Oilers vs. Blues Postgame: Yawn.

St. Louis Blues: 2

Edmonton Oilers: 1

One of the most boring games of the year ended with the usual result.

First Period

I was at the last Oilers/Blues matchup, which featured Devan Dubnyk in his first NHL start. It was an ugly affair, a 7-2 loss that was difficult to watch. I’m hoping for something a little less lopsided tonight.

Jeff Deslauriers seems strangely calm. I have no reason to be reassured, but somehow I feel good about him in net tonight.

The puck gets tangled up behind the net after some lousy communication between Souray and Gilbert; the latter dumped the puck behind him but Souray wasn’t there. I’m not sure who was to blame but it resulted in some sustained Blues possession in the Oilers’ zone.

A nice forecheck by Dustin Penner leads to some time in the offensive zone for the Oilers; he didn’t look like he was moving past but he snuck right up on Roman Polak and calmly took the puck away.

Jason Strudwick looked horribly uncomfortable with the puck, but managed to get it deep for the line change and I don’t care how awkward he looks as long as he can make those plays.

I’ve missed Mike Comrie. He’s calm with the puck, he takes his time when he can and he just knows what to do in the offensive zone.

Sometimes I think people focus too much on the minutes played by the fourth line and view it only as a demotion; sometimes it can be an opportunity for a guy like Cogliano, since he goes from playing top-nine guys to the assortment of goons, rookies and penalty-killers that inhabit the fourth line. It’s a position he should be able to succeed in.

Pisani is a nice complement to Gagner and Penner in the offensive zone; back when he was more or less healthy he was “Mr. Chemistry” and he has some underrated skill.

Gilbert Brule negated an icing call with some good speed and tenacity.

Barrett Jackman gave Robert Nilsson a few shoves after the latter tripped him up along the boards. I’m not sure why there wasn’t a call; possibly the referee thought Jackman went down a little easy but I think Nilsson got away with one there.

The Horcoff line swapped chances with the McDonald line.

Ryan Potulny draws a penalty from Patrik Berglund after the Blues’ forward slammed him into the boards.

Brule is now playing on the fourth line; I’m not sure if Quinn’s demoting him in the hopes of easing him in, or double-shifting him, but either way he’s in and Jacques is out.

First Intermission

The panel calls out the Oilers, given that St. Louis is playing their second game of a back-to-back. The Oilers have been horrible facing teams who played the night before, probably because they’ve been terrible overall.

Somehow, Lubomir Visnovsky fits into the “young core” displayed by Sportsnet.

To my complete surprise, I find myself agreeing with Doug MacLean that the Oilers need to add checking forwards and a pair of physical defencemen. Bang on.

And… apparently the Lightning are being sold, although it supposedly isn’t a done deal yet. This is probably for the best; the circus in Tampa Bay needs to end.

Carolina beat the Islanders 4-1.

Second Period

Louie DeBrusk was much, much more impressed with the Oilers in the first than either me or the intermission panel was.

Very good forecheck by Ryan Potulny, who despite his lack of speed managed to generate a turnover which led to a nice shot for the line and some pressure.

Potulny dangerous again; the Blues’ defenceman flubs the puck, and Potulny stole it and almost deked the puck in, running out of space in the last second. Very fine shift for him.

David Backes just owned Sam Gagner. Gagner had a very nice first period, but Gagner lost at least three battles along the boards to Backes that resulted in some impressive looking chances for hte Blues.

I love the Deslauriers/Hasek comparisons. Just love them.

Nice passing by the top line; Sam Gagner got the puck through the neutral zone to Robert Nilsson, and Nilsson flipped the puck over to Dustin Penner at the side of the net. Penner tipped it past Chris Mason to put the Oilers ahead 1-0.

The world’s shortest lead ends as an Eric Brewer point shot deflects in off Keith Tkachuk. 17 seconds, and it’s 1-1.

Mike Comrie went after Mike Weaver a little more aggressively than the Blues’ defenceman liked, and the two drop the gloves and tussle. Advantage to Weaver, but a nice thing for Comrie to do. The referees call it roughing and give coincidental minors.

Incredible shift for Shawn Horcoff, who was all over the ice and forechecking madly before finally getting hauled down, drawing a holding penalty.

Another relatively uneventful power play ends with the score still tied at one goal per team.

Penner with a gorgeous series of one-on-one moves in the offensive zone dancing in and around multiple Blues before passing back for a one-timer.

Sam Gagner takes a penalty on one of the more blatant trips I’ve seen this year.

Interesting play – Shawn Horcoff wins the faceoff on the PK, the Oilers ice the puck, and Horcoff changes for Potulny but Moreau and the defencemen stay on the ice.

