Canucks at Oilers, G21/07-08

This is Orland Kurtenbach. He was the first big star on the left coast when the Canucks started playing NHL hockey in fall 1970. They were a pretty good team from the start (if HF had been up and running, the Canucks boards would have had posts with titles like “Tallon for the All-Star Game!”) but have never really had a prolonged period of success.

The Canucks had a 9-year head start in the NHL, but they’ve never been close to the Oilers in terms of excitement and quality. Oilers history is rich with HOFers and Stanleys, the Canucks have two trips to the finals (a fluke and a heartbreaker) and specific players who had an impact (Bure was a beauty).

Tonight, the Canucks boast a stronger lineup and the twin piss-cutters will almost certainly romp over Rexall.

Why? The curious choice of putting Zack Stortini on the line that will mark the Sedins (and whoever their winger is, probably Rick Blight). I can’t imagine this ending well, in fact it will very likely end early.

Craig MacTavish is a very smart guy. What does he know that we don’t know about Stortini as a shadow?

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82 Responses to "Canucks at Oilers, G21/07-08"

  1. Oilman says:

    perhaps the idea is to put Stortini in a position to win a fight?

  2. mc79hockey says:

    The curious choice of putting Zack Stortini on the line that will mark the Sedins (and whoever their winger is, probably Rick Blight). I can’t imagine this ending well, in fact it will very likely end early.

    Oh yeah. I like MacT but this is the most ludicrous thing I’ve heard all year. I was thinking that maybe the idea was that his skating would be less of a problem if the puck never left his end.

    This has “Bad Idea Jeans” written all over it. It’s like MacT is thinking “When am I ever going to get the chance to see what happens when a bad AHLer gets to play against the Sedins again?”

    Bad idea.

  3. pboy says:

    I went to my first game of the year Saturday night (BOA) and although I have been watching every game from home, you don’t realize how bad of a player Stortini really is until you see him live. I definitely didn’t “see him good”, that’s for sure. The guy can barely skate and he isn’t even close to keeping up with the play. He needs to be down in Springfield and next season he needs to be in another organization. No one will be able to convince me otherwise. Liam Reddox took the pre-game skate but he didn’t dress Saturday, maybe he should be given the chance tonight with Stoll and Torres? Or call up Pouliot and give him the opportunity? Or maybe try to bring in an established NHL RW to help with the heavy lifting? There can’t be anyone out there who honestly thinks Zach Stortini is now or ever will be a serviceable NHL player.

    Also, I can’t believe how many times the Oiler’s continued to try and carry the puck over the Flames blue line. It couldn’t have been successful more than 4 or 5 times the whole game? They didn’t start to dump the puck in until there was about 7 minutes left in the
    3rd period and that was the only life they showed the whole game. How exactly did everyone in the building figure out that they didn’t have a chance in hell of keeping their heads above water unless they dumped the puck but it took MacT 50 fucking minutes??????

    They wasted a decent effort by Garon, but it makes me wonder who will be between the pipes tonight?

  4. goldenchild says:

    There must be something we are all missing, on the surface Stortini seems like probably the worst guy to use in this position on the roster, it is absolutly baffling. The 2 french kids wouldn’t be better fits here? MP seems to have found some confidence in the AHL we wouldn;t all feel more comfortable with him on that line? I don;t get it.

    I am happy to see 10 and 83 reunited, it clearly was not easy for Ales carrying 16 and 14 around for 18 mins a game.

  5. godot10 says:

    I think Lowe will be getting a Christmas card from Ryan Getzlaf this year! -).

    The Oilers should have a shot at older UFA’s next summer once the salaries of all the young studs in the league get raised due to the Penner and Vanek offer sheets.

  6. Devin says:

    There’s this guy playing in Springfield who just happens to be an NHL-proven defensive-minded winger who can keep GAs down. He also is a pretty nifty passer and would fit nicely with Stoll and Torres who like to pull the trigger and play a physical game that would complement him. He’s a little Norwegian guy and for the love of Jeebus can we call him up already?!

  7. ClaytonMagnet says:

    oilman – “perhaps the idea is to put Stortini in a position to win a fight?”

    So, you’re saying you think Stortini could hold his own in a fight with one of the Sisters? Doubt it. I think the best MacT can hope for is that the first shift, Zack goes all Steve Downie on Henrietta, Daniella turns into a sobbing mess at the horror of it all, and all three are forced to leave the game. That’s three birds with one stone (two pigeons and a turkey).

  8. goldenchild says:

    Devin the “Little Norweigen” would be a definte upgrade at this point over Stortini, Brodziak, Sanderson, Nilsson and prob Gagne. I was under the impression he couldn’t be called up but if thats not the case he should be in the top 9 of the current roster never mind top 13. Is he eligible to be called up, does anyone know for sure?

  9. IceDragoon says:

    Good day,

    Perhaps MacTavish wants Stoll to KIFS (keep it freakin’ simple) and focus on his defensive game. He’s been an anchor so far this year. Hemsky tried to keep him afloat, and then gave up on trusting him with the puck.

    Aw… who am I kidding?

    What’s the over under on Horcoff’s (and whoever he’s hauling around <12&83?>) T TOI (twin toi)? I think I know where the smart money is going.;-D

    I’m sure that Ales is thrilled to be playing with Horcoff again, no matter the match. You can’t discount trust, especially for those who play a little south of sanity.

