Mar 6, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner (89) warms up before the game against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion. Edmonton defeated San Jose 3-2 in shootouts. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Thoughts From Last Night

I didn’t get a chance to watch the game live on Saturday against the Phoenix Coyotes, and had to watch it on the PVR later yesterday afternoon. I honestly didn’t mind watching the replay, I found that I got less frustrated throughout the game. And had more time to rewind and watch replays without having to worry about the falling too far behind the play.

Any how I did notice a few things in the game that I thought I would share with you.

  • The Oilers penalty kill looked really good last night, they had sticks and bodies in the passing lanes all night, and with the exception of one quick second where Chris Vande Velde lost his stick behind the net it was a near perfect night for the PK.
  • Wasn’t it nice to see Ryan Jones return to the line-up? Jones played with Ben Eager and Eric Belanger, they created energy everytime they were on the ice and managed to add a few high quality scoring chances. When Shawn Horcoff returns to the line up He will look good between those two forwards.
  • Chris Vande Velde plays with some bite. I know he will be the center to head down to the farm when Captain Horcoff returns, but I really like his play. He plays physical, hitting the opposing players at every opportunity. And if you watch closely he always manages to get the extra stick work in, hacking and slashing opponents without taking too many penalties. Could be turning in to the pest the Oilers so badly need.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is hitting everything in his path. If the kid is injured he sure isn’t showing it. His play in the defensive zone is second to none, and he’s coming around on the offensive side of the puck.
  • There’s a log jam coming in the bottom six of forwards. Jones is back, when Lennart Petrell returns from injury and Taylor Hall finishes his suspension the Oilers are going to have a few too many wingers. So who goes down? It will be someone on a 2-way deal which means one of Teemu Hartikainen or Magnus Paajarvi. Both have been playing well but if I’m the GM I have to keep Paajarvi, he is more versatile in the line up and kills penalties like there is no tomorrow. I’m sure this will make for some great debate among fans.

There were negatives to the game as well, but the Oilers came out with the win so for today I’ll just leave with the positives.

The team has jetted off on the longest road trip of the season, starting tomorrow against the league leading Chicago Blackhawks. The good thing about that is the Oil never seem to have a problem getting up for the Hawks. Hopefully this season is the same and we start with 2 points on this excruciatingly long roadie. I’ll leave you with this video, Gagner’s 8 point game versus the Blackhawks last February.

Don’t forget to follow the Oil on Whyte team on twitter

Jeff – @OilOnWhyte

Ian – @ibleedoil

Jonathan – @jonrmcleod

Troy – @heavyoilcountry

Dave – @rustyknuckler

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