Jeff Deslauriers has played very well so far tonight.

Gorgeous chance for Gilbert Brule after a brilliant pass from Ryan Potulny; the puck comes the other way and David Backes put it off the post. Backes was free because Jason Strudwick skates like Gordie Howe. Not in his prime Gordie Howe – Gordie Howe now.

Second Intermission 

I’m not at all convinced that NHL’ers in the Russian Olympics is in the best interest of the league, but on the other hand it’s a good bet that NHL’ers – European NHL’ers in particular – will want to go to the 2014 games. The league should be able to extract other concessions from the splintered NHLPA in exchange for Olympic participation.

Kelly Buchberger sounds as cheerful as I can recall him sounding in months; maybe he’s just a big fan of Jeff Deslauriers, who has been excellent.

Third Period

Tkachuk’s goal has been taken away from him, and he gets a little more bad luck as he rings a shot off the crossbar.

Tom Gilbert goes into the boards off an ugly hit; Gilbert turned at the last second which was why it was so brutal.

Alex Steen scores to put the Blues ahead 2-1. Steen beat both Deslauriers and the sliding Grebeshkov cleanly from the right faceoff circle.

Jacques had a sneaky shot the other way off a Cogliano pass; he went five hole but Mason managed to get it shut in time.

The Blues are now showcasing the greatest defensive strategy in the world: keep the puck in the opposition zone.

Great Visnovsky shot after an effective forecheck which involved all three members of hte Oilers’ fourth line.

Paul Kariya almost snuck right past Sheldon Souray and Dustin Penner, but the pass was too far forward and went to Jeff Deslauriers instead.

Lots of exciting neutral zone hockey!

Finally, a nice shot for Ryan Potulny breaks the tedium of neutral zone play and dump ins, but Chris Mason deflects it high for a whistle.

Jeff Deslauriers trips on a loose strap off his pads behind the net and it very nearly results in a St. Louis goal, except for Sheldon Souray’s quick action to break it up.

Chris Mason with a huge save on Gagner as the Oilers scramble with the net empty; it was a very nice shot that Mason never saw, but he got lucky and kept it 2-1.

A Dustin Penner wrist shot from the blue line is gloved easily by Mason, and that ends the game.

Oilers Stars

1. Dustin Penner. Penner scored the first goal and had a sneaky sort of night where it would look like he was coasting until he was a threat to score.

2. Sam Gagner. Aside from one regrettable shift against David Backes, Gagner had a decent evening and continued his strong offensive play of late.

3. Gilbert Brule. Added some fire and had a gorgeous scoring chance in his first game back.

  • Ducey

    Okay. Enough about this game. To The Future!

    Canes up by 5 points and strangely playing well.

    Its safe to put the DFF aside for a night. If the Oil can beat the Flames Saturday in regulation all will be forgiven (well some of it).

    For the first time in 2010, I say GOILERS!

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      I've been campaigning to end this acronym DFF as it is no longer a DFF….the DFF is a DONE DEAL….this is now a Dive for last or DF1 or officially change it to Fall for Hall but whatever it's called it's no longer DFF

      • Travis Dakin

        Myself and Jeanshorts played a major role in the grassroots DFF movement. It was a wonderful dream that I am happy to say is pretty much a lock and it's only JANUARY! haha but you make a very good point and a much awesomer acronym. The DFF is no longer acceptable. DF1 all the way.

        Make it so!

        DF1

        • All of these acronyms! The sheep here are only good for one a season. Last year it was FMNF. This season it evolved into DFF, if we can bend the rules & make it still apply I am in favor of keeping DFF.

          IQWT

          :S

    • Travis Dakin

      You know, the last time the Oilers were on this kind of a skid, they played the Flames in the last game of the season. They won. That took them out of the top five picks into sixth. Chicago moved to fifth, won the lottery and picked some wizard named Kane. I've seen the Oilers beat up on the Flames more than enough times to get me through a few losses. Another one this weekend would be more than fine by me. haha The points in January are just as important than the ones in April.

  • HottScarrison

    You forgot to mention that there was only ONE shot by the blues in the 3rd. It went in. Deslaurier forgot where his net was. Thats inexcusable for someone who gets paid to protect the net.

  • Chamucks Deluxe

    Something to think about, as of tonight Tyler Seguin leads the OHL in scoring with 81pts, Taylor Hall is second with 76.

    An interesting note is that Hall's spitfires have scored 244 goals, while Seguin's Whalers have scored 177.

    This leaves us with some interesting numbers regarding % of team offence, by my math they're as follows.

