Showing posts with label Cult of Hockey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cult of Hockey. Show all posts

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Player Grades - Cult of Hockey - Oilers vs Avalanche Recap (2/6/10)

Once again, David Staples at the Edmonton Journal has asked me to contribute to the Players Grades for his Cult of Hockey blog. How could I say no? I love the Cult of Hockey. So here they are.

Brule and Nilsson are sitting once again. I really don't understand why Brule is sitting. His chemistry with Penner is uncanny and with both of those guys struggling, you would think Quinn would put them together. When they have been together, they score.

Who knows, maybe Quinn is the actual ship Captain behind the Dive For Five?

The main reason the Oilers lost this game tonight is because the defence had no cohesion with the forwards. They couldn't get out of their own zone even if their lives depended on it. That was probably the most frustrating part of the game for me to watch.

The most shocking stat I found was that the Avs had more giveaways (14-7) than the Oilers did. What you say? How is that possible? I don't know?

With another loss, the "Quest for the Best" continues...


Final Score

Edmonton Oilers - 0

Colorado Avalanche - 3

Oilers Starting Lines





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.

Player Grades

#38 Jeff Deslauriers (8) - He was by far the best Oiler tonight. He made some great saves and had some help from the posts. He did everything he could to keep this team in this game. His only weak spot of the game was the 2nd goal. JDD was weak on that goal. But you can't fault him for the loss. He was great and the Oilers didn't score.

#27 Dustin Penner (3) - He was a non factor for most of the game. His only real visible attribute tonight was his ability to handle the puck along the boards. He did that well. But that's it. He was slow, lazy and ineffective. Even more so when Gagner left the game.

#89 Sam Gagner (4) - He left the game after the 2nd period with soreness on his knee. He did go 3W-0L for faceoffs before leaving after only playing 9:37. In that short time, he had 2 shots and that's about it.

#13 Andrew Cogliano (4) - He was mostly invisible. At times he was doing what he was supposed to do, but mostly he did squat.

#19 Patrick O'Sullivan (3) - While he did take shots (5 shots), none hit the net. What good is a shot if it doesn't reach the net? He did nothing to help his line mates and was ineffective. I'm willing to bet that if he wasn't on the block, he'd be sitting.

#16 Ryan Potulny (5) - While he tried hard, his effort came up short. He had 2 shots and 2 blocked shots. He did have a team best 8W-6L for 57% on faceoffs. He was definitely not the worst Oiler tonight.

#91 Mike Comrie (6) - He wasn't afraid to take the puck to the net. He did that very well. He was the real leader on that 2nd line. He played pretty decent and I would have thought that he would have received more ice time (15:57).

#18 Ethan Moreau (5) - He was pretty decent. I know, strange for me too. I have noticed that since he has taken off the visor and has been lined up with Horcoff and Pisani, he's been good. Who would have thought that? I didn't. Moreau had 5 shots and 2 hits and wasn't a big liability.

#10 Shawn Horcoff (4) - He even had a glorious chance with just over 5 minutes left in the 3rd and he just couldn't do it. *sigh* He really isn't earning his money this year. Not even close. While he is a real good 3rd line center, he's not a $5.5 million cap hit. He was a measly 39% on the faceoff dot and only had one shot. He was out played by Moreau. Now that's sad.

#34 Fernando Pisani (4) - While Pisani wasn't a standout, he wasn't a complete bum either. He played his position well, but never registered a stat other than his one shot and one missed shot.

#22 JF Jacques (3) - I didn't like his game much. He always seems to look good in the 1st period and then disappear for the rest of the game. He did it again tonight. 1 hit and 2 blocked shots. That's it.

#78 Marc Pouliot (3) - He was promoted to the 1st line after Gagner left the game but he didn't do anything to impress.  He had one takeaway and one missed shot. He was also a team worst -2.

#46 Zack Stortini (3) - Zack who? Unless it's a rough game he's useless. He can't contribute if there is no mouthing guys off and getting in scrums. This game didn't have any of that and therefore made Storts insignificant.

#77 Tom Gilbert (7) - He has been, in my opinion, the best guy on defence for the oilers in the past few weeks. He's been playing a quiet and mistake free games. He, for the most part did that tonight. While he did have a giveaway, he had a team high, 8 blocked shots. To top it off, he also had 2 takeaways and 2 hits. I really like the way he plays and I would be disappointed if the Oilers trade him.

#37 Denis Grebeshkov (6) - He also played pretty well. He played a ton of minutes and held his own against the speedy Avalanche. He didn't register a shot on net and that is something he needs to work on. Not much point having a guy that doesn't shoot on a PP. He was also a little responsible for the 2nd Avalanche goal. He defensive coverage was not working at that moment.

