Hockey, The Way it's Meant to be Played!

The Atlanta Thrashers and Edmonton Oilers are developing quite the history between each other. Oiler legend Kelly Buchburger was the teams first ever captain, and scored they’re first ever goal. The Thrash got embarrased a year later when Ryan Smyth (not the Oilers), beat them 3-0. Then the battle of the future stars last season when Kovalchuk and Comrie went toe to toe… Now tonight (or what will be last night when you read this), for those of you who missed this game, my gawd it was terrific! The Thrashers had a horrible 3rd period, and who can blame them? They were coming off a tough loss in Calgary the night before, so that was expected. But nobody expected they would have the energy for that!!! I will get to updating the Oilers and their current situation in a moment, but first………………..

Has anyone ever seen Georges Laraque snap like that before? I never have. Francis Lessard never has! Georges lost it on Lessard…..eventually. It all started when Cowan and Chimera were getting chippy. Georges was trying to break it up!?!? Then a big scrum, then Sutton(who refused to go with Georges earlier in the shift) grabbed Brewer and they threw down, Chimera and Cowan started, Smith grabbed……somebody (let me know who)and beat on him pretty good. Then the memorable stuff, like Mike Bishai! Aubin had him against the boards and Tjarnqvist pulled Bishai over the boards. So what did Mike do? He got up and started beating on Aubin while standing at the bench! Looked pretty cool! Then with Georges still trying to save Brewer (who surprisingly did very well against Sutton, I thought he would be killed)and Lessard still grabbing on to Georges, and grabbing on, and grabbing on…….boom!!! Georges’s snap job. Landed about 8 haymakers on Lessard and he was a little more then done! But it wasn’t over there…….MY BOY TY CONKLIN!!! This guy may not become the front line goaltender that I’ve predicted he will be, but he will be one of the most popular when it’s all said and done! He comes out to Passi, takes off his gear, and off we go!!! Conks won, no doubt, but Nurminem held his own, which impressed me. However, Nurminem was out, and Dafoe who started, got hurt and left after the 1st, so Atlanta played the final 1:47 without a goaltender. All this coupled with a pretty good tilt between Moreau and Exelby. NHL: “Let’s take fighting out of the game for good.” Edmonton Oiler fans response to this: “5 minute standing ovation through the entire episode, not 1 person sitting.” Enough said!

The Oilers had a good game too by the way! But as I stated before, Atlanta was staying alive until the 3rd, when they just got exhausted, and lost the game. Smyth, Torres, and Laraque all played excellent games (no, I’m not just basing this on Georges’s fight, he got one). Conks played solid(22 saves I believe), and the whole team has looked good the last 3, of course they played 3 struggling like hell teams(Anaheim, St.Louis, and Atlanta).

Who’s hot? Ryan Smyth, Georges Laraque, Eric Brewer, Ty Conklin, and Ethan Moreau

Who’s not? Tommy Salo, Alexei Semenov, Brad Isbister (hurt), Jason Chimera, Mike York (hurt), Fernando Pisani, and Ales Hemsky (even though he got one tonight, it was an empty netter).

Consistant? Jason Smith, Igor Ulanov, Radek Dvorak, Raffi Torres, Cory Cross, and Steve Staios

Playing better? Shawn Horcoff and Jarret Stoll

We got Minny on Friday, Nashville on Sunday, Detroit on Monday, Colorado on Wednesday, Vancouver on Saturday the 21st, and Detroit again on Monday the 23rd. This is the toughest part of the schedule for the Oilers, no doubt. I think it’s a must they go 4-1-1 through this stretch. 3-2-1 would be ok, and keep the boys a float……..anything worse then .500 would put them too far back unless these teams continue to fall. And they MUST beat Minny and Nashville.

But we’ll have to wait and see how the boys can do. Geez I would HATE to see this team miss the playoffs because they bring SO MUCH excitment to the playoffs, and cause fits for any team that plays them. Speed, hard hitting, fiesty, youth, these are things you love to see come playoff time, even if you don’t like the Oilers. So let’s hope they do it, and oh yeah, circle March 2nd on your calenders!!!