    Hall 31% of Windor's goals he was in on while,

    Seguin 45% of Plymouth's goals he had a hand in.

    That's a phenomenal difference, and say if we draft Hall, he won't have good teammates to hide behind. If we're looking for a go-to offense starter with possibly a 1st overall pick, why wouldn't we take Seguin?

    • Chamucks Deluxe

      Hi, Devils advocate here

      wouldn't those percentages just tell us the the Spitfires have a superior team over the Whalers?

      Ovechkins would have a higher percentage of team points if he played in Nashville or St.Louis, but that likely wouldn't change his offensive output, and definately not his ability/skill level

      you're not comparing apples to apples

      • Dyckster

        I'm with Chamucks on this one,

        Seguin has MORE points on a much less talented team, he's obviously capable of generating offense on his own. Some could (and will) argue Hall needs some help getting his points.

        Maybe Ovechkin wouldn't have as many points if he didn't have Semin and the boys by his side? You could argue either way, I've chosen my way.

        "For the 1st overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft the Edmonton Oilers are proud to select from the Plymouth Whalers, Tyler Seguin"….I hope.

      • Chamucks Deluxe

        Would Ovechkin put up as many points if he was back playing with Chris Clark instead of Alex Semin and Niklas Backstrom? Both Hall's linemates are in the top 20 in scoring, Seguins next best teammate is somewhere around 30th

    • That is something to think about, but not hang your hat on.

      In their draft year of 02/03:

      Marc Antoine Pouliot had a hand in 38.4% of Rimouski's goals.

      Ryan Getzlaf had a hand in 28.3% of Calgary's goals.

      This was one of the reasons that everyone had Pouliot ranked higher than Getzlaf.

      I think Pouliot has been really hampered by injuries in his career and will still be a good NHLer.

      Getzlaf on the other hand will play center for Team Canada.

      • Shawner

        yeah, but didn't MAP play with Sid the Kid?

        on another note: is there a reason Moreau is still the capt'n of this team?

        i'm all for DFF and i fully understand his role in meeting this goal.

        but now that there is no chance of missing the lottery shouldn't these kids get a chance to have some fun?

        i did like Carolina's move and i start to wonder: maybe we don't have any capt'n material youngsters, which would be a scary thought.

        • Shawner

          M.A.P did indeed play with the Great KId, that year the kid put up 168 points and M.A.P put up 114 points, so you tell me who made who better, looking at it now…..as for moreau who else is worthy at this point to be captain???

          • Shawner

            my bet would be Sid made MAP look far better than he actually is…we'll see, maybe injuries and lousy vet leadership on this Oilers team did pull MAP back.

            Moreau proved in 2+ years that he is NOT captain material. And that's my fear as well: who else?

            If Moreau is bast we have for captain, we're in deeper s#@t than we think.

  • Shawner

    I think that it's time that we as OIl fans need to sit back and enjoy the ambient sounds of other teams rolling over us, as we hear in the back of our heads in a very distant kevin quinn voice "" Now heres HEMSKY coming across the blue line he looks and deals the puck to EBERLE, over to HALL, Hall scores Overrrrtiiime winner, taylor HALL…………. Now wasn't that nice, just think of the moment were in as a slight pain somewhat of like peeling off a bandaid , it hurts like heck and you can't watch but when its over you feel much better, aaahhhhh..

  • Jmask5

    If the Oilers win on Saturday I would forgive them for losing the other games that they lost against the Flames. Not for the season though. That will only be forgiven as soon as we win the Lottery and draft Taylor Hall.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Went to the game last night few notes.

    Being in the fourth row behind the net you really get to see some things that you usually don't. Penner seemed like a loner yesterday, rarely was he paying attention to what the others on the ice were talking about. I noticed that him and Gilbert a few times either looked the other way or slowly skated away when the vets were telling them what to do.

    Mike Comrie goes out and hits and fights and then all of a sudden you see Cogliano trying to hit guys. This will be an interesting situation to watch. Maybe Cogs takes a page out of Stoll's book and looks up to the vet. Cogs has already mentioned that he has asked for tips.

    Last three guys on the ice for the pre-game skate Cogs, Nilsson and Gagner. Very interesting to see them out there playing around.

    Once again JDD lets another softy in. Generally I don't complain when a goalie lets two in, but he wasn't really tested that much and going into the 1st intermission you knew it was going to be best goalie wins.

    After every TV time out, Mason puts his arms across the crossbar and pull himself up. He then lifts his mask takes a huge gobber of a spit and has a swig of water. Might be the stupidest thing I noticed, but the lady behind me keep saying it was disgusting so I couldn't not remember it.

