Wednesday, November 18, 2009

(Cult Of Hockey) Player Grades - Oilers vs Avalanche (11/18/09)

The Cult Of Hockey Player Grades have arrived at Oilers Jambalaya.  This is Smokin' Ray coming at you live pre-recorded from two sites, mine and at The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. 

David Staples had asked me if I would like to contribute to the player grades that he does and I accepted graciously.  David has supported me from day one so it's going to be nice to give back a little.  Is this good for you the reader?  I hope so.  Enjoy!

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Despite the Oilers bad Power Play, they manage to win 6-4.  Not a bad game to watch that's for sure. To top it off... it was free on TSN.

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Ales Hemsky (8) - He was solid all game except for his blunder with Visnovsky that led to a chance for the Avs.  He had a goal and an assist for two points tonight.  He even took 4 shots.  Not bad for a playmaker.

Sam Gagner (7) - He had a really slow start, much like everyone else did, but really turned it on at the halfway point of the game.  He scores a huge goal (for him and the team) and his pain seemed to fade away.  His hip is bothering him right now and with all the other Oiler problems, this is one guy we don't need to miss any time.  He would have scored an 8 if he didn't start so slow.

Shawn Horcoff (7) - Despite having a bum shoulder right now, he played pretty decent.  I'm not sure why Quinn has him taking 15 faceoffs in a game when he goes 33%.  He's better than that, but not right now.  At least pair him up with another center on the PK like O'Sullivan.  He scores a nice goal on a Hemsky rebound and helps to get the Oilers going early on in the game.  He made no real huge mistakes, but he is clearly hampered by his injury and his game reflects that.  You just tell he would have been awesome tonight if he was 100%.

Dustin Penner (8) - He may not have scored any points, but it's the intangibles that he brings to the table that make him worthy.  His screening and tipping is top notch right now.  He even busted his stick on a Souray tip.  How do you even see a Souray shot, never mind tipping it?  He had 7 shots tonight and was the best faceoff guy on the team.  He went 7W-8L for 47%.  Who would have thought that he could do it all?  Literally. I'd say that both him and Hemsky were close to being a 9 in my books.

Ladi Smid (7) - I think we should all tell Kevin Lowe that he was right on the Pronger trade. Ok.. let's not go quite that far yet but he sure is looking simply amazing this year.  He tallies an assist and finishes the night tied for team best, +3.  Looking at the stats you would think it would show more hits for him as he was ramming and slamming guys all game.  He is playing a consistent and reliable game for Quinn. Thank you Dany Heatley for nixing that deal.  Penner and Smid are studs for this team this year.  And it's all because of you. Sort of.

Sheldon Souray (6) - He is one mean dude.  Shortly after Moreau takes an elbow to the head, Souray does a little chin music of his own.  The refs seen that one though.  So you can hardly be mad at him for taking the penalty, it was just at the wrong time as Stortini was assessed a instigator penalty 1:01 before that.  He also finished a -1 and that doesn't help a guys rating.  Did I mention the 2 giveaways?  Yeah...  But still.  If it wasn't for all that he could have had an 8.  To make an excuse for him, he was on the ice for a lot of tough minutes.

Lubomir Visnovsky (8) - Holy cow!  When he plays well, he plays well.  He made great plays all night and he was a pleasure to watch.  His only black mark was a screw up between him and Hemsky which gave him a 1 in the takeaway column.  He had 2 assists and finished a +3 tied with Smid for the team lead.  I really would have given him a 9 if not for the giveaway.  Yes folks... he was that good.

Tom Gilbert (4) - He had a soft 1st period and was a -2 for the night.  Quinn even benched him for most of the 2nd as he only played 1:22.  He did get an assist on the Potulny goal.  That was pretty much his only good point of the game.

Dean Arsene (5) - For a guy who was playing in his 2nd ever game in the NHL, he looked calm.  I didn't see any major mistakes other than an errant pass that was picked up by the Avs late in the 3rd.  But you know Quinn is liking him when he's out there quite regular in the 3rd period.  I want to see more of this guy.  I'm liking what I see.

Patrick O'Sullivan (5) - He finally scores a goal.  It's been way to long and you could see him breath a sigh of relief right after it went in.  He had 5 shots and was 45% on the faceoff dot.  He needs to play better for a whole 60 minutes and he needs to shoot that puck with conviction.

Ryan Potulny (6) - He had a pretty solid game and was rewarded with more ice time.  He scores the tying goal and gives the crowd and the team a huge lift.  He definitely is a good call up.  Glad we have him.

Zack Stortini (3) - He spent 17 minutes not playing because of the fight (for the Moreau hit) and only played 5:16 after that.  The fight even sucked.  Wilson tied up his arms and that was it.  They struggled and it was over.  Not his greatest night.

Ethan Moreau (5) - He really wasn't all that bad before the hit to the head.  He had a shift after that and that was it for him as he didn't return.  So with him gone and Stortini not lighting it up, that was it with the 4th line.

Gilbert Brule (6) - He didn't have a bad night and he didn't have a great night either.  He was on the ice for Hejduk's 2nd goal and on the ice for the Cuminsky goal.  Both times he could have been harder on his check but wasn't.  On the good side he was on the ice for some of the Oilers goals as well.  But it is nice to see him be more consistent this year.  I was starting to wonder why we traded Torres for Brule.  But the kid is alright.

Liam Reddox (6) - He played a good enough game and earned an assist.  It's too bad he's not a bigger guy because he sure does throw his tiny little body around.  He plays a smart game and does the little things well.  But have no fear Reddox haters, he will go back when the Oilers get bodies back. 

Jason Strudwick (4) - All he really did was block some shots and take up some minutes from Gilbert.  He seems to have some trouble keeping up with the more quicker players.  On the Avs second goal, he was running around like a chicken with his head cut off and was a major reason why that goal was scored.  With the emergence of these younger guys, I don't see the need for him past the trade deadline.

Andrew Cogliano (5) - He had flashes of brilliance and then would fade away.  He is the only one out of the Heatley three that hasn't flourished this season.  He had a good chance tonight being on a line with Gagner but failed to produce.  Maybe he needs to see a head shrink to get his groove on.  Or dancing lessons.

Jeff Deslauriers (4) - He was super stinky in the 1st two periods.  In the first 25 minutes, he let in 3 goals on 7 shots.  I was waiting for Quinn to pull the plug but he didn't.  Maybe it's the lack of games or maybe he's not as good as we all though he was.  If I was him, I'd get serious because Dubnyk will be knocking on the door next year.

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Well that's it folks.  I hope I did this game justice. Thanks for reading.

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My normal Beers & Jeers Edmonton Oilers Recap to follow.

1 comment:

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