    If the line-ups are as reported from yesterday’s practice, I’m not sure I like Gagner at centre. Cogliano can cover the ice more quickly and is very smart in his support *disclaimer*for a kid*. He and Gagner played off each other well *d*x2* as C & RW, respectively, in the third on Saturday.

    btw – Has anyone heard what was up with Reasoner and his ‘nada 3rd period shift’?

    Penner and Sam have some familiarity. Their best games came playing with Horcoff(go figure) then went quickly south with Stoll.

    I’m just looking for progress.

    L8r
    Louise

  10. doritogrande says:

    How does Marty Reasoner not get this assignment with 14 and 16?

    Brodiak centres Sasquatch and Father Time on the 4th line. Bob’s your uncle and we get a checking line of 14-16-19.

    Agreed with Devin. I doubt we’d lose him to a waiver claim, because he’s been an inconsistant scorer in both the AHL and NHL at this point. I never understood why he got sent out in the first place, especially with Moreau (who at this point, I doubt will ever play another game again) injured.

  11. Devin says:

    GC- the issue is whether Thor is subject to waivers. I don’t see why this should be a worry. Mike Johnson (at 300k) passed through waivers, so did Peter Cajanek (at 1M) and several others of more consequence in the NHL marketplace than little #28. I think Lowe believes he’s such a smarty pants that everyone wants a crack at his “young talent” when really, just about every NHL team has a few of these types on their farms.

    I’d say 95% Thor gets thru waivers, and if not, it’s the right thing to do for the kid to let him go and be the NHL player that we know he is. Calling up Reddox is a slap in the face to Thoresen, and if I were Patrick I’d be demanding a callup or a move or else- nice knowin ya back to the SEL.

  12. goldenchild says:

    I agree completely Devin what is the point of keeping him down there all year? In fact you would think next year he would be less valuable as more of the young guys would have prob passed him on the depth chart. I dont think anyone would claim him but if he did get claimed good on him and really it would not change anything for the Oilers. What use is he to the team in Springfield anyways, what are they losing? Makes no sense to me. Then again most of the things around this team make no sense to me.

  13. Vic Ferrari says:

    Devin:

    Thoresen had to clear waivers to go to Springfield. He does NOT have to clear waivers to return to the Oilers. The CBA is explicit.

  14. RiversQ says:

    He and Gagner played off each other well *d*x2* as C & RW, respectively, in the third on Saturday.

    Goal or no goal, that line got ripped on Saturday. Absolutely ripped.

  15. pboy says:

    Goal or no goal, that line got ripped on Saturday. Absolutely ripped.

    Absolutely right. They spent 95% of the time, they were on the ice, in their own end just trying to keep up. Keenan did a great job of saving his #1 line until the kids came out and then the ice look tilted towards Garon the whole time. It makes you appreciate the way Horcoff can play in his own end, all the more.

  16. jon says:

    I don’t know, for all of Stortini’s deficiencies I like him as a player. It mostly grew this year out of watching him during the pre-season, but I think I can see why MacT likes him. He plays hard, he does what the coach tells him without fail, he’s not a confidence headcase, and to be honest I think he keeps this young, losing team accountable to a certain degree.

    This team sucks, but he goes out and tries to help the team win in the ways he can. If a guy who gets punched in the face as part of his role can give it his all, you’d have to be a pretty worthless individual to not give your full effort on his team.

    As for playing on the shutdown line, the numbers suggest he’s a blackhole for directing shots against (which I’m sure MacT is aware of), but then again he’s been playing with other also-rans and the Oilers really have nothing further to lose by trying him out in a new role, they can’t really lose harder.

  17. Dennis says:

    Gentle folks, please calm down;)

    46 isn’t going to see fuckall time with 14-16.

    10′s line is going to hard match against Sedinlund and then either 14-16-??? or 8-19-51 will take on whatever line Morrison’s playing on. And the other line gets the soft. Or, 14-16-?? takes on Morrison’s line and 27-89-13 gets the soft.

    In other news, Oilers really dodged a bullet when they didn’t insist in taking Getzlaf back in the Pronger package, didn’t they?

    I mean, fuck, who wants to pick up someone useful when you make trades, right?

  18. Rod says:

    Agreed Dennis that 12-10-83 appear to be set for a match-up vs. the Sedins tonight. Strength vs. Strength. The Oiler site’s writer is the one that figured checking line equates to some time against Sedins. Not very likely if Stortini is part of that line.

    8-19-51 seem a much better checking line anyway.

    pboy said: The guy can barely skate and he isn’t even close to keeping up with the play.

    Bang on. Stortini the checker? Disaster written all over it if he does see the ice vs. the Sedins. Then again, maybe he’ll be so far behind the play, the Sedins will never get a 3 on 2…

    goldenchild said: Devin the “Little Norweigen” would be a definte upgrade at this point over Stortini, Brodziak, Sanderson, Nilsson and prob Gagne.

    Totally agreed that Thor would be better suited to the checking line than Stortini.

