Oilers Vs. Coyotes Postgame

Edmonton Oilers: 2

Phoenix Coyotes: 3 (SO)

After hanging in there with one of the Western Conference’s best clubs for most of the game, the Oilers committed a rash of transgressions in what was apparently an attempt to giftwrap two points for the Coyotes. Two things conspired against those efforts: a fluke goal against Ilya Bryzgalov (Dustin Penner, congratulations on goal number 29) and an outstanding performance in net by Jeff Deslauriers. The Oilers extended things to a shootout, where once again they did their best to lose, with nobody scoring and the coach opting for some strange choices in the shootout (this message brought to you by Fernando Pisani’s six-for-14 career shootout record), but once again Jeff Deslauriers just kept stopping shot after shot until he was finally beat on the Coyotes’ eighth attempt, as Matthew Lombardi reminded us all again what a great draft pick he was. 

Oilers Three Stars, According To Me

 1. Jeff Deslauriers. After that introduction, this probably comes as a major shock. Deslauriers was the only reason this game wasn’t another embarrassing loss in a season full of embarrassing losses. 42 saves in regulation and another seven in the shootout represented a fine effort on his part, and as much as some of this season’s losses can be put on him this was one night where he showed up while the rest of the team slumbered. Best player on the ice.

2. Zack Stortini. Stortini did the lion’s share of the work on the Oilers only legitimate goal (Bryzgalov should have had that weird Penner shot from behind the goal line), Ryan Jones’ first with the team, but he did more than that. In his half-dozen minutes of ice-time he was consistently physical, he back-checked (memo to other forwards on the team: yeah, you’re allowed to do that) and he always seemed to be doing something positive not only without the puck but with it as well.

3. Ryan Whitney. Rumour had it that Whitney was as soft as pre-Subway Jared, but he’s been a different animal in his time with Edmonton and while it’s early I’ll admit I’ve been impressed with the results. He and Gilbert once again were the team’s best defence pairing, both finishing plus-two (with Gilbert picking up two of those second assists Brownlee so loves) while Whitney showed some snarl (although that cross-checking penalty was, shall we say, ill-advised). 

The Penalty Parade

I get that the call on Dustin Penner was marginal. I also get that the referees missed a high-stick on Jason Strudwick. I also understand that on the penalty kill sometimes defencemen like Ryan Whitney figure they can get away with a little bit of cross-checking. That said, what in the name of all the infernos of Dante was Andrew Cogliano doing slashing the midsection of an opposition player? I know he’s young but he’s been a hockey player long enough now to know that’s just stupid. The same applies to Jason Strudwick’s idiotic slash. Just because the captain’s nickname is “Chopper” doesn’t mean emulation is the order of the day (although apparently it doesn’t get a guy healthy-scratched).

It was an ugly loss of discipline, and for all of Steve Tambellini’s high-minded talk about the order that Pat Quinn was going to bring to the team, it’s difficult to see any semblance of discipline out there. Sure they lost (less) under MacTavish but at least there was recognizable system.

Kevin Weekes’ Redeeming Quality

I finally get what CBC sees in Kevin Weekes. At times, he can be a hell of an analyst – especially when he’s breaking down goaltending performances. I’ve been highly critical of Weekes (and I wasn’t overly fond of him tonight) but the guy can think, he just needs to get better at expressing it for HNIC (not an easy job). So I understand why the network is enduring this bumpy patch as Weekes learns on the job.

That said, cutting back on the cliché might help. Saying that Martin Hanzal just ‘wanted the puck more’ than Jason Strudwick as the latter set up another two-on-one (he and Chorney took turns last night) is idiotic: Strudwick obviously wanted the puck, and just as obviously he has the get up and go of a junkyard Pinto. That was a failing of foot-speed, not character, and as much as we like to think that good guys with a lot of drive win every time sometimes winning hockey games does come down to actual talent. It’s a disservice to Strudwick to imply that he has the latter while suggesting he’s missing the former when it’s clear that the opposite is really the case.

Speaking of cliché, the notion that the Oilers just need to be free offensively right after Phoenix scores a goal because three forwards and a defenceman got caught out of position makes no sense. Yeah, I get that they need goals; I also understand that this ‘must get a goal’ mentality is what leaves Taylor Chorney all alone like a deer in headlights.

This, That And The Other Thing

Aside from making hilariously dated pop culture references and injecting a little life into the Oilers’ post-game, what does Pat Quinn actually do? Thinking back, I can recall lots of images of him cursing after a goal, but every time the camera flashes to the bench during a time out, or after a player makes a bad play, it’s Renney or Buchberger doing the talking. We hear a lot about their responsibilities, and about those of Wayne Fleming, but I’m wondering if Quinn’s role has become more of a caretaking job, because he looks (again this is from some distance so it may be wrong; it is only conjecture) like a pretty hands-off head coach.

I’m still trying to figure out why Zack Stortini was tagged for a defensive zone faceoff on the penalty kill for the last few seconds of the Patrick O’Sullivan penalty. That felt like an odd choice.

If you missed it, Steve Tambellini will not be making the decision on Hall vs. Seguin vs. Fowler, as that duty will fall to head scout Stu MacGregor. That of course is the right call; the whole point of having a scouting staff is that they get to see these players a lot more than Steve Tambellini does.

Lee Stempniak was a marked man all night, but I hope someone had a quiet word with Dean Arsene about how it isn’t cool to elbow the opposition in the head.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I'm really wondering (hoping) the Whitney we've seen is the one we're going to get for the duration of his time here. Carlyle along with Ducks/Pens fans weren't overly impressed with him for a reason.

