First Star, Worst Star: January 18, 2015

worst

We don’t need a silly All-Star game to know who are the REAL stars of the hockey world. All we need is the power of prayer and First Star, Worst Star! 

FIRST STAR 

Reto Berra is a quintessential journeyman backup goalie. He’s played 40 NHL games, has never had a SV% above .900 in the NHL, and now has one less goal than Magnus Paajarvi on the season in the AHL. 

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of goalies scoring. It seemed to have happened A LOT when I was a kid. Damian Rhodes, Martin Brodeur, Chris Osgood, Jose Theodore. They call the 90’s up until Lockout I (or, like III depending on who you ask) the Dead Puck Era, but I like to consider it the All The Goalies Scored Era. 

As someone who scored a grand total of 7 goals throughout 10 years of minor hockey I can fully appreciate how exciting it is for these guys to find the back of the net. Which is why I absolutely LOVE Berra’s bench fly-by celebration. Hell, if it was me I probably would have jumped into the bench like that one Canadian World Juniors team. Thankfully, though, Colin Fraser was on the ice to make sure no one was having any fun. God forbid someone act #Classless and show some enthusiasm after doing something incredibly cool and rare. We salute you Colin Fraser, and happy 67th birthday ya old grouch! 

WORST STAR

The woefully inept and seemingly non-existent Oilers defence. And I’m not just talking about the actual defensemen, the team as a whole is like one of those massive fires on an oil rig out in the middle of the ocean. You can’t really stop it, you can only contain it until it eventually burns itself out and you’re left cleaning up a terrible mess. 

tgsblues

Two guys follow the puck carrier, two guys follow Backes streaking toward the front of the net, and the Oilers still managed to give up a goal. It’s like an art form at this point. And the leader of this movement? Justin “Norris Potential” Schultz. 

Here he is with co-conspirator and double agent Nikita “HE’S GETTING PAID HOW MUCH” Nitkinin getting a great spot to watch Ben Scrivens make a desperation save on a breakaway. 

defence

Those two were right back at it the next game in Tampa Bay. Here’s Schultz having absolutely zero defensive awareness and helping put the puck right on a wide open Steve Stamkos’ stick. 

And here is Nitkinin making sure he has Ben Scrivens covered and out of the play, while all three forwards decide to chase the puck, leaving Ondrej Palat wide open to tap it into an empty net, which turns out isn’t the best thing to do if you want to actually win hockey games. 

palatgoal

Finally, here is an amazing sequence that led to what would become the game winner for Tampa. After a faceoff win by Anton Lander, Justin Schultz decides to skate directly into his defence partner Oscar Klefbom, fumble the puck up the side boards, and the rest pretty much writes itself. 

The Oilers have a lot of problems, and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I say that the complete and utter lack of anything even resembling a defensive structure is one of the more egregious ones. Thankfully the Oilers are in the middle of an internal audit to figure out just exactly what is wrong with this team, so I have faith they’ll get to the bottom of it and turn things around in no time*! 

*circa 2022. 

  • Stack Pad Save

    I love Bera’s celebration. Every time a player scores now they do the 5 minutes worth of celebration, they fist pump, they hug, they high 5 the entire bench and then the do a loop and salute the fans.

    I am glad a Goalie went and did this and showed how classy excessive celebration really is.

    Score a goal, act like you have done it before and are planning on doing it again.

    • Stack Pad Save

      I guess you will be happier if a player after he scores makes the sign of the cross and thanks God that he is an NHL player making millions!

      Nothing wrong with celebrating a goal as long as it isn’t the 6th goal in a 5-0 game, or if your an Oiler player who are in another lost season back from November.

    • Fred-65

      I guess you will be happier if a player after he scores makes the sign of the cross and thanks God that he is an NHL player making millions!

      Nothing wrong with celebrating a goal as long as it isn’t the 6th goal in a 5-0 game, or if your an Oiler player on the team that is in another lost season since November.

  • I get that Jhultz makes a lot of egregious plays, but what exactly is Purcell doing once he stops the puck along the boards on that 3-2 goal against Tampa?

    Once Purcell stops it, it seems like he’s skating around a puck that has been knocked down by his teammate with a high stick, afraid to actually touch the puck which would bring about a whistle! I agree Jhultz skating the puck into Klefbom’s feet was not the best play, but he got the puck up to Purcell along the boards. Purcell had time to stop the puck, then he turned his body but refused to actually put his stick near the puck, while the Tampa defenceman takes three strides and then effortlessly takes the puck from him. You can see Lander moving up the boards to pick up a chip past the defenceman, expecting Purcell to actually do something.

