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Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5686 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2013 :  15:26:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So, i was fortunate enough to be given a couple of tickets to the Canucks / Oilers game last night and went with a good friend. They were upper bowl seats but in row 3 just inside the blueline so pretty decent tix.

A few things of note from the game.....

The Oilers will be very good, much sooner than some think! Sure, they may win and lose by a bunch of 5-4 scores, but who doesn't want that??? It was just their first game of course, but a bunch of them had played together throughout the lockout and it was visible! Speed, speed and more speed! Those young forwards came through the neutral zone on a few rushes, including the tying goal, with impressive bursts of speed and it was too much for the Canucks D to handle.

Luongo played quite well and was named the game's first star stopping 30 of 32 shots in regulation and OT before doing the usual and sh*tting the bed in the shootout. While he didn't end up face down on his belly like we've come accustomed to, he proved he hasn't found the "poke check" he so needs when shooters come in at .5 mph and put a deke on him! Getting no offensive support in the shootout didn't help either. Unfortunately a nearly flawless 2 periods for him ended when he left that 6"x6" hole above his shoulder (came off the post a second early) and Eberle found it to cut a two goal lead for the start of the 3rd in half! HUGE goal for the Oilers.

Like Saturday night, Vancouver's D was not good. There was flashes of good, like Edler's rocket of a shot to open the scoring, but there were terrible givaways in their own end and lacklustre defensive play at times where luckily for them, Luongo bailed them out. But, considering the D is supposed to be one of their strong points, it was not at all an impressive weekend for them at all!

Justin Shultz was named 3rd star, however, i think it was more because John Shorthouse (play by play guy here who picked the stars) knew he had local fans (he's a BC boy) than his play which while not bad, was nothing special. He did make a couple of nice breakout passes from his own zone but other than that, really wasn't much of a factor. Hemsky tied it an clinched it in the shootout and wasn't a star?

The Canucks PP was awful on 5 chances. Sure they got some shots, but nothing very impressive. This is a unit that MUST be in the top 7 or 8 if the Canucks are to have a chance at going anywhere this year.

Yakupov....Meh. Didn't do much to impress really, but it was his first NHL game. However, and it's not fair but i'll mention it anyway, i've heard multiple reports that he's a lot like P. Bure. Well, i happened to be fortunate enough to see Bure's first NHL game, and lemme tell you, while he didn't score, he did everything but. He was simply amazing. Not to say Nail won't do similar things soon enough, but certainly not last night.

$1 Popcorn, hot dogs and nachos. BIG DEAL. While i don't think anything will make up for the lockout (not even a free beer which apparently they gave out Sat night at the opener?), i still think that ALL FOOD and drinks (non alcoholic of course) should be 50% off for the entire season! Maybe then fans would feel they got a bit back for their dollar? Heard the Leafs were giving a refund for openning night to all of their seasons ticket holders. That, especially in a place like TO where they certainly don't need to do such, is pretty impressive! FTR, they are also offering 50% off merchandise for the first few games?

Lastly, the fans. Embarrassing! My first disappointment was no razzing/booing of Shultz. Don't get me wrong, it was his choice to play where he wanted and i don't blame him for making the choice that many of us would prob have made too, but the Vancouver fans seemed to not notice he was even there? I thought there'd be some booing, heckling, etc every time he touched the puck. Some might call that unsportsmanlike or be negative on it, but i call it doing what you can to help your team as it could have easily possibly thrown him off his game. 2nd, it was quiet. I got the sense of panic amongst fans that "oh my, we lost our first game and Schneider got lit up, now what?". I've never claimed that the Canucks fans are the loudest, but they usually hold their own when it comes to making some noise. There was very little last night, aside from Beans' favorite "Luuuuuuuu" chants when he stopped a simple dump in. Really got a sense of nerves from the 18,000+. There was even a 12-15 second "GO OILERS GO" chant that came out of the upper deck across from us. I've heard opposing fans get chants like this going before at Rogers Arena (usually Leafs and Habs faithful), but usually within 5-8 seconds of noticing it, it's drowned out by "GO CANUCKS GO" from the locals. This wasn't the case from the nervous bunch last night! Add to my frustration the radio shows engulfed with goalie controversy talk and it's really annoying! You'd be shocked at how many fans are calling in saying "i'll admit, i was on the Schneider bandwagon all last spring and this summer but after Sat night......"!!! REALLY??? One game and you're giving up on this guy? Wow.....