    That said, there’s no way I consider Thor the 2nd best healthy RW in the org. right now. Ahead of Stortini, obviously. Stortini has size, but can’t use it well, and is completely lost as fighter. Brodziak has better size, so that’s a tough call. Not sure he’s any better than Sanderson (long term, yeah, but not necessary now). Is he better than Gagner and Nilsson defensively? Sure. A some point you have to score though. 12 and 89 clearly have a dimension to their game that Thor doesn’t. Clearest example, Thor does not belong on the PP. Nilsson does. Gagner too. Shoot-outs are pretty important as well, and I don’t see Thor involved in those.

    Some have indicated Gagner is moving back to C though, which I don’t mind. Yeah, Cogs has better speed, but at least Gagner wins a face-off now and again.

    The only reason I can think of as to why the Oil haven’t recalled Thor is they’re worried about the waiver clearance on his way back down. Lousy reason, but I could see them thinking that way…

    Agreed with others that figure Jacques is a better fit than Stortini too.

    Of note, the Oilers site indicates that Garon gets another start. Excellent news that.

  19. Bank Shot says:

    I’m pretty sure that Torres and Stoll came out pretty well against the Sedins in 05-06 when they played against them regularly.

    It couldn’t hurt anything to try Torres-Stoll-Brodziak (Not Stortini)against the wundertwins. It’s not like the Sedins could burn the Oilers any worse then they already have been doing.

    The lack of speed on a Torres-Stoll-Brodz line wouldn’t be a problem as the Sedins don’t do much on the rush, and the twins wouldn’t get a free pass along the boards like they surely would against a Nilson-Horcoff-Hemsky line.

  20. IceDragoon says:

    Riv…

    *DISCLAIMER*FOR A KID* X 2*
    I don’t expect them to contribute like vets.

    They were drowning with Reasoner in the first two periods, and some of the gongshows in our zone were helped along by Staios’ veteran leadership. Plus… Keenan had a line-up of real NHLers, so out-matched MacT.

    At least in the third the kids made some plays.

  21. Mr DeBakey says:

    FYI

    There are 21 guys on the Oiler’s roster now
    Cap hit = $36,925,996
    73.4%

  22. Rod says:

    That doesn’t mean they have cap space as injured players still count against the upper limit.

  23. PunjabiOil says:

    Craig McTavish has really lost any credibility he’s had over the last little while.

    I’m agreeing more and more with Vic Ferrari these days RE: MacT

  24. Vic Ferrari says:

    punjabioil:

    I hope I haven’t come across as a MacTavish basher. I think he’s a smart guy and a good bench coach. His problems lie mostly with his roster.

    I called bullshit back when he was claiming that Oates was his best defensive centre as well. And laughed when I heard countless radio callers bash MacTavish for not having Oates out there for the critical own zone draws in the famous collapse against L.A in a mid-winter game in 03/04. You have to love when stuff like that comes home to roost.

    I wish they’d gone in a new direction with the head coach a couple of years ago, personally. But really, it would take a lot to convince me that changing coaches now would alter the fate of the 07/08 Oilers.

    A card player is only as good as the cards. And a GM’s IQ rides along with the goalie’s save percentage. These are home truths I think.

  25. Master Lok says:

    perhaps 14-16 isn’t the shutdown line. Because I agree – it certainly doesn’t make any sense to throw Stortini on a shutdown line.

  26. PunjabiOil says:

    I agree MacT isn’t the root of the problem – Kevin Lowe has long claimed the title.

    MacT seems like an intelligent guy, but he’s making more and more questionable moves in recent times. He’s also had trouble getting results, even with good teams.

    Why, for instance, did a talented team that had acquired Roloson and Samsonov keep losing games down the stretch (including losses to Columbus) in 2006, only to make it because Vancouver did worse? Isn’t 8th place that year a disappointment? Then, for instance, why did MacT rotate backup goaltenders in Conklin and Markannen throughout the playoffs? It was clearly obvious at the time that Markannen was the better tender – and Conklin’s mistake in game 1 may have potentially cost the series.

    Then you look at how he handled Schremp during the recent call up – I mean, he had his mind made up before the games were played – does it serve any purpose giving the guy only 3 minutes of ice time? Not that I’m a Schremp fan – far from one – but I never saw the purpose of the call-up if you have your mind made up already on the guy.

    Now the recent love affair with Stortini. It seems he’s reading too many press clips, and for some reason started Stortini on the 1st line with Horcoff and Penner against Calgary. Good grief.

    His shootout choices have also been questionable at times.

  27. Bruce says:

    The only reason I can think of as to why the Oil haven’t recalled Thor is they’re worried about the waiver clearance on his way back down. Lousy reason, but I could see them thinking that way…

    So can I, having had this exact same thought myself. Mass. Transit is a two-way connection, so Thoresen is limited to one call-up. If he comes up, plays well, and then Moreau and Pisani come back, then what? A fifth(line) wheel like last year?

    I personally would rather he was playing a little more regularly than he got to in ’06-07. He certainly won’t turn the current Oilers into an instant contender or anything, but I’d like to think he has a future in the bigs.

    In a similar way, Oilers are bound w.r.t. Gagner, as any send-down to juniors is a one-way ticket for the balance of the season. I think they do have an option on lending him to the World Junior team, and I am very hopeful they will jump at that chance. If he plays well and is revitalized by quality playing time, by all means bring him back for another few games. As long as the total of GP is <41 I understand they have to pay him for the full season, but don't lose a year of playing service for free-agent status. Given the Oilers recent raids on the Sabres and Ducks, a move that keeps Sam off the RFA market until 2011 makes a lot of sense.

