Coach Comments on Brodziak, Nilsson, Pouliot, Stortini

Coach MacT’s interview on the Oilers site today offers his usual insight into specific prospects and how they have looked so far in training camp. MacT has the ability to be interesting and thought provoking when addressing prospects and roster makeup.

Today is a perfect example.

MacT said he had already given Brodziak a pretty good shot to make the big club before his impressive first few days in camp. He felt Brodziak had good hands, offensive potential and felt he was going to be “close” heading into camp. Obviously he has upgraded his chances since the Joey Moss and Florida games. MacT said he improved his speed and strength, which aided him greatly because he already thought the game well previous to the step forward in the other two areas.

MacT said again that “the guys who put in the hard work during the summer have good camps”, and mentioned Robert Nilsson as a player who came in looking good and in good shape.

On Marc Pouliot making the team: “It’s up to him, he’s got to come in and outplay the other guys he’s playing against, guys like Nilsson, Brodziak, who’s going to be the better player? It’s still early and experience tells you that you never jump to conclusions this early in camp, things develop as camp goes on and some guys fall by the wayside who are having success now. He’s going to have lots of opportunity, it’s up to him. I thought he started slow the other night, but came on at the end. One thing you can show is the intensity and the work ethic every shift, I thought he started off slow in that regard but came on at the end.”

Zack Stortini: “That guy’s got savvy. There’s nobody who’s going to get that job without a bruise and that’s for sure. Based on what we saw last year and the work he’s put in this year, it’s his spot right now, and it’s a matter of what he’s going to make of it.”

On lineups: “It changes, it’s a moving target. The lineup, the forward lines are forming in my mind right now but that doesn’t mean there can’t be guys jumping up and grabbing a position. The backend is a bit more complex, because you’re going to be comparing apples and oranges. Do we need another offensive guy with a 6 or 7, or do we need more toughness, and it’s going to be important we make the right decisions.”

My favorite part of training camp is the MacT interviews, even more than the games themselves. It appears things are more wide open this fall than at any time since fall 2000, when MacT broke camp with all of Dan Lacouture, Brian Swanson, Brad Norton, Michel Riesen and Daniel Cleary as new forwards.

The one thing to remember though is that making the team and staying up are two different things. Right now, Gagner is ahead of Schremp who is ahead of Cogliano, and Nilsson and Brodziak have a clear edge over Pouliot who seems to have been moved to RW for this camp.

And then there’s the distinct possibility that this team makes a trade. With a RW depth chart that might read Hemsky (275 NHL games), Nilsson (57 NHL games), Kyle Brodziak (16 NHL games), Marc Pouliot (54 NHL games), Zack Stortini (29 NHL games), do you inset Anson Carter (674 NHL games) onto the 4line and move Pouliot to center, send him out or deal him? Can you win hockey games with 4 rw’s named Ales Hemsky, Robert Nilsson, Kyle Brodziak and Anson Carter?

Man I love this stuff.

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35 Responses to "Coach Comments on Brodziak, Nilsson, Pouliot, Stortini"

  1. speeds says:

    Can’t say trukhno’s not getting decent linemates tonight, hey LT?

    LW on a line with Horcoff and Carter.

  2. therealdeal says:

    I think Stortini has a lot of opportunity to pick up where Laraque left off, but be better away from the puck. Nice guy with a great attitude.

  3. Black Dog says:

    Many many questions. Pouliot should make this team – he had better make this team. If Gagner and Schremp do not then he is back to centre and we might see those right wingers you name. But then where is Thoresen, on the left?

    Lots of solid kids – good to see.

  4. Lowetide says:

    speeds: Yeah. Nice opportunity for him, but he’s earned it imo. I saw him good at the Joey Moss Cup after being really disappointed in him at the scrimmage Friday (no footspeed at all).

    It would be great to see him pop one tonight.

    therealdeal: MacT’s interview was glowing on the subject of Stortini. Pretty much the same verbal as last year from MacT on the subject.

  5. speeds says:

    Anyone else watching this online?

  6. Lowetide says:

    I can’t get it to work. THERE’S a surprise.

  7. speeds says:

    then just click on the Oilers/Leafs game.

    Worked for me?

  8. Lowetide says:

    TRUHKNO! speeds, if you’re here, what did it look like?

  9. speeds says:


    Got to admit, this is pretty damn sweet LT!

  10. speeds says:

    Puck bounced to his skate, kicked/deflected it to his stick and fired it past a diving Pogge.

    Broken play, and a lucky bounce, but there are guys that wouldn’t have finished it.

  11. speeds says:

    Too bad you can’t get this to work LT, quite the novelty to watch preseason hockey on the internet.

  12. Lowetide says:

    My daughter says the java needs updating. It’s been blinking since the 80s.

  13. Black Dog says:

    Pretty good stuff.

    My feed is jumpy but from waht I have seen Torres has looked pretty good. Pouliot ok? Looks like he got clipped?

    And Carter had a shift where he was hit twice, took a penalty and then apparently left the game. Not auspicious.

