Sudden Sam

From a logic standpoint keeping Sam Gagner with the big club this season doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Oilers really aren’t going anywhere this season. Tonight’s another example of what happens to teams that can’t compete: when they address one area there’s suddenly another leak in the boat. The PK was solid tonight but Denis Grebeshkov left his brain on the dresser and Dwayne Roloson had a couple of spaz moments.

It was a good night because this kid Gagner is quickly emerging as someone who can make his linemates better.

At age 18. Folks, this might be a big fly.

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55 Responses to "Sudden Sam"

  1. Big T says:

    I don’t know about Grebeshkov LT. He certianly wasn’t amazing but he wasn’t awful. What were you expecting from this kid?

    Aside from a bad pinch that led to the empty netter, Grebeshkov played well. But what is he supposed to do with 30 seconds to go??? Not press??? I don’t think so.

    Gagner had an impressive game no doubt and the kid looks to be something special. Especially when he puts a little more meat on those bones.

    He’s definately ‘nifty’ though.

    T

  2. Nelson88 says:

    the thing which has impressed/surprised me since seeing gagner in the super series has been his board work. for a small (and young) guy he rarely loses the puck along the boards.

    grebeshkov. definitely some bone headed plays! hopefully huddy can beat that out of him in short order as he has lots of skills. if not he is just MAB without the shot. his break out passes were easily the best on the team and he threw some decent hits.

  3. Big T says:

    As for Gagner past 9 games, I think keeping him is better than the alternative for his development.

    The new CBA means decisions have to be made sooner on a player and there’s at least a slight chance that he plays less than 40 games. Less than 40 wouldn’t burn a year off of his 7 years of service of course.

    T

  4. Bank Shot says:

    Grebeshkov is having problems because he tries to do too much with the puck.

    I think his positioning while not perfect, is worlds better then what it was in training camp.

    He has good vision and puck skills, he just needs to simplify his game some. If he does that he may be alright.

    He’s pretty suck at the moment though, there is no denying that.

    Tommy Gilbert is pretty studly however, so that’s a plus.

  5. goldenchild says:

    Big T said ,I don’t know about Grebeshkov LT. He certianly wasn’t amazing but he wasn’t awful

    I don’t know he seemed pretty awful to me, the first period was a clinic on how to get your coach fired. I’m hopeful he sits next game and Smid plays.

  6. Oilman says:

    The first bad pinch by Grebeshkov had me yelling “Bergeron!” at my TV before the puck was in the net.

  7. Showerhead says:

    The penalty was useless but the giveaway was truly horrid. The end of game pinch didn’t bother me a lick but I still came away from the game soured on Grebs.

  8. Big T says:

    I guess I see more progress than most regarding Grebeshkov. Or I expect less out of him than others.

    T

  9. grease trap says:

    ha!

    “Those Grebs were sour anyway…”

    Can we at least all agree that Penner played miles better tonight? (this has probably already been addressed in the game thread, which I didn’t read)

  10. Bill Needle says:

    Grebeshkov has progessed into Grubbishkov.

  11. Big T says:

    Last post before I’m off. I think it might help to think of Grebeshkov as a Poti/Gonchar/Priessing kind of defensman rather than someone who is actually gonna provide a great deal of solid defense. And though he’s this kind of defensman, by no means is he a finished product.

    Make the argument that MAB is the better option… or that Lowe lost in this trade… or that the last thing this team needs is another chaos defender… make any of these argument and I’ll agree in a second. But this kid is what he is and if you expect anything else out of him your gonna be disappointed.

    T

  12. RiversQ says:

    On the bright side, how ’bout Tarnstrom?

    He’s played some pretty solid hockey this year. Best dman acquisition so far.

  13. rickibear says:

    If this continues Penner, Cogliano and Gagner will be our first line option.

    Who can we get for Torres, Stoll, and Greene to slot on the second line with Horcoff and Hemsky.