    Maybe when they do send Gagner back would be the perfect time to exercise the call-up option on Thoresen. No sense in having those two stuck on the big team vying for the same ice time.

    This is all about roster management. At least, I hope it is.

  28. namflashback says:

    Bruce,

    well, no its not about roster management — clearly they are rebuilding.

    No, they want to contend for a playoff spot.

    Errr, he has a plan. He really does.

    So said LaForge.

  29. Bruce says:

    The lack of speed on a Torres-Stoll-Brodz line wouldn’t be a problem as the Sedins don’t do much on the rush, and the twins wouldn’t get a free pass along the boards like they surely would against a Nilson-Horcoff-Hemsky line.

    I don’t think the Sedins are that fast, are they? It seems like they get 95% of their goals off of zone pressure, cycling the boards and then cycling one guy (Daniel or the other winger usually) through the slot for a bang-bang play or even a deflection (that slap pass is a killer play).

    The absence of 18 and 34 severely limits MacT’s options, as always. If indeed he goes with 14-16-46, it is “stength on strength” in a physical sense, if not in the classical match-up sense.

    With respect to Stortini, I don’t share the hate that seems to percolate the Oilogosphere. Like any young player, he needs to be given different sorts of opportunities to see where he fits in. So far this year he’s played a shade over 60 minutes TOI, all but 8 seconds of that 5v5, and near as I can tell the Oilers have been outscored 1-0 in that time. Given his own offensive limitations and that of his linemates on the fourth line, that 0 goals for is neither surprising nor particularly concerning. He’s out there to make stuff happen, and the Oilers haven’t gotten burned in those limited minutes.

    It’s tough enough being the worst skater on the ice most nights, but when you only get 6 minutes TOI it must be even harder to keep up. But Stortini seems pretty solid on the boards and doesn’t generally do stupid things with the puck. So I’m not opposed to giving him the opportunity to make some Sedin Paste tonight. If he’s overmatched, he won’t be the first Oiler Danrik and Heniel have exposed, and he, we and MacT will all have learned something.

    for some reason started Stortini on the 1st line with Horcoff and Penner against Calgary. Good grief.

    Reason seemed pretty obvious to me. Regehr was in Calgary’s starting line-up, and Stortini’s job is to bring a physical presence and to “chirp”. His lining up in Hemsky’s spot was a not-so-subtle message that Mr. Regehr better think twice about taking liberties tonight. Behold, Mr. Regehr did manage to keep his nasty edge under control.

    BTW, Stortini’s 42 PiM lead the team comfortably despite the limited ice time (Torres and Staios, 24 each). 19 of those minutes have come against Vancouver, 17 against Calgary. Those look like the numbers of a guy who understands his role, even if you subtract out the meaningless misconducts.

  30. Lord Bob says:

    I’ve never liked CrackT. I’ve always thought that’d he’d make a nice assistant coach because he always seems able to teach guys how to be better players, but I’ve never ever had faith in his game-day decisions.

    So this kind of thing doesn’t alarm me as much as, perhaps, it should.

  31. Ribs says:

    Wow, I’m kind of amazed at the coverage this line shuffle getting. MacT has done this thing many times now, what are we getting worked up about here?

    Lines in a MacT practice mean diddly squat when it comes to the gameday lineup.

    The beat goes on….

  32. Lowetide says:

    Nice sequence at the beginning of the game here, Oilers seem to have better legs than VAN.

  33. mike w says:

    Not a bad game so far. The checking line is winning thanks to Stoll and Torres running around.

    I like it when they play together.

  34. uni says:

    How do the Oil have 2 goal in the 1st…just wow.

  35. dwillms says:

    Dear Santa: All I want for Christmas is for KLowe to sign Gilbert to a long-term extension ASAP.

    And would anybody else feel better seeing Hot Doorknob on the PP at this point than Grebs?

  36. Andreas says:

    Nice period by the Oil, good to see how they use Vancouvers young and inexperienced defense to their advantage with hard pressure and constantly putting the puck deep and work from there.
    Feels a bit like old time Oiler hockey.

  37. Bruce says:

    The checking line is winning thanks to Stoll and Torres running around.

    Seems to me Stortini is doing OK too. 5:15 ice time, one shot, one hit (Sedin paste, as I recall), one headlock on Naslund in a scrum. And no goals againt his line.

  38. speeds says:

    That was awesome, seeing the PP with guys skating around, causing trouble for the PK of the Canucks. And, perhaps not surprisingly given the movement on the PP, the PP goes 2-2.

    Yeah, there was a SHG against, but I’m not sure you can really pin that on PP style.

  39. uni says:

    Well, at least Grebeshkov followed up the SHG against with a solid shift on the PP. He kept the puck in the zone and the play alive a few times before Miller whiffed and Horcoff scored.

  40. Lowetide says:

    Excellent period. PP saw people moving around and overall everyone has more zip.

  41. uni says:

    That goal by Isbister has to be some sort of cosmic joke.

  42. PunjabiOil says:

    Great 3-3. MacT has Gagner and Cogliano on the ice matched up against Naslund and the Sedins, leading to that goal

  43. Andreas says:

    But Garon where totally out of position on that one, two kind of weak goal in the 2nd and in the other end Luongo making some brilliant saves.
    This is why Garon isn’t a legimate starter :)

    But you really have to score when playing 5 on 3 for over a minute.

