The Rebound Game

Everything was going pretty well for Jeff Petry. After a slow start his defensive game was rounding into form and he had found the offensive part of his game. He was playing about twenty minutes most nights, a solid twenty minutes. He was getting back into the groove that made Oiler fans hope he was one of the answers on Edmonton’s blueline.

Then this happened…

This is a rough play. Every defenceman that has ever played has put one in his own net. Some guys shoot it right in, others have the puck bounce off of them and some redirect the puck with their skate. When you are the last person to touch a puck that goes into your net, no matter the way it gets there, everyone points the finger at you.

I have had pucks go off me and into the net. Ask Dan Boyle if he remembers putting that puck in his own net in the playoffs a couple years ago. It makes you want to go and hide on the bench.

As if that wasn’t enough to test Petry, he then was faced with taking one of the NHL’s best players one vs. one in overtime. Pavel Datsyuk was flying up the ice, hadn’t scored for a long time and was having a great game. He was due for something special.

OUCH.

That just tops off a game for Petry. A game where, if you take out those two plays, he was solid. Nobody was talking about the rest of the game for him though, just those two plays.

After the game I am sure that one of the coaches grabbed him to have a talk. They probably said to forget about both plays. That he is a big part of this team and that the team needs him to be steady and solid. This is the advice I would have given him at least.

But it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks – what was Petry thinking?

After a game like Detroit for Petry I was always glad when we could play right away to get that sick feeling out of my stomach. Nothing was worse than waiting for two or more days for a chance to not only redeem myself but purge that game completely.

Petry had to only wait forty eight hours to get his chance, but how would he react? I watched him very closely for the whole Nashville game. How would he respond? Would he play small, almost trying to hide or would he overcompensate and try to do too much to make up for the bad luck he had the game before?

I was very impressed with his game on Sunday. He was solid. He led the team with almost twenty three minutes of ice time. He was under control. His game against Nashville says a lot about where is head is at. He is maturing as a player and has the confidence to shake off two rough plays from the game before. This is good news for the Oilers.

I believe Petry is a big part of this Oiler D corps moving forward. He can play in all situations. Although he is not a vocal individual he has a quiet confidence that will rub off and calm team mates down. My grandpa used to tell me adversity tests character. Petry passed the test.

Oh Sergei!!!

Sergei Kostitsyn made a huge mistake which led to a very important Oiler goal Sunday.

Yes, that is ugly. His coaches and team mates are going crazy on the bench as he slowly changes after a long power play shift. He has no idea what is going on behind him.

He has been abused by everyone for this play, surprisingly I am not going to abuse him. His on ice awareness is brutal during this sequence but does this one isolated incident make him a bad team mate?

No, it doesn’t.

He made a mistake. Apparently he is going to be healthy scratched by his coach for this. By itself I don’t think this is worth a benching. It must be the last straw in a series of acts by Sergei to get to that point.

If Eberle had done this Sunday would Kruger have benched him? I doubt it.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want Sergei as a teammate but it has nothing to do with this mistake. There are a lot of reasons that are very obvious. Nashville should have thought about that before signing him again.

One day at a time

The Oilers have battled their way back into a better position. My advice to them is to not pay attention to other teams successes or failures in games. Just worry about yourselves.

It doesn’t matter what happens around them if they don’t get points every night. They just need to focus on their house.

It doesn’t matter if they go on a five game win streak. Each new game is a chance to get or lose two points, the last game is irrelevant. What matters is the game right in front of you.

The standings change quickly and a short memory is required. I hope Oiler fans get a playoff memory this year!

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  • I tried it at home

    I wondered about Nashville re-signing him (Kostitsyn). After the Montreal adventures I would of thought there would be a red flag or two. But, if youre not in the dressing room, I suppose you just never know.

  • Ducey

    Good read. There has been a lot said about the Oilers defence in the last few years making it difficult to evaluate a players worth without either rose coloured glasses, or Oiler fan expectations.

    I wonder how high Petry’s ceiling is, and where he would slot in on a deeper defensive team. I find it much easier to manage expectations and get an accurate reading of doing well or doing poorly with the forward group and the goalie. But the defence alludes me.

    It sounds like you think Petry is solid and is going to be a big part moving forward. Other than Jschultz, and possibly Smid, do you see anyone else in this light currently on our roster?

    Moreover, do you have any thoughts on what could help the team upgrade on defence, either at the deadline or in the offseason?