And, not to let the Oiler fans off the hook, there were a ton of comments in the concourse following the game from happy drunken Oilers fans that were pretty laughable too. "Hey Canucks fans, Kesler's over there giving out free hugs, cheer up! Your playoff run and division championship run is over!". Really? Again, it was one game!!! Even worse was the guys going on about how "We've got 4 or 5 of the best young future stars! Suck on it Canucks fans!!!". Again, really? Your team has been lower than the freakin' temperature of an Edmonton winter for the past 10 years!!! You have to be good sooner or later! lol....

All in all, a fun night even with the shootout loss. Of course, the tickets were free! But i will say it again......the Oilers are gonna be real good, and probably sooner than many think. Not sure on Dubnyk if he's the real deal moving forward, but watch out if / when that team picks up a stud goalie somewhere along the way.

nuxfan
PickupHockey All-Star



3562 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2013 :  16:03:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I too was at the game, it was entertaining. As with Saturday night, the Canucks came out strong in the first half of the game, only to wear down visibly in the last half. Also lots of missed passes, some gimme goals that were not, generally they looked out of sorts. Given its game 2, and very few Canucks played during the lockout, I'm thinking fitness and stamina more than anything. They were certainly better than Saturday night.

Some notables - I was impressed with Kassian, he had a strong game in general, and looked especially good with the Sedin's, I hope AV gives that line more. I thought Edler was great all night, but in general the defense was pretty bad. Luongo played a great game, which given his usual early season struggles was surprising.

I too didn't notice Yakupov. Saw him skate by once, but other than that he was pretty silent. Shultz had a couple of good changes, but was pretty silent. The RHN/Hall/Eberle line was very good, as was the EDM PP - they could have had a couple more goals except for off timing.

One thing for sure - the Canucks are missing Kesler and Booth on the second line. After the Sedin line, there was absolutely no consistent scoring threat. The longer they are out, the worse this season is going to go for VAN. Second line combinations of Lapierre/Malhotra/Hansen/Ebbett/Volpatti/Weise will not worry the opposition much...
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Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5686 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2013 :  16:53:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've heard nothing but bad stuff about Ebbett the first two games, but i will say, i thought he backchecked well and played decent defensively. Of course, as a second liner, you simply need more than that!!!

I was shocked at how much Weise seemed to be out there, though when i checked his ice time, it was just shy of 11 mins? Not that he's terrible, but it shows how lacking the Canucks are, especially when he was even on for an OT shift!!!

I recall one chance Schultz had on somewhat of a 2 on 1 which ended up with him being caught up ice. It not only didn't hurt them in the end, but it showed some confidence in his game to jump up into the rush. He's def going to be good, i just didn't think his game warranted a "star" over a guy like Hemsky.
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Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5686 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2013 :  16:55:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I also thought Dubnyk played well positionally and while he didn't have to make any crazy saves, he did enough to earn the W!

Lastly, when i grabbed my $1 popcorn, i was careful to walk back to my seat courteously as i wasn't sure if Eberle was gonna be around to smoke me again.

Edited by - Alex116 on 01/21/2013 16:58:04
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Guest4377
( )

Posted - 01/21/2013 :  18:59:45  Reply with Quote
I really enjoyed your assessment/report from the game last night Alex! I've been a guest on this site for a few years (and yes, I know I should sign up), and in my opinion (what other opinion can I offer), you are the the most objective, fair-minded, and entertaining writer on this site!

As it relates to the obnoxious Oiler fans you encountered (or the Canucks "fans" who called in on the post-game radio show), they're not the typical fans, but usually loudmouths who jump on and off the bandwagon, and just like the sound of their own voice.

