Grading the Players: 2009-03-26 at Phoenix

This didn’t look like a game between a team desperate to make the playoffs, and another team which is pretty much the model for “bad team.” It looked like a game between two teams that didn’t really want to win very badly. There didn’t appear to be a great deal of intensity, save for a few brief spurts and towards the end of the game. As a result, I didn’t actually get a lot of notes on anybody at all, which suggests I could have just given pretty much everybody a 4 and be done with it. (Scoring chances from Dennis King’s post at mc79hockey. My recording device has been on the fritz and we’re getting ready to move, so I haven’t bothered replacing it – I’m open to correction on my memory of who did what, since I was also scoring the game after a 17 hour day. Nevertheless…
Smid, 4: he didn’t make any terrible plays himself, but he was on the wrong end of far more scoring chances than he was on the right end for. He was on the ice for Lombardi’s goal, although I don’t think he contributed to the GA – Lombo came down Strudwick’s side of the ice.
Horcoff, 5: outchanced the opposition, but didn’t outscore them, and that’s what counts. 3:30 of power play time needs to get a goal.
Nilsson, 3: didn’t do much, and got benched later in the game, seeing only 2 shifts in the third. He wasn’t skating hard, and if he’s not skating hard, he’s ineffective.
Cogliano, 3: part of the crew that was on for Klee’s goal, and again for Hanzal’s. A very well-deserved -2 on the night, 2 missed shots. At least he was 50% on faceoffs. Penner took over for him a few times at #3C late in the game. He started out the game well though; he had a great 2 on 1 rush with Reddox and put it off the post, but after that seemed deflated.
Moreau, 4: 3 shots, good PK time. He was his usual #18, except without the bad penalties, or even any penalties at all. Maybe some more aggressiveness would have been better, for a change. 1 hit might have had something to do with that; that part wasn’t his usual self. Marked down for that.
O’Sullivan, 5: -1, 2 shots, 1 hit. 3:26 on the power play on a night the Oilers could have used a PPG. I didn’t like either of his penalties. He had a few chances but couldn’t convert. Maybe a 4.
Kotalik, 6: potted a nice goal, 7 shots led the team (2 blocked, 2 more missed). He even won both his faceoffs. He managed to not give up any bad chances going the other way and had a couple himself. He wasn’t what was wrong last night, very low event except when the puck went in behind Bryzgalov.
Staios, 5: pretty low-event as well, he played 21:54 total, 3:13 of PK time. 2 shots, 3 hits, but astonishingly, he didn’t limp off the ice from any shot-blocks – he had none at all. Got a helper and was +1.
Penner, 4: unusually, he was outchanced. He also had almost as much power play time as he did even strength time; 5:47 to 8:37. 2 shots, 3 more blocked, 1 hit and 4-4 in the faceoff circle as Cogliano lost the coach’s confidence there. I’d give him a 3, except his defensive play was at least there and he was no less physical than anybody else. He drove the net hard a couple of times and showed some muscle in front of it. But nearly 6 minutes on the power play! That needs to result in a goal. The PP to start the second was good, he spent nearly a minute in front of Bryzgalov, but nobody could get the puck to that area. He showed some restraint when he and Gagner and Hemsky were competing for the puck behind the Phoenix goal and he was crosschecked at least four or five by Michalek. A lot of guys would have turned around and laid some lumber back for a retaliation penalty, or scrummed it up (as #27 was clearly tempted to do) but he didn’t. Some would say that’s typical Penner; maybe so, but he’s been playing with more fire lately and was obviously incredibly pissed off.
Pisani, 4: -2 on the night as well. 1 shot, 1 hit, 4 chances for and 6 against. Not much going on last night for San Fernando.
Grebeshkov, 5: loads of fruitless PP time, 6:20 of it (23:14 total). Still, he had a couple shots and generally outchanced the opposition.
Strudwick, 3: he wasn’t totally out to lunch, but he was outclassed by a speedy Phoenix team. He had a hard time keeping up and when he could, he couldn’t lay the body on them. 1 hit, outchanced 8-2, and it was he who couldn’t cut Lombardi off (or down) when the forward was dancing in on Roloson.
Souray, 4: he was nasty and physical (5 hits led both teams, nearly 25% of Edmonton’s) and made some good passes, was on the ice for Hemsky’s goal, and gobbled up nearly half the game on the ice. He couldn’t get his point shot away in 7:20 of power play time, was on the ice for Klee’s goal, and was pointless. Call it a saw-off, with a mark off for somebody who’s worn the C and has an A on a team that largely phoned it in.
Brodziak, 5: he did what he needed to, he was skating and hitting and killing penalties. He wasn’t scoring though. Pretty average.
Gilbert, 4: chances were a saw-off, except while he was on the ice the ones for weren’t great, and some of the ones against were. When Phoenix were buzzing, he had a hard time clearing the puck and he shied away from hits a couple of times, once resulting in a turnover. He did have 3 shots blocked though. This was the kind of game I’d have expected from Grebeshkov earlier in the year.
Hemsky, 6: I docked him a grade for an ineffective first half of the game, but he really came to life later on. Scored 1-1-2, 4 shots, 3 more blocked, he took some doozies of some hits to make plays and handed out a couple himself. He runs the power play though, so the lack of scoring there has a lot to do with him – he did come up with some good scoring chances though.
Reddox, 3: those who think MacTavish has a crush on this player, whom they imagine resembles old #14 himself, should watch this game. Reddox’s line was badly outchanced, and while that’s not all on #85, he only saw the ice twice in the third period. He wasn’t skating hard and wasn’t really hitting at all. Far from his best game. Made a rookie mistake on Hanzal’s goal.
Gagner, 3: didn’t have much going on at evens, he had some sniffs on the power play but obviously no result. His turnover, described at length by David Staples, was a killer, and I marked him down a grade for it.
Roloson, 5: he maybe could have had Lombo’s goal, probably should have. He did make some good saves later on though, as Phoenix outshot and outchanced the Oilers. Not his best game, but definitely not the sort that had Garon starting last year. MacT may have to reconsider his goalie strategy.