Recurrents

I used to work Top 40 Radio. The Drake-Chenault format for those who know the industry. CKLW Windsor and CFUN Vancouver were huge radio stations in my youth and they played basically that format (CHED in Edmonton would be similar although they were more innovative with things like album cuts, etc) with the top songs rolling over a few times an hour. After that I worked for several years on formats that were contemporary (hits) but had older songs and a much larger song universe.

One of the subcategories of that format was “recurrents” which contained songs that were hits a year ago or less and “spiced” up the sound of the station. That “Goddam Arms Race” song my kids kept playing all summer might be a recurrent by now, that sort of thing. Rest the song after it wears on the listeners, wait a few months and then spice it in along with the current hits.

In hockey terms, players like Robert Nilsson, Marc Pouliot and JF Jacques have moved out of prospect (hit) status and are not yet golden. They are in between the two, kind of a no man’s land. Radio is still playing the song, but the record isn’t selling. Recurrents. The worst recurrent I ever saw in sports who ended up having a fine career was Andres Galarraga. Long after he wore out his welcome as a prospect Galarraga was still swinging at that damn outside curveball that no RH batter could hit. I swear he looked as bad as any major leaguer in history when down 0-2 (and he didn’t look much better down 0-1).

In the EJ today Craig MacTavish indicates that Nilsson will be back in the lineup, and says “Nilsson was scratched when Hemsky came back, before that Sam Gagner sat out. It’s possible Patrick Thoresen will move into that rotation.” The writer is Joanne Ireland. The article also quotes MacT on Nilsson: “It doesn’t hurt to miss a game or two if they focus in on their game and use the time to their advantage. (Nilsson) has done that.”

What he’s done is learned in bp to layoff that sweeping curveball to the point the manager is going to bat him 7th. He’s nowhere near batting cleanup, he’s no longer a prospect and he’s most certainly not golden.

Recurrent. Some make it, some don’t. The time for Robert Nilsson is Jan-Apr 2008. We’ll see.

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11 Responses to "Recurrents"

  1. IceDragoon says:

    Not to dwell… but you can listen to MacT’s words without the Ireland filter at Just a Game… url in topic below.

    Gotta go…

  2. Lord Bob says:

    Am I the only one convinced Bobby Nilsson will be a player? Probably not with the Oilers and certainly not a first-liner, but why couldn’t he fill that early-career-Radek-Dvorak-with-the-Panthers role on a decent team? It’s all there, including the brains.

    Not that that’s saying much since, for all his skill, Radek Dvorak was one of the stupidest hockey players in the history of the sport. But still.

  3. Lowetide says:

    lord bob: I think he COULD become a player but it’s going to be close. He isn’t one of the “touched by God” skill group represented by Hemksy and Gagner, and he lacks some things you’d like (size, grit).

    I’d compare it to the Expos OFers in 1976. They had Pepe Mangual, Jerry White, Ellis Valentine, Bombo Rivera, Gary Roenicke, Andre Dawson and Warren Cromartie who had one or more skills that made them interesting.

    Any fool can identify Dawson and Valentine, but the smart organizations are the ones that get full value (Roenicke) and find useful parts (Cromartie) among the rest.

    I think Nilsson has to be an offensive player though, he’s not very big.

  4. Lord Bob says:

    He isn’t one of the “touched by God” skill group represented by Hemksy and Gagner, and he lacks some things you’d like (size, grit).

    Admittedly, the fact that he’s small is a problem, but I’m not worried about his grit. He’ll never be a balls-to-the-wall guy like Ryan Smyth or Ales Hemsky, but he seems adequate.

    That sums up Nilsson’s skillset with me: adequate with flashes of very good. Guys like that can have long careers; our own Geoff Sanderson spent his entire career as adequate with flashes of very good, and there’s more than a few other guys like him.

    Again, never an All-Star barring a Yanic-Perreault-in-2007 sort of thing, but a player.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Lord Bob: I agree with that, but how long before you move on to the next guy in line? Really if they flush him after this season in favor of another option can anyone complain?

