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Friday, January 22, 2010

Player Grades / Oilers vs Stars / Cult of Hockey - Edmonton Journal (1/22/10)

Thanks again to David Staples for asking me to do the Player Grades for the Cult Of Hockey.

One of the things I have noticed in the last few bad losses is the lack of blocking shots.  If the Oilers want to win games, they need to block shots. Mind you, if I was on a team as bad as these guys have been playing, I may not throw my body in front of no pucks either. But regardless, if this team actually wants to win, block more shots.

The Oilers were good this game. All of them really tried to win a game, and not for us, but for themselves.  They came close but couldn't seal the deal.  With a tie game on the line, I do wonder why Quinn had the players he did out there. Why Strudwick? Why Moreau? At this point however, I don't really want/care about the answer. I just wanted a win.

The Cult of Hockey Grading System: 10-perfect game, 9-extraordinary, 8-great, 7-good, 6-above average, 5-average, 4-below average, 3-poor, 2-terrible, 1-deserves to be in minors.

#10 SHAWN HORCOFF (7) - I liked the way he played. He was worse tonight than usual on the faceoffs but his overall game was pretty solid.  He has that natural chemistry with Pisani and Moreau and it really shows.  Now if for a minute you forgot all about how fat his wallet is and really watched him as a 3rd line center, he's damn good.  He's a top notch 3rd line guy. It's where he belongs and it's where he shines.  His -1 came on that last goal of the game.

#12 ROBERT NILSSON (7) - He continues his good play with another good game tonight. He made a nice play on the first Potulny goal and continued that throughout the game.  He makes some crazy plays and after the night was over he had two assists.  Nilsson was even hitting guys.  He's trying hard to be the real deal and you know what? I think he's getting there.

#13 ANDREW COGLIANO (7) - Once again his chemistry with Gagner keeps him looking good.  His speed and his ability to get open makes him stand out.   I really liked that he was shooting the puck. He had 5 shots and is seriously due for a goal or two.

#16 RYAN POTULNY (8) - Who is this guy? At the beginning of the year I didn't know or care anything about this guy. I sure do care now. He's a gem in the dirt pile we call the Oilers.  He scored the games opening goal and picked up an assist on the Gagner tie goal.  In between all that he was playing a great game. He finished the night at 50% on faceoffs and took 4 shots. He did end up tied with a team worse -2. But I don't care... I LIKE POTSY! I LIKE POTSY!

#18 ETHAN MOREAU (6) - I'm sure glad they got rid of that strange guy that used to wear that tinted visor.  He was terrible.  The new and improved Moreau was dynamite.  Seriously folks, playing with Horcoff and Pisani is the best thing for him. He has that brotherhood with those two guys and seems cool like a cucumber out there. He had 3 shots and 3 hits and played pretty damn good (for his standards).

#19 PATRICK O'SULLIVAN (5) - I don't know what to say about him. He was OK. Nothing fancy. He tried hard but really didn't do much at all.  He's a shooter who had a total of 2 shots on goal. So if he didn't shoot the puck then what did he do? *shrugs shoulders* One thing I do know, he was the other guy with a -2. But he didn't score like Potulny did. 

#22 JEAN-FRANCOIS JACQUES (4) - He had no effect in this game what so ever.  In his 8:30 of ice time, he only mustered up 2 hits and one good shot. Hitting is your thing. No hit? No good.

#27 DUSTIN PENNER (8) - The first period was making me nervous.  It's hard to grade people when it's all PK and no 5 on 5 action.  Penner was one of those guys that I didn't notice much. But once the nonsense was over, Penner and his line mates started to really take it to the Stars.  Penner was a force.  He was stick handling like Gretzky (maybe a stretch) and was rewarded for it by getting 2 assists.  He was one of my favorite players tonight. This was the player I was lobbying for to get picked by Team Canada for the Olympics. Glad he's back, he's been gone for too long.

#34 FERNANDO PISANI (6) - Like I said up above, Pisani fit in with those two guys.  I liked the way he played tonight. He did all the little things right and tossed 3 hits in there as well. The 3rd line is what he's good at. Keep him there Quinn.

#37 DENIS GREBESHKOV (6) - On one hand he looks great. He handles the puck well. On the other hand, he doesn't handle the puck so well. He had a few pucks slip off his stick and I'm not really sure why they didn't count as a giveaway.  He did lay out 4 hits and he had some good PP time.  I just don't know why he was out with Strudwick in the dying seconds of a tie game. Grebeshkov freaks me out and if it came down to it and I'd have to chose, I'd keep Gilbert.

#41 TAYLOR CHORNEY (5) - This was his first NHL game is a while.  He was OK and I thought that he could have played more minutes (he played 11:51). The only official stats he registered was 1 takeaway and 1 blocked shot. That just screams a 5 rating. His low point of the game was his pinch that led to the Stars third goal. To his credit, he almost made it back in time and not one forward beat him back to the zone.

