The day after the night before…

Posted: October 17, 2008 in Uncategorized

After watching the first two games, well more accurately the first game and a half, one thing I noticed. They weren’t skating. Hemsky looked like Luc Robitaille in slow motion, the kid line looked more like the Stars Grumpy Old Men (What a great line….wasn’t that Muller, Keane and MacLean?) and Penner’s feet looked more like cement blocks than a guy that was going to be better stronger and faster than last year.

One thing is for certain though, this team will be exciting to watch at both ends. The kids can get hemmed in their own zone pretty easily without the grit to get out sometimes. Cole-Horcoff-Hemsky have zero for chemistry thus far.  Cole being moved to the left wing from his natural right wing is probably a factor, and Hemsky’s very average performance is also a large contributor.  Horcoff seems to be the most advanced on the team as far as performance goes.

So here are your team grades for Game two:

Cole-Horcoff-Hemsky (B-)

If it wasn’t for Horcoff’s goal and Cole and Hemsky getting assists on Visnovsky’s game winner this grade would be worse.  They aren’t a cohesive unit, and there was no sustained pressure.  Hemsky, despite double shifting at times was rarely dangerous and the worst of the three.

Gagner-Cogliano-Nilsson (B-)

Too much time spent hemmed in their own zone, not enough pressure in the offensive zone and poor decision making.  Nilsson looking marginally dangerous, and was backchecking well.  Cogliano was very average, and didn’t utilize his speed much at all.  Gagner although the team leader in SOG, was the worst of the three, but at least was not afraid to put the puck at the net.

Moreau-Pisani-Penner (B)

At one point I saw Penner put his head down after a couple slow strides as if he was trying to convince himself to skate hard.  Penner did make a couple nice defensive plays, and it looks as though progress is being made.  Moreau was physical and played well, and Pisani ended up being better in the dot than expected.  They seemed to be the only line that was effective for the first half of the game, and continued in the 2nd half as the rest of the team got their legs.

Pouliot-Brodziak-MacIntyre(Nilsson and Hemsky) (B-)

Generally they were not effective for the first period and a half much like the rest of the team.  MacIntyre was fine for what was asked of him, he played only a few minutes, but that was enough for the Ducks to not take much in liberties.  I am not a Pouliot fan, but he does seem to be developing into a bottom six NHLer.  He and Brodziak did come on in the third period, and it could be possible that MacIntyre being on the line hurt their transition game.  Once Big Mac was on the bench and the third linemate could contribute, the line seemed much more effective.

Souray-Visnovsky (B+)

Both had a goal and one was the game winner.  Defensively five on five there are some concerns, but offensively if these two stay together, points will come.  Souray was even pinching on the rush five on five with a one goal lead.(Not sure if I think that is good or bad).

Gilbert-Grebeshkov (B)

If I grade these separately, Grebeshkov gets and A- and Gilbert a C+.  Gilbert is handling the puck like a grenade and Grebs is calm cool and efficient.  Hopefully Tom Gilbert improves, or we might see Staios back in the top four.

Strudwick-Staios (B-)

Strudwick looks a lot better than I thought he would, but then again, I believe that Smid is a guy that should be playing and developing.  Staios looked slow but reasonably steady.  If he gets his ice limited to some easier minutes, he should be OK.

Mathieu Garon (A-)

Probably should have had Huskins shot but other than that, fast, solid and kept the Oilers in it until their legs were under them.  A very good performance.  Good positionally and his rebound control really impresses me.  Suck on that Bruce Dowbiggen.

Team (B-)

They need to start skating for 60 minutes.  If they do, you can see the difference.  They also look a little disorganized, with several new faces unclear of how to play the system.  That will take time, but it is nice to start 2-0.

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Comments
  1. Jonathan says:

    Completely disagree on Penner not skating – in game one he negated an icing call by beating an Avalanche defenseman in a foot race, and I remember thinking how much faster he looked this year than last on a number of other occasions.

  2. slats432 says:

    I think he goes in spurts. I have seen spots where it looks like he is labouring. I am not saying he is as bad as he was last year, but there is still some room for improvement. There are also times in the game where he looks tired.

    I actually am reminded of a couple times in Stoll’s first year. He isn’t really skating hard and then after a couple strides he puts his head down and puts a little more effort into it. I saw that with Penner more than once in the last game. He has better moments, and I like the progress…but there is more to be had.

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