Feb. 13, 2013 - Issue #904: The Sugar Trade
Spring breakup breakdown
In the Box
This week we've seen only two—yes TWO—Oilers games. Have our columnists lost complete interest in the team? Or, is this a well-earned break so they can spend time focusing on less important things like work and family? (Doubtful) Read this week's fun, albeit brief, column on your Edmonton Oilers.
Oilers 6 host Avalanche 4, February 16
Craig Douglas: Spring break, WOOOOOO!!! The Oilers took their own spring break this week with only two games in the last seven days. This was the only time this will happen in this ridiculously truncated season. The three-day break after last Tuesday's (February 12) shitbox of a game did the Oilers some good as they remembered how to play hockey about halfway through playing the hapless Avs.
The team finally started shooting the puck against Colorado and never stopped, blasting a franchise record 56 shots towards Varlamov. Hemsky led the way and the team also got big contributions from Eberele, Hall and even Oilers penalty-minutes maniac Ryan Smyth. Smytty took his requisite trips to the box but made up for it with some especially sweet passing, good for two assists. But, I'm getting ahead of the steaming pile of poop that the Oil laid open this game, giving up a goal less than two minutes in and another with less than a minute to go—good for a 3-0 Avs lead. Cue the turnaround. Hemsky showed some sweet fucking patience to get the puck in the net with less than four seconds to go in the first, the So Called Wall came in for the second period—and he steered the fucking ship for the home team—stopping 16 of 17 shots to aid the comeback. The Nuge's first goal since March 2012 and another Hemsky tally that no one will be forgetting any time soon, plus Pääjärvi potting one to win it with 1:34 to go. Fuck, yes.
Brent Oliver: Listen. I cheered as much as the rest of the Homers out there, happy with a huge Oilers comeback win. But, let's look at what actually happened here before planning the parade, OK?
Positives: the Oilers FINALLY started shooting the puck. Remember when I said last week that they need to do that with an entire team of shooters? Fourteen to 20 shots a game is not a good plan for this team. So, 56 shots for a franchise record? Awesome. Great. We won 6-4.
Negatives: the Oilers created this problem with shitty defence and a subpar goaltending performance by Dubnyk. Is it just me, or is everyone a little nervous about our net situation? I mean, neither Dubnyk nor Khabibulin are particularly scary goalies and I'm not saying we need Hasek or Rinne or stupid Patrick Roy or something, I just want someone solid so that an opposing team can say, "Fuck. We better score at least two on this guy if we have a hope to win." That's clearly not happening. Also, on Saturday, the Oilers—the 11th place team—came back and beat the Avs—the 13th place team. It was a dull game in the first and the Oilers turned it around and started shooting the puck. That's pretty much it. Hooray, hoorah and all the rest of that shit. It's one game against a team we should have beaten anyways. The big question is, can they sustain it?
Kings 3 at Oilers 1, February 19
CD: Spring break, WOOOOOO!!! Another two days off and then it was time for a date with the Champs, the Los Angeles Kings, who apparently beat the New Jersey Devils for the Stanley Cup a long time ago. Since there were only two games this week, it would have been nice if more "things" had happened in this game to give us more to write about. Instead, this game just sort of happened. A fast-paced first period proved ultimately uneventful, then things started to happen in the second with a flurry of penalty calls on top of each other. The Oilers scored just after a two-man advantage to tie the game, and Khabibulin kept the Oilers in it with a diving save on a bouncing puck that really wanted to go in the net. Then, a whole lot of nothing until the fucking Kings scored with 50 seconds left before the end of the third period. As they maybe say in California, bummer dude.
BO: I was fighting, FIGHTING, to stay awake in this game. Between a busy week of work, and dealing with three kids learning to skate, dance, play piano and read (one of these things has to go, I swear to God ... ), this 8 pm start for the TSN broadcast was a slog for old man Brent. The Oilers didn't help things with two periods of abysmally boring hockey. Gone was the run and gun from the 2nd and 3rd period of the Avs game, back was the 1-2-2 trap system they've played for a majority of the year. Where did this get them? To a 1-0 deficit halfway through the second period. Gagner ties it up, and hey, wait a sec, we're tied going into the third? Shit, let's run and gun this son of a bitch! Well, at least they tried. Thanks to this week's Shithead of the Weak, linesman Brian Mach, the puck bounced off his goddamn skate, went right to the Kings, and blammo, we lose. It's not fair to blame Mach completely for this—the game was 59 minutes in when this happened. The Oilers have got to start playing to their strengths earlier in a game. This goal would have been way less painful if the Oilers actually potted a couple past Quick earlier in the game, but nope, too busy playing the trap.
I see the Oilers on-ice system being stuck between a rock and a hard place. They seem to be best (and most exciting) pushing the play, rushing the puck and having the forwards shoot the lights out on opposition's goalies. But, if we do that our goaltending, and especially our defence, has GOT to be better. If the Oilers stick with a trap system, we have kids like the Nuge not scoring goals because they're too busy using their sticks to clog up the neutral zone. Then we lose by a goal or two while only scoring one or two at that. I'm not wrong about this and I'm worried about this team. I won't say the sky is falling, but something just landed on my shoulder.
So looking ahead, the Oilers play the eternally boring Minnesota "Wild" on February 21 and the eternally unowned Phoenix Coyotes February 23, before taking off on a fucking nine-game road trip while curling comes to town. So we have that to "look forward" to.
See you next week, In the Box.
More stories in front »vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy