Time for another installment of the Observation Deck from Rogers Place as I ventured up to press row for a view from the top for the Battle of Alberta.
Milan Lucic had two goals in his last 75 games heading into last night’s Battle of Alberta but the fans at Rogers Place were still supporting him. I can understand chanting Looooo when he scores a goal or gets in a fight but last night there were people actually dropping a Looooo when he skated in on the forecheck at the beginning of the game. I know there is a lot of vitriol online but in house last night at least for a few moments the fans were still behind him.
Fans got even more fired up later in the first when he took a fight with Peluso and likely would have pummeled him if the linesman didn’t step in.
A number of people have been talking about how Lucic has been playing well even though he can’t score to save his life, I’m not usually one of them but I was really impressed with his game. With that being said I’d still never have him on either power play unit.
I’m ready to label Kevin Gravel as steady. He rarely makes a mistake and at this point, based on the eye test, I think he’s actually become a stabilizer for Matt Benning. He still doesn’t see much time on the PK but I think he could handle himself in that situation.
I was at the game so I didn’t get an opportunity to listen to the final Oilers game for Bob Cole but I’m sure it was a classic. For what it’s worth Bob Cole will always be my favourite hockey play-by-play announcer. In my opinion, it’s a major fail that his final game won’t be the Habs and Leafs. Oh Baby!!!!
Heck of a challenge from Ken Hitchcock last night. I honestly thought it wasn’t going to be overturned. I figured they could justify the Flames forward having position and Koskinen moving his leg into the player’s space. I was wrong like I am most times when it comes to goaltender interference. I know you are all pumped that the goal didn’t count but do you actually think it should have been called back?
The Oilers provide the media with a couple of snack options up here in the press box. Popcorn, warm pretzels and Skittles are made available at every home game. The popcorn is absolutely delicious. The pretzels just make me thirsty. What I want to know is who keeps approving these damn Skittles. I’ve never liked Skittles and I’m not sure I’ve ever met another person who likes them.
Correction, Matthew Iwanyk is sitting next to me and he just said he likes Skittles, what a weirdo.
I don’t think any player has benefited from the coaching change more than Jujhar Khaira. He has the second best Goals For % on the team since Hitch took over being on the ice for six goals for and just three against. The Oilers have something nice developing on their second line and Khaira is a huge part of it. Hitchcock has praised both him and Puljuajrvi for making the second line dangerous. I don’t see any reason to break that trio up anytime soon.
THE BRASS BAND
I’m starting to come around on the music the new brass band is providing but someone has to get them some new outfits. I played the trombone in elementary school and if I showed up to school wearing an orange shirt and overalls I would have been beaten up even more.
This guy has been absolutely lights out at home. Outside of a flurry of chances in the second period, I thought the team did an excellent job in front of him. His numbers at home are phenomenal. He is now 6 and 0 with a shutout in half of his starts with a .972 save percentage at home. I’m not sure what it is about Rogers Place but the big Finn is feeling it.
If Lanny McDonald’s moustache ever bumped into Sam Bennett’s moustache I’m almost certain it would laugh and then beat the shit out of it.
The Oilers are now 7-2-1 since the coaching change and have been doing most of the winning without a lot of run support offensively. The Oilers have 15 of a possible 20 points since Hitchcock took over, 75% of available points.
Is it sustainable? Well the Tampa Lighting have picked up 75.8% of available points so far this season and they are the best team in the league. So I’m not ready to say the Oilers are the team we’ve watched for the past ten games but I am willing to say they are better than the one we watched for the first 20 games of the season.