OLYMPIC HANGOVER

Olympichangover

Well it’s safe to say, I miss watching Team Canada play in
the Olympics for gold.  I found last night’s
game incredibly boring and I’m sure many felt some sort of emotional letdown.  If you didn’t right away, surely a 3-0 loss to
the Minnesota Wild did the trick.

FIRST GOAL

Just a lack of communication here, generally the defenseman
will play the puck carrier and try to step up while the forward coming back is
responsible for filling in behind the d-man, picking up another guy or retrieving
the puck if chipped to the corner. Obviously the exchange near the blue crossed
everyone up, but they need to talk more. Too easy.

SECOND GOAL

This one is all on the forwards in my opinion. Veillieux
finds a little soft spot on Eberle but where are Gagner and Hemsky going?  Eberle is clearly the first forward back and
takes his man to the net. He probably should have released to Ference a
little sooner but regardless, Gagner just sort of floats into the left side of
the zone. Even worse Hemsky can see the whole ice and also floats back to the
left side, not trying to fill Eberles wing where the eventual goal was scored from at all.  

THIRD GOAL

Just as the Oilers were making their usual third period push
when trailing, the Wild put the nail in the coffin.  A lost battle on a contested puck keeps the
puck in the zone and eventually a goalmouth scramble allows fan favorite Dany
Heatley to make it 3-0.

TEAM PLAYERS

Last night midway through the first period Nugent-Hopkins
got into a scrum with Keith Ballard where they exchanged more than a couple
cross checks and face washes.  On the
other side of the net Taylor Hall was being confronted by Matt
Cooke.  Neither guy backed down which was
great to see, but where was everyone else?

I read somewhere the other day Dallas Eakins wanted five
guys involved when things like this occurred, yet the two defenseman on
the ice Petry and Belov just stood on the blue line watching their best players get pushed around. For what, an offensive zone draw in the middle of the first
period?

When it’s your best players in a situation they likely
shouldn’t be in, it doesn’t matter who you are, you get involved and stick up
for one another.

POWER PLAY

It was once again a struggle as they were really unable to sustain
any kind of pressure. To add to the misery, it was nice of Belov (who was on
for every goal against as well) to nonchalantly give Minnesota a glorious opportunity
late in the third on the PP.  He looked very concerned about turning it over too. Watching effort like that is so frustrating.

MATT HENDRICKS

Olympichangover3

While many were still on break last night, how can you
not like what this guy has brought to this team since coming over from Nashville?
He’s not flashy, he’s not going to score a ton, but he knows his role and you
don’t have to worry about him showing up to play every night.

Other teams have to be aware of when he is on the ice
because he will finish every check. How many guys can you say that about the
last few years around here?

Anyways…Bring on the Flames.

  • vetinari

    The difference between last year and this year (besides a change in coaching and a shortened season) is that the players didn’t completely give up after the first month.

    It seems like when we fell apart in October, the players collectively resigned themselves to “next year” before this year even really started. Sure, they’ve rebounded for a few stretches, like before the Olympic break, but generally they’ve showed no emotion or passion at all.

    How do you motivate these guys if they can’t motivate themselves? Trading them isn’t a threat– who wouldn’t want to move on to a more successful organization?

  • NsxZero

    Watching Team Canada was such a treat during the Olympics. What I was most impressed by wasn’t the skill they had, but their effort. It was constantly guys hard on the cycle, blocking shots, and clearing the front of the net.

    Yesterday was just a sad return back to reality.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      it doesn’t help that the Wild over the years have been one of the most boring teams to watch. you’ll never see me buy a ticket to watch that team, i may as well stay home, paint the wall and watch it dry!

  • CaptainLander

    Wow, that’s not a very good article.

    You praise Hendricks, who took a boatload of stupid penalties and should have had 5 and been booted for that first-period boarding, then give Belov crap for giving up a power play chance with Hendricks in the box.

    Olympics hangover? There’s no hangover. A hangover implies being in a sub-par mental state. Last night was the Oilers being the Oilers.