    Has he shown enough? I think his second half is going to be vital because at this point that job next fall doesn’t have his name on it yet.

  6. Dennis says:

    Nilsson has some things working in his favour, thinks like how the Oilers have soured on Pouliot and how they seem in no rush to promote Schremp. Plus, 14 isn’t coming back at all, Sanderson’s done and put all these things together and he’s sure to get ample time down the stretch.

    The question is just how much has he shown? Outside of consistent game long efforts in Min-Col and Cgy, Nilsson’s usually good for a couple of shifts and then you don’t know the guy’s on the ice. He did have that point streak but it wasn’t like he was tearing it up every game but then again, the Desjardins numbers are his friend.

    I think he’s shown enough to get some shots down the stretch but if his play doesn’t improve and the Oilers make the “no” call on him, I can’t really fault them.

    The quality of his teammates has certainly been higher than that of Pouliot, for instance. And that has to factor in the final decison making process.

  7. jon says:

    LB: I’ve been as big a Nilsson booster as they come but I think LT has largely hit the nail on the head here. Nilsson is at a crucial point in his career. If he doesn’t put it together soon he’s well on his way to becoming the next Ladislav Nagy.

    I’d say Nilsson compares very with Nagy in terms of skill set, size, and issues with effort and consistency. Both came into the league around the same age and in the same manner, getting brought up and sent down repeatedly.

    At this point it’s pretty safe to say that Nagy has largely been a disappointment, so obviously this isn’t great news. However one factor for hoping Nilsson turns into a player is MacT. If Nilsson can’t figure out how to become an NHL player under MacTavish, odds are he’s not worth the cost of trying to develop him.

  8. Lord Bob says:

    Lord Bob: I agree with that, but how long before you move on to the next guy in line? Really if they flush him after this season in favor of another option can anyone complain?

    If they flush him for another 20GP, 0G, 0A, 0P, EV-four jillion from Jean-Francois Jacques, I can. Nilsson is 23 in an hour and is going to get something like 30 or 40 points this year if he plays (and with Torres gone, he bloody well should play). The only minor-leaguer who could seriously replace him is Schremp, and, frankly, one problem this team does not have is “too many wingers”.

    If he doesn’t put it together soon he’s well on his way to becoming the next Ladislav Nagy.

    I’m wondering if I’m not making myself clear here. “The next Ladislav Nagy” is something I would count as a hit. He’s not yet 30 years old and can reasonably be counted on for 60 points and second-line minutes every year. That’s not a bad player to have on your hockey team.

  9. jon says:

    LB: I’d disagree that Nagy is really a hit. Which is fine, I can see how others might see that.

  10. Lowetide says:

    I think we’re all pretty much on the same page. Nilsson does have some nice things, like his points-per-60mins at EVs (1.93) is 3rd behind Horcoff and Hemsky (if my math is right in the Samsonov post).

    His problem is that because the Oilers altered the depth chart so much this fall (moving Gagner and Cogliano into roles that maybe others were next in line for) they’ve shown a willingness to elevate players and suffer through growing pains if they believe the payoff down the line might be worth it.

    Where does that put Nilsson? In a very vulnerable spot. From the events since Sept I think we can agree:

    1. Nilsson was the guy the Oilers wanted in 2003.

    2. They are still in his corner.

    3. His being HS’d tells us that he still has a ways to go.

    4. The things he needs to work on (MacT has mentioned keeping his feet moving, getting involved) would seem to be possible.

    5. If he does score 30 points this season (on 13.5M a night, 11 at EVs and 2 on the PP) then he might be able to grab another couple of minutes a year ago and improve year over year. A nice comp currently is Jiri Hudler who last season put up 25 points on 10 minutes a night in 06-07 and is having a real nice offensive season on a dozen minutes a night currently.

    Does he get there? Who knows. MacT is giving him at-bats though, which has to please Nilsson fans.

  11. CrazyCoach says:

    Oh my god, Nilsson.

    Son of Schmilsson!

    You’re breaking my heart, you’re tearing it apart so…………..

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