Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Battle of Alberta III: Return of the Czech Guys

• I'm glad we won that game, because it certainly wasn't fun to watch. I went with three others, and we all agreed it was a pretty boring game. Some flurries, followed by large chunks of total inactivity from both teams.

• Calgary's lone goal was a fluke play. I can't blame either Roli or Tjarnqvist on it. Roli did not, I repeat, did not, have control of the puck. It was just bad timing. I will say that Roli could have responded much better to the play, however. He got angry, didn't turn around, and didn't put his stick down. He just didn't attempt to get back into the play. It's been said before, but it needs to be said again: the guy is a headcase. I love him, and he absolutely robbed Iginla with a glove save tonight, but he is not a happy man unless everything is going exactly his way. He reminds me of Curtis Joseph in that regard.

• Imagine my horror when I saw these two lines matchup to begin the game: Reasoner/Winchester/Thoresen vs. Langkow/Tanguay/Iginla.

• The Blender officially began at around the 8 minute mark of the 1st, when Marty Reasoner and Jarret Stoll switched lines.

• There were waaay too many Flames jerseys at that game. Way too many. And I didn't even see anybody razzing the people wearing them. Of course, I didn't either, for fear that I might get shivved in the neck. It's not like the old days, when you could just meet in a back alley, tie your arm to another guy's arm, and have a dance off. Man, I miss those days. I'm welling up just thinking about it.

• Iggy was the most dominant Flames forward, but couldn't finish. Other than that, the Flames looked pretty bland. They were successful on the forecheck, and kept the Oilers hemmed in at times, but it rarely led to an excellent scoring chance.

• The Oilers have zero physical presence. Absolutely none. This really angered me, mostly because I wanted to see Phaneuf get his. The Flames defence could have worn teddies rather than shoulder pads tonight. Who knows, maybe they did.

• The Oilers are 1-0 when Matt becomes a new Dad on BoA nights, and 0-1 with Sac. I won't say anymore, because I fear for my life (notice the trend of cowardice?), but it's all there, if you just think about it.

• I did an interview with CBC Radio Edmonton about the site during the 1st intermission. I forgot to ask when it will be aired. I think I sounded like Smytty after a period, so it's really for the best that I don't know when it will be on. I gave it 110%, ground it out in the corners, but I couldn't get all four lines rolling.

• Let me suggest here that it is not the Oilers defence that is most guilty when it comes to getting the puck out of the defensive zone. It's the forwards. No one is skating, and a lot of bad passes are being made. I don't know if they showed it on SportsNet tonight, but there was a moment, at about the nine minute mark of the 2nd, where it looked like Craig MacTavish was going to choke Raffi Torres to death. Torres, Lupul and Reasoner had been on for about two minutes (shift chart here), and simply could not get the puck out. Torres had a clear chance about ninety seconds into his shift, but instead of flipping it out, waited and waited to make a pass. It didn't happen, he turned the puck over, and the Flames had the Oilers hemmed in for another thirty seconds. Roli finally caught the puck, held it, and a t.v. timeout began. Torres skated back to the bench, where MacT was waiting, hands on his hips, jacket wide open. He was just glaring at Raffi. The funny part was, because it was a t.v. timeout, Raffi didn't have to leave the ice. So he didn't. He just skated around, with MacT giving him the evil eye the entire time. MacT would not break his stare. Finally, Torres got on the bench, but refused to look at his coach. MacT bent down, picked up the papers he had obviously lost when he threw open his jacket, and walked over to Raffi. Nothing. Raffi still wouldn't look at him. Finally, MacT just turned away and went to talk to Charlie Huddy. I would have paid good money to have been right behind the bench at that point.

But...back to my point. The Oilers forwards are really having trouble getting the puck out of their zone. Well, everyone is, but I've really noticed it with the forwards. It's like they've been convinced by all those damn Edmonton Journal articles talking about the need for an outlet passer on the defence, and responded in kind. They don't push the puck out along the boards. They don't skate to open ice to look for a pass. They don't fight for loose pucks. Two guys just stand there along the boards, tip the puck when it comes to them, and pray to God that it gets out. Calgary took advantage of this often, and were very aggressive on the forecheck. Lots of times, the defence didn't even try to make a pass. They just flipped it up in the air towards centre ice, and left it for the forwards to chase down.

