Thursday, January 14, 2010

Players Grades - Cult of Hockey - Oilers vs Penguins (1/14/10)





They played a great 40 minutes and that's fine and dandy, but why always blow a game in the 3rd? The last time the Pens came here the Oilers lost 4-2 in the same fashion.  The Oilers were up 2-0 after two periods and Boom! 4-2 final.  Deja Vu... well, except tonight's game was a 3-2 final.

The Bad Timing Penalty of the evening was the Ryan Stone hooking call in the 3rd.  That killed it for the Oilers.  The Penguins literally put their foot on the gas and took this game over.  Can the Oilers ever win a game? It's making you wonder.

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.

#5 Ladislav Smid (4) - He was on for all three of the Penguins goals. Two were even strength and one was on the PK.  While he was trying to be a pest, he really didn't do anything and he in my opinion, sucked.  He had 2 giveaways and 4 blocked shots.  He can be way better than that.

#12 Robert Nilsson (8) - I really liked him tonight. He played a heck of a game even though he didn't score any points.  He was double shifted and was put out a lot and really earned his ice time (22:34).  He really does have an amazing talent and it's really nice to see him be consistent.  Tonight he was blocking shots (3), he was shooting the puck (4 shots), and best of all, he had 4 takeaways and only 1 giveaway.  That's impressive. 

#13 Andrew Cogliano (7) - I really wanted to give him an 8 because he was outstanding in this game, but he was on for both even strength goals against.  But how can you put much blame on him when he's out there with Moreau and Stortini?  He was played with both the 3rd and the 4th lines and some PK and PP time and did a great job.  He scores the first goal of the game on the PP and does it with O'Sullivan and Potulny.  Like I said, I liked him.

#16 Ryan Potulny (6) He played a decent game.  He had some good chances and had 4 shots on goal.   He blocked a couple of shots and was on the ice for both Oiler goals.  He plays a real structured game and that's taking him to the next level.

#18 Ethan Moreau (3) When you look at a player and you think to yourself, can he contribute and make a difference to this hockey club?  I don't think he can anymore.  He is a player that can't keep up.  Not only speed, but decision making as well.  One has to wonder if it's his eye injury that is still bothering him or maybe it's that fact that he's just getting older while the game is getting younger?  He seemed out of sync with his linemates and it showed as he has nothing on the stat sheet other than a -2. If the rumors are true, take any deal you can Tambo and pull the trigger with Anaheim.  Need New Captain!

#19 Patrick O'Sullivan (7) - He was outstanding tonight.  He had his head in the game and he made some great plays that led to two slick PP goals.  He was the driving force behind those Oiler goals.   The first goal he made a nice pass to Cogliano who scored and the second goal he took a shot and picked up his rebound, went to the half wall and passed it rink wide to Visnovsky who pounded it in.  If only he could do this for 82 games.

#22 JF Jacques (4) - He only played 6:27 and he did nothing.  No hitting, no getting people mad, nothing.  He just didn't have a centerman to play with and that may have been part of it.  If Horcoff had played, I bet he would have seen more ice time.  But still, 6:27 is long enough to register more than 1 hit and he failed to do that. 

#24 Steve Staios (6) - I actually had no problem with the way he played tonight.  He didn't do anything special, but he played hard and made decent puck choices.  He didn't get scored on and even tried being offensive for a minute or two with a good rush to the net.  Some games Staios looks slow and bench able, but tonight he was the opposite.  He was good.

#27 Dustin Penner (7) - The big guy was pretty good and played 22:03.  I liked his hustle and his willingness to bang and crash.  You know, bang bodies and crash the net (very Cam Neely like).  He was a force but just couldn't get a puck in the net.  He had 5 shots and had a glorious chance to score on a breakaway due to his hustle and speed.  That's right folks, a flying donair. I'm not sure why he just doesn't play center? Who knew he was so good at faceoffs?  He was 7W 2L for 78%.  As much as I like him with Gagner and Nilsson, he really needs to go back to playing with Brule.  The feed off each other and they both play better as a result.

#32 Ryan Stone (4) He was slotted for a 5 when he took the games Bad Timing Penalty and basically gave the momentum to the Pens.  His only real high point of the game was his chance he had but shot it right at Fleury for a no goal.  He was a non factor tonight.

#34 Fernando Pisani (5) - Not great game at all for Fernando.  He did do well on the PK so I won't knock him for that.  But other wise played an average game.

#37 Denis Grebeshkov (6) - While he did have one giveaway, that was it for errors for him.  I kept waiting for him to crack in this game and he didn't.  He played a smart and reliable game. 

#38 Jeff Deslauriers (N/A) - He was a bench warmer and did not play. 

#40 Devan Dubnyk (7) - While he was on the losing side of things, he did play a great first two periods.  He was stellar.  But once the Stanley Cup champs come flying, it's hard to stop them.  The last goal was a fluke and it always sucks for the goalies on those.  I was really impressed by the way he handled himself in this game.  I hope he gets more playing time as I think he will show us how good he can be. 

#43 Jason Strudwick (N/A) - With Horcoff going out due to sudden case of being violently ill and was sent home immediately, that meant Strudwick was in.  What I don't understand, why not play him with Stortini and Moreau?  Why have a guy sitting there when he could do a little 4th line duty?  Strudwick only played 2:38 as a defenseman and does not get ranked. 

#44 Sheldon Souray (5) - Big sexy was not great but was better than the last game.  He fired the puck a lot more tonight (he took 8 in total and 2 only hitting the net) which is good to see.  Those are hard shots and why not make the goalie/defenseman a little puck shy?  He had 2 hits and but had a team high of 3 giveaways.  Ouch!  This is two games in a row where he isn't the same guy he was a week ago.  He's lost the fire.  Maybe he does want out now via trade?

#46 Zack Stortini (4) - He had a nice wrap around chance but that was about it for the game for good stuff.  I would like to see some better suited line mates for him.  In his 10:28 of ice time, he managed to be -2, he had no hits and had a giveaway.  For what it's worth, he went 4W 1L for 80% on faceoffs.  I guess that's a positive. 

#71 Lubomir Visnovsky (7) - He scores the Oilers 2nd goal on the PP and picks up an assist on the first Oilers PP goal.  He was PP specialist.  It's just too bad he was bad 5 on 5.  He was burned along with Smid on the Penguins two even strength goals and that brought him down to a -2.  I did like his play though.

#77 Tom Gilbert (6) - He played an OK game.  He didn't really do much other than 4 blocked shots.  His low point was his 3 giveaways.  Not a good night in that department for him and Souray.  I've seen him better than he was tonight. 

#89 Sam Gagner (6) - He was flying around out there and gave it a good try.  He had 5 shots and did pretty good at the faceoffs going 10W 7L for 59%.  He would have won more but the Pens would get by all the Oilers and beat them to the puck.  He plays great with Nilsson and Penner but I don't think they are a #1 line.  Sam had an impotant role tonight and I don't think he disappointed.

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