The Oilers lose and officially (thankfully?) end the Young Stars Tournament. They Lost and lost big in every contest, but this had been their best game so far.
While technically the Tournament is over, the Oilers kids WILL play the Golden Bears on Tuesday and likely add an Unofficial Loss to their record via an Official beat down. It’s tough to be more optimistic of their chances after this weekend’s debacle, even if the last game showed a definite improvement over the first 2 games.
Just as the Oilers had been overmatched before, they were overmatched again. This time, however, they managed to cobble together two lines that played reasonably well together and their Goalie kept them in it until late in the game. It was easier to discern who played well and who didnt because it wasnt a turkey shoot out there. They started playing something that resembled Hockey.
What Went Wrong
What went wrong was that in an effort to put actual hockey players together on two lines the Oilers were forced to put their Coke Machines on the other two lines. Combine that with some inexperienced Defensemen like Gernat and it’s a ticking time bomb. The Oilers have obviously been trying to draft for the need of bigger meaner players and thats exactly what they’ve got: Big, Mean, Utterly Useless Players.
Travis Ewanyk – I dont know what ‘The Play’ did to Travis Ewanyk but he took it out to the alley and killed it every chance he could. Throughout the game the play by play crew kept mentioning ‘Intangibles’ when referencing Ewanyk. ‘Intangibles’ must be what the kids are calling Stone Hands these days. He couldnt accept or make a pass all day. On at least two occasions he turned a sure breakout into an unassisted turnover. It’s just one game, but man that was bad.
Kale Kessy – Stick. Optional. Kessy is, at best, destined for the ECHL. Today’s game he managed 0 points, 0 shots on goal, and 0 value to the club. I couldnt imagine a more “Saw Him Bad” experience. I would say that like Ewanyk the puck died on his stick, but I’m not sure the puck ever actually touched his stick. His most memorable play was absolutely destroying Travis Ewanyk (His Linemate!) in the game’s dying seconds. Truly horrible. One of Tambellini’s last gifts to us all.
Cameron Abney – Yet another Coke Machine, yet another disappointment. Abney found a way to affect the game but it surely wasnt positive. If you check the boxscore he actually bookends the game, but in typical Cam Abney fashion it isnt with scoring plays, its with boneheaded penalties. He opened up the match with an unsportsmanlike penalty then closed out the game with a slashing penalty. Good grief.
What Went Well
Ok. There were a lot more positives in this game. Enough so that the positives I feel arent just a mental construction to keep me from going off the deep end. First, the score was close for most of the game. 0-0 after the 1st, 2-2 after the 2nd. The Oilers allowed lots of shots, but they also took lots of shots. They also got some good performances from Darnell Nurse and their unheralded Goalie.
Franky Palezzese – Palazzese played particularly well through the first 2.5 periods. He made one spectacular desperation save with his right pad thrown out to absolutely stone a sure chance. Sadly the second and third effort of the Canucks on that same play lead to a goal. At the end of the day he made 35 saves on 39 shots, some of which showed off his quickness and athleticism. Palezzese comes from the OHL where he played reasonably well for Kitchener and Sudbury. He should be happy with the show he put on.
Kyle Platzer – Scored a goal (his 2nd of the Tournament), had 3 shots on net, and finished +1 on the night. Platzer hasnt looked out of place playing with the more talented forwards in the bunch and while he may not be a dynamic force he seemed to be in the right place at the right time in the attacking zone. Considering how poorly his team has been, it was nice to see him put together a reasonably good tourny.
Darnell Nurse – Much like Oscar Klefbom the day before, Darnell Nurse showed MUCH better in his second game. Chalk it up to the jitters, I guess, but against the Canucks he looked like a completely different player. He was showing much more confidence with the puck and his decision making was much less tentative. He was skating the puck out with determination and making some nice crisp heads up passes. It was easy to see why he was selected 7th overall after a game like that. The young man also already weighs 193 lbs and still looks like a string bean with his 6’3″ frame. When he matures he could end up in the 215-225 range. A monster in the making.
The Oilers cant be all that happy with an 0-3 tournament in which they were pumped for 5 or more goals in every game, but it highlighted the fact that they sacrificed skill for beef for way too long and now have next to nothing in the system that can compete for a top 6 spot in even the AHL. For the scant few that actually do qualify as prospects it was a good way to get them some game action to get their feet wet and take the summer rust off.
Lets see how this tournament has prepared the kids for a real test against the Bears.