Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Canucks/Oilers: Save us Sergei Samsonov!

Tonight's game is all about the opportunity to bring the Canucks back into the fray and the general schmozzle that is the cutline for the Western Conf playoff standings. The Canucks currently sit in seventh place with 29 wins and 62 points which leaves them three wins and six points ahead of the Oilers. Van also holds the season series thus far with a 4-2 edge. If the Canucks win this game tonight, be it in regulation, overtime or shootout, the Oilers chances of catching them are pretty much over. The Oilers have two games left against the Dynasties and both of them are at Rexall and it would behoove the home-side to sweep the remaining series and to do it in regulation to boot.

However, if the Oilers win tonight then they're just four points back of Vancouver and all of a sudden Luongo's Lemmings aren't breathing all that easy.

Don't get me wrong, I've got much respect for the latest tender to walk through the West Coast's goalie graveyard but there's just something unseemly about the Canucks record. I'm not a newbie to this hockey watching business and I've seen plenty of teams that seemingly live on their goalie's wits alone but the Canucks, at least to my eye, aren't that far removed from an elongated hot streak that a prolonged stretch of mediocrity couldn't be seen as anything less than that squad regressing to the mean. Then again maybe that's just wishful thinking on my behalf as I'm the same guy who waited for the '02 Yotes to fall apart so that the Oilers could sneak into the playoffs and we all remember how that turned out.

There's really no secret to the Canucks success and in some ways it mirrors how the Oilers knocked off the Wings last spring. They get outshot and aren't humbled by it because they have a really strong top two pairs on defense who keep the shots to the outside and clear the rebounds. On the offchance you can get inside you've got arguably the best goalie in the world holding down the forth. The rest of the team, outside of the Sedins, are as Tyler would put it, "the suck." Sure, the Oilers closet is full of way more skeletons but at least they have the excuse of youth in the cases of Greene and Smid. The Canucks have vets like Morrisson and Cooke clocking in at a combined -26 not to mention this summer's free agent acquistion Bulis doing his own special kind of damage with a -11.

This is a point of Cam's that he made today while we were discussing the possibility of Samsonov coming back to Edmonton. The Georgia Peach;) opined that the Oilers have lost a lot of swagger since the departures of Pronger and to a lesser extent Peca. Where once they was legitimate star power and strut, now there's kids cutting their teeth and a brand new old culture of doubt. Moreau had some quotes in today's dailies and he portrayed the temperature of the team as one that ebbs and flows with each win and loss and that's to be expected for a team that's once again dug itself a hole big enough to bury an elephant. I don't believe in this team's playoff chances for a second but they have won three of their last four games and I'd be really curious to see how their mood and gait would change if they could somehow win again tonight. Then all of a sudden you've brought the Canucks back to into play and the Oilers would have two more home games left before hitting the East Coast for a seven game sojourn.

Of course Sergei Samsonov was part of the days when the Oilers felt like they could beat everyone even though I'll be quick to admit that he really only looked at his best when A: the Oilers played the Flames or B: when the Oilers played four-on-four and he was paired with Horcoff. The Oilers never did try and flesh out that possibility but it always seemed to me that the enigimatic Russian looked his best with the Oilers when he was paired with the old Spartan. Sammy never showed a whole lot in last year's playoffs unless you could the third period in G6 vs Det or G4 vs the Sharks. Himself, Stoll and Hemsky enjoyed the soft minutes matchup for the majority of last year's second season and really didn't do a whole lot with them. That being said I did raise an eyebrow today with the news that Sammy was placed on, and subsequently cleared, waivers. Things have never really worked out for him in Mtl and as much as I always saw the flaws in his game I think he's worth a shot if the Habs send him to Hamilton and then try to bring him back thus exposing themselves to the possibility another team would claim him and thus both squads would split the remainder for his stipend for both this season and next. I believe that's how it works but I won't mind being corrected.