  44. uni says:

    But you really have to score when playing 5 on 3 for over a minute.

    Against a normal flesh and blood goalie they would have scored on the 5 on 3.

  45. jon says:

    It’s pretty erroneous to blame MacT for the third goal when the issue was clearly Rourke’s position on his man and Garon’s position relative to the shooter. Especially since MacT’s line decisions have for the most part been vindicated. Two boneheaded plays by players leading to goals aren’t the coach’s fault.

    If anything the youth on defense is to blame for this game even being close so far.

  46. jon says:

    Torres really is a headcase. It’s all well and good for him to be gripping the stick too tightly when he’s in a rut, but he’s gone over playing on the edge and he’s just playing stupid now. The last thing we need is a penalty a la Staios for punching a guy in the scrum.

  47. jon says:

    And lo and behold he got a penalty for it.

  48. Mr DeBakey says:

    Rod “I thought there might have been a little bit of embellishment there”

  49. mc79hockey says:

    That was some nice work on the boards from Gilbert and Penner.

  50. Lowetide says:

    Andrew Cogliano is just a really, really smart hockey player.

    Lordy.

  51. goldenchild says:

    Trade Horecoff!

  52. goldenchild says:

    btw what a differnce in Hemmers game playing with Horecoff its like a Piano had been lifted off his back. At this point Mact should just try to get those 2 on thie ice as much as possible 5 on 5.

    Finally I can’t decide if Grebeshkov is a spaz or just terrible.

  53. danny says:

    Last season Stoll had a weak start and really turned his season around when MacT gave him a shutdown role against Staal vs carolina. Stoll went on a pretty impressive run. Hopefully tonight was his corner, and hes ready to run off a stretch of big ones for us.

    VAN were benefactors of some real mean nothing goals tonight, a blooper on Isbisters stick, the Grebs-gift shorty and the Edler knuckleball.

    If this team can get healthy, go 15-18% on the powerplay the rest of the way and maintain a +.900 sv%, then I think they can finish out of the bottom 5 easy. I don’t see any of the above being unreasonable expectations.

  54. Bank Shot says:

    VAN were benefactors of some real mean nothing goals tonight, a blooper on Isbisters stick, the Grebs-gift shorty and the Edler knuckleball.

    Lets not forget the Oilers benefited as well. Reasoner’s goal was kinda lucky and Horcoff’s came off of a broken play.

    I’m still concerned about where the goal scoring is going to come from, but tonight was a fun game to watch.

  55. danny says:

    The Oilers scoring chances to goals were just about right tonight, Vancouvers goals came on much less. The broken plays were from pressure and chances for the most part, I can live with those.

    Anyways I agree, the scoring needs more consitency, but with kids and injuries thats not something youre gonna see early in the season, maybe not even later but the ES ability is better than its record indicates by my eye.

  56. PunjabiOil says:

    If the Oilers really want to make the playoffs, they’ll have to start winning in regulation.

    Almost feels embarrassing that 5 out of the 8 wins have been in the shootout.

    MacT with his typical poor coaching in the shootouts. Sanderson? Stoll? No Nilsson? Absolutely ridiculous.

    It’s clearly obvious Sam Gagner has no place in the NHL right now. I’d honestly send him back to junior, and the WJC. A smart organization would want to hold his rights until 26, not 25.

    Staios had a nice game. Obviously Horcoff as well.

  57. Bruce says:

    Stortini: 11:18 TOI, almost all of it against the Sedins, 1 shot, 1 hit, 1 block, even on the night … and get this, neither Sedin had a shot on goal.

    I think Zach passed a major test tonight. He didn’t see quite as much ice in the third, largely because his linemates were taking blockhead penalties, but he was out there with three minutes left and acquitted himself well.

    All of which means exactly nothing more than Stortini deserves another shot playing more than fourth-line minutes. He’s still more “project” than “prospect”, but even his biggest detractors (and I know you’re out there) have to admit he didn’t hurt the Oil tonight.

  58. PunjabiOil says:

    Forgotten are Raffi Torres’s blunders tonight.

    Poor retaliating penalty, quickly after, takes another penalty. He’s got 6 points this year despite the ice-time. 3 points were in one game. He’s just not cutting it, and before he gets an 800,000 raise next year, time to ship him out before the whole world finds out he’s a bag of suck.

    At the same time, he’s proved that no matter how much you train, watch your diet, or practice – that just doesn’t replace good hockey sense and skill

  59. Lowetide says:

    I was impressed with Brodziak tonight, too. He made a very nice play on the Reasoner goal and later in the game performed a textbook shot block at a vital point.

    Stortini looked “okay” but I felt he was late into zones and definitely the third wheel on that line. No disrespect, he survived, has the respect of an NHL coach who knows what he is doing (imo), but isn’t a good option for a checking role.

  60. PunjabiOil says:

    Good point RE: Brodziak LT.

    He’s really come along – a strong 3rd liner that can play two way hockey

    Something I wish Ryan O’Marra once achieves in his career.

  61. RiversQ says:

    I don’t know what game you watching punjabioil, but the only reason that line did so well against the Sedins was the d pairing behind them and Torres. I’m dead serious about that.