    If only we could bring up Thoerson (best Pk guy last year)(have we decided if he can) and Nilsson to line up with Pouliot.

    I would be happy.

    With Pitkanen getting knee surgery 4 weeks minimum; we are going to see alot of Roy, Grebs and Smid.
    Roy just seams like a Staois reencarnate on a freakish level.

    I was happy with his game tonight.

  14. PunjabiOil says:

    On the bright side is Matt Greene. Finally we’re seeing some progression.

    Ditto for Gilbert.

    I’m trying hard not to get too excited about Gagner. For a guy that turned 18 two months ago, already putting up close to PPG numbers in his first 8 NHL games…ridiculous. We’ll see how his goal scoring ability translates – or whether he’s more of a passer or not.

    I disagree Lowetide. Sure the Oilers aren’t making the playoffs this year – but the guy isn’t going to develop as fast in junior as opposed to the NHL. He’s fully earned his ticket in the NHL – not even just cracking the team, but earned a top 6 spot. I say, keep him here.

  15. rickibear says:

    I’m joking about Torres (6 hits) and Stoll way more aggresive ( maybe he is feeling more confident with his grey mass). Greene was not to bad on the left side.

    Hopefully we see alot of:

    Tarnstrom-Staios
    Smid-Gilbert
    Greene-Roy

    In these next 4 weeks.

  16. K says:

    I saw a lot of hitting tonight from the Oil. I think I even saw Gagner step into someone, Hemmer gave a hit, JFJ made a couple beautiful hits that created a turnover at one point (which was then lost, not JFJ’s fault), Greene won several one-on-one battles while continuing to shut down guys trying to dangle around him and Tarnstrom looked very decent and solid tonight.

    MAP did too, I don’t think I saw one bad play from him. I didn’t notice anyways, loved the hockey sense between him and Cogs with their passing on several shifts.

  17. Slipper says:

    Gagner staying in the NHL makes watching games more exciting for me right now. That’s really all that should matter for anyone not on the Oilers payroll. For me no rational argument could trump that logic.

  18. Slipper says:

    Yeah K, balls have been lacking on this team for a long time now. One thing that’s been transparent is the Oilers have little to offer in response to the Boogards and Cookes of the NHL, ecspecially when Torres is in RaffiLand.

  19. Ducey says:

    I was actually pretty happy with the game the Oil played last night. They have a LOT less trouble getting out of their end than last year and actually forechecked fairly well.

    I can see the seeds of a good team in a year or so.

    Steve S was not great. Hemsky was brutal last night. He really has to find a way to simplify his game instead of trying to go around three guys.

  20. Stuart van says:

    We’re nine games in, and nine games does not a season make. Calgary started slow last year and made the playoffs. Any coach or GM should be fired on the spot if they start making strategic decisions at this stage of the season like not keeping one of their best players around because they plan to suck for the whole year. If Gagner can help the team, he should stick, end of story.

  21. pk500 says:

    Grebeshkov was lousy last night. Dumb penalty, careless moving the puck from the zone. I can’t believe it’s taking an injury to Pitkanen to get Smid out of Springfield. Grebeshkov should head to the AHL once Souray or Pitkanen are healthy.

  22. Derek says:

    I think Kevin Lowe should place a call to Joe Melichar’s agent. He signed in Europe to play this year, but maybe there’s an out clause in the deal. He’s not spectacular, but he spent the last three years logging all of Pittsburgh’s toughest minutes and all of their PK time. He’s just a steady, stay-at-home guy that chips the puck out. He plays angles and is very good positionally. Bring him in here and settle this defense down.

  23. Jonathan says:

    If this team isn’t going anywhere, it makes more sense, not less, to keep Gagner up. Keeping him in the NHL for a year of MacTavish beats having him coast to dominance in the OHL.

    Additionally, wow, Matt Greene. Who knew this guy could make occasional good decisions with the puck? Watching him drive down the side boards in the offensive zone- and creating opportunities has me as optimistic about his future as I have been since he was taking bad penalties in the 05-06 playoffs.

