Oilers Vs. Sharks Postgame: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Edmonton Oilers: 5

San Jose Sharks:1

Despite the score, the Sharks were the better team. Seriously. They were. However, I’m not a Sharks fan and the first overall pick is safe, so I’ve got to say I really enjoyed this game, and I’m definitely pulling for a Phoenix Coyotes as division champs story, which this helps.

 

Oilers Three Stars

 

1. Devan Dubnyk. Asked about getting two wins in two games after his lengthy career-starting losing streak, Dubnyk said “I don’t remember what was so hard about it,” before talking about how hard everyone in front of him worked, going away and then amiably coming back to talk to Gene Principe. He played well again tonight and this is one of those situations where he might make the Oilers goaltending situation a little more complicated before the year ends.

2. Tom Gilbert/Ryan Whitney. This pairing was fantastic tonight, moving the puck sharply, playing solid defensive hockey, and finishing the night plus-3. Tom Gilbert alone had twice as many blocked shots as the entire Sharks team.

3. Fernando Pisani/Shawn Horcoff. It was a good night for the checking line, and both of these players finished with a goal and an assist while keeping their opposition off the score sheet.

 

Other Thoughts

 

The shot clock at even-strength was 24 to 24 in favour of the Sharks, which looks pretty even but doesn’t begin to reflect the Sharks’ territorial dominance. The difference was that virtually every Oilers’ shot not only got through but landed on net – the Oilers had five goals, 19 shots, five missed shots and two blocked shots, meaning that 77.4% of their shots were effective. On the Sharks side, they had one goal, 23 shots, 20 missed shots and 20 blocked shots, so only 37.5% of their shots were effective. It’s a weird split (I can’t recall another like it) and the Sharks numbers are closer to what one would expect from most games, meaning that a) the Oilers made their shots and b) if I were Todd McLellan I’d be spending the entire next practice having guys block shots until they got in the habit of doing it.

It was an unfortunate evening for sketchy looking hits. Rob Blake hammered Ryan Potulny cleanly, but that was just the start. Brad Staubitz butt-ended Potulny in the face (it looked unintentional), and then caught Sam Gagner in the head with his shoulder (again, it looked unintentional). At the end of the game Doug Murray caught Theo Peckham with an awkward hit that sent him tumbling into the boards; Peckham left the game favouring his shoulder.

Three fights in the game; Stortini fought twice, once against Staubitz after a good hit on Dan Boyle (more on that in a second) and then again against Murray a while after Murray’s hit on Peckham. Mike Comrie also squared off against Scott Nichol. None of them were really decisive wins, but I thought the Oiler came out on top all three times.

How did Brad Staubitz escape an instigator penalty when he went after Stortini seconds after the latter hit Dan Boyle? I’m indifferent on the penalty as a rule, but it’s there and the referees should call it, especially when the fight happens right after a clean hit.

Sam Gagner was relegated to the bottom six for the entire night, which I don’t get at all. If Gagner was hurt, he should have been out of the lineup entirely, and if he was healthy he’s arguably the Oilers best player right now (and certainly one of their top three forwards). Sticking him on the bottom half of the forward corps is one more bizarre decision in a season that’s been full of them.

  • Ender

    Once again fans boo Kevin Lowe, not Shawn Horcoff. If someone plopped a 6 year contract for over 30 Million dollars would you say no? No one in their right mind says no. Horcoff is not anything less or more than what we've always seen. A solid two way centre capable of filling the no.2 slot. For those of you wondering why he's struggling it's because of his shoulder. His faceoff percentage this season is 47%, significantly below his usual average of 52-53%. That tells me that he's playing despite a bad shoulder which is an act that shouldn't be booed. The Oilers training staff should have shut him down because of the fact he's been so ineffective and allowed him to rest his shoulder or if necessary, to get surgery on it. I honestly don't know why they kept playing him through the injury, that decision is right up there with playing Cogliano and Gagner in the bottom two lines.
    Also the intermission discussions on Hall/Seguin were interesting. Although I think the Oilers would benefit more from Seguin as he's a complete player who the Oilers could use to fill a lot of holes. Hall is more skilled but can't play on the PK and isn't a pure centerman and a lot of his points come on the PP, whereas Seguin scored much more consistently during 5 on 5 play. The Oilers need a no.1 center as I see Gagner as more of a second line center at this point due to his poor faceoff ability.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Actually he's significanly less then what we've always seen.

      Again, do people think Lowe came out and offerd 30/6 right off the bat? Or do you think Horcs camp presented their guy as a player that put up .9/.7/.9 PPG over the last three years and argued that he should be paid as such.

  • canadianmandy

    Completely agree with you about Gagner. I found since after the Olympic break since coming back from injury, he's slowed down a bit. But the most puzzling thing is that he got moved down to the 4th line after the Minnesota game(where he was easily the best forward). I would have moved him down before that game since he was struggling a bit. It's great that Cogliano is getting a chance, but still…STill I must say, i think Gags is handling the situation with lots of maturity. Other players on this team who complained earlier in the year could take a page from his book.

  • third string plumber

    good point Odgen Brother but look in the end it's still Lowe's fault. Of course it's a negotiation and Lowe definitely didn't just hand out a check for 30 Mil. But Lowe should have had a ceiling in terms of amount and term for Horcoff's contract. Say 4 to 4.5M for 5 years because at the time Horcoff was playing fairly well and was just under a point per game player as you pointed out. However he gave in and gave up a lot of money.

    A prime example of what to do is shown by a GM like Ken Holland. Jiri Hudler asked for way too much and Holland didn't want to move a lot of salary to get under the cap. So he allowed Hudler to leave because he assessed Hudler's abilities and saw that he was replaceable in terms of offensive production. As Fippula was a very similar player and at this point both players had been slotted in at the second and third line.

    Lowe should have seen that Horcoff's 70+ point season was a definite anomaly as he had previously never broke the 50 point barrier prior to the 73 point season and in the two seasons after Horcoff put up second line center numbers with a 51 and 50 point season. While you could argue that the year he was hurt he would have been a point per game player there's no proof of that. Players always have highs and lows in a season and Horcoff made the most of his offensive highs in 07-08.

    At 29 years of age it is highly unlikely he's all of a sudden blossoming into an offensive center. He should have stood his ground and let Horcoff go when he felt Horcoff was demanding too much term and salary.