Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pre-Game: Game #59 Oilers vs. Flames

Onward we go. Its February, the Oilers mired in another losing season, playing out the string. The fans are checking out the mock drafts to see what shiny new toy that will be arriving in the summer. At some point the Oilers are going to have to stop trying to plug and play players that are 18 years old and actually do some due diligence and find some players that will help the here and now. Judging by what the Oilers have done to this point, the Oilers seem to like having speedy wingers, Two-way center, and bigger Dmen that can move the puck. All of this is fine and dandy but they need a better blend of players. A power forward that can chip in offensively would be nice. A moblie Dman would help relieve some of the forecheck pressure the D constantly face. A goaltender that can stand the pressure would also be helpful. The Oilers really aren't that far away from making a playoff run again. But some things need to change. Mindset being the biggest one. Being the lovable loser can no longer apply. The will to win has to be a lot higher. It's tough to watch a team that has already lost in its own mind before the puck hits the ice. Management needs to start throwing life preservers for its team when needed. Standing idly by does nothing for anyone. Coaching staffs need to make better decisions. If you are going to have players on your team, better damn well play them. Playing one line a ton while playing the others very little doesn't do anyone, over the long haul, a lick of good. Relegate ice time a little better to endure an 82 game schedule. It goes without saying but its been a disappointing year for the vets. Horcoff and Smyth have been overplayed and slowed right down to the point where they can't handle playing the toughs anymore. Eric Belanger hasn't proved to be anymore than a Marty Reasoner type 4th liner. A slight upgrade on what Colin Fraser gave us last year. Ryan Jones, after a good start, has slowed down over the last 20 games. The defense as a whole hasn't played with enough confidence to keep pucks out of their own net while helping out in the offensive end. It will be interesting to see how the defense plays in front of Yann Danis. I'm hopeful he'll get some starts while Nikolai Khabibulin is out for a week with a sore groin. Yann Danis, I feel, is this years Martin Gerber. A player that will play well in limited opportunity. I'm interested to see how the team plays in front of him. Calgary is coming off a 1-0 in Los Angelas on Saturday night. Calgary is on a Vancouver type streak where they have points in 8 games in a row. This years Calgary playoff push looks more legit than one's in the past. The deal acquiring Mike Cammalleri looks to put them in the running. We'll see if the Oilers bother showing up tonight. Ralph, if your reading, please keep the line combos the same, its your best chance at success short term and long term. Whoever isn't pulling their weight, welp, there won't be any more excuses for them anymore. (I'm looking at you Mr. Horcoff). Rumour has it that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins may play tonight. I'm guessing Lennert Petrell comes out if he does.

Forwards Flames
- The Oilers need RNH's vision back. Cammalleri has really added to the Flames offense.
Defense Flames
- The Oilers defnese needs to find some consistancy. Getting some big saves from the goaltending would help too.
Goaltending Flames
- Kirpusoff has been one of the best in the business for quite some time.
Special Teams Oilers
- I only give the edge to the Oilers for their work over the course of the year but lately it hasn't been very good.
Coaching Flames
- Brett Sutter has his Flames going in the right direction while Ralph Krueger is still looking for his first win as head coach.
Intangibles Flames
- Home ice and a longer rest should help the Flames immensely.







Game Time - 7 PM MT @ Calgary on Sportsnet West.

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