Friday, October 16, 2009

Game #6: Oilers 5, Wild 2

By Wild Road Tripper

If there ever were such a thing, Josh Harding could take a few lessons in non-support from Kate Gosselin, the estranged wife of the cable hit 'Jon and Kate Plus 8', following Friday night's contest at Edmonton's Rexall Place.

The Minnesota Wild were rolled over and left behind by the Edmonton Oilers, as the Wild were greased 5-2 as Dustin Penner scored twice for the Oilers, with lowly J. F. Jacques adding two assists as the Oilers helped the Wild to their fourth straight road loss on a five-game Western swing, which shall mercifully end tomorrow night in Vancouver, as the doubleheader game on CBC's 'Hockey Night in Canada'.

Wild Offense: Took a while to get it going, and once they did, they never could sustain it long. Believe it or not, the Wild actually outshot the Oilers 31-19 for the game, but by the score, you'd never know it.

Wild Defense: It's getting uglier by the game, folks. Nick Schultz another -2 night, same with five other Wild players. Brent Burns and James Sheppard -3 each. They say plus/minus is a meaningless statistic. Not so tonight.

Oilers Offense: All those players that came north from Southern California paid off tonight. Lubomir Visnovsky +4, Penner 2 goals, Patrick O'Sullivan one assist and a +2.

Oilers Defense: The 'Bulin Wall' was solid tonight. He had their backs, and they knew it. No Wild players were allowed to crash into the crease. Josh Harding wished he could have said the same at the other end.

Leader: Penner. Played like a man amongst boys tonight.

Lagger: Burns. Only took less than two weeks to reach double-digits (-10). Put a little meat tenderizer on him, and he'll be ready as dinner for the petting zoo at home. Because, he sure isn't helping the cause any on the ice.

Stud: Believe it or not, Benoit Pouliot played at least somewhat up to his potential tonight. If he would only use that as a basis for further improvement, who knows what good things could happen to his struggling career?

Dud: Sheppard. A little desperation never hurt out there, Shep. 3-for-7 on faceoffs, -3 for the night, and his size 15 feet were made of concrete. Again.

The assembled multitude were last seen headed for the Light Rail line directly behind Rexall Place:

Chicken Little: All we need now are tar and feathers. This team is deader than a doornail.

Pollyanna: The end of the road trip tomorrow, and then, Chicken Little, I can get away from YOU for a while! (Seriously, this team really needs to get home after a 'W' tomorrow against the banged-up Canucks)...

Bottom Line: If there was a game for the taking on this long, five-game Western swing, this should have been it. More of the same, undisciplined 'Chinese Fire Drill' hockey that Wild fans are quickly becoming unenamored with. Anyone tell these guys a little 'D' goes a long way?

Next: at Vancouver, Saturday (tomorrow), Oct. 17, 9:00 PM Central (7:00 PM Pacific) Time, GM Place. (TV: KSTC-45, CBC (in HD), XM NHL Home Ice, Ch. 204)


KiPA - Kevin in PA said...

Sounds a little like the Penguins from 2003-06...absolutely no defense whatsoever. One reason why Edzo was canned. His free-wheel style was just brutal in the defensive zone. No structure at all. That 03-04 team was one of the worst assembled though; the Wild has at least a few good players. That season's Pens team didn't.

WRT - Wild Road Tripper said...

But wasn't the result of that '03-04 disaster season the drafting of Sid The Kid?

There's always a silver lining, except if DR is running your club...

KiPA - Kevin in PA said...

Exactly. That's sort of my point. I think other Wild fans have mentioned this before, but Minnesota is playing (not by design I'm sure) how it probably should've when it was an expansion team. Stay near the bottom of the standings, don't be competitive, and get very good draft picks (instead of the Pouliots and Thelens), develop those picks and then flesh out a team around those players. Lemaire made the team competitive but what is there to show for it now? Not much hope.

Other fan bases can poke fun or insult Pittsburgh, Washington and Chicago for being bad and building through the draft, but that's how you need to do it, especially now in the salary cap age. I don't think any of those teams will apologize for how things have turned out.