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Practice Makes Pitiful
Dennis KingNovember 27, 2003

MacT masterstroke possibly paves way for 7-1 dismantling in Detroit.

Torres York Dvorak Brewer Cross
Moreau Smyth Pisani Smith Staios
Isbister Stoll Hemsky Bergeron Semenov
Chimera Horcoff Salmelainen   
Scratched: Reasoner (knee & ankle) and Salo (groin) out with injuries. Fergerson, Sarno, Laraque were healthy scratches.

So you hit the road after the Heritage Classic and things are getting back to normal and you falter a little in Columbus. Just a little mind you because the Blue Jackets are a good home team and you did manage to roar back twice from two goal deficts and you did after all garner a 3-3 tie.

You catch the place to Detroit because you have to play the very next day. But there's no rest for the weary because your coach inexpliciably drives you through a hard practice on the second half of back to back games. Plus you have to face a home squad that were just embarrassed at home 4-1 by the lowly Capitals.

So what happens?

You come out with the intensity and energy of a turtle and you get throttled 7-1.

MacTavish for the Jack Adams!!!

A big part of any Oilers road game, and especially one where they don't win, is their stellar penalty killing. Edmonton didn't disappoint on this evening as the Wings went 4/8 including a whopping three for their first four in the first 40 minutes when the game was still in doubt.

Early on Salmelaninen took a hooking penalty and 10 seconds later Yzerman knocked home the 1-0 rebound. Detroit then became industrious and actually scored a goal at even strength to make it 2-0. With just 19 seconds left in the first frame, Cory Cross tired to make some kind of pass that was palatable only in his head and rookie Darryl Bootland collected the loose puck and fired it past a prone Ty Conklin.

Conklin would make circus save after circus save and the game remained 2-0 until Cory Cross went to the box for having a sloped forehand and bolts in his neck. Ok it was for an infracion on Datysuk but the guy looks like Frankenstein, dammit. In any case it actually took the Wings 45 seconds to score this time but Shanahan would make it 3-0.

Dvorak made it 3-1 when he threw it at the net and Legace knocked it into his own cage but other than a charging Mike York the Oilers never did have a chance to pull within one goal. Finally Brett Hull made it 4-1 with seven seconds left in the second frame when he scored on, you guessed it, the powerplay. Ryan Smyth's wrists somehow became broken for five seconds and he flubbed a glorious chance to clear the puck. Hull didn't miss, however, when he had a chance to bury it and the Oilers.

Detroit scored three more in the third and yet another of them was on the powerplay. MacTavish stewed behind the bench while Lowe worked the Alberta phonebooks searching for another guy from the province who could help with the special teams.

Because the way he's hired lately has been working out like gangbusters!!

MacTavish - He's ultimately responsible for the disaster that is the PK. If he needs to reassign the coach currently in charge of the abomination, then he has to do it.
Moores - He coached at the U of A. Big damn deal. I would imagine his place of residence is the only reason he's still holding a job.
Cross - He's from Alberta, he played at the U of A and he likes long walks through the woods when villagers are chasing him with torches. Fire bad!!! And so is Cross

26:16 and +1 for Marc Andre Bergeron. He was pressed into nearly permanent duty when Brewer left the game early with an injury and he consistently shows himself to be a guy you can depend on. He's been a great find and sign by Kevin Lowe...Just 13:53 for Ryan Smyth. In the last postgame I detailed his recent faceoff success but in this game he was just 10/25 from the dot and he failed to clear the puck on two of the Wings powerplay markers. He just isn't a penalty killer. At least not a primary one....A night of virtual rest for Steve Staios as he clocked just 19:13.

Brewer left the game early with a groin injury. The Oilers training staff isn't exactly the most reliable and/or patient when it comes to bringing back injured players. Let's just say that if Christopher Reeve was an Oiler he'd be battling Staios for most minutes played. At the very least this could expedite a Laraque for a defenseman move that needs to be made in any case with both FrankenCross and Ferguson playing every game....More good news, wait this is actually good news, Tommy Salo hasn't even started skating with the club as of yet so he's a long way away from soiling the sheets of the Oilers crease.....Jani Rita is also laid up with a groin injury but of course he's currently plying his trade for the Roadrunners of Toronto

Friday night when the Avalanche visit the Oilers and the Avs bring their N0.1 ranked road PP to face the Oilers 29th ranked home penalty kill. The special teams slaughter can be viewed at 7:00 MT on Sportsnet.

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