I'm not saying Sergei's the answer for the Oilers because we all knew we need defensemen and the guy said he didn't like the travel in the WC and that was a major factor why he fled back to the EC. If you reclaim the guy though he'll only cost 1.75 mill for next season and I think that's still worth taking a chance on him. From the Oilers standpoint this would allow them to move one of Lupul or Torres for the defenseman they sorely need and you could plug Sammy into their old slot. I thought of this today with the news that Thoresen's been sent back to WSB even though that might be nothing more than a cost cutting measure necessitated by the fact that one of the EIG needs to make a trip to Canadian Tire.

In the meantime the Oilers are dancing with the ones who brung them but we all know how that's working out this far, right?


Blogger Bank Shot said...

Samsonov will cost $3.5 million next season won't he? Wouldn't he only be half price for this season if he was claimed off of re-entry waivers? And he won't even have to go through re-entry waivers if he doesn't get sent down I think. I wouldn't want to go near him at that price. We already have too many guys not earning their paychecks.

2/06/2007 5:40 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Hmm, not sure on that cap hit on re-entry - where's Vic, he'd know?

Actually, where is Vic?

Anyhow, I think its a split of the remaining contract if he gets picked up on re-entry so half of 3.5 plus half of what is left for this season.

I think he's gone - like Kasparitus gone. Here's a hint if you're a veteran with eroding skills or wavering motivation, dont' sign with a team that has money because they will bury you in the minors. Unless they buy him out (and what cap hit is that?) I think we won't see Sammy again.

Bill Watters is a blowhard but he made the point tonight that anyone who saw Sammy in the playoffs last season knew not to give him big coin. Gainey blew it.

Even at half price that's almost 2M to spend on a Dman (or pocket).

As for Thoresen I guess they just want to get him a game or two to get his legs back - MacT won't break up a winning lineup - its not Hemsky coming back. He'll be back soon.

2/06/2007 6:24 pm  
Blogger Lowetide said...

I don't think that goal should count boys.

2/06/2007 7:49 pm  
Blogger speeds said...

If you want to take penalties on cooke just take the damn instigator and pound the hell out of him, don't fool around with that junk and end up down 5 on 3.

Make it worth your while.

2/06/2007 7:57 pm  
Blogger Andy Grabia said...

I hate Matt Cooke.

2/06/2007 7:58 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...

Fuck you Dan Marouelli.

Torres may just kill someone tonight.

2/06/2007 8:16 pm  
Blogger dynastydays said...

holy flashback to pre-lockout EDM/VAN games. VAN catches every conceivable break possible. Edmonton self implodes.

They didnt even go to NHL HQ to review that Sedin goal... it aparently wasnt even close enough to warrant a toronto review? right.

This is frustrating. Its a very frustrating season to be an Oilers fan, this game is everything in a nutshell.

Its nice to see Stortini's coming out party, maybe he can make something happen in the 3rd. Hemmer is back to his perimeter dancing ways. Ryan Mr No Finish on the big goals Smyth has graced us with his presence once again.

oh my.

2/06/2007 8:56 pm  
Blogger danielchapman said...

Two of the make-it or break-it pivotal games of the season versus the Canucks this week.

I keep waiting for Ryan Smyth to do something. Make anything happen. Anything. Is he playing tonight? anyone know? Did the heart fall off of his sleeve or something? Mullet-boy has done his best SCF impression once again.

These two games his numbers go something like:
2gp 0G 0A -1 4SOG averaging about 20:00 of icetime

Per chance did anyone just see if he managed to get the two miracle goals for colorado? He might very well have been playing for them tonight?

Sorry. I'm at a new low in a long long time as an Oiler fan right now. theres no accountability when Simpson still has a job, and Lowe is being an EIG puppet.

Captain Canada is supposed to do something though... anything.

2/06/2007 9:47 pm  
Blogger dynastydays said...

that was me again. i cant even use google logins right tonight. fuck.

2/06/2007 9:49 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

I thought Smyth looked just fine in the 2nd period. He was creating plenty of chances. I'm not sure what you expect from the guy.

This game was all Oilers. Too bad all the breaks went to the Canucks.

2/06/2007 10:07 pm  
Blogger dynastydays said...

You're kidding me. Smyth looked just fine? He was invisible except for cherry picking and turnovers. The game was all Oilers? Again sorry RQ, i respect your opinion and levelheaded outlook but that is one statement that I don't mind calling bullshit on.

