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Press Round-Up: NOV.15.07

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Oilers get overdue win against Canucks

Grant Kerr said Edmonton Oiler Ales Hemsky’s game-winning goal in the shootout was well needed to end the seven-game losing streak against the Canucks.

Kerr said, “He was sure Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo would be aggressive in his approach to the showdown Wednesday in an NHL game that didn't produce a goal for 65 minutes.”

"I know he's really challenging, so you've got to go up," Hemsky said about his idea of shot placement. "If you go up, you have a pretty good chance to score."

“Hemsky did just that, using a deke and backhand shot to beat Luongo for the only goal of the shootout that gave the Oilers a 1-0 decision. Edmonton had not defeated the Canucks since Dec. 4, 2006,” said Kerr.

"It's 50-50 in that situation, so when the goalie comes out, I have a good chance," explained Hemsky. "It worked for me today, that's all I can say."

Kerr said, “Edmonton won behind the 29-save performance of Garon and by keeping the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, off the score sheet. They had combined for 31 points in the previous 10 games against Edmonton.”

"The goalie was outstanding, obviously, the story of the game," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said of Garon. "We controlled the (Sedin) cycles better than we have in the past against them and they didn't find as much open ice.

"That's the key to the game, to control the cycles. I was happy with the way we played."
Ritchie not surprised by selection

Jason Botchford, as well as the rest of the people watching yesterday’s hockey game, were shocked when Byron Ritchie stepped onto the ice to start the shootout. But, Ritchie knew full well of his capabilities when performing break-away shots.

Botchford said, “Ritchie, the Canucks fourth-line grinder who has 23 career goals in 269 games, got the call over the Canucks three highest-scoring forwards, Markus Naslund and the Sedin twins.”

"I was fairly successful last year," said Ritchie, who scored twice on three chances with the Flames last season. "But I chose a bad move. I should have known. [Mathieu] Garon is very good down low post-to-post and I should have got it up.”

"It's something I've always been OK at. He could have picked a few other guys but it was nice to get the opportunity although I was really disappointed," said Ritchie.

“Ritchie went low with his shot, which was blocked by Garon,” describes Botchford. “After Ritchie, Brendan Morrison and Ryan Kesler both were given chances in the shootout and neither was able to put the puck in the net.

"In asking our coaches and the goaltender, we've been working on that, right now they feel, they have a list of four or five guys who they think are the best and [Roberto] Luongo agrees with," Vigneault said. "Right now, Markus and the twins aren't on that list and Byron is."
The only luck he has is bad

Jason Botchford said after Sami Salo’s 29 injuries in nine seasons, his luck seems slightly out of place.

"I wouldn't have any luck, if I didn't have bad luck," Salo lamented Wednesday, still frustrated from his latest setback which happened Nov. 1 when his nose and cheekbone were shattered by a clearing attempt from teammate Alex Edler.

“Salo said the freak accident was the scariest injury of his career,” said Botchford.

“He remembers everything. He remembers seeing the puck hit his face. He remembers a lot of blood. And then he remembers not being able to see a thing out of one eye.”

"When you can't see through your eye it's pretty scary," Salo said. "I couldn't see anything out of the eye. But the good thing was the puck didn't hit my eye.

"I had some luck at least, saving my eye. It's a flukey accident and obviously we were a little scared after it happened. The good thing, obviously, is that I still have my vision."

Botchford said, “Salo had two plates inserted into his face, one to fix his nose and the other to fix his cheekbone area. He is expected to be out another two to four weeks while his face heals with the new plates.”
Scoring takes a holiday

Iain MacIntyre said that the Edmonton Oilers finally found a line that would be able to shut down the Sedin line.

“The twins and linemate Markus Naslund were matched at even-strength against Oiler Shawn Horcoff's line. When Horcoff played, the Sedins played. When Horcoff sat, the Sedins sat. And sat. And sat.,” said MacIntyre.

“The result was a 1-0 shootout victory for the Oilers that halted streaks by the Canucks and the Sedins, who had combined for four goals and 11 points in the previous three games but saw the ice only sporadically in the first two periods Wednesday.”

"Horcoff plays a lot on the penalty kill and power play and 5-on-5 he's not out there that much," Henrik Sedin said. "That's the way it is when you match lines. It's a team game and the whole team is buying into it and we've been successful doing that. This is the way we play now."

"Absolutely we'll take that tradeoff," Horcoff said. "They've had pretty good success against us and most of the games against Vancouver everything has gone through that line. It was a good matchup for us."
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