    Bad penalties, I’ll give you, but Torres is still a pretty damn good LWer in the NHL and he’s a tonne better than Penner right now, so who the fuck do you replace him with?

    As for Stortini – yeah he didn’t hurt the team. Best game from him as an Oiler I thought. He wasn’t driving the bus tonight, but he had just the one bad icing in the mistake department.

    Horcoff was outstanding.

  62. RiversQ says:

    bruce said…
    I understand they have to pay him for the full season, but don’t lose a year of playing service for free-agent status. Given the Oilers recent raids on the Sabres and Ducks, a move that keeps Sam off the RFA market until 2011 makes a lot of sense.

    That’s not right bruce.

    It keeps a year of Gagner’s UFA status and a year of his arbitration eligibility. That’s it.

    He’s fair game for an RFA offer sheet.

    That’s why it’s a bad move. I’m really high on Gagner, but he’s not ready, he’s pulling down $1.625MM in cap hit including his bonus, and he could probably get something more from junior anyway. I don’t think he’ll be hurt by this move, but the Oilers are not extracting maximum value out of Gagner.

  63. Dennis says:

    Well, the Oilers aren’t exactly a smart organization, PJO, so expect to see Gagner racking up his first year of eligibility.

    We should start by sending him out for the WJC and then just benching him the moment that one of 18 or 34 returns. I’ve got nothing against Gagner but he’s the proverbial elephant at EV: you just can’t hide him. At least Cogs has some battle in him and he’s fast enough to negate some of his mistakes but as much as I’ve liked some of what Gagner can do and as much as I think the guy’s really going to be a player, you’re right, we shouldn’t burn a year of his this season.

    But I’m betting we will because that’s the way Lowe runs things.

    On to tonight’s game.

    Defense: In what will be a recurring theme, because of the SHGA, guys who had good stats counting wise wound up with bad numbers plus/minus and Gilbert is among them. Gilbert’s so consistent now, it’s uncanny. 23 was throwing some major salt in his game tonight but still, 77 is a player. Tarnstrom looked great on the PP but then had a couple of gaffes at EV. I was thinking Grebs was playing pretty solidly until that one major gaffe but that seems to be his thing. A good night from the 24/5 pairing because 77/23, at least by my eye, were talking on Nasdin and honestly, there’s no one else on the Canucks worth worrying about. I have to say, though, any night we don’t notice Ladislav Ulanov, it’s a good thing. Him and Grebs are a lot alike in that way; when they make an error, it’s more glaring than a scorned ex-girlfriend.

    Forwards:

    How much rope does Nilsson get, here. Personally, I’d give lines three games and then I’d cut the chord. Now, I’m not talking three games where guys are getting robbed and hitting posts, I’m talking three games where you aren’t creating scoring chances. So, two games left for Nilsson as far as I’m concerned and then he either winds up back on a sheltered 4th line with Gagner, or he’s back to the A. What else can you say about Horc and Hemsky? the latter gets pretty much sufficent love and the former is like the Mel Rojas of the Oilers.

    14-16-46: Well, give the devil his due, Stortini skated his ass off and competed and I can’t help but give him some credit for the excellent job that line did of hemming in Nasdin. Vignault scrambled his bench to try and get away from them so you know they were doing a job.

    27-13-89: FREE COGLIANO, FREE COGLIANO. We’ve seen Gagner get the push to play with people who A: aren’t out of shape and B: have to shave three times a week so when’s the chance for Cogs to show if he can put up points when he’s in a role where it’s expected from him? The Oilers have to stop playing 13-89 together unless they can use one of those villian’s watches from the Batman comics where they stop time and assure that no one gets a good line against them. If Nilsson gets the boots off the 10-83 line, I’d like Cogs to get that spot.

    8-19-51 – How much does Marty have left? I like the guy but I think he’s going the right way towards not many min EV and killing penalties to spell the real players. 51 shows me something every now and then and I think with the right linemates, ie see: Cogs, we’d get more out of him. 8 is doing what he can and don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have the ’08 Sanderson in ’06 then the ’06 Rem Murray, but you know, he’s just keeping a spot warm. Along with 23, I’d say he’s the first guy out the door at trade deadline time.

    Garon – I dunno, a game where he didn’t lose his cool and that’s important. I think his lateral movement got fucked up on the breakaway goal when the puck looked to be going to Burrows left, Isbister’s shot is hard to explain and then he was interfered with on the 3-3 goal. At that point I needed to see one big save from him to let me know I could count on him and he made it early in the third. Sure, Naslund looked like the good Naslund on the 4-4 goal but then Garon battled back in the SO.

    Overall: Well, I don’t want to be blase about any kind of win but even though we were facing Luongo, we had a home game against a team with three or four real forwards and just one of their top four D. And on the occasions when Mitchell was in the box, just consider who they had to run out on their PK? So, while I’m not saying the Oilers PP success was an aberration – I’m a guy who liked it for a three or four game stretch awhile ago and I think they have enough skill to toss it around – we have to consider it was against.

  64. oilerdiehard says:

    I loved the PP tonight. They were moving around and were a threat down low?! Wonders never cease.

    They said on the broadcast that MacT and Hemsky had a long talk. MacT apparently wanted Hemmer’s input on changes to the power play. I wonder how much that had a role in tonight’s improvement?