    • Brian Sutherby

      You can have Belov and his laziness and complete lack of care.

      I’ll take the guy all day on my team that cares and maybe crosses the line for being too intense from time to time

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        You don’t think laziness might be a projection?

        How comfortable are you making hockey decisions on the basis of bias-prone variables like “body language”?

      • "Frank the dog"

        I’m not defending Belov in particular, I’m pointing out that you’re criticizing Belov for making a mistake on a PK that would never have happened if Hendricks hadn’t pulled a bush league play for the second time in the same game. I honestly figured, as a former player yourself, you’d be more than a little upset with Hendricks for his dangerous plays. Careers end on hits like the one Prosser took.

        And if we’re going to slam Belov for not caring, how about Taylor Hall on that first goal? Lazily skates back on the backcheck, still has time to impact the play but doesn’t cover the wide open guy he can clearly see ahead of him.

        • Brian Sutherby

          I don’t know what play you are talking about but the Oilers were on the PP and Belov skates to retrieve a puck with Parise and sort of kicks it behind him to the middle of the ice then goes for a skate and Parise almost burries the billionth shorty of the season against the Oil.

          That is a complete lack of care and really doesn’t matter if they are even on the PP or PK anyways. Very telling IMO of a guy that doesn’t really care given he had already been on for 3 goals against.

          Hendricks hits were questionable yes, but he’s a stand up guy,answers all challengers and plays hard nosed hockey. He’s not a chicken running around.

          If you think this team has weaknesses, turning away from checks and being soft is one of them. When you play his style you will cross the line on occasion. I can live with that.

          • Great article, this team has to learn to be a team before it is going to ever win, anyone that ever played knows this.
            Being a team means no one takes liberties with any player, you step up everytime.
            This season is done and it needs to show it is a team for the rest of the year and then maybe a free agent will give Edmonton a second look.

          • Spydyr

            You seem to be confusing me with someone who in any shape, way, or form is defending Anton Belov’s play last night, or even him in general.

            It’s wonderful that Matt Hendricks cares. I appreciate that. I just find it jarring to find an article praising a player who committed two idiotic plays in one game, one of which should have been 5 minutes and a game, for caring based on his physical play, while damning another player for not caring based on his sloppy play despite an abundance of physicality.

            Hendricks had a better game but arguably shouldn’t even have finished the first minute of the first period and had his team down by a man for five. Belov had a terrible game but by the same standards you set – his physicality – still cared.

            Honestly, we’re one blown call away from talking about how Hendricks took a boarding major 30 seconds into the game. I don’t see why you’re praising the guy after last night, never mind based on it.

  • Rdubb

    nothing better than getting an ex-nhl’er to say what is what…
    when your best guys are in a scrum, taking cross checks & the such guys should be trying to jump off of the bench to help, so why did the guys on the ice not help? another case of Edmonton getting around…
    In all honesty, I am getting sick and tired of hearing & reading about how Gagner’s defensive prowess caused another goal, this is happening WAY TO MUCH!!! His little bit of offense just doesn’t cover up for his defense. Either drop him to 3rd or 4th line C, move him to the wing and leave him there or trade him?
    It seems that whomever plays with Gagner goes into the gutter offensively and his +/- drops like a stone…the last time Sam moved to the wing it didn’t last more than 2 or 3 games, why? because he pouted, played poor and Eakins moved him back. Sam MUST GET IT THROUGH HIS HEAD that HE IS NOT AN NHL C!!!His stats alone sat that. Hell, I don’t think that my +/- would be much worse if I suited up, and that’s saying something…
    peck

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    it was good to see Gazdic and Hendricks mixing it up last night, but they seemed to be the only ones that showed any emotion. i know the playoffs are a memory now, but this team plays like it’s dead in the water too many nights. i was so bored watching last night, that with 14 minutes left in the 3rd, i changed the channel. when i switched back after my half hour show was over, nothing much had changed with about 2 minutes left. MacT has to do something to inject a little life into this team by the trade deadline or we’re all going to be watching some awfully boring hockey the remainder of the season!