Grading the Players: 2009-02-19 vs DAL

Tough game to lose. While the Oilers are down several key players who may have made a difference, so were the Stars. Turco was on his game, and Roloson less so – although Roli was still good. It was a chippy game. There’s just something about the Stars that seems to bring out the physical side of the Oilers, ever since the famous Ron Low “100 hit” night. Only Horcoff and Roloson were credited with 0 hits, which is funny cos I think Steve Ott would disagree with the latter’s assessment. JF Jacques drew in for his first game of the year, while Dallas was missing Brad Richards.
Dennis King hasn’t posted his chances yet, so I’ll have to go by memory and notes (where I don’t tend to put down chances, as I don’t like missing too much action while writing).
Smid, 6: only the one glaring error, he could have covered better on Sawada’s goal (as Staples points out.) Credited with 7 hits and an assist. An above-average game that saw him play almost 18 minutes. Unlike last year, he’s earning his icetime.
Horcoff, 6: he scored, but they really needed to be better on the power play and he’s one of the keys. Special teams beast, he had 22:51 of icetime, including 4:03 of strong PK.
Nilsson, 4: an average game would have been salvaged by a point or two. He saw some PK time, I’m not sure if MacT was desperate or experimenting. I wasn’t keeping track, but I’d guess it was near the end of the game when the teams were each trying to give the game away. He had an incredibly brutal giveaway in the second that dropped his grade a point; it only didn’t go in the net because Roli bailed him out. Perfect drop pass by the side of the net, right onto the stick of a Star. He was skating hard all night though, and did earn the 17:23 of icetime he received.
Cogliano, 5: his shot was a good scoring chance, he was skating hard and hitting. Faceoffs were average – for Cogs. He can’t centre a scoring line until he can win more than 2/5.
Moreau, 5: -1, 6 penalties for 23 PIM. I thought he got rooked on the double minor in the second, that should not have put the team down. I’m not sure why he pulled Grossman (?) out of the scrum in the third after Ott took down Gilbert, but that attack didn’t really seem warranted. +1 for trying and caring so much, but -1000 for good sense. He forced some turnovers with hard hits.
Jacques, 5: if he keeps playing like that, he’ll deserve to stay with the team. He had a decent hit every other shift, and was engaged and physical. He forced the first Dallas power play by being a bit too eager. And he finally got a point!
Staios, 6: an assist, nommed up 22:21 of ice, no huge mistakes, some good pinches. His shot block didn’t leave him limping off or holding his face either, always good news for the Bullet Magnet from Hamilton.
Cole, 5: physical and tough, 5 credited hits, but only one shot and he wasn’t driving the net. -2, but his PK was all right. He lost most of his PP time to Nilsson, I think.
Penner, 5: made a mistake on the one goal (see Staples’ post), but he made some good defensive plays and was more physical than his single credited hit would indicate. In the first he made a terrible pass in his own end, but recovered and wound up drawing a penalty off Robidas driving the Dallas zone, a textbook example of what happens when the big man heads for the net. Only one shot but he was complicit in several Edmonton chances.
Strudwick, 5: quiet game, just the way I like it from him. Simple, effective 14:51 of icetime, and he was good on the PK.
Souray, 6: played with a nasty edge, 3 credited hits and an assist. 6:15 of PP time should result in a GF though. Still, he played nearly half the game and was evens, +1/-1, worth an above average score.
Stortini, 5 -1 with 4 credited hits, but 0 shots for the new scoring machine. His line (with Cogs and Moreau) was fairly effective cycling the puck early on, but seemed to wear off or down a bit later in the game.
Peckham, 4: he actually wasn’t bad, doing what he needed to do in his own end, but that misconduct was a stupid penalty to take. Probably he wouldn’t have gotten it if he’d been wearing #44 instead of 49, but veterans wearing the A get the benefit of the doubt from refs, and rookies don’t.
Brodziak, 6: an assist and +1, his line was put out after all the Dallas goals to cause some trouble, and they were good at it. Effective on the PK, with nearly half his icetime coming there.
Gilbert, 6: 27:03 of icetime and he bounced back up after the dirty hit by Ott to try to defuse things. PP was ineffective, although he had a couple of shots and generally moved the puck well.
Hemsky, 5: +1 on the night, but his penalty was extremely poorly-advised and he flubbed some passes on the PP. When the low-percentage passes work, they work well, but when they don’t it’s a shorthanded clear or rush. He destroyed Grossman at his own blueline shortly after returning from the sin bin in the second period, a bit of payback. The Stars were playing him nasty and close all night.
Reddox, 6: skated hard and was in the right place at the right time for his goal. Right in front of the net is a hard place to be when you’re the size of Dustin Penner or Stortini, never mind when you’re five foot five and 160 pounds.
Gagner, 5: would have been a 4, but what he lacked in offense he made up for with grit. 3 credited hits, and that’s probably a no-BS number, and he managed 2 shots on goal as well (3 more blocked).
Roloson, 6: one of the goals was soft, but he made some dandy saves he shouldn’t have had to make (like the one off the Nilsson giveaway I noted) and was otherwise solid.