2/06/2007 10:37 pm  
Blogger Temujin said...

The rest of the team, outside of the Sedins, are as Tyler would put it, "the suck."

Who needs the rest of the team?

At least our best player isn't named Zach Stortini.

2/06/2007 11:31 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

I thought Smyth was pretty invisible in the third, but I have no problem with how he played in the second. He won a lot of battles along the boards, took the puck to the net hard a couple of times, had the wraparound chance, etc. Anyway, from what I'm reading you're heading down the path to suggesting that Smyth isn't "clutch" and that is something I don't mind calling bullshit on because it's meaningless. You're pissed off. We get it.

This temujin joker thinks that Stortini was the Oilers' best player last night? Hmmm.

2/07/2007 9:26 am  
Blogger dynastydays said...

Ryan Smyth attempts 4 wrap arounds a game. Just another contributor to the lack of cycle we have. What's his shooting percentage on these wrap arounds I wonder?

I just expect the best players to have good games when it counts. Its not clutch... its called best players being the best players. Ryan Smyth was far from one of the best players on the ice last night. When Mat Cooke has a bigger impact then you just can't help but wonder. It's not a new thing with Smyth either.

2/07/2007 9:39 am  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

I have a hard time slagging 94 after last night. That whole line was great plus Stortini. There are a lot of guys to pick on but I don't think Ryan was one of them.

2/07/2007 12:22 pm  
Blogger dynastydays said...

ryan was a passenger.

2gp 0g 0a -1 avg 20:00 TOI

biggest games of the year.

I know its a small sample and I'm being a prick here, but Ryan continually comes up silent in must win games. Last year he had 1 goal in the Oil's final 10 when we backed our way into the playoffs.

Now its his repeat performance.

Ahh well.

2/07/2007 12:35 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

What two games are you even talking about there?

How about the Colorado game, which was a must-win game? How did Smyth look in that one? I seem to recall he did some pretty amazing work down low to get the puck to Horcoff for the game winner.

2/07/2007 3:45 pm  
Blogger Temujin said...

Offered without the snarkiness evident in my comment last night:

Everytime 94 got near the puck, I tensed up.

Ales Hemsky was dancing all over the place and it didn't bother me. Sykora had a couple of good opportunities but I wasn't worried. Horcoff started strong, but as the game went on I didn't notice him as much.

But 94? I think the fact that he is that damned good makes him the whipping boy in Edmonton when he doesn't get three points a night. He didn't have the best game of his life last night, but he made me cringe with anxiety, as he always does when the Canucks play the Oil.

The guy is about as ballsy a player as the league currently employs, and would give both his right and left testicles to bring the cup to Edmonton.

And if that wasn't enough, he'd give his third testicle. That's how ballsy Ryan Smyth is!

I still say Zach Stortini had a great game for the Oilers last night (in under six minutes of ice time!?), but don't harp on Smytty too much.

2/07/2007 4:29 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

I also remember a long stretch in that run last spring when the Oilers were trying to just get to the playoffs where Smyth was the ONLY Oiler producing anything.

He's no superstar but he's a damn good player and is the only forward who has done his bit consistently this season, imo. Sykora started strong but then pfft. Stoll and Horcoff have come on but their starts ... awful. Maybe Hemsky but he could be producing more, I think.

I know Asia and others disagree and this debate is going to continue but if he leaves who scores those 30-40 goals next season?

2/07/2007 7:59 pm  
Blogger Showerhead said...

Who's line got the cycle going in game 6 against Detroit when Edmonton was down 2-0 and drew the penalty that led to Pisani's first goal?

Who took a puck in the teeth and then made the play to get the puck out to Horcoff for the GWG in game 3 against San Jose?

We dominated Anaheim...

But who scored the GWG in a do-or-die game 3 vs. the Hurricanes?

I'm sorry, maybe I'm just being a nice guy but if we're going on singular anecdotes here...

I have heard far too much Smyth-isn't-"clutch" BS lately for me to even begin to stomach. I'm sorry the guy didn't carry the team on his back in game 7 but FFS.

2/09/2007 6:28 pm  

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