Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Other impressions from Saturday's game, notably up front. The key here is that they were playing the Hawks and as a result they looked better because of it.
While Horcoff and Hemsky were on the ice for the first Hawks' goal, they were money the entire game, meaning that when they were on the ice the puck was almost always in the Hawks' end and their own net was rarely in danger. On the GA Hemsky was actually in deep in the left corner, not the only time in the game, I might add. He chipped it up the boards on his backhand but Nilsson was not there. He was on the right point (Hemsky's point). Nilsson was then caught in no-man's land as he hurried to his point. The puck went to the spot he had vacated and it was in the net. After that I don't know if he saw the ice again although it wasn't like he had done anything before that. Then Penner and Sanderson rotated on the Horcoff line with Torres getting the odd shift as well.
Hemsky shoots from everywhere now. Everywhere. He has eight goals after a slow slow start - with the amount of shots he's taking I could see him hit thirty. Horcoff is just a terrific player as we all know. On the shootout he went in top speed, the best way to do it I think, and it was a no doubter. Funny how a guy who often hits the goalie or has the puck bounce over his stick on scoring chances has suddenly been revealed as a shootout wizard. Has to be good for his confidence.
The Oilers' forward lines are really a black hole though. Penner looked like Penner. Huge, slow, not super aggressive but like Pitkanen you can see he may have "it". Had at least one good chance. Not a defensive liability on this night.
The Reasoner line was great and they are likely one of the best fourth lines in the league. Unfortunately on this team they are the second best line right now. Solid in their own end, great puck pursuit. Reasoner's goal was nice. Sanderson is just a beautiful skater. And Brodziak is just a solid kid.
The kids weren't really noticeable. MacT did have them out there a bit against Kane and Toews but for the most part they got some nobodies. Didn't do too much with it but they didn't get eaten alive at any point either. They certainly weren't trapped in their end for any length of time. As for Gagner's move on the shootout - just amazing. He was going pretty quick too.
Finally, Torres, Stortini and Stoll. Stortini, as has been pointed out, adds little. He had a little hug (although I don't blame him - guy he was fighting was a monster) - other then that he was ... well, there. Didn't hurt. Didn't help.
Torres was totally Torres. He went after the guy who knocked out Tarnstrom and I think freaked him out a bit but other then that he did little. Disappointing because it looked like after the first ten games he finally had gotten it - instead he's the same old Raffi - the odd little plays that killed momentum, the lack of intensity. Raffi being Raffi. When Pisani returns I would plug him in with Torres and Stoll and if nothing is doing then I would bump Torres up to Horcoff and Hemsky duty. Guy is being wasted playing where he is now. Its a black hole.
Which leads us to the sad case of Jarret Stoll. Goddam concussion. He looked awful. People are talking about Reasoner and Sanderson being done - Stoll looked worse. I know MacT is feeding him the icetime, hoping that he gets going, but nothing is doing yet. Not a factor at all. And that may be the difference between 10 and 13 and 13 and 10. I feel for the guy - a concussion can take a long time to shake off. He's brutal right now.
Other then that not much else to report (brain is a little fuzzy) - the PP looked good its first two times out there - players and puck were moving. The third one did not get untracked at all.
On last thing - a player who gets a penalty in OT and does not serve it out before time expires should not be allowed in the shootout. Kane served three seconds in the box and then was the Hawks' first shooter. Kind of bullshit, no?
Loved how they went after him though and man, did he get booed.
Next - off ice hijinks. There was a little. But unfortunately it also served to remind me why I was there - I'm turning 40 Goddamnit!
Posted by Black Dog at 1:31 PM