First Star, Worst Star: January 18, 2015

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 3:20 am by jeanshorts

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We don’t need a silly All-Star game to know who are the REAL stars of the hockey world. All we need is the power of prayer and First Star, Worst Star! 

FIRST STAR 

Reto Berra is a quintessential journeyman backup goalie. He’s played 40 NHL games, has never had a SV% above .900 in the NHL, and now has one less goal than Magnus Paajarvi on the season in the AHL. 

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of goalies scoring. It seemed to have happened A LOT when I was a kid. Damian Rhodes, Martin Brodeur, Chris Osgood, Jose Theodore. They call the 90’s up until Lockout I (or, like III depending on who you ask) the Dead Puck Era, but I like to consider it the All The Goalies Scored Era. 

As someone who scored a grand total of 7 goals throughout 10 years of minor hockey I can fully appreciate how exciting it is for these guys to find the back of the net. Which is why I absolutely LOVE Berra’s bench fly-by celebration. Hell, if it was me I probably would have jumped into the bench like that one Canadian World Juniors team. Thankfully, though, Colin Fraser was on the ice to make sure no one was having any fun. God forbid someone act #Classless and show some enthusiasm after doing something incredibly cool and rare. We salute you Colin Fraser, and happy 67th birthday ya old grouch! 

WORST STAR

The woefully inept and seemingly non-existent Oilers defence. And I’m not just talking about the actual defensemen, the team as a whole is like one of those massive fires on an oil rig out in the middle of the ocean. You can’t really stop it, you can only contain it until it eventually burns itself out and you’re left cleaning up a terrible mess. 

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Two guys follow the puck carrier, two guys follow Backes streaking toward the front of the net, and the Oilers still managed to give up a goal. It’s like an art form at this point. And the leader of this movement? Justin “Norris Potential” Schultz. 

Here he is with co-conspirator and double agent Nikita “HE’S GETTING PAID HOW MUCH” Nitkinin getting a great spot to watch Ben Scrivens make a desperation save on a breakaway. 

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Those two were right back at it the next game in Tampa Bay. Here’s Schultz having absolutely zero defensive awareness and helping put the puck right on a wide open Steve Stamkos’ stick. 

And here is Nitkinin making sure he has Ben Scrivens covered and out of the play, while all three forwards decide to chase the puck, leaving Ondrej Palat wide open to tap it into an empty net, which turns out isn’t the best thing to do if you want to actually win hockey games. 

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Finally, here is an amazing sequence that led to what would become the game winner for Tampa. After a faceoff win by Anton Lander, Justin Schultz decides to skate directly into his defence partner Oscar Klefbom, fumble the puck up the side boards, and the rest pretty much writes itself. 

The Oilers have a lot of problems, and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I say that the complete and utter lack of anything even resembling a defensive structure is one of the more egregious ones. Thankfully the Oilers are in the middle of an internal audit to figure out just exactly what is wrong with this team, so I have faith they’ll get to the bottom of it and turn things around in no time*! 

*circa 2022.