We all have our favorite players. I’m not talking about Ales Hemsky, hell any fool can appreciate that guy he’s a freak. My daughter turned to me at the Joey Moss game and said “I wish the Oilers had THAT guy” as he skated through the town team.
Shawn Horcoff is my favorite Oiler among the humans on the team. Horcoff is an acquired taste. Like the Talking Heads, or Monk.
If he were a movie character, Shawn Horcoff would be David Mann. Horcoff is much stronger than David Mann of course but the obstacles he’s overcome sometimes resemble that big old Peterbilt.
First time I saw Horcoff he had position on another center and rode him out of the play as the puck zipped dangerously through the scoring area. It was a subtle play, perfectly executed. He was pretty much NHL ready out of college, but when he got to the show that big showoff Mike Comrie got all the glory (Comrie’s entry into the NHL was a bit of a show in and of itself, for those who don’t recall it).
Horcoff outlasted Comrie, and he eventually rose to the role of “go-to” center. He had a wonderful run to the SCF and despite appearances had a pretty good 06-07 until the Smyth trade and the wheels falling off. Even then he (like poor David Mann) kept trying to get that little Valiant to the finish line.
Recent comments by coach MacTavish have Horcoff still doing the “heavy lifting” at EVs and getting plenty of PP time. Looks like Cogliano, Schremp or Gagner are going to get the sexy wingers (including THAT guy) and Horcoff will be left with bald tires and a bad radiator.
The Canadian Press rolled with a story about half an hour ago quoting Horcoff and his reaction to MacT’s weekend comments:
- “You are a little bit conscious of it,” admits Horcoff, asked if he’s keeping tabs on Gagner and Cogliano. “It’s better for me. It pushes me. It makes me come to the rink every day, be at my best and prove that I can do the job there.”
- “There are spots open and spots to be taken,” said Horcoff. “At the same, with young guys, their confidence can be fragile and you don’t want to ride them too hard. You want to keep them positive and upbeat.”
- “Once the regular season starts, Mac’s going to want wins. He’s going to play guys who are playing well. That’s all there is to it. He can say what he wants now, but I’m sure in the back of his mind he’s thinking the same thing – once the season starts, he’s going to go with the guys who give him the best opportunity to win.”
Horcoff is probably going to take a less offensive role this season, certainly at the start of the year and maybe deeper into the season if someone like Cogliano or Gagner can help Pensky (hat tip to Dennis for the nickname) score against the soft parade.
Shawn Horcoff is even more important to this team than he was a year ago. Why?
Have you seen the 07-08 Valiant?