  24. dawgbone says:

    The other thing to consider is that it’s not the kids sinking the ship here… it’s the grownups.

    Guys like Hemsky and Stoll (especially Stoll) who were supposed to be big time players have come in and performed well under expectations.

    At least with Hemsky he’s still creating stuff, Stoll, not so much. Horcoff also needs to get his head above water, because while he’s putting up points, he’s been on the wrong side of an open man putting the puck in the net from the slot far too many times this year.

    The kids like Gagner and Cogliano have managed to keep their heads near the surface to start off… it’s the veterans who haven’t pulled their weight.

    On a side note, I thought Pouliot last night had a pretty good game. He keeps winning puck battles and generating chances but the puck just won’t go in for him yet.

  25. namflashback says:

    on Gagner:

    - he’s already attracting the Maguire man-love. It sounds even more disturbing when it is about a 18 year-old kid. Burn a year, whatever. He is having an impact – despite the team record. Sounds like Kane and Lucic also made the grade.

    on Greb:
    - he’s already attracting the Maguire man-hate. No fewer than 10 “stupids” came out of penis head’s mouth
    - i had to laugh, since Stauffer has been preaching “let them loose to attack” for the past week. This is what happens, a team prepares for that and burns you with the long bombs.

    On 14-10-83:
    - this crew will get roasted over on the msg boards, but when your coach isn’t (can’t) hide certain defensive pairs, you might as well match up your forwards.

  26. Master Lok says:

    Hey LT,
    Just heard Salmalainen went home. Sounds permanent.

    http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Toronto/2007/10/24/4601467-sun.html

  27. Gnash says:

    I’d prefer to see Gagner kept on the Oilers roster. He is going to get pushed off the puck alot this whole year. He seems to be trying to fight for positioning along the boards, but the coaching staff should encourage him to be patient and hopefully avoid injury. Puck retrieval can’t be his role.

    Hopefully, there is not a setback in his confidence if he isn’t able to continue at a PPG pace. That probably isn’t a realistic expectation.

    Overall, I was pleased with what I saw from the Oilers last night. I can be patient with slow improvement if I continue to see that sort of effort and physical play.

  28. Big T says:

    Even before all the injuries I wasn’t expecting much out of the first half of this season. Now that we’ve lost 3.5 key players for an extended time (Pisani, Moreau, Pitkanen and Souray as the 1/2) we really can’t expect much in terms of wins.

    The kids look great. Imagine how they’d look if they weren’t being asked to do so much.

    T

  29. Jonathan says:

    The Pisani injury was something that the Oilers brass were aware of this summer. Their failure to sign/trade for a Mike Johnson-type player is completely inexcusable. The fact that the unexpected emergence of Gagner/Cogliano/Brodziak reduces the damage done is not an excuse for that inaction.

  30. jon says:

    Agreed on Tarnstrom being our most consistent D this year. He’s been physical and solid all around, including some well-advised offensive decisions.

    Penner has been exactly as advertised so far, invisible some times, dominant at others. Too bad there’s far more invisibility than dominance thus far.

    Hemsky is so frustrating. The PP strategy is to get the puck to him, so it is predictable in that way. He rarely goes into traffic off the half-boards, so the PP is predictable that way. He rarely takes a shot and when he does it lacks strength and quickness of release, so the PP is predictable that way. The problems with the PP stem from an over-reliance on Hemsky. Teams key in on him and it performs accordingly. Really that’s what needs to be looked at.

    Gagner and Cogliano have been good. Gagner has the edge in skill, vision and creativity, but Cogliano wins all other categories. Most noticeable Cogliano doesn’t make a lot of rookie mistakes, while Gagner as an 18 year old obviously is. Gagner should have gotten the puck deep on the empty net play, instead he got pinned and stripped off the boards. Grebs was out of position as usual and that’s the game.

