Anatomy of a power play goal

Jonathan Willis
January 21 2013 08:17AM

Ales Hemsky had a great game against Vancouver on Sunday, and his best moment was the power play goal in the third period that sent the game into overtime. The goal showed Hemsky at his best, showcasing his high-end speed and shot, but it was also the product of a lot of work from the entire power play unit.

Superficially, the goal looks like it’s all on Hemsky, but the entire power play contributed in some way, making room for Hemsky’s brilliance. Lets’ have a look.

Devan Dubnyk takes the puck behind his net. He’s under some forechecking pressure from Mason Raymond here and could get into trouble if he hangs on to the puck too long; he opts for a simple, short pass to Ryan Whitney.

Now the pressure transfers to Whitney. He too opts for the safe, simple play: a pass to Sam Gagner along the half boards.

Gagner wastes no time skating up to center. Whitney’s out of the picture but so too is the Canucks forechecker. Now the Oilers are attacking the Canucks blue line with a 4-on-3 advantage. Gagner and Ales Hemsky have Alex Burrows in a 2-on-1 situation along the right boards. Ryan Smyth is driving for the gap between defencemen Alex Edler and Jason Garrison, which leaves Edler facing a plausible 2-on-1 with both Smyth and Yakupov bearing down on him. Gagner opts to cut to the middle a little bit to draw Burrows off the boards and then make a backhand pass to Hemsky, who is at full speed.

Gagner’s move has given Hemsky all the room he is going to need. Burrows corrects to turn to Hemsky while Garrison (the last man back here) also identifies him as the primary threat. Edler stays high on the far side (as he should).

Burrows can’t correct in time – Hemsky takes advantage of the space and blows past him.

Garrison can’t get over far enough to take away the shot; he’s in good position to thwart a pass but if Hemsky elects to shoot there’s nothing he can do. The combination of the Gagner move and Hemsky’s speed mean that the Canucks are going to surrender a good opportunity here.

Hemsky makes a perfect shot.

It’s not really the most complicated goal – the whole play from the time Dubnyk touched the puck to the time Hemsky scored only took up eight seconds (Sportsnet's clock ticked down an extra second after the goal was officially in) – but watching it last night I was struck by its elegance. On the defensive side, two short, safe passes from Dubnyk and Whitney eliminated the threat of the forecheck and allowed the Oilers to take off on a 4-on-3 rush. Yakupov and Smyth offered Gagner plenty of options as he approached the blue line and forced the Canucks to cover the whole ice. Gagner himself did solid work, pulling Burrows off the boards a little before setting up Hemsky. From there, Hemsky took over – taking the puck at full speed, looking for a shot the whole way, and then picking his spot perfectly.

It was a lovely play, and one the entire second unit of the power play worked to author. 

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Mark-LW
January 21 2013, 08:24AM
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I heart Hemsky!

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#2 1983 and This Year
January 21 2013, 08:53AM
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Prior to this year, Hemsky would have looked to dish off an ill-advised pass to Gagner in the slot which would have been knocked away by one of the Van back checkers. I want that selfish Hemmer, looking to shoot the whole way! A Healthy Hemmer and Healthy Hall are going to have a huge impact this year.

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#3 The Towel Boy
January 21 2013, 08:53AM
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Simply mahhhhhhhvelous, darling.

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#4 Reg Dunlop
January 21 2013, 09:06AM
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Good call by coach K to rest Fistric because, as we all know, we don't need our 'A' team to beat the canucks.

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#5 JOE NOSABONADA
January 21 2013, 09:06AM
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Can some please explain to me how Hemsky, Yakupov and Gagner are all minus 2?

Does +/- calculated different I this new CBA?

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#6 CM
January 21 2013, 09:07AM
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Looking at the difference in Bobby Lou in the last two frames I was amazed how small he made himself after the shot. In the second last frame Hemmer has nothing to shoot at.

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#8 Marcus
January 21 2013, 09:21AM
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CM wrote:

Looking at the difference in Bobby Lou in the last two frames I was amazed how small he made himself after the shot. In the second last frame Hemmer has nothing to shoot at.

Bingo. The 2nd last frame with 5:57 on clock. Hemmer is on the face-off dot and Loo is squared in the crease to Hemmer. Look at that screenshot and ask yourself how the hell does he score over the blocker side shoulder .

Fricken' amazing shot.

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#9 Archaeologuy
January 21 2013, 09:26AM
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Hemsky looks like he's back. He was flying last night. I know Travis Dakin must have been through the moon.

Amazing game. I white knuckled the remote the entire 3rd period.