  14. Devin says:

    Trukhno with a goal scorer’s goal. Lucky bounce on the Raffi pass but Horc fired it across the crease and Slava made no mistake. Not an easy play to take a bouncing puck off the skate and fire it in – nice display there.

    Pouliot didn’t show a lot of speed on that partial breakaway but made a tremendous back pass there to create the Oilers best chance. Too bad about his face!

    Where the heck was Smid on that Poni breakaway goal? He was hanging out at centre or something – did he think Staios would have the cherry picker?

    Man does Grebeshkov look awful. Two lazy minors and some scared play down low. I was really hoping for a surprise from him… let’s hope he gets up to speed.

  15. speeds says:

    And Trukhno starts the 2nd period playing the point on the PP (didn’t make much happen).

  16. Lowetide says:

    I saw the goal on SN, it was a nice one. Agree Pouliot’s pass was a beauty, his face not so much.

    Man it’s nice to have hockey back.

  17. doritogrande says:

    They just played the highlights of the game so far on Sportsnet.

    Matt Roy got clipped in the face by a puck, blood was flowing from his face like a full-on faucet. NOT a good sign at all.

    Pouliot got clipped by a high-stick (from his teammate), less blood than Roy, but blood still.

    Garon got deeked out of his socks by the big Swede, it was pretty if you’re a Leafs fan (and even pretty to me, i’ll admit).

    Not a pretty goal by Trukhno, but it’s a goal from him nonetheless.

  18. Black Dog says:

    Carter concussed. Cogliano looks to be flying.

  19. speeds says:

    I sure hope Carter got insurance beforehand, definitely don’t want to hear that about anyone, but especially a guy there on a tryout.

  20. Lowetide says:

    My daughter is brilliant!

  21. speeds says:

    good to heaar LT, it’s pretty cool to watch Trukhno manning the point on the PP, and looking not too bad doing so.

  22. Lowetide says:

    Sweet Jesus, it would be nice if the Toronto pbp guy knew there was another team on the ice. Jesus.

  23. IceDragoon says:

    If you can handle dual focus… listen to Rod and then watch the play almost a minute later.

  24. K says:

    Trying to pay attention to the online feed I’m grabbing. I found the NHL tv console thing way too choppy.
    Anyone have Sopcast? Download @
    Enter in:
    Guy with LeafsTV is currently streaming online. Nice little feed. Not very clear, having a hard time catching those numbers as they rush up the neutral zone.

    However, three little things I enjoyed:

    Horc looks mighty fine. After the Trukhno’s goal, he skated very smoothly past a Leaf or two into the offensize zone. It just looked neat, is all. ;p This guy’s contract will be as much a steal this year and next as his previous one was for us during the playoffs.

    Torres planted right in front of the goalie, surrounded by three Leafs who could do nothing. Strong shit.

    Caught Nilsson’s little rush looking dangerous and drew a penalty at the same time. Good stuff.

    Just my two cents from a girl who’s still learning the game.

  25. Devin says:

    LT- you said you thought Trukhno was hurt earlier in camp. I’ve noticed him a couple of times skating really well tonight (I see someone accelerating then squint at the grainy feed and see number 58). Was he looking slow, or just poor in terms of skating ability in general? Your hunch might have been correct because he doesn’t appear to have straight line speed issues tonight.

  26. IceDragoon says:

    Horcoff was impressed with Trukhno, Lain. ~ “He showed patience and does the little things right.”

  27. Lowetide says:

    Devin: In the Friday scrimmage, he looked frightengly slow. Much better at Joey Moss Cup and from what I saw tonight.

  28. IceDragoon says:

    I was paraphrasing, Lain. I use the ~ symbol instead of saying “something like/close to”. I’m sure the interview will be up on the Oilers site soon and I think you’ll like the actual quote even more.

  29. oilerdiehard says:

    Yeah Horcoff sounds very high on Trukhno. Talks about his patience, work along the boards and little things the average person would not notice that he does very well.

    MacT – Says Grebs has a ton of skill and needs a bit of fine tuning but says there is an awful lot to work with.

    Mac thought for his 1st NHL game Cogs showed him a lot. Loves the speed of course.

    MacT on Trukhno he looked good, impressive, he knows where to put the puck and where to be, he’s a player.

  30. MikeP says:

    Norton was a forward?

  31. Lowetide says:

    Mike P: Yes, Norton made the team out of camp as a forward that season. He never played though, was suspended for something he did in pre-season and never made it onto the ice (although he was on the roster opening night).

  32. MikeP says:

    LT, everthing I found listed him as a blueliner. So, I abused my Lexis/Nexis account, and found a Hamilton Spectator article. He was suspended for 3 games at the start of 2000 for “using physical force against a linesman” in a pre-season game. Then he tore a stomach muscle in practise; he got sent to Hamilton for conditioning and separated his shoulder after 4 games – that was in the 14 November 2000 Spectator.

    I did find another Spectator article (1 November 2000) that mentioned “defenceman turned winger Norton” when he was sent down with Riesen though.

    I guess he turned back to a dman after he left the Oilers org? Curious, I’d never known that.

