Oilers vs. Canucks Postgame: Ugly

That was an ugly game.

The first period was fairly one-sided. The Oilers actually had a decent second period, though they were out-scored three to one thanks to some Sedin magic and a boneheaded play by Nikolai Khabibulin. All they had to show for it when the final whistle sounded in the period was an Ales Hemsky buzzer-beater. Then the third period reverted to being totally one-sided. I felt the 6-1 score accurately reflected the balance of play.

The fourth line, consisting of Fraser, Stortini and MacIntyre had a surprisingly good game. MacIntyre laid a heavy hit on Andrew Alberts which led to a brief wrestling match, and then later went to do the same thing to Edler, who slowed down to avoid the hit and thereby allowed MacIntyre to grab the puck first. It made me laugh.

Weak points for the Oilers this season remained weak points in this game. The penalty kill reverted to form, allowing two goals. The power play demonstrated its traditional impotence. Sam Gagner, with a 38% success rate, was the Oilers’ best faceoff man (aside from 1-for-1 Ryan Jones). Meanwhile, only winger Mikael Samuelsson finished at less than 50% for Vancouver.  The Oilers were also outshot 34-24.

Tom Gilbert led the team with 29 minutes in ice-time, but had a rough night by the scoring chances, finishing minus-9 at evens.  Jeff Petry, somewhat surprisingly, finished plus-5.

Elsewhere…

The hit above, courtesy of Tom Kostopoulos, broke Brad Stuart’s jaw. It seems to me to be almost the definition of the league’s new blind-side hit rule.  It’s not really charging, it’s tough to see if there’s an elbow, and the puck was in the area, but Kostopoulos nailed Stuart in the head when he wasn’t looking.  It’s the kind of hit that’s totally needless.  What does everyone else think?

Also, brief one-time Oiler Jesse Boulerice has been suspended again, this time for abuse of an official.  I don’t understand why the general managers of professional hockey teams keep giving this guy opportunities.

The Leafs beat Atlanta 9-3 tonight.  Interestingly, no Atlanta player finished with worse than a minus-2 rating, while Leafs’ defenceman Brett Lebda played less than 14 minutes and somehow finished minus-3.

  • O.C.

    Yikes

    I feel double sick after predicting the score in the GDB thread.
    Predictable tho. Best vs Worst. Fraser. Strudwick. Back to back with second on road.
    Watched second period of leaf game. 6 goals in 15 m. Was butt ugly. There will be a suspension for a sucker punch. That match penalty lead to 3 goals.

  • Jodes

    Men against Boys yet again.. Nothing seems to change these past 20 or so years.

    Well I guess the good news is that April is only 3 months away, and we get to go through this all over again in the fall!

    0-4-1 for the road trip.. bank on it!

  • Rob...

    This league is so gutless I dont even know why we bother discussing head hits. At best that hit on Stuart will be one game or a fine. Nothing more than a nice day off for Kostopolous.

    The league is not interested in dealing with this issue, the owners certainly dont seem to care, and the players will continue to do it as long as there are players to do the hitting.

  • Shaun Doe

    Cloutier just wrote one of the worst concieved pieces of literature (More like word diahrea) I have ever seen. Sadly it may have been worse than the Oilers play over the last 4 seasons.

  • Shaun Doe

    “then later went to do the same thing to Edler, who slowed down to avoid the hit and thereby allowed MacIntyre to grab the puck first.”

    Edler made the smart play for two reasons: 1) It’s best not to have your organs liquefied, and 2) the odds of MacIntyre doing anything productive with the puck are predictably minuscule.

  • Shaun Doe

    Jon,
    What is the justification for Strudwick being in the line-up. He seems to lose every puck battle and turns the puck over virtually every time he touches said puck.

  • Cowboy

    No surprise, a predictable result…. Not a Canucks fan but KESLER is DAMN GOOD. If I’m not mistaken, a 23rd pick back in 2003. Over 100 games in the AHL ( all be it many during the lockout season). A prime example of proper development over time can lead to a fantastic end result. Oiler fans be patient….. our time will come. ‘Tenting fingers gingerly’

  • Rob...

    What the Oilers are missing is what Vancouver has in their lineup, players hard to play against. Burrows, Kesler, Alberts, Torres, etc.. the list is long. The Oilers talk every off season about adding that ‘jerk’ player who is hard to play against but never do. The last time they did was Peca, and Todd Harvey. Oilers have some really great offensvie kids but still need that ‘dink’ player to stir the drink. Are there any out there?? Of course there is but that means letting go some players who the organization over values.

  • Rob...

    I was thrilled to hear DeBrusk point out that the Canucks were hitting the Oilers star players quite regularly while the Oilers were only targeting the goons. Though I do think he was acting with slight tunnel vision, as Peckham doesn’t seem to discriminate when laying a hit at the blueline. I also understand that MacIntyre is too slow to hit most star players.

    • Zamboni Driver

      “I was thrilled to hear DeBrusk point out that the Canucks were hitting the Oilers star players quite regularly while the Oilers were only targeting the goons. ”

      Agreed 100% – surely SURELY now this will stop Stauffer, Robin and whoever else from arguing (pointlessly) that somehow the team either plays better or bigger or that the stars are somehow “protected” by having Ogie Oglethorp in the lineup.

      It’s always been nonsense, and was, once again, proven in spades yesterday.

