Jan. 30, 2013 - Issue #902: Come cry with Daniel Romano
Point, counter-overtime point
Brent Oliver: Perspective. It's a hell of a thing. On this week's edition of In The Box, Craig and I break down the Oilers three-game road trip and a loss back home against the infuriating Vancouver Canucks. Hey! The Oil got points in three out of four games! Awesome, right? But, this doesn't feel so awesome. So I must ask Craig, why are we so depressed?
Craig Douglas: Well, I thought that was a very mediocre week of Oilers hockey. Four points of a possible eight (not great) and three losses of a possible four (shite). On top of that, we lose in OT to Vancouver after having an OT penalty shot-attempt thwarted (beyond shite). Let's recap.
Oilers 2 vs Coyotes 1 OT, January 30
CD: Things began last week with an exciting game vs the ownerless Coyotes of Phoenix. Besides the win, this was the first game of the year that I really noticed the presence of Smytty. He had himself a fine game as did Lennart Petrell, who potted a goal and had a stupendous defensive-diving play halfway through the second period. This game was played on the so-called "ice" in the so-called "desert", and while it was exciting, it was also sloppy as shit. Also shitty was the reffing at the end of the game. A ridiculous interference call on a falling Sam Gagner proved to be the shutout ruiner, and began the OT trend the team has been enjoying of late.
This "over-times ended up being good over-times" as an Oiler power play led to a Nail Yakupov goal, batting a puck out of the air and into the net. (Google search the MEMEs associated with the goal. Brent's personal favourite was "IS GOOD GOAL. NOW HUG.") The (make-up?) penalty call on Antoine Vermette resulted in the win and an exchange between Coach Krueger and a reporter that I quite enjoyed. I'm (of course) paraphrasing:
"Krueger: That OT power play was much deserved after the power play they got at the end of the game.
Reporter: You didn't think you deserved that penalty to Gagner?
Krueger: That's not what I said, fuckface. I said we deserved our power play."
So Yakupov scored another beauty of a rebound to win the game, which brings me to our new feature: the In The Box 'Shithead Of The Weak'! I'm awarding my inaugural selection to Derek "Boris" Morris of the Phoenix Coyotes for his tantrum at Yakupov, Ryan Whitney and humanity after the game winning goal. Fuck that guy. My runner-up goes to Kevin Bieksa of the Canucks, because, well, fuck that guy too. Brent, what are your thoughts on the Phoenix game and who is your 'Shithead Of The Weak'?
BO: I'm glad you brought up Derek Morris. Nothing says I'm a classless piece of human garbage more than a guy who decides to start a fight after a game-winning OT goal. Although, my favourite part of the Sportsnet replay on the goal was seeing Whitney clearly mouthing the words: "We ... just ... won ... you ... piece ... of ... shit." Apparently Morris only recognizes the Queen's English and he threw a hissy fit ... and his fists. What a maroon. Also, if we make this award a regular weekly handout, there's plenty of times I'll be giving it to every member of the Vancouver Canucks.
As far as the game went, I agree about the Ryan Smyth observation. It's nice to see the old mullet step up his (and its game).
Oilers 2 vs Sharks 3 SO, January 31
CD: I missed the first period of this game ... something about Sportsnet Oilers not showing up until the second period was underway. Apparently I didn't miss much, though, as this was a low-scoring affair. The Oilers came back to knot it at two early in the third which forced OT. Holy shit! The last minute of this game was banana cakes as both teams tried to avoid extra time, but then the Oilers laid an egg, were outshot 7-1 in OT, and blanked in the annoying shootout.
I should note, before the game there was some scuttlebutt about who else would play goal for the Oil this year. The first back-to-back games of the season had me thinking that Dubnyk the Great might get a night off for the so-called Wall or the new kid, Niko Hovinen.
BO: One of those guys asking the same goalie-question was this guy right here, me. I wasn't sure why they rolled with Dubnyk, back-to-back, on the road, against a team that a week earlier, chased him after six goals. That being said, Devan had two shit goals in the span of a couple minutes, then seemed to settle in until the shootout. Ultimately, yeah, if he keeps playing well, let's roll with him. But come on, can we really rely on a guy for all 48 games, and (hopefully) the playoffs? I smell burnout if they don't put in a back-up tender soon.
Oilers 1 vs Avalanche 3, February 2
CD: I caught bits and pieces of this Bullshit American Afternoon Game or B.A.A.G. (TM) on a small TV with no sound while I was at work on Saturday, so I'm not really qualified to comment on it. I'll comment on it anyway, though. It was fucking shit.
BO: Can I just say that afternoon games are the worst? I mean, I have kids and bring them to Oil Kings afternoon games, so it's not necessarily afternoon sports in general I despise. It's afternoon NHL hockey in a US market. It just reeks of pandering to the US audience used to sports played during the day. I'm not trying to come down on other sports here—in fact, Craig and I may be bigger baseball fans than hockey fans (SHHHH ... DON'T TELL ANYONE) and I love watching a ball game at 1 pm, in the sun, with a cold beer. But this game ain't outdoors and there's absolutely no point in having a game like this played so early in the day. That's right Denver, I just put you on notice. Stop thinking hockey is interchangeable with college-goddamn-football. Crap. Should I talk about this game? Can I just avoid it since the Oilers lost and looked tired? I can?! Thanks everyone! Let's move on.
Canucks 3 vs Oilers 2 OT, February 4
CD: I attended this game versus the Canucks and it was a roller coaster of emotions I wasn't able to express because I was in the pressbox or R.C.O.E.I.W.A.T.E.B.I.W.I.T.P. (TM). The crowd was made up of 40 percent Canucks fans based on my non-research, but my non-research also couldn't figure out how a team that's never won shit has cultivated such a front-running, mouth-breathing fan base. Ah, the mysteries of life. Anyway, this game debuted the newest Oiler, Ryan Whitney, as #6 and was a healthy scratch. I still think Whitney can straighten out, but I was unsurprised when I heard that announcement, as his play of late has been positively Phaneufian, or PP. (Sorry. OK, I'm done)
So, back to the emotions of that aforementioned roller coaster. On a positive note, this game featured an Ales Hemsky power play goal while one of those weird twins sat in the penalty box. The biggest pop of the night came with Smytty's first goal of the year—a slow motion, short-handed marker that dribbled over the line while Roberto Luongo slid stupidly in the other direction like a greasy, white blob. However, on a sour note: this game also featured a very questionable tripping call on the pride of Nizhnekamsk, Nail Yakupov and Taylor Hall missing an OT penalty shot against the aforementioned white blob, and the game ending in a Canucks goal courtesy of some spaz named Chris Tanev.
BO: Who the fuck is Chris Tanev? Why are there so many Canucks fans in Edmonton? Did anyone tell them that we have five Stanley Cups in this city and a WAY more exciting team to watch? Isn't there a goalie controversy in Vancouver? Why did they win this game? WHY DO I HATE THESE PRICKS SO FUCKING MUCH?!
Anyway, there are losses, then there are losses to the Canucks. This one stings particularly badly for all the reasons Craig outlined before, but also showed the Oilers lack of push with the lead. In the second and third period there was one stretch where Vancouver outshot us 24-1. Twenty-four to ONE. That's bad. If the Oilers are going to start imposing their will on teams, they have to use their speed and chances to dictate the game, not sit back waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Well, an interesting week coming up for the Oilers including a weird two-game home series against the Stars, and a trip to Michigan and Ohio this weekend. Apparently, there's still a hockey team in Columbus. Hmmm, I'll believe that when I see it.
See you next week, In the Box
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