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Monday, December 19, 2011

Game Day "Red Wings"

For those those of you who have been following my game day blogs for the Oilers, I am back from a 1 game absence. Thought Hockey Karma would have the Oilers win, if I stayed away, but to no avail, the Oilers still lost. Next up as of today, I will no longer be doing a game day prediction. Here is hoping that it brings changes and the Oilers start winning. No use in having a routine tradition if your not winning anyway. What I will be doing in each game day thread is staying true to my roots and giving some focus on a prospect who is a 1st year player on the club. Now onto our game day discussion......

Well, the atmosphere and excitement in Edmonton on this season certainly has changed in the past few weeks. As the Oilers prepare to do battle on the ice tonight against the powerful Red Wings, several fans are now starting to focus in on smaller victories. Some just want to at least see Hall/Eberle/RNH get a point each game and finish the year with a point a game. Would be good for their confidence and for the confidence of the team as they build around those three cornerstones.

Some fans just want to see Smyth score 30 or more this year and would be content. Others are just looking to see Ryan Whitney regain that scoring prowess he had last year before going down with his injury. And then their are others like myself who are watching the prospects of the 2012 Draft coming up in June this summer.

All in all, doesn't matter what any of these individual fans want, the Oilers will not be able to continue this path of rebuild. Granted, this is only year two of a rebuild, but a rebuild also means you are getting better each year without abandoning ship and re-routing half way in. This years team is only 2 points greater then last years team at the exact same point. Sure they have a better goals for and against then last year, but that is in large part to some stellar goaltending and shot blocking in the first 13 games. The other difference this year has been this team is usually in a place to still be in reach of at least a tie in every game and the Oilers have done well at getting on the scoreboard first. What is alarming is their inability to stop this rash of horrid turnovers each game.

The Red Wings are a team who will capitalize even more on the Oilers weakness of turnovers, so if they hope to be even close in this game, it will require some smart play moving the puck out of their own end. The PP has looked noticeably different with Potter back out there and the PK has been doing much better as well.

A couple concerns I am having is the play of Peckham and the playing of our fourth line. On defence, Peckham should not be making those blueline pinches he so often makes to keep the puck in play. Why? Because he is a defensive defencemen and can't usually make that play work. Too often he loses his feet out from under him and then is taken out of position. Also if Peckham wants to hit, he needs to remember not to take himself out of position to do that. This many games into his NHL career is looking bad on Theo. I like the toughness he brings and the passion but too many bad penalties, and at least one bad error every game, resulting in a goal has big worry signs up for me.

Prospect Focus:
Petrell is a weird character. I know you Finnish fans love this guy and I do too. He is a excited one and a damm good penalty killer, but 5 on 5 he is hurting big time. One of the strengths we heard was his aggressive forecheck. His forecheck is good, but seldom does he seem able to keep control of the puck and is usually just dumping the puck back in. Good attitude, apparent great character, awesome penalty killer but you have to wonder when the light will go on and his puck control will begin to show itself. I'm rooting for ya Petrell! Hurry up and bring your whole game around soon though, cause there is some good talent coming up from the minors soon enough that can take your spot.

Gametime 7:30pm CHED630am/Sportsnet-West
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