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#10 The Soup Fascist
January 21 2013, 09:27AM
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Obviously you are making this up, Willis! What voodoo video editing did you employ to put this sham example together?

Alexander Burrows is a world class two way forward and all around good guy. There is no way he would not read this play in time to prevent such a travesty. Plus you have managed to insert an effective Gagner pass. How is this possible?

Also as I have pointed out, ad nauseum, Garrison is not only a mensch on the powerplay he is one of the top shutdown guys in the league. To suggest he is unable to get across the ice in time to prevent that clod Hemsky from scoring is pure fantasy. How dare you use fabricated video evidence to try and discredit my Corsified EV +/- calculation of what should have transpired.

Sincerely, DSF*

* I am not really DSF ;)

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#11 Sliderule
January 21 2013, 09:27AM
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Willis I notice in your report in Journal you were putting blame on Yakupov for second goal.On Ralphs post game he confirms that he was doing exactly what he was supposed to do pressure the puck.The guilty party was Whitney who got caught running around and lost position along with the forward in front of net who lost coverage.

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#12 The Soup Fascist
January 21 2013, 09:36AM
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CM wrote:

Looking at the difference in Bobby Lou in the last two frames I was amazed how small he made himself after the shot. In the second last frame Hemmer has nothing to shoot at.

Luongo is so deep in his net that it made it possible for Hemsky, coming in on his "correct" wing (vs. off wing) to score from a poor angle.

Don't get me wrong, great play by Hemsky, but a confident Luongo is not letting Hemsky see that much net. You are correct he is making himself seem smaller than he actually is.

I know it is early, but ..... Big troubles in Crackhead City, if they don't figure it out.

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#14 justDOit
January 21 2013, 09:52AM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Obviously you are making this up, Willis! What voodoo video editing did you employ to put this sham example together?

Alexander Burrows is a world class two way forward and all around good guy. There is no way he would not read this play in time to prevent such a travesty. Plus you have managed to insert an effective Gagner pass. How is this possible?

Also as I have pointed out, ad nauseum, Garrison is not only a mensch on the powerplay he is one of the top shutdown guys in the league. To suggest he is unable to get across the ice in time to prevent that clod Hemsky from scoring is pure fantasy. How dare you use fabricated video evidence to try and discredit my Corsified EV +/- calculation of what should have transpired.

Sincerely, DSF*

* I am not really DSF ;)

Da (The) Soup Fascist

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#15 Jesse
January 21 2013, 09:55AM
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What was so amazing about Hemsky's shot is that it was across Luongo's body from the outside to the far post. You don't see that too often at the NHL level.

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#16 OilClog
January 21 2013, 09:56AM
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Why not on the second Vancouver goal we say this, if it wasn't a Sedin with the puck in the corner the goal never would of happened.. Like are you kidding me.. Spinning backhandorama.. And we're whining and complaining about who's fault it was.. It was a ridiculous play, enjoy it, won't happen again.

On the first goal I'm still confused as to why Sam didn't attempt to get at the puck on his back check, it was right there, dive, scream.. Something. Potter was pretty much a oak door on the shot, Edler has a cannon, and Dubnyk isn't Ranford.

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#17 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
January 21 2013, 10:10AM
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You should do one of these for Schultz Jr's magical spin-o-rama, letting Weise(I think?) face plant himself into the end boards! That play alone made my night...well that and Ebs' sickness.

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#18 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 21 2013, 10:10AM
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JOE NOSABONADA wrote:

Can some please explain to me how Hemsky, Yakupov and Gagner are all minus 2?

Does +/- calculated different I this new CBA?

On top of JWs response... the shoot out doesn't count.

but also, Hemsky was already off the ice on the first goal. It shouldn't be counted as a minus.

On the second, the blame is clearly on Whitney with a special mention to Gagner...

But look, the Sedins are going to eff with you at some point during a game, you need to be better but also tip your hat.

At any rate, Hemsky's game is a good lesson on how +/- is often a very, very poor stat.

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#19 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 21 2013, 10:11AM
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@The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

it was Weise.

scary and then hilarious and still kinda scary.

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#20 Will
January 21 2013, 10:12AM
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Marcus wrote:

Bingo. The 2nd last frame with 5:57 on clock. Hemmer is on the face-off dot and Loo is squared in the crease to Hemmer. Look at that screenshot and ask yourself how the hell does he score over the blocker side shoulder .

Fricken' amazing shot.

I think he actually scores below the shoulder, that's why Lou is obviously upset about not having it. If he just would have squeezed his arm a bit more, it would have been his.

