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This man fights for FREEDOM against Albertan tyranny!

Sunday, December 03, 2006
So now both of our plucky goaltenders have one shutout apiece this season! In truth they should have about two apiece at least, considering how hard they've been both playing since day one.

Fredrik Norrena is different from Pazzy, however, and you could tell from the way in which he earned last night's shut out. Norrena isn't as flashy or as lightning fast as Leclaire, but at the same time he has a much stronger sense of puck control both on his stick and with his body, as well as puck awareness that only a grizzled veteran netminder ('rookie' only by NHL standards) would have. He doesn't let out many rebounds, and when he does he smothers them faster than a fat guy smothers an all you can eat buffet table.

One of the more interesting points of tonight's game beyond the goaltending of Norrena (who while I gush over, still did only make 21 saves in all thanks to a sound defense around him cutting shots down and even blocking a bunch of them), is the way that the Blue Jackets crashed the net. Gilbert Brule's goal? The result of bearing down hard and fast the second he saw the puck all alone behind struggling goalie Dwayne Roloson. The Anson Carter goal? Quick thinking that, while wasn't a textbook example of crashing the net, was still an example in how to drift away from the defense while still very close to the net, and just tapping one home when the puck comes to you.

Amidst the hooting and wooting over tonight's win, it should be noted that Nikolai Zherdev was out with an "upper body injury", while O.K. Tollefsen left the game with an injury as well during the game and never returned. Meanwhile, the Oilers had some pretty bad injury issues of their own. They already had a good few players out, including one of their top point getters in Alex Hemsky ... and now Ryan Smyth is out with a fractured thumb. If you thought the Blue Jackets' recent karma was a bitch, the Oilers can at least match that level of frustration (then again, they're still in the playoff hunt, so it could be infinitely worse).

So now the Jackets have Sunday and Monday to practice and relax some after this win, and then it's down to Colorado for a game against the Avalanche, who also are on R&R until Tuesday after a 2-1 loss to the Canucks.

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  • At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Drew said…

    Thanks, as usual, for keeping things going over the weekend.

    I watched the last ten minutes (the meltdown) of the Friday Flames game, and couldn't stop swearing at the television.

    Mrs. EOB caught most of the Edmonton tilt, and were very pleased. After seeing the "slashing" non-call on Dwayne Roloson to Rick Nash's man-parts, I was pleased to see a perfect example of instant karma. I understand frustration, and there's no doubt that Nasher was (for lack of better terms) up Roloson's rear end quite a few times in the moments preceding the "slash". But there are other violent ways to express said frustration. It's my unsolicited (and biased as a male) opinion that there is never a place in sports for intent to injure that particular region. Seeing that Nash is okay, and the two goals that subsequently found their way past Roli's whiny mouth into the net were cause for mini-celebrations in the EOB household.

    And at the start of the third, my wife and I shared a high five at the sight of a mask-less Dwayne Roloson on the bench as he was replaced on the ice.

    As frustrating as the last ten minutes of Friday was for me, Saturday was the perfect foil. I only wish I had been watching the game with an Oilers fan so I could dial the suicide hotline for them. I checked out the Battle of Alberta comments this morning, and they're not happy.

    Can't say I blame them.

  • At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Drew said…

    Upon further review, I remember that the Roli can opener was a penalty. Flame on!

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