, the team last year was relatively healthy. We didn't have the injuries last season we've seen this season. We have our current record without Souray and with the H1N1 flu.

        Maybe, in all seriousness, it's time to offer Peca a job, but only if he's healthy. He may have a new attitude since no one out there has offered him a job (that he's accepted anyway).

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Thankfully Quinn is following in the MacT tradition of colorful post game pressers.
    I wonder how long until he finds the keys to MacTs greyhound?

    Sarcastic old coot that Quinn.