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.