    Grebeshkov is brainless so far. He’s constantly out of position and right now is more of a liability than Bergeron was.

  31. Bruce says:

    Well the good news is that the co-leading scorers for the Oilers are rookie pros Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano. The bad news is [repeat above factoid]. Where are the veterans?

    I can’t say I’m feeling the love for Hemsky that seems to predominate here. I keep hearing about what he’s creating, but being a numbers guy I default to the cold hard facts: 9 GP, 0 goals, 5 assists, -1. He leads the team in PPTOI, and in theory he leads the powerplay itself, but in 34:26 he has generated zero PP points, and “his” powerplay is an execrable 1-for-35 (a league worst 2.9%, second worst Atlanta 10.0%; in fact by my count, +1 PPGF, -1 SHGA, our powerplay is officially a big fat zero).

    Hemsky has been a plus player only once (his rookie year), and is a career -15 regular season, -8 in playoffs. While an OK defensive player he contributes relatively little in the way of penalty-killing or physical presence or tough minutes, so he absolutely must contribute to real offence (a.k.a “goals”) to help the team. 1 season and 9 games into his $24.6 MM contract, Ales has contributed exactly 13 goals to the cause, and his total of 45 assists is decent but not exactly ringing my bells, at least not in a positive sense.

    I’m prepared to grant a mulligan on the first year of his contract, he had a concussion and his team went to shit, but my patience is officially at an end. Ales is 24, he’s a five-year veteran, and if he really is an elite player it’s bloody well time to start putting the numbers up on the board.

  32. Dennis says:

    Yeah, I still believe in forwards driving the bus but we’re gonna have to give them some serious leeway given who’s playing behind them.

    Someday a 77/2 pairing might be a decent second set with one guy being the ruffian and anchor while the other pinches every now and then. And maybe someday a Pitkanen, Smid, Gilbert and Greene might be a good quartet to build around, a bunch of guys that might hit stride all at the same time. That’s a whole lot of if’s though and at least with Cogs and Gagner, you see two guys who are creating scoring chances right out of the box.

    It’s easy to envision Gagner being the soft min guy, Cogs taking the Horc role and hopefully Pouliot becoming Reasoner.

    But the rest of the stuff is way up in the air and I know we’re rebuilding but things don’t and didn’t have to be this bad in the interm.

  33. ClaytonMagnet says:

    I’ve noticed that the better Gagner plays, the less people tend to call him “Gagne”, which was really pissing me off in the PS. What has really stood out for me is how, even though he’s tiny and gets knocked down, he still manages to either retrieve the puck or keep the play going from his ass. There were at least three instances last night where this stood out. He’d get knocked over, and I was thinking “oh ya, his lack of size showing through”, but no turnover came of it – he’d either pop up with the puck still, or get it deep or to a teammate or something. He definitely doesn’t let his lack of size limit his ability.

  34. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Bruce – Negative talk about Hemsky?!? But he’s so awesome!

    There was a shift in the second period last night, and the camera angle dropped to ice level in the corner of Colorado’s zone just as Hemsky skated by after another botched attempt to deke through the entire team. It may have been during the PP, can’t remember. His facial expression was one of “Fuck this shit, I give up.”

  35. Jonathan says:

    “The problems with the PP stem from an over-reliance on Hemsky”

    To some extent, yes. However, the problems with the PP have existed season after season, (with the exception of Pronger) which indicates less of a fault with personnel and more of a fault with tactics. Our single PP goal this year was Raffi down low banging away at a rebound. How many down low plays have we had? How many of our blistering point shots have gotten thru? Souray and Stoll have been almost completely negated on the PP by the opposing team playing two forwards high. The Oilers have yet to adapt, although I’ve been encouraged by some changes (probably due to injuries) we’ve seen in the last pair of games. MacT is a good, even a great coach, but he can’t run the PP, and neither could Simpson.