#71 Lubomir Visnovsky (5) - He was a 50/50 guy tonight. No, not selling the tickets in the stands. It was more of a go to one end of the ice and look good, then skate back to the other end and look like a Bantam player. He was frustrating to watch. He somehow managed to escape a giveaway stat.

#41 Taylor Chorney (5) - Chorney was OK. Nothing to write home about. He would be better if he hit more. He did have 3 blocked shots.

#43 Jason Strudwick (4) - Slow, clumsy, awkward. That's Strudwick for you.

#48 Alex Plante (4) - He's a rookie who makes the simple rookie mistakes. He was fumbling the puck and seemed like he was panicking out there. He did have 4 hits and that's great to see. Hitting is going to be his attribute in this game.


-Smokin' Ray-

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.

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.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Players Grades - Cult of Hockey - Oilers vs Leafs (12/30/09)

The Oilers get killed in the giveaway department.  30 for the Oilers and 13 for the Leafs.  That's a shocking stat if you ask me.  But other than that this was a grat game for the Oilers.  A win after that long feel nice.

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 (6) - He had a hurt hand from the Iginla fight the other night so he played a more mellow, low key type of a game.  No face washes after the whistle.  He finished the night at a +1 and didn't look too bad out there.  Lucky for him he only had 1 giveaway. 

#10 Shawn Horcoff (6) - He had a real good faceoff game tonight.  He went 11W-7L-61%.  Not bad Horcoff.   He played a decent game and he didn't look like he was hurt tonight.  He picked up the assist on the first O'Sullivan goal and that should help his confidence out. He had 17:02 in ice time.

#12 Robert Nilsson (6) - At times he looks like a million bucks and at times he looks like an amateur.  Tonight he was floating in the middle somewhere.  I liked his game tonight but was still foolish with the puck at times.  I liked that he was hitting guys and he really tried to get involved in this game.  He only had two giveaways.

#13 Andrew Cogliano (5) - He started the game off like a hot potato, flying all over the place.  By the mid point he was getting cold.  He still played well, but he had more jump at the start.  On one hand he had 2 giveaways, and on the other he had 3 takeaways.  Does the good outweigh the bad?

#16 Ryan Potulny (4) - It looked like he played OK.  But did he really?  It's hard to judge him because while he didn't make any glaring mistakes (not including the tripping penalty), he really didn't do anything.  No shots, no hits, no nothing.  All he had was a blocked shot. I've seen him play better.

#18 Ethan Moreau (5) - I can't believe he made it through a game without screwing things up. *clap, clap* Mind you Quinn kept his minutes down by only playing him for 10:28.  He had two shots and one giveaway.  Not a bad night for him.  My wife was sad though... watching him play usually builds up our swear fund. EDIT: Why was he put out there in the last two minutes of the game? Is Quinn just trying to temp fate?

#19 Patrick O'Sullivan (8) - Well this was his best game in a loooooong time.  Good for him.  After his first (couldn't get more fluky) goal, he started to play with conviction and really came out strong for the last half of the game.  He handled the puck like it was meant to be on his stick.  He fired 5 shots and had two hits.  Guess what? No giveaways for this guy.  His second was a beauty and was a marvel to watch.  So maybe, just maybe, we have the "good" O'Sullivan around here now.

#22 JF Jacques (8) - His job is to hit people.  He did his job.  He flattened Komisarek twice and then fought him in a quick but decent scrap.  He had 5 hits but I swear it was way more than that.  Not only did he demolish the Leafs with his shoulder, he picked up an assist on Brule's goal in the 1st period.   He did have a giveaway but he also pulled off a takeaway. Even stevens there.  JF Jacques???  Not tonight. Tonight he was JF Great.

#24 Steve Staios (5) - He played OK but didn't deserve anything more than a 5.  On the night he had 3 giveaways.  That's not a great night. Especially for a defenseman.  But... he did show some testicular fortitude by blocking 5 shots.  He's fearless that way and I respect that aspect of his game.  But he was caught on the Kessel goal watching a Leaf go by him while Kessel was going to the net behind him.  Kessel scores and Staios looks around like he's going to sit in the timeout corner.  However, Staios did well and didn't take a penalty all game.  So I'm torn on his grade, so he gets a 5.

#27 Dustin Penner (6) - He had moments where you could see the dominant big guy in him.  You could also see the quiet, sit in the corner guy too.  He had 1 shot, 1 hit, 2 takeaways and 2 blocked shots.  Not really a banner night for Penner yet, he did take over shifts and look like an all-star while the rest looked like Pee Wee players.  I hope even without getting selected for Team Canada, he continues his great play.  His Dad was at the game and it got me thinking. Was he there on holidays or was he there to celebrate Dustin's Team Canada selection (which didn't happen)?