  • 106 and 106

    As someone who played in the league, I’d be interested to hear you elaborate on this (and not necessarily the obvious points) —

    “Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want Sergei as a teammate but it has nothing to do with this mistake. There are a lot of reasons that are very obvious.”

    Thanks, Struds!

    • I tried it at home

      Are you saying when we have to resign Petry he will want more than Smid? I think top level defensive defensemen can command more dollars than mid level all around defensemen.

      • Phixieus666

        Smid is not a top defensive defenceman though. He had an above average season last year, but that has not continued this year. People confuse hits and blocked shots, along with a lack of offence for being great defensively.

        • Phixieus666

          I agree with you he’s not at the top, but I’d say he’s in the conversation. There was a good article written today about how his numbers wouldn’t put him at the top of the defensive pay grade, but near the top. Like 3.5ish.

          I’m not really saying one way or the other, just asking if anyone thinks Smid is worth more? I say he is as Petry is not there yet.

          • Phixieus666

            Petry is superior in every important aspect.

            He is better offensively, outlet pass, skating, passing, shooting.

            He is better defensively as well. He has less shot blocks and hits, but who cares about these useless statistics.

            The notion that Smid is great defensively is just a recurring narrative spewed by mainstream media mainly because they want to shower praise upon someone who tries so hard for the team (even though he lacks talent to be a top pairing defenceman)

          • Aitch

            I might be with on this one, as being an Oiler fan I’ve heard for a decade how Hemsky is “an elite offensive talent”. However, one episode from this year’s Oil Change says otherwise. When talking to Dubnyk, he puts Smid so high. Calling him a “goaltender’s dream”. He blocks most of the shots, and the ones that he doesn’t get, he’s in great defensive position for Dubnyk to make the save, i.e. not blocking Dubnyk’s view.

            Mainstream media and stat analysis aside, Dubnyk’s praise of Smid carries more weight in my opinion.

            And really, shot blocking is useless? comon.

          • Ducey

            Smid and Petry have played the toughest competition among Oiler’s Dmen this year (5 on 5). They are at an identical rate.

            Smid’s Rel Corsi is 1.5. Petry’s is 0.

            On the PK Smid’s Rel Corsi is -14.1. Petry’s is -15.6

            So Smid is marginally better.

            Its not some MSM thing. Its stats.

            I’ll take the MSM and stats over you pulling stuff out of your a$$.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Amen to that. Smid has topped out, he’ll get no better. Petry on the other hand has more tools in his toolbox, he’s cheaper, and has a much higher ceiling than Smid. Much better off keeping Petry at half price and cutting Smid loose.

    • Ducey

      Petry is getting $1.75 million a year for two years in his first RFA contract. He will still be a RFA after this contract. He had about 110 games in the NHL when he signed it.

      Smid will be a UFA. He has about 420 games in the NHL.

      Contractually, Petry is in no way a comparable to Smid.

  • Aitch

    Not just dmen score on their own net. I once rushed back to break-up a 2-on-0 only to have puck deflect off me and go straight in. It sucks. Speaking of beer leagues that Kostitsyn change you wouldn’t even see that in a decent beer league.

      • 106 and 106

        We last brought beer to our “beer” league game three years ago – and we up-chucked it midway through the 1st. Save it for after the game now – unless your Pat Quinn – then it’s 5 o’clock all the time.

        • StHenriOilBomb

          huh… your beer league must be far more competitive than mine. In our league the only guys who back check are the ones who aren’t drinking and smoking during the game. No back checking = no puking = a goal every few minutes…

  • 106 and 106

    @ Hayek: I wouldn’t call a guy, that is amongst the league lead in blocked shots, a slacker. Rather invaluable guy for a team that’s been outshot on most nights.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    Too much was made of the mistake Petry made, and I’m glad RK did not over react on this one.

    Hockey is a game of mistakes…..you are constantly trying to make the other team make a mistake, so you can capitalize.

    I remember watching Gretzky make mistakes……if you take no chances you do not get rewarded…………then people call you a paperweight.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    I heard on the radio that nothing was said about the own goal. He knows what he did and he feels bad.

    Things like this are going to happen. I’m sure all his team mates tried to get over it, suck it up and move on.

  • It was an unfortunate night for Petry but all around, I thought he played well. Petry is our most complete dman. He has basically been thrown to the wolves ever since turning pro and has rocketed up the depth chart. He will definitely command more than Smid down the road but his UFA years don’t come for quite some time. The idiot GMs who toss around money at anybody are the ones driving up Smid’s price. Smid will get overpaid, but he is likely better than any alternatives that we could bring in in the off-season.