  36. Bank Shot says:

    I’d like to see Mactavish actually put all his most talented players on the number one PP unit and keep them there for awhile.

    Last game it was Gagner-Penner-Cogs I think, and then Hemsky-Horcoff-Torres.

    The Oilers don’t have enough talent for one good PP let alone, two, don’t dilute it.

    Hemsky and Gagner are the two musts up front. After that it’s a bit of a toss up because noone is really in their offensive league.

    I’d maybe go with Penner to round it out, because I believe he’s the only Oiler forward that has scored from the slot this season. Horcoff wouldn’t be a terible choice either.

    Then put Gilbert on one point because he’s a sneaky fuck that’ll wander down low, and he also has a hard slapper. Tarnstrom can man the other one.

    Then with the Oilers talent all concentrated right up, maybe they’ll get lucky and one will go in off of Hemsky’s visor.

  37. Master Lok says:

    To all those on Greb’s case – cut him some slack. It’s not even 10 games into the season, the kid is still a kid – and he’s still adjusting from the different arena over in Russia. I like his skills – just give him more experience and he’ll settle down.

  38. Dennis says:

    Bruce, it’s just not accurate to say that Hemsky doesn’t contribute much in the way of playing tough min. I think the first time he caught fire he was playing with Smyth and Marchant and I don’t have the stats from that time but I highly doubt that line WASN”t playing tough min.

  39. PunjabiOil says:

    Then put Gilbert on one point because he’s a sneaky fuck

    ___

    Line of the night.

  40. voxel says:

    The vets underachieving is what I feared would happen – 06-07 losing streak wasn’t such a big anomaly after all the injuries.

    I’m beginning to bitterly accept Horcoff, Stoll, Hemsky will never be able to handle top opposition (i.e stay positive) and this year is for the rookies to learn and for Lowe to decide whom to ship out and who to build around. Sorry, but Horcoff was on the wrong end of many goals in the last 20 games of 06-07 and is continuing it this year. Stoll isn’t the same and Hemsky will probably give up as much as he contributes.

  41. Bruce says:

    Then put Gilbert on one point because he’s a sneaky fuck that’ll wander down low, and he also has a hard slapper. Tarnstrom can man the other one.

    Tarnstrom is also a sneaky fuck, in fact he’s an experienced sneaky fuck who used to absolutely love the old “back door play” in Pittsburgh. Mario would dangle and distract in the corner, then wham! in would come our man Dick on the weak side to, uh, slam it home.

    In 2½ years in Pittsburgh Tarnstrom scored 28 goals, of which 19 came on the powerplay. Due to the odd circumstance of Oilers acquiring Spacek and Tarnstrom on the same day in 2006, the former got the PP slot and Tarnstrom was never really given a shot at what he does best. Now, however, with Souray and Pitkanen both on the shelf, he and Gilbert (and I guess Stoll) are the obvious choices to man the points. Hopefully Tarnstrom and Hemsky can get on the same wave-length, cuz the back-door pass should play to Ales’s strengths — dangle and delay while the passing lanes open up. This works best if somebody else on the powerplay actually moves once in awhile, a concept Tarnstrom learned well (elsewhere, of course).

  42. dave says:

    Trading Horc wasn’t in my vocab pre-season, but gagne and cogliano and MAP are making him very expendable. I would keep Stoll for his versatility and face off dominance. While it would be nice to trade for some snipe, I’d trade for what they are missing in Pisani and Smith. I’d be concerned about Horcs stock going down when we keep going to the kids first.

    As far as the “tough minutes” are concerned its not the kids letting us down 20 times outta 9 the guy busting his back to the front of the net is 89.

  43. Jonathan says:

    Dave:
    Yes, perhaps the vets are letting us down, but to be fair, they’re exposed a lot more than the kids. Last night, for example, the Stoll/Horcoff lines got the most minutes against the Sakic/Stastny lines. Admittedly, Gagner played will under pressure there, but Cogliano, Brodziak, Pouliot and Jacques were all sheltered to some degree. Expecting them to keep their scoring up while playing against the Sakics, Smyths, and Stastnys of the NHL is unreasonable. If they start playing those kinds of minutes, they’ll look worse than Horcoff.

