Oilers vs. Sharks Postgame: I Respect Jeff Deslauriers

San Jose Sharks: 4

Edmonton Oilers: 1

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The Oilers actually had a fairly good game this evening, considering the level of their opposition. They were undone by poor goaltending, which takes me to my next point.

Why I Respect Jeff Deslauriers

Excerpts from Jeff Deslaurier’s post-game:

Pretty tough for me tonight; I’m not happy about the way I handled the puck, or was able to control very much tonight. I can’t play like this right now.

The first three goals, even the fourth one, I had a chance to do something on those goals, and for some reason the puck just went by. Like I said, I’m not supposed to allow those goals at this level, so it’s just disappointment right now.

Playing the puck was okay, it wasn’t great… maybe I should have been more involved behind the net, playing the puck tonight.

I’ve said it before; we have to be great, we can’t be good, and for myself right now, tonight, I wasn’t good. That’s not enough, if we want to win. It has to start from the goalie first, and the players will follow that.  

It’s impossible not to respect that kind of brutal honesty from Jeff Deslauriers, and it isn’t for the first time.  He’s calm and measured but unforgiving of a poor performance on his part, and there are definitely other players on the team that could look at the statements Deslauriers makes about himself and learn something.  Nobody on this team is more accountable than Jeff Deslauriers.  I found myself in total agreement with Shawn Horcoff’s comments when he was asked about Deslauriers:

It’s a tough position, especially for a goalie in his situation, a younger guy that’s been thrust into a situation where he has to play every game. We’re doing our best out there to try and keep shots to the outside, and 90% of nights we’re not there for him, we have to do a better job. Jeff’s going to have those nights, but he’s been playing terrific for us lately and we have a lot of confidence in him, that he’s going to be able to bounce back and give us solid performances.

I’m not as sold as Brownlee on Deslauriers’ ability to be a long-term starter; I’m agnostic at this point, although I do believe Deslauriers can be part of a strong tandem. That said, I’ve always been impressed with Deslauriers’ resiliency, and his demeanour and attitude in front of the camera have been extraordinary.

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That’s Enough Of That…

So rather than spend more time dissecting an Oilers’ loss, telling you all how wonderfully Robert Nilsson and Dustin Penner played while trying to avoid screaming in rage at the rest of the team, I thought I’d mention something else entirely.

Benjamin Conz.

Conz went undrafted this past summer after a mediocre under-18 tournament, and Hockey’s Future wastes exactly two sentences in describing his ability: "Conz is a small netminder, who plays deep in his net. He has very unusual technique, which is not very effective."

After 50 saves earlier today, I think they’ll be revising that entry.  Those 50 saves knocked Russia out of the World Juniors, and continued an incredible run for Conz that has Switzerland guaranteed of a finish no worse than fourth.  For the Swiss, whose best result at the tournament ever was a bronze medal, this is huge news.  As for Conz, The Score’s Sean Tomlinson put it this way: "Conz was more than a leader; he was a saviour for the Swiss."

The Dive For Five

Today’s Dive For Five Rankings:

  1. Carolina: 29 points
  2. Edmonton: 7 points back
  3. Toronto: 8 points back
  4. Columbus: 10 points back
  5. Florida: 10 points back

With their second straight loss and one win in their last ten, the Oilers are gaining steadily on Carolina (4-5-1 in their last 10) and may have a shot at first overall.  They need to watch for the Leafs, just one point back and on a two game losing streak of their own, but with some clutch play from their goaltender and the various AHL players dotted along the roster, the Oilers should be able to hold them off. 

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They’ll need to be careful, though.  The Oilers play the next four and 10 of their next 13 at home, and if they aren’t careful they could easily slide into a couple of wins.

  • "They'll need to be careful, though. The Oilers play the next four and 10 of their next 13 at home, and if they aren't careful they could easily slide into a couple of wins."


  • Gerald R. Ford

    @ Willis

    Hey Willis, while I don't always agree with your blogs, I must commend you for continually producing these post game reports. As an Oiler fan at least their consistent play has me looking forward to the draft. I can only imagine how redundant reporting on their horribly consistent play can be…

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    The team sucked, but JDD was BRUTS tonight. With Bulin in net that was a one goal game either way. Get a grip people, this was a bubble team (and a long shot bubble at that) that lost it's best forward and starting goaile. Embrace the brutsness, this is what the franchise needs. Imagine having Stamkos, Kane or Tavares on the team…. we are 6 months from that if the team continues on it's current path.

  • Robert Nilsson was a revelation tonight. He and Sam lit it up. Too bad everybody else decided that they lost before the puck was dropped.

    Jeff was thrown in over his head. Still, he has the nuts to own up. I have a whack of respect for a guy who calls it like he does.

  • Maybe there's been no other choice, but I like the fact that the coaching staff is letting players simply play to their strengths right now, and let's work on the weaknesses gradually without embarassing anyone. Nilsson's been given a much longer leash, and didn't play as though he'd be punished for mistakes. He did make plenty, but was trying to be creative at every turn – and it's entertaining…and could eventually be dangerous on a regular basis. Looked good playing with Gagner and Penner…

  • Not that I expected them to win but they had a case of dragon ass. May 8 grand in booze does give you a 2 day hang over. hahaha…err.