    At least 4 Oilers use the same stick Grebs, Moreau, Pisani and Brule?. If I were Brule get rid of the stick.

    Oh ya and Paul better up his singing, he has competition now.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      This is the value I see in re-signing Comrie, even at 2MM. I would love it if Gagner started playing more like Comrie (at least the physical aspects). Same goes for Cogs.

  • Chris.

    Hey Shawner the only thing your missing in that call is the centerman. I say we should be striking a deal with DF2 if they need a Hall for a little candy and take Seguin No.2. Don't we already have enough young wingers?

    • Shawner

      I think that i would be a nice scenario on the PP, also we have way too many centres:
      Horcoff, Gags, cogs, Brule, Comrie, pouliot,and potulny, Potulny is listed at a LW But they Play him @ C, any way the point is "Bite your lip and take the pain cause when it's over, we will have some sort of nice addition to an obviously hurtin' bunch, One fan to another.

    • Chris.

      Sure Hall says he's a natural center… But Bob Boughner (Spitfire Head Coach), Willie Desjardins (WJC Head Coach), and Bob McKenzie (Well Respected TSN Hockey insider) all say Halls game, and natural attributes make him more suited to play left wing. Every pro hockey player played center at one time or another… I'll bow to the expertise of these three as opposed to the self analysis of a teenager whose primary interest is to market himself and win the race to be first overall in the entry draft.

      I'm a Seguin man myself… He's putting up better numbers, on a worse team, at a younger age. He's also shown more maturity in all three zones and plays a less selfish game. Hall tends to hold on the the puck too long; trying to beat everyone one on one; he takes a real beating down low because of this; and he seems uninterested in his own zone… The Oilers already have a player a lot like that. His name is Hemsky. Why not draft a super-Horcoff to play first line center?

      That said: I really like 'em both. A few wrinkles aside: Hall could be a franchise first line L.W.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Oh ya the greatest thing I might of seen is the guys that were about 5 blocks away from rexall place that still had their paper bags on their head.

  • Dan the Man

    My favorite comment from Luis DeBrusk last night was during the post game wrap up. He said "for some reason Chris Mason likes playing against the Oilers."

    Really?!? You think??!!

    Yeah, him and every other goalie….could it be because the Oilers give them WINS and generally make average goalies look like all stars?

  • Dan the Man

    Can someone tell me why Seguin did not make the WJC team? (numbers thing, attitude?)

    Deslaurier needs that 2nd goal. He only let in 2 but that bad goal triggered the Blues to trap.

    I am in the DFF (or DF!, FFH or whatever) but holy cow, we need a win at some point….please break this streak vs. Calgary, please please.

  • With MPS and Eberle in the pipe + Hemmer and Penner, the Drip need a centre more than a winger. It's harder to land a franchise centre than it is to fine a winger. How many great centres get let go by their team? Answer is very few. We have Gags and I like Brule fine but my guess is Seguin will have a higher ceiling.

  • El Duke

    I am torn with the Seguin vs. Hall selection. There is a lot of hype with Hall. I don't want the Oilers judgement to be clouded by it. I also don't want them to go off the board either. I am leaning toward Seguin just due to the fact that we are in desperate need of a center.

    If there are too many games like that my interest in watching will decline to an all time low. I don't care if you lose but make it entertaining. There wasn't one point I thought they were going to win last night. Watching St Louis protect the puck with their bodies shows me how much the Oilers have to work on.

    Not sure if a collapse defense suits the Oil either.

    • Dan the Man

      It's true that the Oil need a centre, but I would hope that the team drafts whomever they consider to be the better player regardless of what position he plays.

      • Dyckster

        From all accounts it's a coin toss between them and really at 18, who knows which one is going to end up being the better player so you might as well go for position. Injuries (MAP) or accidental parenthood (Arnott) can swing things in a hurry.

        • Chamucks Deluxe

          You're right. Either or both of these players could turn out to be stars or busts. I'll be happy if the Oilers are able to draft either one of these guys, becuase they both look promising. Honestly, I haven't watched either player (other than Hall at the WJ's), so I can't really comment on whether the Oilers should take one player over the other.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @Chamucks

    Ovechkin played his first 2 seasons without Backstrom, and up until this season, didn't play with Semin, so yeah, I'm confident Ovechkin would do it on his own.

    I mean, is Crosby less of a player because Malkin gets 100 points? No.

    Hall isn't a worse player because his teammates are better, the only valid arguement would be that Seguin gets more of the other teams focus, because Halls team is deeper, yet even there, I'm sure teams plan against Hall just as much