  44. 48_briere_48 says:

    Keeping Gagner might have been a questionable call instead of sending him back down to London for some seasoning but in some of the games when the oilers weren’t in it, Gagner certainly was.

  45. RiversQ says:

    I dunno Bruce. Claiming to be a cold hard numbers guy is all fine and well, but if you can’t see that the sample size is terribly small right now it doesn’t mean much.

    From the 20 periods I’ve seen thus far, Hemsky has widely outchanced every single Oiler on the club. What he hasn’t done is convert those chances and neither have his linemates. If you’re a cold hard numbers guy, you take these things to heart.

    Except for possibly the last couple of games, Hemsky’s been hitting the ball hard. Eventually, the line drives start dropping in and stop getting wired right at the outfielders all the time.

    I think Hemsky needs to stay the course at ES and he needs to play more on the PP.

  46. Bruce says:

    I dunno Bruce. Claiming to be a cold hard numbers guy is all fine and well, but if you can’t see that the sample size is terribly small right now it doesn’t mean much.

    Of course it’s small number statistics, a term that I use frequently, esp. in October. In fact, the numbers don’t get any smaller than the ZERO goals our putative offensive leader has put on the board so far. Early in his fifth full season he’s stuck on 50 career goals, and a middling production rate of 0.70 PPG.

    I didn’t say I was giving up on him, just that I am running out of patience. It’s time for Ales to learn to pass or shoot after the first move instead of trying to beat two or three guys every time, develop some chemistry with somebody, and start putting up the points. And I wouldn’t mind seeing a little passion out of him in the process.

  47. RiversQ says:

    I didn’t say I was giving up on him, just that I am running out of patience.

    So it’s frustration rather than rational criticism based on hard facts?

    You’re complaining about goals and Hemsky’s apparent lack of production. Personally, I can’t complain about what he has done the past two years. In both seasons he put up good ESP/hr and excellent PPP/hr numbers (even on last year’s PP, he put up 5.5 PPP/hr.) In that timespan he’s had 0.9 PPG, which is pretty darn good especially when he hasn’t been thrown out on the PP as much as most top producers are. (Despite being clearly the best PP producer on the club in terms of PPGD and PPP the past two seasons, Hemsky has not even been the Oilers PP ATOI leader in either season.)

    I’ve heard this goal argument before and I don’t think it has much value. To me, GF/GA and points normalized by icetime and situation are the key figures of value when it comes to results.

    Hemsky has improved by these measures each year and he’s done it while playing increasing levels of competition. Judging by his play thus far, while he’s still a little bit high event in terms of scoring chances at least he is outchancing the opposition. (Heck, in the last Van game, the Hemsky line outchanced the Sedins head-to-head at ES. That’s no small feat.)

    I’m not sure if you were really saying this or not, but I don’t really think goals are a better indicator of contribution to winning than points. There are many cases in which the quality scoring chance was generated by the playmaker not the finisher anyway. I think hockey has traditionally put far too much importance on the “goalscorer” tag.

  48. RiversQ says:

    Just to add to that… I’ve got Hemsky down as +5/-4 at 5V5 thus far. He’s also in on 100% of the goals scored on his line and is scoring at a 2.5 ESP/hr clip. That’s not bad on a team that’s +15/-20 at 5V5 in a small sample.

    The only real statistical hole for Hemsky is the PP and I’m not so sure that’s all on him either. Through the first 7 games he was 3rd on the team in PP ATOI, which is a crime.

  49. Lowetide says:

    This would be an interesting bet imo. I posted about this awhile ago but imo there’s a logic here that some people miss.