  33. Lowetide says:

    Mike P: Yeah, that sounds right. I followed that camp very closely because (like this one) there was such a lot of turnover.

    The Oilers let Selivanov go after the 99-00 season, decided not to risk a contract after Devereaux’s injury, Dowd was lost in the expansion draft.

    So 2000-01 comes along and the Oilers have the following incumbents:

    1. Weight
    2. Smyth
    3. Guerin

    4. Marchant
    5. Moreau
    6. Grier

    7. Rem Murray
    8. Georges Laraque
    9. Chad Kilger

    and MacT finished the forward roster with

    10. Dan Lacouture
    11. Michel Riesen
    12. Brian Swanson
    13. Daniel Cleary
    14. Brad Norton

    I believe Dom Pittis was on that team too, but don’t recall if he broke camp.

    Funny enough, Horcoff got called up early and then Comrie at New Year’s that season but couldn’t break through the group above.

    Another example of why the guy winning the tc job may not be the guy who plays the heart of the season with the big club.

  34. Dennis says:

    I saw this game on CI, I guess I was able to check it out because I was in a neutral territory.

    In any case, here’s a few thoughts.

    Smid: he did look a little more physical and a little more poised and he played with Greene which isn’t exactly a security blanket like say a Staops

    Greene: in ’99, this kid could play on the bottom pairing and maul people and his PIM wouldn’t be as high. But in ’08, the guy’s just a fucking goon. His footspeed hasn’t improved, he still can’t make a pass and the first time someone goes by him, he’s reaching out and hauling them down

    Svyret: He’s just not an NHL until they expand to 40 teams.

    Grebs: Not impressed with him at all. Jeremy Williams bounced off him for fucksakes! He showed some flashes with some nice breakout passes but then he’d force stuff offensively and wouldn’t be in the right position offensively.

    Almtorp: Not a lot to talk about except for the fact that he’s not a bad skater and has a lot of hustle and blocked at least one shot and made a little play that I noticed. In the second period the Oilers were on the tail-end of a PP he went into the left corner to race for the puck but he didn’t even fuck with the disc. He just went and muscled the man away from it and then collected the puck and sent it back to the zone. There’s a guy that masters the little things

    Huxley: I really don’t care

    Stortini: the middleweight in the heavyweight’s body continues to bang and impress some people. Not me, though, mind you.

    Sanderson: this is gonna be an awful waste of money, IMO. I know LT’s talking about having guys with real hair on their ass but if Sandy isn’t gonna play tough min, and I suspect he isn’t, and he isn’t gonna make a difference on special teams, then why keep him? Looks like he’s only got speed left and that he was a plain and simple salary dump on Philly’s part

    Torres: came our and drilled a guy early and then knocked another down on the Forsberg counterpunch but then wasn’t overly noticeable from there on out. He certainly wasn’t as impressive as say…

    Nilsson: this guy showed some sick hands and anticipation as well. Not sure how many goals he can score but if Stoll takes it upon himself to try and score more, Nilsson might be able to help him.

    Stoll: Was the focal point on the Oilers PP and actually looked to be a little bit faster this season.

    Horc: looked all-world in this one. The goal he scored was almost a ho-hum deal where he just outworked the Leaves. Skated miles and made all the right decisions.

    Trukhno: I didn’t see him fending off guys in the O zone but he is a fine passer who has a knack of waiting out the defense and/or waiting for his linemates to find their proper marks. Something tells me he’s gonna stick in the NH: before say a Schremp. There’s still talk of Robbie’s conditioning and Slava’s ready enough that he could almost keep up with Horc and he could play the point on the PP and be smart enough to make a play where he works himself into the high slot and shots it on net to create a nice rebound. I haven’t seen him shoot to score so that leads me to believe that he scores his goals like say a Horc does but he looks awfully confident with the puck.

    Cogliano – Tremendous speed created two golden scoring opps. In one case he walked around Tomas Kaberle like he was Thomas Kotsopolous. The guy’s gonna be a top niner but I really don’t know how he’s gonna score his goals at the big level. Totally a fellow who’s hands and mind haven’t even come close to catching up with his feet

    Pouilot: I have no idea what the Oilers are doing to this guy other than playing him with junk and kids becuase he already has a spot and they don’t need to give him good linemates in order to evaluate him OR maybe he showed up to camp in less than stellar shape so they’re punishing him with a lesser role. The main reason why I think scnario two is wrong is that they had him and Horc as the primary PKers so I doubt they’d give that role and that PK partner to a guy they figured was out the door.

    Garon: Looked very very steady. Salmo hit the pipe from way too far out and he let out two terrible rebounds but overally he just looks very able and very confident. I loved this move the day it was made and I’ve no new reasons to doubt it

    Dubnyk: hard to get a read on the kid. Looks like the classic tall guy who’s still growing into his size plus a little bit of a fellow who still moves around a bit too much like say a Horseface Fluery. Give him the right coaching and two years of lots of games in the A and we might have something to work with her.

  35. Lowetide says:

    Excellent summary, Dennis. If you ever want to do that and post it here, email it and I’ll throw it up. Terrific stuff.

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