OK, one thing to immediately get out of the way here.. goal 3 vs. Nashville last night. I don’t like to single out one player on a goal, but I think I will here. For some reason, many fans in Oilerland are pointing fault at Corey Potter on this one. I think this is the whipping boy factor that we have here. Guys hate a player so much that they completely lose any sense of rational thought. It reminds me of a tweet I saw. Can’t remember it exactly, but it was something like “Defenseman and center get puck watching while winger chases after puck carrier in corner.. who is at fault? The Russian” (on a play in which Yakupov was chasing down Sedin, who made a nice pass to the front of the net where Gagner and Whitney were caught puck watching as it was tapped into the net). Steve-o’s response was probably the best on this one – “only argument I see is that Potter shouldn’t be on the ice.” OK, I’ll give you that one.. frequently. I think Potter is a good 7th/8th filler guy. But at any rate, to blame him for that goal is just… crazy.
The way the play broke down…:
For starters, the Oilers play a man-to-man defense. This is well known, but even if they played Zone defense, Fistric still doesn’t escape blame here (although Potter would also eat some blame). Anyways, Potter is on right D, Fistric is on left D. Chris Meuller is skating down the right wing (Fistric’s side) while Brandon Yip is in the middle of the ice. Potter clearly has Yip targeted (which is what he should do.. this IS his man). For some crazy reason, Fistric is also staring right at Yip as the Preds enter the Oilers zone. Potter commits to stay with his man, Yip. Fistric steps across and is now positioned to double team Yip. As Meuller goes wide on the boards. As the Predators cross the blue line, Potter is nearly in line with Yip and there is a bit of gap there. Fistric has equal gap between both players, and Meuller is to his front-left (noting that in order for Potter to be covering Meuller, which would be crazy, he would have to skate through or across Fistric). Yip starts skating to his right, towards the right boards where Meuller is, across both defensemen. Potter follows suit (as should be expected in man-to-man coverage). Right now at this point, Meuller is close to Fistric, but Fistric completely blocks him out mentally. Yip dishes it off to Meuller just as Fistric commits to honing in on Yip (what the hell?), going for the hit. Potter recognizes this fairly quickly, but it’s really too late. Fistric has boxed him out from Meuller (who should be covered by Fistric to begin with). Fistric misses the check (doesn’t really matter at this point anyways), Potter scrambles to catch Meuller, who goes in all alone on Dubnyk with Smyth chasing him down as quick as he can… and Meuller then scores.
Anyways, my mind is completely blown here as to how people can fault Potter on this one. Potter’s man was Yip. Fistric’s man was Meuller. Fistric decided to change the gameplan, go for a big hit on Yip which was clearly a mistake. This left his man uncovered. An easy pass from Yip to a wide open Meuller sealed this one.
Now to end this big rant, I want to say I’m a huge Mark Fistric fan. Absolutely love him. He made one mistake.. a big one… but I still really like him and think he should be in the line up any chance we get. He is a guy I’d play ahead of Whitney, Peckham or Potter. But I call it like I see it. Oiler fan hate is strong and blinding, however.
Anyways, I’ve ranted myself out of rant relevant to tonight’s game… I’ll be away for part of this one as I’ve got a dinner thing going on tonight. I might PVR the first part. I don’t care how crappy the team is, I watch every game.. so to miss a period.. well it’s a big deal for me. No bandwagon for this guy!
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