  65. danny says:

    RQ…
    I don’t know what game you watching punjabioil, but the only reason that line did so well against the Sedins was the d pairing behind them and Torres. I’m dead serious about that.

    I’m going to steal a line from dennis here, ‘ you dont just say things in the sphere and not back it up good’…

    From the shift charts, the minutes against the swedes were split on the backend between tarmstrom/Gilbert and Smid/Staios… so Stoll and Stortini were passengers in the 6 man bus?

  66. godot10 says:

    //A smart organization would want to hold his rights until 26, not 25.//

    The NHL will likely have a new CBA by then with even lower free agency, so it is sort of irrelevant. And Hemsky has sort of set the standard (Whitney, Horton, Getzlaf) for the second contract, a long one which takes away a couple of years of free agency.

    Once Moreau and Pisani get back, there will be more NHL forwards around to limit the vulnerabilities.

    Sending Gagner back to junior or to the World juniors is pointless, IMHO. If he hadn’t of had the world junior experience last year, then maybe.

    Gagner is a smart player. I think you want him in Edmonton figuring out how to earn his ice time.

  67. Ribs says:

    They said on the broadcast that MacT and Hemsky had a long talk. MacT apparently wanted Hemmer’s input on changes to the power play.

    Joanne Ireland has a great pic up that I found via Mr. Staples blog…
    Help Me Hemmer!

    Sad to say I missed most of this one(caught the shootout). The things you do for women.

    Sounds like it was a pretty good game. 3 PP goals? I thought they must have been joking when they said that! Stortini actually played some minutes and didn’t look like too much of a goofball? Wow!

    I’ll have to miss more games by the looks of it!

  68. Dennis says:

    Just by the eye, I would’ve thought that 77/23 were seeing the lion’s share of the Nasdin time.

  69. Master Lok says:

    PJOil – how can you say that Mact’s choice on shootouts are wonky when he’s like what 5-1?

  70. PunjabiOil says:

    PJOil – how can you say that Mact’s choice on shootouts are wonky when he’s like what 5-1?

    Pure dumb luck.

    Not saying he chooses poorly every game, but he has the tendency to pick a guy who has played a good game.

    Stoll for instance, is a guy that shouldn’t be shooting with guys like Nilsson and Cogliano on the bench.

  71. jon says:

    Something tells me that if Cogliano or Nilsson were picked and missed, PJ would still be criticizing MacT.

    It’s hard to criticize one of the few aspects of the team that has worked so far.

  72. Steven says:


    Dennis said…
    Just by the eye, I would’ve thought that 77/23 were seeing the lion’s share of the Nasdin time

    I think Vic mentioned this on IOF but because of the Powerplays (which 77/23 played a bunch on) Staios-Smid were getting some of the Nasdin time. I’m pretty sure otherwise MacT would have played more of Gilbert-Tarnstrom against them.

  73. Rod says:

    Jon: In my view Nilsson and Cogliano should clearly be shooting before Sanderson and Stoll. Horcoff too MacT always has an odd pick in the first three at least. Sure it’s generally worked in a small sample size, but why play against the percentages? Why refuse to use the talented guys? It reeks of trying to be too smart, and it bit the Oil in their one SO loss. Reasoner and Torres shooting with Nilsson on the bench? Made no sense.

    Was MacT thinking about R/L matchups? Not exactly:

    Gagner: R
    Sanderson: L
    Hemsky: R
    Stoll: R
    Horcoff: L
    Torres: L
    Reasoner: L

    Nilsson: L
    Cogliano: L

    True, the 5-1 record is hard to argue with. Fact is, Hemsky, Gagner, and Garon have been great. Nilsson too in his one chance on Kipper. With guys doing that well, it’s pretty tough for MacT to screw it up. He did against the Avs though. Last night looked like another.

  74. jon says:

    Nilsson: You have a young player who can’t be bothered to put up a consistent effort on a period to period basis, let alone a game to game basis, and you want to reward him by having a chance to try and be the hero? Not to mention the fact that you have several other options who put the effort in to help the team win, and have a track record in the shootout?

    If you’re a coach with a losing team of young players who havn’t yet learned the work ethic needed to succeed in the NHL, you need to take these things into account.

    As is, Nilsson is very close to getting demoted and MAP or JFJ coming back up if he doesn’t shape up.

  75. Rod says:

    You’re worried about rewarding Nilsson? Well, he was great in the Colorado game for about the third game in a row. As a reward, Nilsson was passed over for Reasoner of all people. Oilers lost. Yeah, that works. Team loses to teach the kid a lesson. Brilliant. BTW, how many good games has the kid had since that wonderful lesson? Also of note, Nilsson’s shoot-out track record is 1 for 1 (looked great doing it too), so that point is rather faulty too.

  76. jon says:

    A sample size of 1 is a pretty poor track record.

    And how do you define Nilsson’s good game against Colorado?

    Playing well on the PP? Making a dazzling pass?

    How about not backchecking or showing any intensity in pursuit of the puck?

    Skill comes naturally to Nilsson, effort and consistency does not. Which do you think MacT is going to want to teach and reward?

  77. Rod says:

    100% track record is to be ignored because of the small sample size? OK, I’ll admit it’s a small sample. That’s obvious. Thing is, how is he supposed to get a bigger sample size if you staple him to the bench in shoot-outs? Sounds an awful like the classic catch-22 “they won’t hire me because I’ve got no experience.” Still saying you can’t hammer him for no track record. When he’s had an opportunity, he made it count.

