Played hookey and treated myself to a lower-bowl seat tonight. Some random game notes for the Oilogosphere punters:
Not dressed tonight: Staios, the Kid Line, Eberle, Stortini, Brodziak, either real goalie, Plante, Gilbert, Pouliot. And Bouwmeester.
Drouin-Deslauriers's 27-saves-on-29-shots performance looks good, especially in light of him being named first star. But the Panthers didn't have many open scoring chances to speak of—both goals in regulation were junk—and JDD doesn't yet display the assurance you associate with a viable NHL goalie. I worry about his lateral movement, or I will just as soon as one of the starting tandem gets hurt.
Up the left side of the ice the most attention-getting player was Theo Peckham. The guy defines physical, he won a fight going away (Mike Duco fell down and made the mistake of trying to get up), and the crowd loves him. But he simply can't advance the puck and at times in his own end he reminds me of one of my cats trying to figure out an unfamiliar object. That said, it is hard to imagine a fan-favourite infuriator-type like this not eventually becoming a contributor. The decision-making just needs to improve, and he's still like 14 years old or something.
Up close Erik Cole radiates intelligence even more intensely. Even when he's squeezing by a defenceman along the boards, he's moving his shoulders and hips, trying to keep the guy off guard. A joy to watch. And so's Visnovsky, who is a man among boys in our D package. He passes at least as well as Pitkanen, and supposedly the Kings discouraged him from playing as physically as he wanted to in L.A., so I'm waiting for evidence that there is anything he can't do.
As other reports have attested, Schremp is flying up and down the ice, but there's still that curious lack of aggressiveness. The team wanted him to get faster, and he went out and did it: you have to respect that. But has it actually made him any more useful as a player?
Also confirmed: Taylor Chorney's not ready to think the game at NHL speed, but the tools are there. Seems like he could still develop into any D role you can imagine. He's a stem cell.
Liam Reddox is still working his ass off, which earned him the Oilers' second goal on a rebound not long after he got boarded and had to have his head stitched up. Unfortunately, God may just have cast him in this role for good—as a hard-luck kid who enjoys intermittent success.
Hemsky had an off night and still managed to be Hemsky at least once. Playing PP on the first goal, he took a diagonal feed from Horcoff, threw two distinct fakes at the Florida penalty kill within about a second to successfully distort the PK box, and mailed the disc back to an unguarded Horc for the seeing-eye one-timer. (Did you know that the Italians call a puck a "disco"? Truth.) About 35 of those during the regular season would be nice.
Sorry, no photos. I tested Rexall's formerly-haphazard camera policy, and they're now impounding all SLR cameras indiscriminately. (The explicit rule is against "professional cameras", but good luck pleading that you have an entry-level DSLR with lenses that would probably be doorstops in a pro's household.) However, if you want to take shitty photos of the Oirasu or your buddies with the pinhole camera on your cell phone, and it seems you do, that's still permitted.