#32 Ryan Stone (7) - He's a strange guy to grade. When you think he's not really doing much, he pulls out a nice hit or makes a good pass that spurs on a chain reaction of goodness.  He's a good guy to have on this team even though I thought that we didn't need him.  I guess I was wrong.  He had 4 good hits and a couple led to good chances.  Including all that he had 3 takeaways.  So what does all this mean?  He plays a simple yet effective game. 

#37 Denis Grebeshkov (6) - He sure did look better than having Strudwick back out there.  Sure Grebs makes mistakes, but he can skate, and actually skate with the puck.  So having that aspect back in the lineup was nice.  He picked up an assist on the fluky O'Sullivan goal and really was not bad, except for the 2 giveaways.  He also managed two hits.

#38 Jeff Deslauriers (8) - The guy was a monster (you don't own this word McGuire) tonight. I was so rooting for him to get the shutout but it wasn't meant to be.  Who cares really, we won.  It was funny because a couple of the stand up saves he made tonight really reminded me of Bill Ranford.  Kicks the leg out and flops back on the net for support. Classic stuff, and in the orange and blue too.  Loved it.  He made no mistakes and played a heck of a game. If he managed to get the shutout, I seriously was going to give him a 10.  Maybe I shouldn't have thought about it? Maybe I was the jinx?

#44 Sheldon Souray (7) - He was a hard one to grade.  He played the most out of all the Oilers at 24:22.  He played not bad but had 3 giveaways.  All the defence were bad at giving the puck to the Leafs.  But Souray did shoot a lot more this game.  He had 4 shots and 4 were blocked (crazy fools).  He definitely wasn't a gong show out there. 

#46 Zack Stortini (6) - With limited time on the ice it's hard to get going.  He did a good job when he was called upon on.  He had 3 hits and 2 shots.  Not a bad night for Storts.  I'm a little surprised he didn't want to go with anyone.

#67 Gilbert Brule (7) - I liked his style tonight.  He was buzzing around right from the start.  He scores the opening goal and that got the Oilers going.  That was his 10th of the season and is the 2nd Oiler do reach double digits in the goal department.  To go along with the goal he had 3 hits and 2 blocked shots.  I don't know how, but the Jacques/Horcoff/Brule line worked tonight.  I think it was because they tried to play more physical rather than trying to be a finesse line.  Good on Brule for bringing it tonight.

#71 Lubomir Visnovsky (6) - He picked up an assist on the Brule goal and looked not bad throughout the game.  His penalty was the one that the Oilers were killing when Kessel scored his goal.  So in any other game lately, that would have caused a bad rash of consequences, but tonight it only made it 3-1.  He may have had 5 blocked shots (that's brave stuff), but he also had a team worst, 4 giveaways. Ouch. 

#77 Tom Gilbert (6.5) - Yeah that's right, a 6.5.  I can't decide between a 6 and a 7 so he gets that.  He was solid tonight.  Well, minus the 3 giveaways, but hey, who wasn't giving pucks away?  He only managed 1 shot in the Leafs zone but found time to block 3 shots in the Oilers end.  That Gilbert is a nice guy.  He also managed to pick up an assist on the last O'Sullivan PP goal.  Quinn sure has been giving lots of ice time and he's making the best out of it.  Is this a new and improved Gilbert?

#89 Sam Gagner (5) - He did his thing and it didn't wow me.  In fact, it's been awhile since he's made me go wow.  While he did have an decent night at faceoffs, he also had 3 giveaways.  He seems to do a stupid pass or two every game.  It's not that they are stupid passes, just weak wristed ones and they usually don't turn out good.  He didn't get a shot on net and other than the OK faceoffs, he had nothing else to show.  Could something be ailing him? EDIT: He did get rocked hard in the game but seemed to shake it off. But it hurt.

LIVE *TweetCast* Edmonton Oilers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (12-30-09)

Welcome everyone to another fine TweetCast by Oilers Jambalaya.

Tonight Smokin` Ray is doing the player grades for the Cult of Hockey - Edmonton Journal. Feel free to tell us what grades you would give. He may just use them.

Feel free to comment by typing in the box below. It`s easy and no signup required.

We hope you enjoy the TweetCast and GOILERS!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cult of Hockey - Edmonton Journal Player Grades - Oilers vs Canucks (12/26/09)

This game would have been different if the Oilers could have killed off the penalties.  The 5 on 3 was the main game killer. Is this team on a downhill slide for the rest of the season?  Or do they turn it around and save face?


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.

#27 Dustin Penner (5) - Once again I liked what Penner brought to the table.  It's just too bad his line mates are weak.  The big guy drove to the net, blocked a Souray shot (by accident) and played well enough to look good. 