    Hopefully getting traded for a 2nd time was the kick in the pants he needed to him to realize what he needs to do to be a high end dman.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        listen man, Whitney had a rep as a soft, defensivly weak player for a reason. I would bet if some Ducks and maybe even Pens personal were to see the Whitney that we've seen since the trade, they would be suprised with what he has shown.

        From the handful of times I've seen him before he was here and the opinions of Ducks/Pens fans on him, I'd say he's been a much different player here. Sometimes it takes a change of scenery or a bit of a wake up call for a guy to reach his cealing, it would be great if that was the case.

        Now, considering the dynamics of the trade, Whitney's rep, Brownlee's article on Whitney/Carlyle and the love in that Whitney had with his former teamates a short while after the trade leads me to believe he wasn't a well liked guy with the Ducks and the were probably *looking* to trade him….which could be viewed as a wake up call for him… which could then benifit us.

        • Puritania

          Ok ok man, calm down…you must be right on all accounts and the move to trade for him must have been the stupidest thing we could have ever done given all the negatives you speak of or seem to know of….I wish you would have let the Oilers know ahead of time so they could have avoided picking up this player that has so much baggage and such a terrible rep…

          I guess I'll just cross my fingers that Whitney becomes a completely different guy now….you're probably right and he has never shown anything that anyone would want…what in the hell were we thinking in picking this guy up in the first place…

          Or maybe, just maybe, he has never been as bad as you are making out…

          Is it possible the Pens traded Whitney for a need up front already having Gonchar, Letang and Goligoski in the fold and for no other reason? You have to give something up to get something.

          I can buy the rift between Carlyle and Whitney being a reason for a move there…could it be this perceived dislike by Carlyle and other teammates could have something to do with him being the same way he is in Edmonton and coming in trying to be a leader immediately and telling it like it is? Here it's being taken as showing leadership because of such a lack of it here but in Anaheim maybe it was perceived as the new guy coming in and speaking out of turn…

          Who knows? Unlike you I wouldn't be willing to bet that what Whitney is showing here is anything really all that new…

          I will agree with you though that I do hope that he keeps doing what he's been doing here for as long as we have him….if we get all of our guys back next year with the new additions I could see Whitney having a great year..

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Are you Whitney's mom or something? I get it, you love the guy.

            Oddly enough when I first wrote the original post I thought "I better word this just right or Crash will come running in guns blazzing".

            I really have no idea how you can take what I wrote as an attack on your boy. Find some educated Ducks or Pens fans and ask them what Whitney was like, I'll bet most will discribe a different guy then what we've seen here.

            I view him as a changed player since he arrived (which happens a fair amount when guys change teams) and I hope it continues, thats it, so you can get off your high horse any time now.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            What is funniest is you telling me to get off my high horse…

            I don't really have enough insight to know all of what Whitney has done in his career other than numbers…

            There is NO ONE on this entire sight who comes in here on their high horse more than you…

            I just am a fan….So sorry for supporting a player…should I have asked if you were Craig MacTavish's mom or something earlier?

            Oh and I didn't come in with guns blazing. All I did was ask should Visnovsky also take the fact that he has been traded twice as a kick in the ass too? Just like Whitney? That doesn't seem like guns blazing to me…I believe your guns went off before I even loaded mine.

            Ever since I've come on this site you've chosen every opportunity to make corrections (in your mind) to what people say…what I had to say to you was tongue in cheek…

            but I hope you feel better now. Oh and speaking of high horse's, take a look in the mirror…

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            "I don't really have enough insight to know all of what Whitney has done in his career other than numbers…"

            And that's really what it comes down to, you don't have enough info so you don't want anyone forming an opinion on a guy. Some people have read up on a guy and chose to form opinions on him based on that, which you seem to find unacceptable and come back with your constant "lets wait and see" and "might happen" reply.

            Anyways, I'm finished with you. Do me a favor and skip over the post whenever you see my name. I'll do the same with yours.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Oh please no, don't be finished with me, lol…

            I've seen you say that to a few different people now, but you can't resist…I've seen you respond to them since…

            Not sure why you're asking me for favors..

            I guess the bottom line is you know about as much about Whitney as I do…you formed an opinion based on what you say you read up on and I disagreed and formed my own opinion.

            I was sticking up for the kid similar to the way you do with Horcoff even though there are numerous things said and written about him…

            You are entitled and I'm not if I disagree with you.

            Ok seeing as how we are doing favors…how about you don't correct anyone on this site when they say something you disagree with and I'll grant you your favor 🙂

  • OilFan

    Jon: While it provides fodder for those who choose to pick apart what I was trying to say last season, you (and several others) have got to get off the second assist thing with Gilbert.

    I pointed out Gilbert's high number of second assists to add context to what I saw as an inflated points total. No different in terms of trying to assess what a player is doing than using advanced stats. Not all second assists are cheapies just as not all first assists are gems.

    Contrary to those who'd revise what I've actually said in references to Gilbert, I hardly see him as a bad hockey player. He is, in fact, quite good in my estimation. I don't think saying Gilbert's 45 points was likely a one-off and projecting him as a 30-35 point defenceman is suggesting he's a dog.
    In fact, I might be convinced to up him to the 35-40 point range with increased ice time that will come because of the changes on the back end moving forward.
    In any case, five years from now we'll see how many times he's hit 45 points again. I suspect my assessment will stand up.