Monday, April 24, 2006

 

Oil Drips

Well, well, well.

The Oilers and Flames both split their first two games. The difference? The Flames have lost home ice advantage, and the Oil have stolen it. This should be particularly worrisome for Flames fans given that Calgary lost 61% of their games away from Pengrowth. Oh sure, you can point to Edmonton's poor home recod--which still wasn't as bad as Calgary's road record--but let's face it, home-ice in playoffs is a different beast. Rexall will be rocking on Tuesday. Did I mention I have tickets?

Eric Francis blames, in part, "overzealous officiating" for the Flames' loss.

Thanks to the type of overzealous officiating fans feared most when the 'new' NHL promised to be extended into the spring, the only flow in last night's game came courtesy of Scott Niedermayer's mullet.

And in the midst of a steady parade to the penalty box, during which 19 minors were handed out, the Ducks broke the game open by converting four of the type of turnovers the defence-first Flames rarely commit.
This paragraph is laughable. Despite the clear implication that Anaheim scored on the powerplay, they in fact went 0-6. Calgary, on the other hand, converted 2-12. I suppose Francis must be blaming the refs for giving Calgary so many more powerplay opportunities than Anaheim, which then allowed Niedermayer the chance to score a shortie. Aw, to be fair, he does place most of the blame on the Flames' D. Strange that he didn't mention Kipper giving up 3 goals on the first 5 shots.

Looks like Sutter's abuse of Phaneuf in the media two days ago really paid off, too. Way to instill confidence in those youngsters, sir. Hey, maybe you can also run him out of town.

Enough Flames talk

The Oil are coming home with a split in Detroit, which is pretty much what everyone in Edmonton wanted. There is now, predictably, a debate going on at the watercoolers between those people who would 'rather lose playing Oilers hockey than win playing the trap' and those people who are not complete idiots.

You have to think tha the ole 'here we go again' must be creeping into the minds of Detroitonians (Detroiters?)? Afterall, Edmonton was one double-OT flukey goal (or 4) away from being up two games to zip. The fact that there are articles in the Detroit Press entitled "Panic in Detroit? (รพA2Y)" tells you all you need to know. I also love how that article pretends that Rollie is an unknown quantity. Do we need to compare the post-season records of Roloson and Legace, again?

At what point does "playoff experience" become a liability? I'm thinking, in particular, of those Detroit old-timers who know that this is very likely their last kick at the can and so try to do too much, inadvertently sabotaging their own team. I haven't seen it by yet, but it is something to keep an eye on -- especially if Edmonton wins on Tuesday.

Quick Hits:

Comments:

I'm not convinced home ice will be an advantage for the Oilers, it will remain to be seen if the crowd affects them negatively or positively. Obviously last change should help them get the 4th line a bit more ice, and get better matchups overall.

speeds
 


Agreed on Hrudey, sacamano, imagine - he actually analyzes what is happening on the ice.

I think Legace is a little shaken up - if they can pop a couple quick ones tomorrow night maybe the wheels fall off ...
 


Wanted to throw some more mad props to Hrudey. He is the best thing (outside of Oiler wins) to come out of CBC telecasts.

He spots things that I know I saw in the game, but never had the chance to put my finger on.
 


Sac, you're a selective reader. You'll notice the headline I mentioned at A2Y was not just "Panic in Detroit.." as you suggest, but "Panic in Detroit? Not yet."

Now, that's not to say there isn't actually panic in Detroit because there is. The media's panicking (is there a k in there?), or will be soon. We, the fans, panic because we've been weened on panic. A Wing fan isn't happy unless he's panic(k)ing.

What you should be less optimistic about, though, is the fact that the Wings themselves are most definitely not panic(k)ing. Don't forget that they now own the league record for most road wins.
 


Oh no, I'm not selective. I know that the headline claims that it not yet time to panic. My point is that the very fact that they are even asking the question demonstrates a latent panic ready to explode.
 


I have a strong suspicion that this series has the potential simply to swing back and forth until game seven where everything comes down to one game. On the other hand I'm not sure what sort of magic juice that Roloson has drank but he seems to be channeling a circa 1994 Patrick Roy.

And how about Pronger? He was arguably the best defensemen in the league during the regular season, but he's simply kicked it into another gear for the playoffs.
 


Yep, Pronger is huge.

These guys are proposing that the best way to beat the Oilers Mac-T-Bone defensive scheme is to fire pucks at Pronger's face.
 


The best part about Hrudey was his look of polite incredulity when MacLean said that the Oilers had the Flames right where they want them. Good times.
 


You mean the Wings, right Tyler?

I don't think it is idiotic to wish that the Oilers played their own game. I am still unconvinced that playing the trap (and boring the hell out of a fan base) is a wise move. The "play to your strengths vs. defend against your opponent's strengths" is an age-old argument, across sports. Watching the series between the Sabres and the Flyers, I see parallels. Buffalo is a fast, skilled, and physical team. Philly is a group of wizened old veterans who want to slow the pace down. Sound familar? Obviously it's not a perfect example, but the Sabres are finding success by playing their own game. Why couldn't we do the same? We did quite well against Detroit in the regular season, and didn't trap. Why change now? Your argument will likely be that it is working. Fine. But I think the only reason we did win Game 2 is because of the Peca, Torres and Pisani line, who forced turnovers through an up-tempo, agressive game.

Thoughts?
 


I think we all need to be careful to not discuss the Oilers play as if it homogenous. I really think the Oil have shown that they can mix it up pretty well. Defensive at times, up-tempo at times. Sort of like how in basketball they are always changing defenses: press after a basket, drop back after a miss, etc. Press with the fourth line against Detroit's scrubs, drop back against Detroit's top line, etc.

I love it.
 


Sure. That works. The question is, how will they play it at home?
 


Yep, you nailed it. That is the question.
 


Would it be sweet if they charged out tomorrow night like the Oil of old, sweeping the Wings aside like the broken down old men that most of them are? Sure it would. But I don't think that would happen, honestly.

I think MacT is playing it right. Hard to argue with a split against a team that finished 29 points ahead of you especially when you almost picked up both games.

I think they'll open it up a little bit at home.

But I could care less how they play as long as they win. Sacrilege, I know, but if they win this series I don't think we'll be sitting around saying "Jeez that series victory was certainly not pleasing to the eye, I believe that I will not celebrate".
 


keep the schedule in mind. how many points did the wings grab off the blues, hawks, and jackets? almost all of them. that division was the easiest this year. the new schedule is a joke.
 


The numbers show that the Red Wings dominated, even against non-Central opponents.
 


agreed andy but the wings picked up 44 out of 48 points against chi, clb, stl

not to mention that that type of schedule makes the rest of your life easier - what takes more out of your team - 24 games against ahl level squads or 24 against flames, avs, canucks
 

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