    It goes like this: given Hemsky’s age and level of ability, it is IMPOSSIBLE for him to deliver poorer numbers than his current teammates on the PP unless:

    1. They stop using him on the PP.
    2. He gets injured and therefore less effective.
    3. He stops trying.

    Last season he was something like 2.10EV/60 and 5.45PP/60, and given his age, skill level and moxy (minus the turnover in roster and the fact the PP is in the deep freeze) we could knock 1pp/60 off that PP numbers and he’d still lap the field that is the current Edmonton Oilers.

  50. Bruce says:

    I didn’t say I was giving up on him, just that I am running out of patience.

    So it’s frustration rather than rational criticism based on hard facts?

    Jeezus, RQ, why do I get this feeling that if we played in the same league, you and I would always find each other in the scrums? Hell, we’d probably start more than our share of ‘em. So what the hey, let’s get it on.

    While I won’t preted to be dispassionate when it comes to the Oilers, in the current instance I’m going to stick to rational criticism based on hard facts. The first $4+ million of that big contract has bought 13 goals, or >$300,000 per. Yes of course an assist is as good as a goal, but a 1-to-3 ratio is unhealthy unless you’re talking about Wayne Gretzky circa 1986. Now if Ales was a playmaking specialist racking up assists a la Adam Oates, hey, I can live with that, but in the 91 games since he signed, he has modest totals of 73 GP, 13-45-58, -8. Pardon me if I’m underwhelmed.

    Putting things in the best possible light, which RQ has done by tracking Hemsky’s last two seasons which conveniently includes his one good year (a.k.a. “contract year”) when Ales exploded for 19 goals, and apparently excludes his feeble (statistical) start to this season, Hemsky is indeed somewhere around 0.9 PPG. So maybe he’s Craig Janney. But the wannabe optimist in me envisions him as something better than that, except I’m getting anxious that his time to break out is past due. For a fifth year pro, those cold hard numbers of 284 GP, 50-149-199, -15 don’t impress me as those of an elite offensive player. I’m not saying those numbers and ratios won’t change, I’m just saying they need to.

    I’ve heard this goal argument before and I don’t think it has much value. To me, GF/GA and points normalized by icetime and situation are the key figures of value when it comes to results.

    Geez, and here I’ve spent all these years looking at the scoreboard for results.

    Points normalized by icetime? Hey, I like detailed analysis to the point where I try to draw statistical blood from an RTSStone, I read every one of Bill James’ Baseball Abstracts in the 80s and learned a hell of a lot, but one of the things I learned is that sometimes the sabermetrician is talking through his ass.

    Seriously, GF/GA is obviously important, cuz that’s what IS on the scoreboard. And I’m encouraged that you think Hemsky is holding his own there. Trouble is, Oilers need him to do more than that, they need him, and are paying him, to be a difference-maker.

    I’m not sure if you were really saying this or not, but I don’t really think goals are a better indicator of contribution to winning than points. There are many cases in which the quality scoring chance was generated by the playmaker not the finisher anyway. I think hockey has traditionally put far too much importance on the “goalscorer” tag.

    On this we agree, RQ. Walter Gretzky taught Wayne that an assist is as good as a goal, and Wayne taught me. Hemsky’s never been a finisher, I keep hoping he’ll learn the art of surprise and the science of the one-timer, but seemingly his strengths lie in feeding the finisher. Unfortunately, at the moment the Oilers don’t appear to have one of those, with the possible exception of “Sudden Sam”, whom I would pair with Ales as soon as possible if I was the chemistry professor.

    Rather than make the players around him better, Ales seems to need players close to his calibre around him. He thrived on the CFP powerplay of 2005-06, but I’m still waiting to see if he’s learned anything at all about bringing the attack in down low when the points are taken away. And I’m not seeing it.

    The only real statistical hole for Hemsky is the PP and I’m not so sure that’s all on him either. Through the first 7 games he was 3rd on the team in PP ATOI, which is a crime.

