Yeah, I know there was a game tonight. I watched it, and the only two points I have much interest in talking about are a) another lovely shorthanded goal for Jordan Eberle and b) Dany Heatley being on my fantasy team. Beyond that, the less said the better.
After not allowing a power-play goal over their first two games (both wins), the Oilers have allowed at least one in each of their last four (all losses) and have averaged more than two goals against per game over that time period. Their 66.7% kill rate currently sits dead last in the NHL. The current personnel probably deserve a few more games to try and figure things out (it’s possible, however unlikely, that this is just an ugly stretch) but if they can’t right the ship Tom Renney doesn’t have much in the way of options to spell them with. Perhaps it’s time to try Andrew Cogliano again, given that this is a rebuilding year anyway?
I’m not sure what’s up with Dustin Penner, who already has three goals on the season, but somehow he ranks eighth among Oilers forwards in even-strength ice-time, despite clearly being one of the team’s three best forwards. I know that everyone’s eager to watch the kids, but I’m a little surprised to see that all three of the big rookies (plus Andrew Cogliano) are getting more minutes five on five than last season’s MVP.
I was thinking about the proposed new arena for a bit tonight, and while I don’t want to wade back in to the discussion about whether or not the city should be handing over big piles of cash to build it, I will say one thing: I sure hope it seats more people. Given the level of interest in Edmonton, there’s no reason that this city shouldn’t have one of the bigger arenas in the league, and that becomes especially true if taxpayer money is involved, as more seats mean more fans have an opportunity to take advantage of the new building.
There was a funny argument in the comments section about (what else) Shawn Horcoff, with a few commenters engaging regular Kip Drodry over how useless/useful he is. Drodry characterized Horcoff’s three goals this season in the following way:
He did score a few times this year, all beauties. Remember the one goal that Eberle burnt 2 defensemen and the goalie and then the puck was left there for Horcoff to tap in. Awesome Goal! Remember the one Eberle banged in of him. Awesome Goal. Remember the one Hall banged in of him. Awesome for the third time. Blind hate? Really? It not hate, its stating the obvious.
I didn’t remember it that way, so I thought we might review the video:
I believe the video above, where Horcoff picked up a loose puck and fired in a backhanded goal after after Jordan Eberle couldn’t get a shot away, was characterized as “Remember the one Eberle banged in of him.”
This beauty here, where Horcoff’s speed and forecheck result in a turnover (despite the fact that it was a 1-on-3 situation), with Horcoff eventually banging in the rebound, was described as “Remember the one Hall banged in of him.”
Sadly, NHL.com doesn’t have a video of Horcoff’s first goal against Calgary (instead, the video links to a Kiprusoff save on Paajarvi), but in the interests of fairness I’ll cede the point in that case.
When people talk about blind Horcoff hate, this is precisely what we mean, since I think it’s obvious that giving him no credit for any of his goals isn’t a credible point of view.
While I think Nikolai Khabibulin’s been relatively solid when he’s been healthy over his time with the Oilers, I’m going to be interested to see what share of the workload he gets this season. Given that this is a rebuilding year, one would hope that Devan Dubnyk gets a bunch of games in.
The Oilers’ current shots leader is Kurtis Foster, with 22, which is a nice number that perhaps indicates that things will eventually start going his way. Less encouraging are Jim Vandermeer’s team-leading nine giveaways, which would be bad even if he were a puck-moving defenceman.
Still on giveaways/takeaways, I found it interesting that Horcoff and Eberle both lead the team with six, and that Horcoff has a single giveaway while Eberle has three. On the other end of the spectrum, Gilbert Brule and Andrew Cogliano have combined for 12 giveaways and only one takeaway. It’s early for all these numbers, but for the three veterans they fit in with their pattern from last season.
Sticking with Horcoff, two years ago he was one of the league’s most reliable faceoff men. What happened?