For anyone who thinks the Oilers are now cup-bound or playoff bound because of one single win, there are still 47 games to be played in this shortened season. And the same applies to the Canucks goalie situation. Let's see a few games (or a few dozen games) before we make such conclusions.

By the way, why should fans boo their "own" player, one who chooses/chose to play for another team. I get the whole "us/them" thing, but Justin Schultz grew up playing hockey in the Vancouver area.

I don't get it, but maybe that's just me. I live in Edmonton, and I remember going to a game shortly after Canada won the gold medal at the 2002 Olympics. Calgary was playing Edmonton that night, and in addition to Iginla being from Edmonton (or St. Albert), he was instrumental in helping Canada win gold. I actually brought a sign to the game, which stated "Thanks for helping Canada win gold Jarome. Take the night off!"

He didn't of course, but how could I boo a home-town guy, who played/plays the game with class, charisma and competitiveness.

To give you another example, Teemu Selanne is one of the classiest players to ever play in the NHL. Could you ever boo a player like that?

Some may say that Oiler "fans" booed Gretzky when he came back to play in Edmonton after being traded (sold) to the Kings. That's not true. A small number of obnoxious "fans" booed Gretzky, maybe 500 at the most. I was at the game, and the boo-birds made a lot of noise, but they were in the minority. It's too bad that the vocal minority gets more notice or attention than the quiet majority!
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Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5686 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2013 :  20:22:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Guest4377.....Thank you for the compliments. Around here, they are few and far between. At least for me anyway. Lol.....

As far as the booing, i totally understand your point and in most ways i agree. The Iginla example is perfect and i found myself very much like that when Toews returned here to Vancouver following the Olympics and the gold medal he was a HUGE contributing factor in. It was extremely difficult to hate him (and i didn't and never will of course) but to see him come in here and have success in beating my team was very hard to take!!!

When i say i was surprised they didn't boo Shultz, i mean it in somewhat of a respectful way if that's possible. I think most Canucks fans would understand why Shultz chose the Oilers, however some obviously would be pissed and have the feeling that he could have been another link to a possible cup for a team which is seeing it's "window" close very quickly!!!

Vancouver fans, now sure, i'm talking basketball here, were great when it came to booing Steve Francis upon his return(s) here. Obviously different circumstances (hopefully you know what i'm talking about?) and i wouldn't have expected a bunch of boos every time Shultz returned, but for his first game here, i thought you'd hear some. I understand he heard a bunch of boos during his visit to Abbotsford during the lockout. If you get what i'm saying, even some "friendly" razzing would have been nice to see for the rook!

Anyway, thanks again for the kind words! Enjoy this Oiler's team as they're gonna be a treat for years to come!
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Guest4315
( )

Posted - 01/21/2013 :  20:23:08  Reply with Quote
I watched the game online and i'm an Oil fan and the Knucks actually did pretty good i thought. Well considering the injuries and having to play a team that's game ready. They will be fine after they shake off the rust. Seen 3-4 guys just fall with what seamed no reason. Although I do see the knucks falling out of the top seed in the west. I didn't see them make any good moves to make their team better while Edmonton, Calgary, Minn and Colorado all added depth to their teams. To those Oiler fan's who say the Knucks window is closed, well they are wrong. However the gap is getting smaller.

First stars should have been:
1st: Hemsky
2nd: Eberle
3rd: Dubnyk

Special nod goes to Kassian and Luongo. They were both wonderful.

Hemsky tied it in the third and put away the shootout winner. He was in the mix all game playing real well. Probaly why you didn't notice Yakupov who while didn't put up any points he played a real controlled game. Eberle gets second because his backhand was not only a beauty but it changed the momentum of the game. Thirdly Dubnyk was great, i'm not sure why this guy doesn't get the proper respect. He puts up above average numbers on a team who has struggled defensively the last few seasons. He was also picked before C. Schnieder in their draft year and everybody until saturday thought he was sooooo good. Pffft. As for J.Schultz i thought he was excellent. He also played a very controlled game. He got no points but was a huge help in keeping the puck with the Oilers. I can't remember which Knuck it was but he was about to lay down a huge hit on Schultz but instead hit the boards as Schultz spun out the way. His movement was excellent.

