Oilers vs. Thrashers Post-Game: If Hockey’s Played In Atlanta, Does Anybody Care?

Atlanta Thrashers: 3

Edmonton Oilers: 2

That’s definitely one of the smallest crowds I’ve ever seen at an NHL game.  I think there were more people in the stands for my rec game last night.  Then again, given the on-ice product since Day One (the Thrashers have yet to win a playoff game) and the fact that it was Sunday afternoon, the small crowd wasn’t overly surprising.

Random Thoughts

I was pretty excited to watch Zach Bogosian, a guy who rates very highly by different contextual stats, and I wasn’t disappointed.  A powerplay goal and more than 24 minutes on the ice today, for seven goals on the season so far.  I doubt he can keep that level of offence up, but he’s going to be a star for years.  He’s a special player.

As much as it reflects well on Gilbert Brule, Ryan Potulny and Liam Reddox that they’re out there taking shifts against the Kovalchuk line, it doesn’t reflect well on this team.  It’s anybody’s guess how much time is left in Fernando Pisani’s NHL career, and Ethan Moreau has done his best to work his way down the roster, and outside of that there aren’t many (any?) capable bottom-sixers on this team.  It was obvious this summer.  It’s painfully obvious now.  Maybe the minor-leaguers promoted to full time duty this fall (Stone and Jacques) will help when they get back, and maybe Marc Pouliot will help when he gets back, but the inability of this team to address a problem that’s both brutally obvious and painfully easy to fill (case in point: New Jersey found themselves short in training camp, so they signed Rob Niedermayer; Niedermayer got hurt so they added Dean McAmmond) is simply inexcusable.  Then again, they did the same thing last year, so it isn’t surprising.

Sheldon Souray played more than 25 minutes in his first game back from injury.  He was OK (victimized by Rich Peverley on Atlanta’s second power play goal) and it’s absolutely vital that he can handle that kind of workload immediately, given the other problems on the roster.

I noticed both the play-by-play crew and various commenters making the error of calling the Moreau, Cogliano and Stortini line the fourth line.  That honour actually went to Gagner, Comrie and O’Sullivan.  That first group averaged 11:07 at even-strength, while the second group averaged 8:53.  Comrie’s been basically stuck on the fourth line since coming back from the flu, along with whichever guys he gets partnered with (generally Brule+).  Quinn’s been running his lines in this order: Penner+, Potulny/Reddox & Co., Moreau/Stortini/Centre and Comrie+.  There’s all sorts of fun things to read into that, but I’ll leave it alone for the most part.  I will say this: Quinn called Comrie out at a press conference back before he had the flu, and I don’t think he’s been at all impressed with his return tour in Edmonton.  Thankfully, Quinn’s still used Comrie on the powerplay, which is about the only place he’s been useful so far this season.

Finally, faceoff numbers are always popular, and here they are for this game:

  • Ethan Moreau – 1/1: 100%
  • Sam Gagner: 5/9: 56%
  • Gilbert Brule – 1/2: 50%
  • Shawn Horcoff – 3/7: 43%
  • Dustin Penner – 6/17: 35% 
  • Ryan Potulny – 2/7: 29%
  • Patrick O’Sullivan – 0/1: 0%
  • Zach Stortini – 0/1: 0%
  • Andrew Cogliano – 0/7: 0%


    • Dan the Man

      oh yeah! you have a good point!

      i can see the 8-10-2 turning around.

      *ignores the memory of the first period against Atlanta and decides to taste the K-A*

      hi, hi, hi…

  • thanks guys!

    i will not take the media too serios,

    i will expect to see oilers in the playoffs…next year,

    i'll blame Nilsson still playing in the NHL on good old Romanian corruption: he's well connected, hence untouchable. just kidding….in lack of other logical explanation…

    back to work!

  • smiliegirl15

    Unlike last year though, they are starting to play 60 minutes of hockey rather than 5 or 10 minutes in the final period. Why that can't translate into wins, I don't know. I would love to see Horcoff turn around to become the player he was before his shoulder surgery; I don't know what's holding him back from that. If anything he has more effective players to play with and should be sending pucks home rather than wide or missing the puck every time. I am sure he is even more frustrated than we are. Moreau did sum it up well when he said they need to play more KISS hockey. Horcoff probably more than anyone on the team because I think he's overthinking everything and putting too much pressure on himself.

    Getting rid of the dead weight is a no brainer but I'm sure easier said than done. You have to be able to find a team willing to take them.

    • unfortunately I can think of few guys on the roster that love hogging the puck. a lot. and then just having their pockets picked.

      I'm not so sure they even know what KISS hockey is, let alone play it…

      i bet the new system does involve KISS, but is such a tough sell with some of our players.

  • Petr's Jofa

    Ah Bobby Nilsson

    the agents of cogliano, gagner, brule etc etc. can hardly believe their good fortune.
    What a horrible benchmark to have. Gotta say that ones not panning out too good for the oiler brass

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    dantencer – Pat Quinn says Gagner will likely be out tonight with a lower body injury. Team could dress Nilsson in his place or go with 7 defensemen.

    • Dan the Man

      I posted yesterday after the game that the only positive to come out of the game was that no Oiler got injured. I really should have known better.

      The Oilers this year remind me of the "Mr Glass" character in the movie "Unbreakable".