    Again, I’m not disputing that Jhultz makes a lot of terrible defensive plays, and this was not ideal, but to lay the blame entirely at his feet and give Purcell a complete pass is unfair.

  • Stack Pad Save

    “The woefully inept and seemingly non-existent Oilers defence. And I’m not just talking about the actual defensemen, the team as a whole is like one of those massive fires on an oil rig out in the middle of the ocean.”

    Reading comprehension not up to par? He IS slamming the whole team, not just Schultz. It just usually begins and/or ends with Schultz in most cases. Or Nikitin.

    Who the hell needs an internal audit at this point, cut the ropes on Schultz and Nikitin and you’ve got an automatic upgrade the moment you plug anyone else into those two spots.

  • Stack Pad Save

    I can’t help wondering what makes it so hard to spell all the names for some guys :p

    Nitkinin, McGratton, Monohan, Bera and what else is there?? 😀
    I do know Nikitin, McGrattan, Monahan and Berra tho! 🙂

  • Stack Pad Save

    The worst star isn’t the defence, it’s the person who put the defence and team together. Actually it’s the person who hired the person who put it together

      • MattyFranchise

        WTF? I was replying to vetinari after he said that he loves goalie goals and goalie fights. Ron Hextall fought anything that moved and also scored a play off goal. This is a perfectly legitimate statement. Clearly the trashers need a history lesson.

  • vetinari

    Looks like the number of comments in articles are slowing down. I’d imagine the traffic is too. With a little luck the people who have been going to the games will eventually stop going aswell. Get new management Katz. It’s the same guys with the same philosophy making the same moves with the same results.

  • vetinari

    Just read this tweet on TSN – perhaps the analytics guy needs to be fired next, after all Eakins thought the sun shone out of his backside.

    Scott Cullen retweeted
    Rob Tychkowski ‏@Sun_Tychkowski 20h20 hours ago

    “There were zero analytics that supported Yak in the shootout,” said Nelson. “It was a hunch.”

  • Have any of you read about the 2 games (both wins) for Devan Dubnyk since being traded to the Wild? Man oh man, I think MacT made a huge mistake by questioning his ability before he was traded, and that probably shattered his confidence. I am SO happy for this young man (except I don’t want him to be in net when we play the Wild)I can see a big contract coming his way. Good luck to him, his wife and baby son.

    • MattyFranchise

      Yeah and they were flying Gretzky and Paul Coffey and anyone they could think of to talk to him and sell him on it.. So good. Looks good on them all

    • MattyFranchise

      We were also the grand prize recipients of the Dallas Eakins sweepstakes. Even if the only other team he met with was Vancouver and might have been set up by Eakins agent. Lol

  • MattyFranchise

    How about Kypreos ragging on Kassian on HNIC?! Saying that clubs have called about Kassian, but worry about how he will effect a locker room?…. Translation guy is an AH%le

    • MattyFranchise

      Yep that bubble burst real good. But if this team ever gets its stuff together like LA,Pitts and Chicago have it’s going to be fun to watch! =D

  • PlayDirty

    It’s clear Perron lost his interest in playing for the oilers. The oilers don’t need players that have lost interest in the team.

    Too bad the oilers have to suck so bad because he was a heck of a player.

  • With the success of ex Oilers.It does make me wonder about the player development model. like toprightcorner posted If Detroit had drafted shultz He may have Had development time.
    hopefully Coach Nelson can turn Shultz/Yakupov Around.My question Is has Mactavish made too many mistakes to be the GM next year.

    • My question to you is has MacT made enough good moves to earn the right to stay another year? Name me 1 good move he’s made? Bringing in Perron was always hailed as his best move and we know how that turned out.

      Nikitin? Goalies? Centers? 1 year on petry? Schultz contract? Grebeshkov? Belov? Purcell? Pouliot’s contract? Eakins?

      What good has he done? The team has gotten worse under his watch and it’s not just bad luck

      • PlayDirty

        If the current “Loosers” [ management group ]
        are still here next year.. this would be the biggest SLAP IN THE FACE to Oiler Fans by Katz.

        Wake up Katz no decent players want to come to this Crap Bin,as long your buddies are running this gong show.

    • MattyFranchise

      Schultz never would have signed with Detroit because, years later, he still wouldn’t have seen a single second of NHL ice time, because he is terrible.

      Schultz signed with Edmonton so he could get lots of ice time. Why do you think he chose not to sign with Anaheim? Or rather, why do you think Anaheim chose not to make more of an effort to sign him?

      Schultz is only still playing because A) the Oilers are terrible, B) MacT is an idiot, and C) Jeff Petry is their best defenceman. That doesn’t exactly scream depth.