It was nice to see this second unit do its thing. Once Yak gels with these guys a little more, this could end up being the Oilers best line, especially because if the softer competition they are likely to face.

Having said that it was nice to see Hall flying around creating a ton of space for just everyone.

I'm trying not to take too much from this first game win against a depleted Canucks team, but it's not like the Oilers were firing on all cylinders either.

Notable highlights were Dubnyks ultra calm play in net, and our third and fourth line playing as good as they might be asked to play.

On the back end, Petry looked awesome. And Nick Schultz was sorely needed on this team. With the emergence of Petry, the signing of Justin Schultz, and the continued play of Nick Schultz, the Gilbert trade is really beginning to look great.

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#21 SteelStewart
January 21 2013, 10:20AM
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Hemmer's back!! Love it! Second line is tooooo deadly. Going to be an exciting season!

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#22 Archaeologuy
January 21 2013, 10:29AM
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The 'Real' Ron Burgundy wrote:

You should do one of these for Schultz Jr's magical spin-o-rama, letting Weise(I think?) face plant himself into the end boards! That play alone made my night...well that and Ebs' sickness.

That was impressive, but when Smid did it I stood up out of my seat. I just dont associate that kind of skating with Smid.

It was a veritable spinapalooza out there!

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#23 admiralmark
January 21 2013, 10:41AM
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Can someone please put on video loop J.Shultz spinning away from Weiss as he face plants himself in the end boards?! Lol Pure brilliance. And then for some reason unbeknownst to everyone he's beaking off from the bench 30 sec's later at the Oiler players skating by? Funniest moment of the night.

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#24 Mark-LW
January 21 2013, 10:42AM
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Anyone else see this Oilers hate post by the 'managing editor' of CanucksArmy?

http://m.vice.com/en_ca/read/the-edmonton-oilers-are-a-useless-franchise?fb_comment_id=fbc_238592072941762_5218697_241063606027942#faddecbb4

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#25 Seutter
January 21 2013, 11:01AM
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@Jonathan Willis

Ok I agree he could have one the battle but it is his first game in the NHL what is he 18, why the hell are all the media types nitpicking his game and pointing out every mistake he makes in his first game, it really pisses me off to be honest, welcome to Edmonton Nail. On another note am I the only one who had a whole different feel watching this game, the team looked a lot more calm and poised making simple plays, our D looked like a veteran group. I think this could be a good year, finally turning the corner

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#27 lucky
January 21 2013, 11:12AM
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CM wrote:

Looking at the difference in Bobby Lou in the last two frames I was amazed how small he made himself after the shot. In the second last frame Hemmer has nothing to shoot at.

Double Bingo! Did you see Luongo's position on the Eberle backhand goal? He's post leg down and covering the bottom corner only, looking very compact. If he's in proper post leg up position, square and tall, there's no way Eberle scores from that angle. Luuuuuu my ass!

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#28 Smokey
January 21 2013, 11:17AM
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Mark-LW wrote:

Anyone else see this Oilers hate post by the 'managing editor' of CanucksArmy?

http://m.vice.com/en_ca/read/the-edmonton-oilers-are-a-useless-franchise?fb_comment_id=fbc_238592072941762_5218697_241063606027942#faddecbb4

I read that artical, it was sad. I think Canuck's fans are watching their window closing faster then they would hope and some are bitter. Their still a good team, but they can't restock the shelves with talent nor free agents.

I of course could feel sorry for them, if they did not torch their city making Canada look like ars. I would feel sorry for the if they weren't so darn arrogant and they employed the likes of Bieksa, Kesler, Burrows, Lapierrier (sp?), and now Kassian. But I don't.

Heck I even feel sorry for Calgary, where half the fan base is clammoring for a rebuild, even if its of the Ottawa/Florida variety rather then scorched earth we like. At least the fans seem like their in denial, but their arrogance towards their city and team is half of what is going on in Vancouver.

Ill take my cold northern climate, where my family has a big house, not a dumpy 750k 500 square foot condo where I can show up at the Oilers game with the other mullet/skullet toothless chaps that are real good honest hard working, not the metro sexual town torching wannabees.

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#29 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 21 2013, 11:19AM
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RE: Yak and the second goal... I think the blame for this bogus narrative lies squarely with matheson and jones:

https://twitter.com/NHLbyMatty/status/293200000085803008

https://twitter.com/sunterryjones/status/293199160671350784

both got ripped justifiably and retracted:

https://twitter.com/NHLbyMatty/status/293258437905768449

https://twitter.com/sunterryjones/status/293249032426496000

JW is making a small point and I think it's nit-picking to say that an 18 year old rookie is getting beat by a Sedin, still at least it's valid.