Oh yeah, this comment is for Alex116 in reply too:

Your team has been lower than the freakin' temperature of an Edmonton winter for the past 10 years!!! You have to be good sooner or later! lol....

1: 10 years is getting a little carried away we did go to the finals against Carolina about 7-8 years ago.
2. You say we have to be good sooner or later. Think about that...
*cough* no cup *cough* since *cough* 1970 when your team joined the league *cough* 43 years ago. Maybe you should have underlined "later".
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Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5686 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2013 :  22:21:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Guest4315

I watched the game online and i'm an Oil fan and the Knucks actually did pretty good i thought. Well considering the injuries and having to play a team that's game ready. They will be fine after they shake off the rust. Seen 3-4 guys just fall with what seamed no reason. Although I do see the knucks falling out of the top seed in the west. I didn't see them make any good moves to make their team better while Edmonton, Calgary, Minn and Colorado all added depth to their teams. To those Oiler fan's who say the Knucks window is closed, well they are wrong. However the gap is getting smaller.


If by "top seed" you mean in the conference, absolutely! Even their own division is a strong possibility though i still see them as a playoff team.

quote:
Originally posted by Guest4315
First stars should have been:
1st: Hemsky
2nd: Eberle
3rd: Dubnyk

Special nod goes to Kassian and Luongo. They were both wonderful.


I'm okay with your first two, but i think Luongo deserved it more than Dubnyk and that's not taking anything away from him as he played pretty well. Luongo though, was forced to make some really good saves when his team gave up the puck a few times right in front of him. Simply put, the quality of saves were def higher at the Canucks end of the ice!


quote:
Originally posted by Guest4315
I can't remember which Knuck it was but he was about to lay down a huge hit on Schultz but instead hit the boards as Schultz spun out the way. His movement was excellent.

IIRC, it was Kassian or maybe Weise that tried to lay him out but i'm not 100% sure. What i liked about Kassian was when Smid hit him (i think it was Smid?), and it was a nice solid clean hit, he didn't retaliate. He got up, continued his shift and found a nice spot for redemption at the end of the shift where he got his payback with an equally clean, solid hit on whichever guy it was who got him. Very small thing, but a lot of guys would retaliate and end up in the penalty box so his composure was nice to see.

quote:
Originally posted by Guest4315

Oh yeah, this comment is for Alex116 in reply too:

Your team has been lower than the freakin' temperature of an Edmonton winter for the past 10 years!!! You have to be good sooner or later! lol....

1: 10 years is getting a little carried away we did go to the finals against Carolina about 7-8 years ago.
2. You say we have to be good sooner or later. Think about that...
*cough* no cup *cough* since *cough* 1970 when your team joined the league *cough* 43 years ago. Maybe you should have underlined "later".




Yes, you're correct, i overdid it with 10 years. Prob just 6 or 7 but it was only to make my point, which i'm guessing you get?

As far as the tired old "the Canucks have never won a Cup" comment, i certainly can't argue that, however, NO WHERE did i mention winning a Stanley Cup. I just implied that when you finish as low as the Oilers, for as many years as they have, you simply have to be "good" sooner or later. While it's not a fact, it's pretty close to it. It really wasn't meant as roast or an insult to the Oilers and / or their fans, it was just a retort to the clowns in Oilers garb running their mouths and bragging about these young stars they've got like the Oilers did something special to get them????

In the end, i'm a hockey fan, and while i'd love to live to see the day where the Canucks win the cup, i'm a realist and know that it might not happen.....EVER! I actually look forward to seeing the Oilers play in the next 5 years and while i might "hate" them on the surface, as a hockey fan, i'll enjoy the show they're bound to put on!
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Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5686 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2013 :  10:11:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wonder if those same Oilers fans were spouting off last night after their loss, about their great team and all the young stars?
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