I get pretty tired of the hockey bashers claiming that games that are 2-1 are inherently boring. I’m sure I’ve said that before. But this was a really exciting game. There was lots of skating and tons of chances on both sides and the goalies were just standing on their heads.
Turco didn’t allow any goals in the shootout and that was basically the difference in the game. Jeff Halpern’s goal was the result of a beeee-yootiful pass from Modano that faked out Roloson who left the net empty for Halpern’s shot.
Dustin Penner’s goal was just a hard-working goal that popped up over Turco’s head.
I suspect there is some game-planning going on by our opposition lately, the goal being not to give us any power plays. As a result, we didn’t get one until halfway through the third period. We did get one in OT, but failed to score on it.
The Oilers have been ruling the shootout this season. They were 10-1 coming into the game and were bringing a 3-game shootout-win streak with them. But these are the Stars. We know our way around the shootout. Tippett moved Zubov to the middle and he got the only goal in the shootout, using his signature move. I liked the slow-motion replay from behind Zubov as he takes his shot where you can see the net billow at the top.
During the postgame interview, Dave Tippett was asked by the Edmonton media if he had been keeping an eye on the Oilers because they were so good at the shootout. Tippett says, in effect, Hey, we’re pretty good at it too, you know.
Let’s talk about the broadcast for a minute. The picture was terrible!! It’s possible it’s not the fault of the Stars network, though. I watch quite a bit of Center Ice and I like to watch the Oilers occasionally. But their picture is routinely the worst. The Oilers’ dark jerseys look like indistinguishable blobs. Forget reading the players’ names, the numbers are usually illegible!
Edmonton’s arena has always been very oddly lit. They have the old-fashioned four-piece shadow, for one thing. Lately (I noticed this last time, too) the ice looks like it’s coated with powdered sugar. I assume this is the angle of the lighting, although Razor has mentioned that their ice isn’t ranked as high as it used to be.
But all that doesn’t bother me… it’s kind of fun, actually. The problem is that they appear to be using 40-year-old cameras with the wrong f-stop and the wrong focus setting. Too dark, and not sharp. This is 2007, people! Not 1984.
At one point I had made a note that Ott was having another good game (and he’s been very good on the penalty kill lately, by the way) right when we gave up the goal. But I couldn’t tell if it was Ott’s fault because I couldn’t read any of the numbers. When they’re skating, I can tell which Star is which, just by their skating style. But when they’re just standing around with illegible names and numbers, I can’t tell.
Razor mentioned that Marty Reasoner was one of the players that is trying out the heated blades. Um, they’re supposed to be anonymous, Razor! Way to get his skates kicked out from under him!
Normally, I would have been obsessed with watching Reasoner once I found this out, but I couldn’t tell which one he was because the picture was so damn bad!
On a separate broadcast rant, I’d like to bring up again the way they mic Craig Ludwig for the Fox Sports Southwest pregame show. I like Luddy, but he’s an extremely low talker. Whoever is mixing the sound there has to know this. But when Luddy has a little feature that includes a graphic, he starts to talk inaudibly as usual, then they add a music bed while the graphic is on the screen. They already do those beds way too loud, just in general, but over Luddy it’s awful. It’s like a high school class project. The producers or board operators or whoever is in charge of the audio side should look up from their textbook on how to do a feature with a graphic and see how it’s actually working. Maybe adjust it to fit the situation.
After all that complaining, I’ll leave you with something adorable from the adorable Nik Hagman. (I love that guy.) In the pregame show, they had a little feature about Nik Hagman and pointed out that he’s not even the most famous Finn on his own team (Lehtinen is), let alone his whole country. So they asked him what or who is the biggest thing in Finland. He answers, “Sportswise, Hockey is big… I would have to say, Selanne? And, obviously, this time of year, Santa Clause. He’s from Finland.” And he grins.