Here's the problem... the legacy media has a past and has a series of well-worn narratives...

They got exposed with their hands in the cookie jar again last night and need to be called on it.

The gross part is the evident glee they take in seeing their narratives confirmed... even when they are later shown to be way off.

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#30 Smokey
January 21 2013, 11:22AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The piece I wrote was a player grades piece - basically, I have to give impressions of every player on the team. This leads, as you might imagine, to nitpicking :)

I like Yakupov, and he was roughly where I expected him to be in Game 1, though I know he's capable of more in the offensive zone (because he was lethal from the blue line in when I watched him in the KHL earlier this year).

I thought Yakupov played well in the team concept of the game. He let the game come to him, he played postionally well, and you barely noticed him out there. I was happy how well he looked.

I was hoping Schultz would of passed him the puck on that 2 on 1, that would of of been awesome.

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#31 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
January 21 2013, 11:23AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

it was Weise.

scary and then hilarious and still kinda scary.

Scary, yes.

But only until you realize he's in a Canuck jersey. And I hate anything/everything that has to do with the Canucks.

Then it's just down right hilarious!

That kind of move is gonna make fore checkers think twice about coming in that hard at him, which should give Shultz Jr a little more room. His poise with the puck in all situations far exceeded my expectations, as I'm sure most could agree.

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#32 justDOit
January 21 2013, 11:24AM
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In spite of the win, this wasn't a pretty game in the least. The Oilers looked very out of sync as a team, and many players were obviously still adjusting to the NHL pace. Proof that the only league in the world that can prepare you for the NHL - is the NHL.

But you can definitely see a framework there, with players showing support for the puck that was non-existent last season, and when certain plays did miss their mark, it was only by a very slim margin.

LT's breakdown of TOI highlights that there seems to be an actual plan this year, and we should certainly see that play out in the next 47 games.

As for player impressions, I was drop-jawed at how poor Harki's skating is. The last time I saw a stride like that in Oiler colors, the name on the back was Giroux (not a good omen).

I was likewise (but positively) impressed by Petry's development. It seems he has picked up right where he left off last season, and shows no sign of letting up. Nick Schultz was a rock, allowing J Schultz to quietly notch his first NHL game without much drama.

People who call Edler's goal a softie by Doobie should do a role call on their senses. That was a rocket shot, placed perfectly just off the post, through a partial screen. That puck goes in ninety-nine times in a hundred. DD made his best saves in the third period, and that is what good goalies do. Clutch.

I'm sure there will be some hard times this season, but small steps in the right direction is what I saw last night, and I believe that Coach K will continue to improve on their game one performance.

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#33 Will
January 21 2013, 11:29AM
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Mark-LW wrote:

Anyone else see this Oilers hate post by the 'managing editor' of CanucksArmy?

http://m.vice.com/en_ca/read/the-edmonton-oilers-are-a-useless-franchise?fb_comment_id=fbc_238592072941762_5218697_241063606027942#faddecbb4

Ugfh, that was an ugly post. I recently polled online as to who the most hated fans in the league are, not teams but fans. There were some obvious ones, like the racist Bruins, the uppity Pens fans, the centre of the universe Leaf's fans. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, Vancouver fans were the most hated in the league for a couple of reasons. One, creating the most annoying sound in sports since the vuvuzalen (Looouuuu). Two for destroying their own city at the drop of a hat. Three, for making two guys, who were trying to go to a SeaHawks game, heroes. And finally for thinking just because they've gotten to the exact same point as Calgary, Ottawa, and Edmonton in the last decade (loss in the Stanley Cup Finals) it somehow means they are a better team.

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#34 Simpsonite
January 21 2013, 11:50AM
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That first goal was a Yak fault...but it's not a huge deal...he tried to send a soft pass to the shooter on that 3 on 2 that got broken up...in the future there is no way that happens cause he ain't gonna try to pass that puck...he's gonna rip it...he was right in the high slot and he tried to pass...that is rookie nerves right there...he'll never do that again I bet. Ralph took him aside and said..."hey son...shoot that thing."

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#35 grahaeme
January 21 2013, 12:10PM
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Beautiful breakdown.

Like reading a chess game analysis.

I thought Gags played a solid game last night, as did Hemsky. Yakupov looked like he ran around a bit but that's to be expected.

So nice to watch NHL hockey and see the Oil beat the Canucks. Eat it weiners.

