There’s Something Different About the Oilers: an article by the Prof

I cannot say for certain what it is, but something is different about the Oilers these days. Even though they lost the Kings’ game, I didn’t despair. I don’t know what it is, but I think they are playing better. I think the goalie pulled a “Quick one” (I know – cheap) on them and stole the game, actually – as goalies sometimes do.

The Oilers played up tempo most of the night and perhaps the only glaring difference between the Oilers’ play and the Kings’ play was that the Oil didn’t seem as willing to throw the puck on the net from anywhere as the Kings did. They actually waited to have shots, which I am starting to think is not that wise a tactic. When someone scores the winning goal after being blanked for almost 160 games, you know lightning can strike. I half wanted Smid to score the tying goal – but, of course, he didn’t.

Here is what I saw. Cogliano was a water bug – everywhere. Nilsson looked as if he is a threat every shift he is on the ice. Souray can shoot – which is hardly news. Penner is a bull – so much stronger than anyone else I have seen. In his almost dust-up with long-time friend Matt Greene, he made Greene look tiny. And Gagner, while he needs to get stronger – he barely squeezed through the sideboards with the puck in the Third Period, can play. He looks like he is one smart kid. Brule and Penner really do have some chemistry – how many times did they “just miss?” And, Deslauriers seems to be gaining confidence every game. I am not that concerned if Khabibulin doesn’t come back – although I don’t want anyone to have a bad back, the money is an issue, and I suppose Deslauriers has to rest sometime.

Anyway, it was one of those games when you saw the Oilers dominating, but somehow just knew a goofy goal would decide it. And, Quick was really the difference.

Although I never played hockey myself, and can hardly serve as an expert, I seem to be seeing more lucky bounces score goals than I have ever seen before. Perhaps, this has always been the case – but, being an Oilers’ fan suggests that I watch mainly Oilers’ games. One difference I see between the Oil this year and last is that they are scoring more close-in goals – more shots that seem to not be as much set up by good plays as the result of lucky, untimely bounces for the other team. Certainly, that was true of Potulny’s goal.

I am thinking that perhaps the kids should start beating the puck to death towards the net – every time they can. If the average scoring percentage is 10% (actually it is 10.3 %) ten more shots per game will score one more goal per game. The puck has to bounce off someone for Cogliano one of these times. I hope it is twice or even three times the next game.

Here’s a daring prediction – Cogliano with at least 35 points. Right now, the season is almost half over and he has 8. Anyone else believe that Cogliano will end up with 15 goals this year?


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