    Well as of now he is first on the team with 34:26 PPTOI, yet is tied for last in PPP, with 0. Yeah, I’d call that a statistical hole. I’m tempted to call it a black hole.

  51. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Here here, Bruce.

  52. RiversQ says:

    Yes of course an assist is as good as a goal, but a 1-to-3 ratio is unhealthy unless you’re talking about Wayne Gretzky circa 1986.

    Unhealthy? Good grief.

    I don’t see how the ratio is relevant. You’re either generating goal differential or you’re not. Goals/assists has absolutely nothing to do with that.

    Points normalized by icetime?
    Sure icteime and situation matter to everything. It doesn’t exactly take any mental gymnastics to get an idea of how that relates to results. It’s simple really.

    - A player should do as much as he can with the icetime afforded him (so normalize)

    - different situations have different scoring rates leaguewide. (so split up the situations)

    - Points are probably a pretty good indicator of how much a given player is driving the GF side of goal differential.

    That about sums it up I think. No ass talking needed.

    Rather than make the players around him better, Ales seems to need players close to his calibre around him.

    This is a strawman argument. This statement applies to every single player out there. Good linemates are ALWAYS a benefit to every player. That includes Orr and Howe and Gretzky and Lemieux.

    Well as of now he is first on the team with 34:26 PPTOI, yet is tied for last in PPP, with 0. Yeah, I’d call that a statistical hole. I’m tempted to call it a black hole.

    Bruce, you need to look at the rest of the league too. Hemsky does not and has never played the same percentage of his team’s PP minutes as other elite players in the league. Your guess as to why is as good as mine. MacT obviously has a blind spot for the PP, so I’m not ruling out incompetence there.

    As for the total – that’s misleading for several reasons IMO. 1) his percentage is low, 2) Pitkanen and Souray both played more minutes/game when they were in the lineup and 3) were still talking about a small sample size.

    I’m just not worried about Hemsky. There are so many other things wrong with this team, that it’s hard to pick on the guy hitting the ball hard in lieu of those who are not.

  53. Bank Shot says:

    There are so many other things wrong with this team, that it’s hard to pick on the guy hitting the ball hard in lieu of those who are not.

    The thing is, a good team needs players that are not only hitting the ball hard, but also getting base hits and RBIs.

    It could be well argued that the reason the Oilers aren’t winning games is because their good veterans just aren’t playing well enough.

    I really don’t think that the good players should be spared critcism while the poor players have it heaped upon them.

    Maybe the Oilers are a bad team, because they don’t have enough good players, or maybe their good players just aren’t good enough. I could really go either way on it, but if I had to come down on one side I’d probably have to lean towards the good players being not good enough.

    Veterans like Horcoff, Hemsky, Staios, Roloson come with a pretty hefty price tag, and I don’t think it’s all that possible to fill the roster with enough of them that there are no more mediocore guys left on the ice. The cap won’t allow it.

    These veteran guys need to be better then the other team’s best players on more nights then not, but they just aren’t cutting it.

    I like Hemsky as a player, but if the Oilers intend to win any games, he needs to do more then create some chances, he needs to capitalize on his chances. And he needs to bear down and show that he can do it night in and night out against tight checking teams.

  54. RiversQ says:

    These veteran guys need to be better then the other team’s best players on more nights then not, but they just aren’t cutting it.

    I’m wondering what games you are watching. Granted I always wonder what games you are watching.

    Hemsky’s now +8/-5 at ES while playing top opposition and outchancing them. I really don’t think your comments jive with how these 10 games have gone this season.

    The failing has been on the PP, I have no argument there. Hemsky needs to start driving the bus on the PP again and his track record (and age and development) suggests that he probably will. No telling if that will be enough to make this a good PP unit though.

  55. Bank Shot says:

    I’m wondering what games you are watching. Granted I always wonder what games you are watching.

    I watch the games where MAB ends up a healthy scratch in Long Island.

    You apparently watch the games that had him in contention for the Norris.

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