#43 JASON STRUDWICK (6) - Don't get me wrong. I like Jason Strudwick. He's a good guy. But don't put him out with a game like that on the line. It's a 3-3 tie game and there is less than a minute left in the 3rd period.  Renney looks down the bench and picks... Strudwick. The winning goal was a result of a puck ending up on Struds stick just as he's losing his balance. Boom, the puck shoots off his stick and onto Neal's stick. Game over.  But for the rest of the game he was good. I liked him. The quote of the night was from Kevin Quinn. Just as Struds started fighting with those rabbit punches he throws, Quinn says, "Strudwick has the lawnmower going now". And it totally was the lawnmower. Classic!

#44 SHELDON SOURAY (7) - Souray was a great player tonight. During the 5on3's he was hacking and whacking everything in sight. All night he played rough and he really stood out as being good.  He had 5 shots and 3 hits.  Souray was a leader out there. He led by example.

#46 ZACK STORTINI (5) - He was rocked at the half way point of the game and never really amounted to much.  He had a pretty non-existent game. There is a better player than what we seen in that uniform tonight. He did manage 3 hits. So he does get a 5 because of his lousy 5:12 of ice time. But who knows... maybe he's hurt from that hit?

#71 LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY (6) - I liked him tonight. He just needs to find away to hit the net with his shot. He had 5 attempts blocked and one shot on the PP and he missed so bad it wrapped around the boards and out of the zone.  He wasn't great, but he wasn't bad either.  He played 22:50 and had 2 giveaways. 

#77 TOM GILBERT (6) - Gilbert was not bad or great. He was very Visnovsky like.  He played 22:57 and only had 1 shot hit the net.  His big moment: his assist on the first Gagner goal.  He has definitely played better games. I do like him with Souray and I don't see a compatible guy for him to play with of Souray does get traded.

#78 MARC POULIOT (5) - He was better than the other two guys he was playing with. He was 50% on faceoffs and had 2 hits in his 9:09 of ice time. It's too bad he didn't get any PP time. He needs some responsible time to gain some confidence.

#89 SAM GAGNER (8) - He played a great game from start to finish. The last few games he's really taken his game to a higher level.  His penalty was even OK in my mind as well. He tossed down a Star player and had a little spaz.  He showed emotion and his line mates feed off of it.  He scored the Oilers second goal of the game and scores the tie goal to bring the game to a crazy climax. Even though his second goal was a lucky bounce of Modano's foot and who cares. That tied the game. That was a huge goal. Ahh.. but not for long. *sigh* He was 50% on faceoffs and had 6 shots on goal.

#38 JEFF DESLAURIERS (N/A) - Did not play.

#40 DEVAN DUBNYK (7) - The Big Easy is what Kevin Quinn was calling him tonight on the Sportsnet broadcast. Let's see if it sticks. I really do like Dubnyk.  In my opinion, he's been better than Deslauriers lately and is making a strong case to be the backup here next year.  The first goal he barley seen and the second goal was tough to stop.  The third was a Strudwick last second deflection and he really had no chance on it. I feel bad for him because I just want to see him get his first NHL win. He was close tonight. But close sucks.


  1. My thoughts exactly on Horcoff. Great 3rd line centre - you just have to try not to think about the salary!

  2. You know I'm not going to make it sound like I'm the originator of the idea or anything, but I'd been begging to see a Moreau Horcoff Pisani line for a while. Those guys all have had problems throughout the last 2 or 3 years, however I think they just make sense as a line. They play similar styles of games in ways, but each bring a unique element the other doesn't.

    And yes, Chopper sans-visor is sooooo nice to see.

    I know I'm one of few Staios fans in the world, but when he took off his visor, the benefits were pretty obvious too. I had no idea it could hinder a player so much.

  3. I love the whole team mentioned above. My favorite are Jeff and Devan. The best thing i like about them is their attitude towards the life.

  4. lol. You know what Racki? I'll give you credit for saying it. I don't remember you saying it but I'll go with it.

    And they do make sense as a line. Individually they stink, but together they are good. I hope Quinn keeps them together.

    Like I said, I loved these lines. Do you remember when Quinn had Jacques on the 1st line in preseason? Haha! Ahh the memories.

  5. Great grades. I can't say I disagree at all. You really do these well. Cheers

  6. Thanks Anonymous. I appreciate the compliment.

  7. Dubey has been better then I thought he would be, it'll be interesting to watch himm and JDD battle for next years backup spot for the rest of the season. That was the best game I have seen Gags play, he is really starting to play at the level we(fans) all thought he could. I also love the "vet line" it just makes sense and it works.

  8. He had attractive non-existent games. There is an improved player than what we observed in that uniform tonight.


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