    Hopefully they can manage JDD to play the season out. Besides the fact that Duby had a couple of bad appearances I don't know why they don't throw him in net more often. Are they still convinced they can make a run of it?

    Many a young goaltender has been broken playing lots of games. Even the good goaltenders like Fleury had some stinker games for a couple of seasons. Carey Price is there right now too – if top draft picks can flame, I'm sure a 2nd rounder is going to have to grow into the job as well. play Duby & we will be right beside the Canes in the standings in no time.

  • It's hard to believe that we're still 7 points ahead of anyone given our record lately.

    I wonder what people would think about trading Penner to Boston for Toronto's #1 pick. Boston needs proven talent right now more than pics, and someone like DP might give them a push heading into the playoffs.

  • Trading Penner to Beantown is an interesting thought. Given the Bs need some help up front a deal might make sense to them. The fact is the Oil are 2 to 3 years away from a playoff contender and by then Penner's contract is up. A deal like this would signal that the Oil's managment have finally got it, that this team needs a total re-build and not just tinkering arond the edges. Howver, Oil would need more than just the pick.

  • Oilers could be a major contender going into next season if they had an upper management team worth salt . With present managerial team , you have to wonder how they are going to screw things up even worse going into next season ? How about a pitch to Philly for Carter and Carcillo for starters ? We could use the grit and size . Lets hold onto any size that has skill – not trade it away !!

  • One thing I will say about Deslauriers… yes, he had a bad game… however the Oilers can't expect him to win the games when they only score one goal. They've scored ONE goal in 5 of their last 6 games. Brutal! Offense is supposed to be this team's forte right now. Nice of JDD to take ownership, but everyone on the team has effed it up lately

  • I watched the swiss game, mainly to watch Nino Nideirrieter play. I have to say I was damn impressed by Conz. Even after being small, he is damn fast and athletic. One particular was the save he made on a wrap around and how quickly he moved post-to-post. Wow

  • Harlie

    I wonder if any of the boys had the 26 ounce flu last night?

    Link: http://www.calgaryherald.com/sports/What+Oilers+ordered/2400082/story.html

    A list of what the Oilers ordered – according to the controversial bill – at an upscale Calgary restaurant Wednesday:

    – -1 hors d'oeuvres — $450.00

    – -45 SP dinner Oilers — $4,500

    – -45 mineral water — $357.75

    – -1 blow job (shooters) — $39

    – -1 blow job (shooters) — $250

    – -1 Crown — $24.00

    – -1 Sljivovica — $200

    – -44 Hiball — $286

    – -3 Amarone 2000 res — $450

    – -2 Brunello 99 — $260

    – -1 Ripasso Sup 03 — $60

    – -4 Ripasso 05 — $260

    – -8 Dom Perignon — $2,800

    – -2 Mags Dom — $1,000

    – -5 Conundrom 07 — $375

    – -2 Moet & Chandon — $200

    – -3 Moet & Chand Nect. — $450

    – -52 Menabrea — $338

    – -8 Coors light — $44

    – -30 Bacardi — $165

    – -65 Tequila — $487.50

    – -62 Grey Goose — $434

    – -18 Sambuca White — $126

    SUBTOTAL — $13,556.25

    GST — $677.98

    Total tab without tip — $14,234.23

    • Chris.

      The Oilers should talk to the league about changing the New Years Eve in Calgary tradition. It's clear that having the Oilers party in Calgary year after year is a recipe for disaster.

  • Milli

    Another game I didn't watch. JDD has had too many of these, but I still think he can grow into it, anyone with balls as big as his, to own a crap game when he's playing in front of a crap team. Well, where are the other guys ever taking responsibility? Why is it only the goalie? What a brutal string of games for these guys, one win in ten? Without that 5 game win streak, we are tied with the other 06 stanley cup finalist….

  • Milli

    I'd say a 4th rounder is a better bet for Moreau, but if he can pick up his game before the trade deadline, who knows? And on the subject of trades to Boston, please somebody make Boston give us Joe Colburne. I watched him play for Camrose a few years ago, and he's like a young Joe Thorton.

    I hate to say this, but I hope the Oilers blow this team up and do a proper rebuild

  • Peace Officers arent cops. Theyre bylaw enforcers.

    On the post game of HNIC last night they showed a tweet from Lowetide about Kelly Hrudy's hair. Then Ron Maclean gave props to the site saying its really good and saying how it backed up Dustin Penner's play last year.

    • Gerald R. Ford

      "Mr. Terrigno is charged with obstruction of a Peace Officer engaged in the execution of his duty on January 14, 2006…

      On January 14, 2006, Sergeant Brar, a Calgary City Police officer with eight years experience, was on patrol with his partner, Constable Hollingsworth, in a marked police vehicle. Both were dressed in their standard issue uniform."

  • Gerald R. Ford

    As I said, there is a difference between a Peace Officer and a Police Officer. A peace officer has the right to yell stop. A police officer has the right to shoot you if you dont stop.

    • Gerald R. Ford

      *All* Police Officers in the jurisdiction in question *are* Peace Officers. Not all Peace Officers are Police Officers. The charge stated on the judicial summary clearly confirms this. Did you not read it? Or, are you right, and the Provincial Court of Alberta is wrong? I mean, the document is right there, man.