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#36 VK63
January 21 2013, 12:21PM
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Mark-LW wrote:

Anyone else see this Oilers hate post by the 'managing editor' of CanucksArmy?

http://m.vice.com/en_ca/read/the-edmonton-oilers-are-a-useless-franchise?fb_comment_id=fbc_238592072941762_5218697_241063606027942#faddecbb4

I found the piece quite comical and although not a brilliant bit of satirical jest it gets a solid B+ in my books.

However

I enjoy this style of humour as I have an appreciation for sarcasm. As the saying goes.. you gotta be smart to be a smart a**. The guy has talent and I appreciate that even if the content is aimed at riling up my pro oiler sensitivities.

Thats the point of it... and he pulled it off admirably. IMHO

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#37 gord from GP
January 21 2013, 12:32PM
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Excellent article Jon, keep up the good work.

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#38 BK
January 21 2013, 12:35PM
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Love the article. I would love to see more like this. GOOD and BAD. Even other teams would be cool, although it was great to see the play broken down of one I watched as it happened.

HOPEFULLY lots of bad Flames plays broken down. :)

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#39 justDOit
January 21 2013, 12:37PM
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BK wrote:

Love the article. I would love to see more like this. GOOD and BAD. Even other teams would be cool, although it was great to see the play broken down of one I watched as it happened.

HOPEFULLY lots of bad Flames plays broken down. :)

If last night's Flames game was any indication of what the season holds for them, the Nation would have to hire an entire team of coaches, analysts and video people to go through all those breakdowns.

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#40 SurfacetoAirMissile
January 21 2013, 12:47PM
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Did anyone catch Yak's tweet last night? He was congradulating himself on his first two points as an Oiler. I thought to myself, that is kind of arrogant..... we need some of brashness on the Oil. Then I realized he didn't get any points but the team got two points for the win to which he was refering. I then thought to myself ,wow what a team guy, we need some more of that selflessness on the Oil. If anyone is counting he had 7 smiley faces in his tweet.

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#42 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 21 2013, 01:04PM
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@Jonathan Willis

great idea!

the screen shots really help to dramatize the play too...

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#43 Muji
January 21 2013, 03:04PM
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Great piece Jonathan! More of this in the future please. The screencaps really help.

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#44 Oiler Alaa
January 21 2013, 03:26PM
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No smoke blowin, nice recap J.W. [ most creative writer on the site].

I think the difference of view of Lou in the two frames is that he backed into the net, Also 83 , a right hand shot, coming in off the right side, I think Louongo figured this was going upper glove side.Hemsky saw the big gap stick side.. bingo.

Good win... take 2 points , especially on a comeback win. Not the greatest games, but most of the games this weekend were obvious pictures of teams rushed into action.

Highlights for me : Petry's play and Weiss wiping his nose on the boards.

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#45 Old Retired Guy
January 21 2013, 04:40PM
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Enoyed the article JW. More like this would be good.

What I really liked about watching the game was thinking ahead to what is to come....in particular having a team with some depth where one night it will be Eberle and Hemmer.....another night it will be Nuge and Hall...another night J Schultz and Yak....and.....dare I say it?....on an occasional night Devon Dubnyk steps up and steals one for us!!!!! And on some nights (perhaps a ways down the road)...they will ALL be clicking and records will fall!!!

(Would be remiss not to mention the increasingly solid play of D men like Smid, Petry and N Schultz...)

But for now....I'm just stuck on thinking ahead to Tuesday.

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#46 Phixieus666
January 21 2013, 04:41PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Just wondering guys but did anyone happen to see that ATB commercial during the Flames game and then another later in the Oilers game? Some of the best commercials I've seen in a while.

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#47 Phixieus666
January 21 2013, 04:47PM
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Here are the commercials.

http://www.atb.com/community/what-are-we-doing-now/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=78

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#48 Wax Man Riley
January 21 2013, 06:13PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Just want to say I really like these articles where the play is broken down by frame. Gives great insight.

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#49 DonDon
January 21 2013, 06:41PM
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What a great time to trade Hemsky to the Canadiens for Subban! It would be the final piece in the D to improve the Oilers chances of making the playoffs.

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#50 Dog Train
January 21 2013, 09:46PM
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Gagner said he feels quicker this season and he sure looked like it on that goal. Gagner needs to create room for Hemmer and Nail on that line and so far so good.

Hemmer was flying last night as many people have already mentioned but the best part was that when he got into a dangerous position, he looked to shoot rather than to make a pass that wasn't there. With the spotlight being on so many other players right now, I think that Hemmer can just be himself and not trying to make the perfect play every shift.

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