Friday, October 23, 2009

The Rise of Dustin Penner

Dustin Penner has finally arrived. After a 2 goal, 3 assist game last night vs Columbus, fans are all a flutter in Edmonton over the play of Penner so far this season. Putting together Hemsky, Penner and Gagner last night, they put together one of the greatest performances in over 20 years. Penner and Hemsky had 5 point nights with Gagner putting up 3 pts. The last time Edmonton had two players with 5 points in one game each was back in 1988 (Carson and Anderson).

Okay, we should step back and be cautiously optimistic. It was one game. Let's say that again: it was one game.

It's no fun being cautious.

The play of Penner has been a lovely surprise. I did feel and was quite vocal over the past two years that Penner had great potential and was being majorly mismanaged last year. Some of it was his fault, no doubt about that. The mismanagement from last year has contributed to his play this year. He was shamed into getting into better shape, a new coaching staff wiped the slate clean and he has silenced all his critics. We saw glimpses of this Penner in the past where he'd drive the net, skate hard to the puck and use his size. He never did it consistently but I felt if he ever did, this was the potential.

Cautious, be cautious.

A big weekend for the flu-ridden team with back-to-back games on the road against Calgary and Vancouver.

Oilers hockey appears to be back. Damn I've missed it.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Hot Oil

Thank you ESPN and the parents of Sheldon Souray, Andrew Cogliano and Ethan Moreau for creating lovely specimens.

You can check out some other bodies here (note Chara of the Bruins is pic 4) but please, I'm quite content with the Oilers picture.

Moreau = hot OFF the ice

I still love Souray.


Oh yes, there was an Oilers game last night. Another shitty ending with the Lames tying up the game with 1.5 seconds to go. Moreau is wearing the goat horns (horrible pass) but The Wall could have had the tying goal. It was deflected but he was square to the shooter, but didn't flop nor squeezed the five hole. Come on Russian, you had a decent game up to that point.

There are good signs even with the loss. This is not the same team that was pushed around last year. They fight, they hit, they forecheck and play hard. I'm so happy to see the forecheck back. It feels like 2006. It's only been 3 games but I'm happy with the play of most of the team so far. need some work. I mean the entire team defense. They are giving up way too many chances in their zone. Close that up, and chances to tie up a game won't be there.

Now, let's look at that photo again.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

2009-2010 Season Opener vs Celine's Calgary Lames

2009-2010 season finally starts for our Oilers tonight against the Calgary Flames. After a few off-season moves which include a new goalie (Nikolai Khabibulin - left), a new coaching staff, and the return of Mike Comrie, the Oilers are looking to rebound after underachieving last year.

The big issue is a 36 year old goalie coming off a very good year for Chicago but can he dublicate that performance? If the Bulin Wall can, this team should make the playoffs. Of course, you need the forwards to score some goals. Quinn has already put his stamp on this team with JF Jacques starting on the top line, Ryan Stone on the second line with Comrie and O'Sullivan and Gagner starting on the fourth line with Moreau and Stortini. Quinn has brought the crust, but is there any jam?

Many predictions out there are calling for the Oilers to miss the playoffs here, here and here. They're not getting any respect. Most are predicting them to finish 11th in the West (a couple bloggers at Oilersnation pick them 8th). That is wrong. I still think this is a playoff team: defense is strong, forwards are pretty good and as long as the goalie continues his strong play from last year, this should be a playoff team.

Let's take a look back at one of my favorite moments from last year, when Souray moved Moreau out of his way in a fight. Souray is important, the defense is not very physical so his body is needed.