• The Oilers powerplay got a goal tonight. Thank God. But it wasn't on the 5-on-3. That was wasted by MAB faking the shot about 17,000 times, and the continual passing back and forth along the point. Nor was the goal deserved, although the shot was a beauty. Has this team heard of anything other than a one-timer? Sweet Caroline, our powerplay stinks. And it is not personnel. It's coaching. I really don't blame the players. I'm reading Right Side Up by Paul Wells right now, and there is a great section in it on Paul Martin, "The Board," and groupthink. When I read that section, I immediately thought of the Oilers coaching staff and Kevin Lowe. I won't get into the entire concept of groupthink, but needless to say it doesn't emphasize or encourage new ways of thinking. Existing beliefs are constantly reinforced, and there is a blindspot when it comes to noticing trouble or failure. Sounds like the coaching staff and the Oilers powerplay to me. Fire. Him. Now.

• The only redeeming quality is that the Oilers powerplay isn't as bad a Calgary's. It appears that Craig Simpson must also be coaching the Flames. Slap shot from the point, Phaneuf. Wrist shot from the point, Phaneuf. Snap shot from the point, Phaneuf. Slap shot from the point, Phaneuf.

• Kipper was awful on that second goal. Just awful. No way that should have gone in. Enjoy that one, Flames fans. Your meal ticket just cost you two.

• The BoA Three Stars go to:

3) Fan #3, who was attempting to strip off her jersey and show us some skin on the jumbotron, when the #&@& editor cut off the footage.

2) Fan #2, head to toe in a blue sequined Oilers body suit and painted face. That type of commitment makes me randy.

1) Fan #1, with the sign that had the words, The "C" Stands For Choke beside the Flames logo. As if that wasn't enough, he one-upped himself with his jersey. It was a white, #94 Oilers jersey, with the name "Heart & Soul" across the shoulders. I wish I could shake that man's hand.


I think the Oil's forwards are just looking for outlet passes that don't take their heads off. Seriously, I think they were spoiled by the sudden break away passes of last year.

Smid was the only dman who turned my head on a pass this season thus far.

He reminds me of Curtis Joseph in that regard.

That's not particularly a good thing.

That's not particularly a good thing.


I'll say this about groupthink: Some have cited it as a cause of the Challenger shuttle tragedy.

Some have cited it as a cause of the Challenger shuttle tragedy.

Well, I'd like to cite it as one cause in the Oilers powerplay tragedy.

from espn's game recap:

Petr Sykora did it again, writing his name in the "Elias Says" Record Book by scoring twice to rally the Oilers from a 1-0 deficit to a 2-1 victory over the Flames. It was the third time in his career that Sykora scored twice in a 2-1 win after his team had fallen behind. No other NHL player, past or present, has done that three times. In fact, none of the top five goal scorers in NHL history -- Gretzky, Howe, Hull, Dionne, or Esposito -- did it even once!

today's 'fun fact'

2) Fan #2, head to toe in a blue sequined Oilers body suit and painted face. That type of commitment makes me randy.

And this is the type of sentence that makes me cring, my name being used to induce thoughts that make me throw up in my mouth a little...

And I didn't find that fun fact very fun at all...

I left for my hockey game last night with my Flames up 1-0 and come home to find out they lost, which sucks ass big time...

Geez Andy, you are hard to please with the PP. The shot by Sykora was in prime territory (nearer the top of the circles) on a set play with good puck movement by MAB and Hemsky. IIR your "war and peace" quatrology on the PP, this was a key piece. Sorry it wasn't a pretty slot play.

Yes they've not been the vaunt we expected, but its gotten it done vs. COL, vs STL, vs CAL. It won all three of those games. Situationally they were evens at ES in each of those games and a PP goal or three made the difference. There weren't enough penalties against DET to even get an at bat.

I can accept your criticism of the PP on games 5-16, but for the past 5 they are certainly doing better. (and several of the things you wanted them to).

Calgary protects the lower half of the zone more effectively than most teams do since the Kipper normally can handle anything from the top of the ice cream cone.
I doubt that the low play works very often against them. You'll see it open up versus other teams.

Did you listen to the coaches' comments? He clearly got trained in the "school of hitchcock." Playfair, well -- he just plays fair.

I think Kipper was less to blame on the winning goal than his confused teammates who stood around and watched as Sykora picked up the rebound and deposited it into the net.

Could fans of both teams agree that the lame use of the Flame metaphor in the reporting of these games should be stopped? (I think it's a metaphor, but it's been a long time since grade 7 language arts) Extinguished, doused, burnt, torched, ignited and on and on and on. These are not clever, are a sign of laziness and a weak imagination and they annoy the shit out of me. I am speaking mainly of the Edmonton Sun and the Journal here, but I am sure Calgary reporters (and their readers) must fall victim to the same thing.

