Tonight the Oilers took on the Canucks in preseason action. To be fair, saying they took on the Canucks might be a little generous considering the team the Canucks iced would have embarrassed their AHL team. While I don't expect any team to ice a full NHL lineup during the preseason there is a very good chance that of all the players that played tonight for Vancouver not a single one will start the season for the club. If you're a season ticket holder like me you're probably a little miffed by that.
But despite the Canucks icing a terrible hockey team the Oilers somehow still managed to come out on the short end tonight dropping the game by a final score of 2-1. Don't forget this is the Oilers we're talking about. The game isn't what one would call a classic by any means, not from either team, but nonetheless there are a couple of
fights items that are worth taking a second look at.
In the first period the Oilers got off to an energetic start and looked to have some jump but past about the two minute mark any jump the Oilers had seemed to evaporate. From that point on the first period de-evolved into an extravaganza of punching between players with something to prove (presumably at least) and Oilers with some somethig to lose. First there was Theo Peckham and Aaron Volpatti. That was followed by Darcy Hordichuk dropping the gloves with a player so unknown that even the NHL website doesn't know who it was. Following Hordichuk's fight with the unknown man Alex Plante took on Steven Pinizzotto. Since I don't like fighting none of these fights got me out of my seat.
Near the end of the first Taylor Hall got to yapping with Mike Duco and before anything serious got started Ryan Smyth jumped taking Duco to the ice, followed closely by Peckham trying to get in there as well. While I applaud any Oiler willing to get into a scrap inplace of Hall (especially considering his fighting history) I really wish that wasn't required in a preseason game against an AHL team.
Somewhere between all the fights the Canucks actually found the time to score a goal in the first period. I seem to recall the goal coming from Owen Nolan but according to the NHL website the scorer is unknown. Knowing the name of a player in the league since 1990 is a lot to ask.
After three fights in the first period Don Cherry would have been disappointed by zero scraps in the games second frame. What the game lacked in fights it eventually made up for in goals with two in the period's final minute. The first was a shorthanded marker from Duco staking the Canucks to a two goal lead; followed immediately by a Jordan Eberle goal cutting the lead to one going into the third period. Besides the Oilers getting on the scoreboard this goal also featured an assist from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, his first preseason point in Edmonton.
Following the theme of the games first two periods, the final period wasn't what one would call exciting. Hordichuk again fought an unknown opponent but aside from that there was little from either team worth talking about. For the first time all night the Oilers held the advantage in shot - in this case 7- 4 - but it wasn't enough to get the equalizer Manny Legace, who I can’t believe is still anywhere near the NHL (thanks to Bort Sampson for the correction).
When the final buzzer sounded the Oilers came away as the losers tonight by a score of 2-1. Not a tragic result considering it was preseason game but all things considered the game itself was anything but memorable. This is a game, considering who the Canucks chose to dress, that the Oilers should have won but they didn't. I can't say that any Oiler really stood out as either excellent or terrible; all in all I'm not sure what the coaching staff got out of this game. I know I didn't get much out of it other than a few hours killed and few beers drank.