  • Jerk Store

    Could not agree more Maverick. I am not sure why we have not had a couple of guys like that for, what, 4 years. A couple of possible reasons:

    1) The true “jerks” are just that. Avery, the uber-jerk is hated in both locker rooms when he gets to the rink … Allegedly. Could be that you can’t switch on and off the agitator personality. See Downie, Barnaby, Burrows et al. A couple of the Oilers more famous “jerks” – including Peca, Corson, Linseman, McClelland, Tikkanen (to an extent Pronger) were reportedly not universally loved in the room. I am sure there are “jerks” that are adored by their teammates. Just none spring to mind. Is that something you need in a room that is allegedly just finding some balance that was pretty divided over the past couple of years?

    2) Back to the theory that two lottery picks are better than one. Why screw up a top 3 pick this year by bringing in a) a competent 3rd line center who can win draws b) an NHL caliber defenceman to compliment the 3 or 4 we have and c) an agitator. All of which, you would think could be brought in fairly easily.

    But Maverick you are right we are way too easy to play against. I have always held hope that Brule could morph into that role – skilled agitator – because he was great at it in junior. But he may just not have the will or personality to do it at this level. I hope there is a plan to add a Steve Ott type when this team is ready to win. But something tells me this is not the year.

  • Rob...

    @ Maverick…agree.

    And I should have read this post-gamer before posting/venting a similiar frustration in Ruben’s post on Saturday.

    “downing a couple of T3 and chasing it with a glass of water to combat the hangover from the after game liquid analysis”

  • Quicksilver ballet

    That hit looks like a decent check to me,hit him square with his shoulder and definately not a charge. If they have to remove this type of hit in the game, hockey dies a little bit more. If they want to restore widespread respect in the game they should have ALL the players play without a helmet/visor again. When everyones coconut is exposed an acceptable level of respect will return.

    Stuart left himself vulnerable like that i don’t feel a suspension is required, Campbell maybe gives him 2 games for pr sake.

    Through the first half the season it sure looks like Jordon Eberle has an uncanny sense. He rarely lets himself get in that vulnerable positions where he could get tagged pretty hard. As Eberle and Halls first half goes, it doesn’t get much better, injury and on ice productivity wise.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      “If they have to remove this type of hit in the game, hockey dies a little bit more.”

      Currently, hockey thrives on concussions. Real hockey fans love ’em. Keep your stupid tic-tac-toe and breakaway deke, convulsions on the ice are way more fun to watch. And last longer.

  • Aendayana

    I think the league has no balls. And the only way the cheap hits like that will stop is when other players come in and kick the crap out of the guy dealing the cheap hits. I think that some teams should start thinking about dealing out their own punishment from things like that. If I was the coach I would bench the guys for a few games. Hit as hard as you want just make sure its clean. But then you have another problem, coaches that applaud their players for hits like that. It will always be a problems.

  • Aendayana

    Ben Eager got 4 guys for punching someone in the face with his glove on. Nobody has gotten that kind of punishment for a head hit yet. But then its pretty easy to suspend Ben Eager. The league is gutless.

  • Aendayana

    I understand why we don’t have jerks on our team and I agree with it. How about players like Vern Fiddler? Plays similar styles as well seems to fo well when playing here.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Kesler stood by himself in front of our net all night. Easy hattrick. He is the ugliest man in all of hockey though, combined with being the cockiest, which makes him easy to dislike.
    A talented, yet gruff physical forward? Very valuable, but not worth the 2nd overall pick.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I started to think that as well… but you have to look at the kid, he’s is only 17 years old, way too early to write him off. He is good enough that you won’t even get to see him here for the World Juniors next Christmas. He’ll be a regular in the NHL next season….it’s just a matter of with whom it will be.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I think we need to start being honest about head shots. In spite of the hand-wringing, there is no appetite on the part of team owners to take them out of the game. Like UFC, people watch hockey to see participants get injured and crippled. Fans like it. Fans seek out videos of players getting damaged, the worse it is, all the better.
    The owners collectively believe that if young men are offered incredible amounts of money, they accept that being maimed is part of what they can expect in their career. Note the support for Kassian – what does he do? He injures other players.
    That’s the nature of our national game.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I re-ran the clip several times at around 43 second mark to really see if Kos is headhunting. It doesn’t seem like it to me. It looks like he was half expecting Stuart to turn and then hit him square on. He missed him a bit.

    The thing is that starting from 40 seconds its completely, totally, utterly 150% obvious that when Kos is skating in at high speed that Stuart is a vulnerable target and that if he’s going to be hit, Kos should check up at least somewhat.

    How many times does that happen in a game? When a player is vulnerable and an opposing player has a chance to really label them with a high hit? Before reading on: what’s your honest guess?

    I’ll guess 5-7. I don’t think that’s too high. It’s probably too low. Guys are turning away from hits and coming across the middle alot even in the NHL. Its not like my nephew’s Midget AA tourneys, but there’s plenty of times when I watch a NHL game and think “X could have really hurt Y if he wanted to”.

    Does anyone really, honestly, seriously think otherwise? That in the NHL season the number of times players have a really high likelihood of hurting someone precisely equals the number of times that players DO hurt someone?

    No?

    Then already. in the top league. players hold up on plenty of cases when they could seriously hurt other players. If so, then even in this particular game there might have been several times when players checked up on an obviously dangerous hit. Kos’ was the exception. Already maybe 95% of the dangerous potential hits are avoided. Its a really tenuous argument that making that 100% will significant impact the sport. How many extra hits per game would the NHL be really ruling out here by telling players not to hit vulnerable opponents in the head?