Oh, we Calgarians get a flaming headline roughly 82 yimes a year (plus playoffs, plus other newsworthy events). It got old around 1982.

As for last night's game, I only saw the last 2 periods but I really enjoyed it (save the tragic ending). I thought the Flames deserved a better fate as they carried most of the play (at least that I saw).

I agree with Andy on this much -- the Oilers defencemen are not the problem. They did a pretty good job at keeping the Flames from converting their chances and in forcing them to hurry when they got in tight. But they got no support from the forwards in breaking up the Flames forecheck. The Flames forwards were a lot more effective in keeping the Oilers from establishing and maintaining pressure in the Flames end. And Andy is right that our power play is awful right now.

Sykora joined Cosmo Kramer on my November enemies list, though.

I thought the Flames deserved a better fate as they carried most of the play (at least that I saw).

Arguably so, but virtually all of their chances came on bad point-to-point and breakout passes by the Oiler D. You get the feeling with Calgary that if the opposing team ever failed to show up, they'd stand around not knowing what to do.

That Tanguay thing's really working out great for you guys--somehow welding his shifts to Iginla's has led to the offence being even more Iggy-centric than ever, if that's possible. At times you feel like you're watching the Mikan-era Lakers out there. One dude trying to stay open (and honestly not having much trouble), four other guys rummaging around the perimeter irrelevantly and hoping to complete one good pass. Calgary's actually a lot less boring if you just stop watching anybody but Iginla.

Calgary's actually a lot less boring if you just stop watching anybody but Iginla.

I nominate this for the "top backhanded compliment of the last half of the year" award.

Edmonton's a lot less boring if you turn your back on the game completely and watch the knife fights in the stands.

Of course, I didn't either, for fear that I might get shivved in the neck. It's not like the old days, when you could just meet in a back alley, tie your arm to another guy's arm, and have a dance off.

I really think there needs to be an addition to the glossary for getting knifed. An "Edmonton Handshake," perhaps? "Whyte Ave How-do-you-do"? I'm not sure.

Agreed about the term. I like both your suggestions, PM.

And yes, I guess I am hard to please when it comes to the PP. I shouldn't be unhappy with 6 PP goals in 4 games. But it's simply infuriating to watch. They can't do anything unless it's absolutely perfect. They pass and pass and pass and pass and pass and pass and pass, and maybe then get a shot off. But it HAS to be a slap shot one-timer from the point. They can't throw a wrist shot on net, they can't cycle it down low, they can't skate around with the puck, and they cant shoot from less than 45 feet. Let's also not forget they've been playing the 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th ranked PK's over the past four games.

This was a funny game because Calgary got outcalgaryed in this doubt.

Cgy had the edge in SOG, shots directed and certainly scoring chances yet they still managed to lose...even though Tarnqvist gave them their lone goal.

Oh Kipper...thanks for shitting the bed on cue;)

And isn't it great that the Oilers have netminding again???

Apparently the interview aired on this morning's Edmonton AM show on CBC radio... AG conquering the airwaves!

Only in the low-scoring world of Calgary or Minnesota could your goaltender letting in 2 goals (0.920 SV%) be classified as "shitting the bed".

Would CGY fans please get a sense of reality? You don't see the Oilers thanking their scoring platoon for getting the job done (quite the opposite, our PP goes 1/3 and we can still trash the PP), so why this need to blame the goaltender in a 2-1 loss?

It seemed to me that Sykora and Hemsky were in the wrong spots although it did lead to a goal but on a 5on3 nonetheless. Didnt matter how nice of pass Bergy gave to Sykora it seemed like it was too awkward for him to do anything with. And Hemsky seemed out of place, isnt he usually on the right halfboards?


Uhmm, it was an Oil fan that said that Kipper shit the bed, not a Flames fan...

We would never use that terminology in regards to Kiprusoff (with the possible exception of games in the month of October)...

so why this need to blame the goaltender in a 2-1 loss?

Did every Flames fan black out right before the second goal was scored? Or is this an example of cognitive dissonance? I had a perfect view of that goal. It was on my side, I was in the low blues, and Kipper blew it. It was a soft flip up that he just ate it on. Deny it all you want, Flames fans. It was a soft goal in the 3rd that cost you the win.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?