#89 Sam Gagner (4) - He played ok but was still over matched by the bigger players. You can tell by how many faceoffs he loses.  If it's a lot, then he's get out muscled throughout the game.  He didn't impress me much tonight.

#10 Shawn Horcoff (4) - I didn't notice him a whole lot. He was so-so and didn't really contribute a whole bunch.

#13 Andrew Cogliano (5) - Cogliano had some good moments in this game. I thought he drove to the net pretty good but he needed to shoot the puck when he had good opportunities. 

#19 Patrick O'Sullivan (5) - He didn't really stand out but did pick up the assist on the Potulny goal.  The fans really want this guy gone/traded and you would think that would be motivation for him to do better. But it really doesn't seem so, does it?
#67 Gilbert Brule (6) - He played a great positional game and made no mistakes.  I really liked him tonight.  He had 3 hits and had 2 shots and really buzzed around.  One of the better Oilers tonight.

#18 Ethan Moreau (4) - He had two great chances tonight.  But other than that, he did nothing. He had 3 shots and 1 hit.  Isn't hitting people supposed to be part of his repertoire?

#22 JF Jacques (4) - Another "JFWho?" game.  He also only had 1 hit.  He seems to have the same problem as Moreau.  Isn't hitting supposed to be your thing?  1 hit really?

#16 Ryan Potulny (5) - He scores a nice/lucky goal and gets the Oilers on the board. He hustled a lot tonight.  I like the way he plays but he suits a more 3rd or 4th line type role rather than a 1st line guy and it reflected that better tonight. He would have had a 6, but he was that culprit who shot the puck over the glass.

#46 Zack Stortini (5) - He threw some good hits and had a good tilt with Rick Rypien.  At the start of the fight he was slugging him with a forearm drag punch to soften him up.  After that it was all meat clubs that he hit him with.  I was a little stunned that Rypien pulled his helmet down during the fight for protection.  How weak is that?  Quinn needs to play him more.

#32 Ryan Stone (5) - He was ok.  I didn't yell at him so that must be a good thing.  I liked his big hits and had 4 on the night.  But that's all he contributed to.  He didn't do much else.

#12 Robert Nilsson (5) - I don't think he's a fit on the 1st line with Penner and Gagner.  Brule is a better choice.  He took 2 shots and blocked 2 shots.  Not really 1st line stats.

#44 Sheldon Souray (6) - He played a pretty good game. I liked how he played.  He led the team in ice time but needed to hit the net more.

#71 Lubomir Visnovsky (5) - He was the third star of the game.  I don't know why.  He had 2 shots and 2 hits.  Other than that he was just ok.  Nothing special here.

#77 Tom Gilbert (6) - He's starting to figure out Souray and they are playing pretty good hockey together.  He played another decent game and quietly logged a ton of minutes again. He made all the right decisions and earned the trust of Quinn.  Is he morphing in front of our eyes?

#24 Steve Staios (5) - He played alright.  He blocked a few shots and didn't make any glaring mistakes.  I've been liking him more lately.  I've been respecting his playing style more and more.

#5 Ladislav Smid (5) - He played ok.  He didn't stand out as being good, but he didn't suck either.  He only had 2 hits and could have done more in that area.

#37 Denis Grebeshkov (4) - The worst of the defence.  He had 2 giveaways and looked kind of bad all game.  Is this still rust from the injury, or does the "bad Grebeshkov" make an appearance once in a while still?

#38 Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (6) - He kept this team in the game, but was burned on two power play goals that sunk it for the Oilers.  He did what he could, but the team couldn't score.  It's too bad, he deserved a win.

#40 Devan Dubnyk (N/A) - He did not play

Monday, December 21, 2009

*LIVE TweetCast #4* - The LIVE Game Day Experience (12/21/09)

Welcome to Oilers Jambalaya.  Today is a special day.  Today, both Smokin' Ray and Paq Twinn will be at the game tonight.  So what you say?  Well no one is here to moderate the comments.  But go ahead and say what you want and when we get home we will un-moderate all the comments and they will get published. 

During the day you can check in and see what is going on.  Smokin' Ray is travelling to Edmonton from Stettler starting at 1:30pm and he will be tweeting the entire trip.  Maybe something interesting happens? It will be Tweeted.  What is Paq Twinn doing before the game starts?  It will be Tweeted.  Stay tuned for all the updates.

So follow along and see what kind of crazy fun we can come up with.  If you are at the game and want to, we smoke at the Gretzky statue at the intermissions.  Come find us if you want to talk.  Just drop the code word: Jambalaya Soup

A special thanks to David Staples from the Cult of Hockey and the Edmonton Journal for providing us with tickets to the Edmonton Journal luxury box for this game.  What a night it will be. So look for us.  We will be cheering.  And cheering loudly.  GOILERS!

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!


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.


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.


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


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