    Also, nice try burying Nilsson even when he had a good game. MacT has clearly said multiple times that this season that what he’s looking for is to create more than you give up. Nilsson did that against Col. in a variety of ways, not just a nice pass here and there. It was about the third straight game to boot. Check the comments from LT’s game day thread if your memory is that fuzzy from Nov. 7th.

    Not saying he’s played great since then. Just that your arguments against picking Nilsson are rather weak. Your assertion that Nilsson couldn’t be picked to teach him a lesson is really lame. The Avs game (a shoot-out loss BTW), blow that out of the water completely as Nilsson wasn’t even picked then. It was the perfect opportunity to reward the kid for an all-round solid game.

    Back on point, MacT makes some odd shoot-out selections. I hardly think I’m alone in that assessment.

  78. Rod says:

    All of that said, I do give credit to MacT for having the Oil go 2nd in the shoot-out. Most other teams like to go first, but MacT would rather win on a goal than a save. Works for me, and it’s working for the team thus far.

  79. Master Lok says:

    Rod said…
    Why refuse to use the talented guys? It reeks of trying to be too smart, and it bit the Oil in their one SO loss. Reasoner and Torres shooting with Nilsson on the bench? Made no sense.

    Actually it reeks of the coach having more information (i.e. seeing the guys in practice) than we do. Or are you seriously saying that macT has a huge ego? Or that MacT doesn’t want the extra shootout point and would be willing to screw the team over?

  80. Bruce says:

    Not saying he chooses poorly every game, but he has the tendency to pick a guy who has played a good game.

    I kinda like the idea of “rewarding” the guys that are playing well. MacT seems to think a guy with a hot stick might be a good choice, which lately hasn’t been Nilsson, that’s for sure. The selection seems to be 89, ???, 83, so it’s not like he’s just rolling the dice. But the #2 guy could be Torres (wasn’t that lovely?) or Reasoner or Sanderson, or … Sure Luongo made Sanderson look bad the other night, and he might have to wait awhile for another shot, but are you going to question choosing a career 350-goal scorer over an 8-goal scorer?

    When we needed extras the other night Stoll made an excellent shot and got robbed by Luongo, and Horcoff made an even better shot to win it. You’d think Nilsson would’ve done better?

    As with line combinations I can’t say as I always agree with MacT’s shootout choices, last year he shocked me by picking Reasoner a couple times, and all Marty did was shut me up by putting the puck in the net. You’d think with a 5-1 record this year MacT would’ve shut pretty much everybody up by now on this subject, but guess not.

  81. Rod says:

    Are we saying Sanderson, Reasoner, Stoll and Torres are far more likely to score shootout goals than Nilsson, Cogliano, and Horcoff?

    When did I ever say it was because of MacT’s ego? Oh, right, I didn’t say that. OK. Glad we got that straight.

    If it’s based on who scores the most during practice, why is the third shooter consistently rotated? Wouldn’t this proficient practice scorer be at the top of the heap more than once?

    Also, that means Torres, Reasoner, Sanderson, and Stoll have all scored more shootout practice goals than Nilsson, Cogliano, and Horcoff. Somehow the presumed high practice shooters are 2 for 8 combined, while the more skilled guys that hardly get selected are 2 for 2 (Nilsson and Horcoff). If it is based on practice, then it doesn’t appear to correlate very well to results in real shootouts.

    To be clear, I don’t have a problem with rewarding a guy for a good game. Thing is, you can’t argue that way without recognizing that Nilsson could have (should have) been picked in Colorado ahead of Torres and Reasoner. Period.

    Lately, fine, if it’s based on game play Nilsson should not have been picked. Why wait so long on Horcoff though?

    Which brings up the next clarification. I never said Horcoff shouldn’t be picked.

    Bottom line, MacT makes some weird choices. Sure, he has his reasons. They’re still odd choices considering the other guys available on the bench. Meanwhile, the Oilers shootout record thus far is padded to a large extent by the success of Hemsky, Gagner, and Garon. Other shooters…not so much. Either they haven’t gotten the chance very often (see Nilsson, Horcoff, Cogliano), or they’re getting chances far more frequently than their success would otherwise dictate (see: Reasoner, Torres, Stoll, Sanderson).

    To emphasize the point, here’s the numbers so far this season:
    Hemsky: 4 for 6
    Gagner: 2 for 5
    Nilsson: 1 for 1
    Horcoff: 1 for 1
    Stoll: 1 for 2
    Torres: 1 for 3
    Sanderson: 0 for 1
    Reasonser: 0 for 2

    Why are the guys in 3rd and 4th used so infrequently? Why does Cogliano have zero attempts?

    I’m not bashing MacT here. Just saying he makes at least one odd pick per shootout. Pretty difficult to deny that.

  82. Bruce says:

    Thanks for the list, Rod. I for one am very happy with a team success rate of 10-for-21, not to mention 5-1.

    BTW, I agree strongly with your point about MacT making the right choice to shoot second. I think the common thinking is that whoever scores first usually wins so let’s shoot first and make it count; but it seems to me whoever scores last is most likely to win. (Somebody somewhere has to be keeping tabs on that sort of thing, surely.)

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